“I might work on sponsorship platforms with 12 different NFL teams tomorrow, then on NASCAR initiatives or on Olympic marketing projects the next day.” That’s how sports marketing expert Jeff Bail describes a typical day as vice president of Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment. “I help clients better understand how to grow their business, strengthen their brand, and effectively become involved with, activate, and leverage sports and/or entertainment platforms.”
Bail brings that same deep experience to his courses as an MSA instructor. One of the industry experts who helped create and build the program, Bail began his career at Nabisco managing consumer brands such as Grey Poupon and Hawaiian Punch. He saw a need for bringing that type of classic packaged goods marketing sophistication to the sports industry, and later held senior management positions in various sports marketing agencies — even owning his own agency for several years. Bail’s sports marketing programs have fueled brands such as York HVAC/Johnson Controls, Inc., GMC Truck, Gatorade, Sara Lee, Pennzoil, Whirlpool, Frank’s RedHot and Nicor Energy — to name a few.
“In the Fundamentals class, I ground everything we do in classic, strategic marketing,” he says. “I bring real-world, real-time perspective and share whatever deals I’m working on with students. The relevancy is second to none.” Bail takes an integrated approach to marketing — sales promotion, advertising, public relations, digital/social media and experiential marketing are included — and brings in guest speakers from his extensive professional network.
Students have picked up on the value Bail brings to class, and they respond to his sincere interest in their career success. In fact, he was honored during a Northwestern football game as one of the most popular Northwestern faculty members.
“I’m always getting emails from former students — even eight or ten years later — looking for advice or sharing their success stories. It’s very gratifying to hear a student say, “thank you — you changed my life.’”