Sports Management Abroad Provides Eye-opening Experience: Casey Ponton ’20 BSBA (Marketing)
March 29, 2019
Casey Ponton ’20 BSBA (Marketing)
Last summer, Casey Ponton ’20 BSBA (Marketing) spent five weeks of his summer in Europe for the Sports Management Abroad program, and it was a time he’ll never forget.
Ponton, a Houston native, is on the Arizona Men’s Swimming and Diving team, and he has expanded his passion for sports into his education as a sports management minor.
“I’ve been a diver since my first year in high school and it has provided me so many opportunities to be a part of the athletics program and represent the team,” he says.
Ponton decided to minor in sports management, because he saw his potential to further explore his career interests: “I’ve always been in love with sports, and it felt like a fun opportunity. I also would love to do a marketing strategy for a sports team, so I wanted to see what I could learn.”
As a student athlete, Ponton is a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the Commitment to an Athlete’s Total Success Life Skills Program(C.A.T.S). SAAC and C.A.T.S. have given him the resources to better the experience for athletes through outreach and community service. They have also served as a fundamental tool to guide him through his vigorous schedule of being an athlete and a student.
Leading up to the Europe trip, Ponton began to get cold feet. But with the encouragement from his parents, and a scholarship from C.A.T.S. to help fund the trip, he saw a great opportunity to experience the sports industry from a different cultural perspective.
The experience consisted of two and a half weeks in both Paris and Barcelona and was filled with everything sports. Although most of the trip was dedicated to class time, Ponton knew it would pay off. One of his favorite classes was Sports Economics, taught by M. Gray Hunter, lecturer in economics:
“It was interesting to understand how sports teams manage, make and lose their money. It’s something that seems simple, but it’s actually complex,” says Ponton. “I never thought about why teams charge what they do, and what that means for the financials of the sports teams.”
Ponton also heard from influentials who have a significant role in the sports industry:
“We had a French professional basketball player come speak to us about his own sports training company, and how data analytics can be used to get the most out of an athlete,” Ponton says. “Someone who works for the Olympics also came and talked to us about how they put together a bid for a country to host the Olympics and the theme behind it.”
Outside of his class time, Ponton wanted to make the most out of experience in Europe by visiting stadiums, taking travel trips to France and Spain and taking part in the World Cup festivities.
He visited the Louvre Museum, Pablo Picasso paintings and the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. “I’m so glad I took every opportunity and every chance to go do and see new things,” he says.