Commencement Spotlight: Daniel Amodio, Full-Time MBA

amodio tower_1-300x451Daniel Amodio, MBA ’13, is a baseball fan, born and raised. He spent childhood afternoons with his dad watching the Cleveland Indians, collected a variety of Little League trophies, and played second base for the Medina High School Bees, a team “about as fearful as it sounds.” Now, he’s using his Texas MBA to globalize America’s Pastime, starting with the Australian Baseball League.

Amodio’s love of baseball has evolved over time. While he worked toward his BBA at Miami University, he interned with the Cincinnati Reds, where he followed around the mascot, answered phones in the marketing department, and became interested in baseball’s uniquely devoted business culture.

“It is a bunch of passionate people that are there for a reason, because they love it, and that creates a really great atmosphere around the office,” he says. “I always remembered that and wanted to come back to it.”

That’s what eventually led him enroll in McCombs’ full-time MBA program in 2011.

In his first year at McCombs, Amodio helped develop a sustainable business model for the United States Olympic Committee, winning the San Diego State University International Sports MBA Case Competition. He returned to the big leagues to work on a PLUS project (short-term consulting internship) for the San Francisco Giants, and last summer he traveled to Sydney to intern for the Australian Baseball League, where he worked on developing a marketable and strategic business plan for the crowded Australian sports market. After graduation, he will return to Sydney and continue that work as the baseball operations and facilities manager.

“Baseball and sports are unique, but they’re still just businesses and have the same needs as any corporation,” Amodio says. “It’s great for me to get that overall business experience and be able to apply some of those things. For instance, the project I was working on in Australia was essentially a strategic growth project. How big should we get? And when should we make this move? Is it risky? Is it worth it? Those were the same questions we talked about in my strategic management class.”

Amodio says there are two major differences between American Major League Baseball and the ALB. MLB teams are owned by individuals and corporations, while the ABL teams are entities of the Australian Baseball Federation and are funded by both the American MLB and the Australian government. As an intern, Amodio worked to fit the MLB’s model of third-party ownership and operation to the much smaller ABL.

The second difference is size. According to a 2012 Harris poll, baseball is the second-most popular sport in America, posting revenue of $7.5 billion last year and drawing more than 10 billion spectators across its 30 teams. In contrast, Australia’s league, started in 2009, has only six teams and ranks below dog racing in numbers of spectators. While working in Sydney, Amodio says, it wasn’t uncommon to hear “oh, we have a baseball league here?”

However, according to Amodio, employees of both leagues share a sense of enthusiasm.

“It’s a hard industry,” he says. “The hours are rough because you’re at the games on the weekends, and in order to succeed and keep motivated in a job like that, it really takes passionate people. Even though the ABL is smaller in number and there isn’t the attendance that you’d notice here, everyone had that passion, and that is such an infectious thing and it makes for a great work environment.”

When he returns to Sydney, Amodio will continue working on enhancing the commercial viability of the ABL, develop new facilities and strategies, and work toward increasing baseball’s global popularity, which he believes is growing.

“Going forward I see the game becoming more and more international,” Amodio says. “I think we’ll see it growing in more and more countries and that the fans in other countries will start to see in baseball what we see in it here in America.”

Before pursuing his MBA, Amodio worked in technology sales at AT&T. He says that while he enjoyed the work, it lacked the passion he’d felt so strongly during his internship with the Reds. He knew it would be difficult to break into the sports business, and that it could mean sacrificing a lot of time and potentially more lucrative paychecks, but that he realized “those things are just less important that feeling a real connection to your work.”

According to Amodio, the hours spent at Jacobs Field, now called Progressive Field, instilled more than just the desire to root, root, root for the home team. Much like his love for baseball is generational, Amodio also inherited his career philosophy from his father.

“When I grew up I wanted to be just like my dad,” Amodio says. “ He told me ‘decide what you want to do and go do it.’ It sounds simple, and I think it is. Even though it might be tough, there might be some challenges and there might be something blocking your dream, go get it because you can do it.”

Reposted from McCombs Today

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