I’m not sure what the date on this news is, but according to a press release by the University of South Florida, USF professor Mike Mondello will be working with the Rays throughout the fall in an attempt to help their marketing department.
Per the release:
Sport & Entertainment Management Professor Mike Mondello will use analytics to work with Rays senior management on long-term issues critical to the success of the organization. Mondello will be the first faculty extern for the college, where faculty take time away from teaching and research to help businesses find creative solutions to the issues they face. The externship also gives faculty members a chance to connect with the business community
Using USF Sports Marketing folks is not uncommon for the Rays. Last year, I wrote about a program the team used to bring in interns from the college. The students were used to research how flex packs are being used.
Mondello is also no stranger to commenting about the Rays and the Tampa Bay sports market. He has been quoted in local media several times in regards to the Rays, to include how competitive the market is between the Rays and the Lightning and how the MLB Commissioner is looking to spark the stadium talks. His research and experience in sports marketing is extensive.
I’ve often said Tampa Bay is one of the most complicated sports markets, especially in regards to baseball, in the country. This is a very smart move by the Rays. With a sports marketing professor on board for the last quarter of the 2016 season, the Rays can pick his brain for ideas they can use in 2017 and beyond. Mondello can then bring his experiences back to USF and bring the Rays problems into the academic laboratories, where students can come up with ideas. This further creates a pipeline between the Rays and USF.
As Jonah Keri wrote years ago, the Rays are an organization always looking for an edge. If tapping into academia gives them a slight advantage over other sports or local venues, then they will fare better in the battle for hearts, minds, and dollars.