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Toronto Raptors’ championship trophy comes to TRSM

October 22, 2019
Sport executives talking at a panel event
Dr. Cheri Bradish, Leah MacNab, Michael Bartlett and Daniel Freiman

The TRSM community experienced the thrill of victory as the Toronto Raptors’ championship trophy made a surprise appearance at the school. 

Excited students, faculty and staff were invited to take pictures with the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy in TRSM Commons on the afternoon of October 21, 2019, giving them an exclusive opportunity to see and pose with the crowning achievement of the Raptors’ first NBA title. 

The trophy arrived at TRSM that morning for the “Sport + Business: Winning On and Off the Court Event” hosted by the Ted Rogers MBA program, which now offers a Sport Business focus. It was attended by around 150 people, including TRSM Dean Dr. Daphne Taras, Ryerson University President Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, undergraduate and MBA students, alumni and industry leaders. 

The event featured a panel of senior sport business executives (two of whom are Ryerson graduates) – Leah MacNab, Managing Director of NBA Canada (Postgraduate Marketing Certificate from Ryerson), Daniel Freiman, Digital Media Manager of NBA (Ted Rogers MBA, 2013) and Michael Bartlett, Vice President of Community Affairs at MLSE.

Insiders’ perspectives

The panel, moderated by Dr. Cheri Bradish, Director of Sport Initiatives for TRSM and the Director of the Future of Sport Lab, talked about what the Raptors’ historic win meant for the city and country. 

During the playoff run, Bartlett explains how the team was able to reach people they haven’t reached before – there were 41 official public viewing parties in communities across the country, thousands of people coming into Toronto for the championship parade and a huge jump in merchandise sales following the victory.  “We are a global sport city now,” he points out. 

MacNab says that one in two Canadians were watching the NBA broadcasts.  “It’s a great case study in whether the entire nation can get behind a team.”  And it did. She says that now the NBA’s challenge is to continue to innovate with more live fan engagement and connect with them on a more one-on-one level.

What the industry wants

With the business of sport changing over the years, the panel also discussed what the industry is looking for.  MacNab and Freiman both talked about the type of people the NBA wants to hire in Canada.  MacNab says she assesses attitude – she wants people who want to be there and work hard, and Freiman says he looks for people who can work together as a team.

Freiman also suggests finding one specific skill you can focus on to stand out.  The skills he
recommends are content creation and Photoshop. “Being able to take an asset and tweak it – this is more important now than ever,” he explains.  

Bartlett points out that people overlook how vast the sport business industry is, so you shouldn’t pigeon-hole yourself. “With your MBA experience, you can take an expertise and still find your path into a company like ours (MLSE),” he explains. 

Before joining MLSE, Bartlett worked at the Oakville Hospital Foundation.  Pointing to the “Ted Rogers MBA Sport + Business = TRSM” banner behind him, he says, “I didn’t have courses and programs like this to take after my undergraduate degree.” 

Sport + Business = TRSM

TRSM’s Sport Business-focused MBA is aimed at people who have the heartbeat for sports and the talent for business. Tapping into the vibrant energy of Toronto’s sport marketplace, it offers unique opportunities for students, including connections to industry executives, prominent guest speakers, field visits, exciting internships and even access to the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens.

“What other school can offer students these unique opportunities?” said Dean Taras at the event. “That’s why we say, loudly and proudly: Sport + Business = TRSM.” 

Dorin Kean, 4th year Entrepreneurship student at TRSM and President of the Ryerson Sports and Business Association, attended the event and was excited to hear about the Sport Business-focused MBA offered at TRSM. 

“Students now know that there will be that next step if they choose to pursue a career in the sport business industry,” says Kean. “It’s huge for someone like me who wants to work in this sector.  With this new Sport Business focus at TRSM, I would like to do my MBA here.”