Daniel graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Sport Management in December 2009. Since then, he has worked for the National Basketball Association. At the NBA, Daniel works in Global Marketing Partnerships, focusing on Business Development.
Daniel’s day-to-day responsibilities include the creation of sales materials for sellable platforms/inventory and NBA marquee events like Tip-Off, All-Star, Playoffs and The Finals. In addition, Daniel works with the business development and partnership teams to create innovative and exciting ways for companies to work with the NBA and their family of brands — WNBA, NBA Development League and USA Basketball.
Throughout college, Daniel held various internships with notable sports and entertainment companies, including Octagon, the Detroit Pistons, Madison Square Garden and the Michigan Athletic Department. Since graduating, he has continued to stay involved with the University as a member of the School of Kinesiology Alumni Board and University of Michigan Sport Business Conference Advisory Board.
MSBC: What did you do at Michigan in your undergraduate career that prepared you for your future in the sport industry?
Schachne: I started at the University of Michigan within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and transferred into the School of Kinesiology after my freshman year to pursue a Sport Management major. Once I joined the Sport Management program, my goal was to maximize my experience, both personally and professionally. I immediately got involved with the Sport Business Association (SBA), becoming the Member-At-Large during my sophomore year. Throughout my time at Michigan, I continued to grow within SBA, becoming Vice President during my junior year and President during my senior year. SBA really allowed me to grow and learn about the industry – from résumé and interview workshops to speaker series to trips to local teams (i.e., Detroit Tigers, Pistons, Red Wings) to meet with their executives. SBA allowed me to get that initial experience, to learn from and talk to successful people in the industry while building up a personal database of connections.
In addition, while at Michigan, I worked for the Athletic Department as a Marketing Intern. That experience helped me expand my knowledge of college sports and the intricacies of working within a big organization. Obviously, the Michigan Athletic Department is one of the best and most well-respected college athletic departments in the country and working with them allowed me to strengthen my industry experience and begin to build a strong résumé.
Besides the Michigan Athletic Department, I focused on utilizing every summer while I was in college to strengthen my industry experience and build my résumé. During the summer of my sophomore year, I worked for Octagon – an event and marketing agency in Norwalk, Connecticut. I worked in Octagon’s Corporate Events and Hospitality Group, and focused on planning and executing national golf tournaments. This experience validated for me that sports was the industry in which I was truly interested. During my junior year, I worked for the Detroit Pistons in their Corporate Marketing group, where my primary focus was on sponsorship activation during home games. During the summer between my junior and senior years, I was fortunate enough to land an internship with Madison Square Garden, where I was focused on their marquee partnerships, activated across the team business — the Knicks, the Rangers and Liberty — as well as the entertainment business.
MSBC: How did you transition and acquire your job at the NBA?
Schachne: My job search was a bit unique. As soon as I went into Sport Management, my goal was to work in basketball. I am, and always have been, a diehard basketball fan and it was always the ideal industry in my mind. In college, as previously mentioned, I wanted to ensure that I acquired experience in each facet of the industry, so I worked for an agency, a team, an entertainment corporation and a college athletic department. By the time I graduated, I had determined that a league and a bigger organization were best for me personally.
While I really enjoyed my experience with the Detroit Pistons and the New York Knicks, I felt that the next step for my career was to work at the league level. Being a diehard basketball fan, I was determined to get my foot in the door at the NBA.
I graduated a semester early — in December 2009 — and got a job on campus, working for the School of Kinesiology. While I was more than happy to work on campus and enjoy the second semester of my senior year, I decided to apply to two “dream jobs.” I applied to one with the New York Yankees and one with the NBA and, as they say, the rest is history. I was fortunate enough to be brought in for an interview with the NBA and received a Project Employee position, which would allow me to get in the door and eventually earn a full-time position. I took the NBA job (after much hesitation about leaving Ann Arbor early), and it could not have worked out better.
MSBC: Will you discuss your professional growth through the NBA organization?
Schachne: After eight months as a contract employee, I was rewarded with a full-time position with the NBA in December 2010. I continued to work in the same group – Global Marketing Partnerships – but now I had a full-time role and responsibilities. My initial title was Specialist, but I have since been promoted from Specialist to Coordinator and, now, to my new title as Senior Account Executive.
In continuing to grow at the NBA, I think it is important to demonstrate commitment to your role, passion to the industry and a strong work ethic. In doing all of the above, I have tried my best to establish a role for myself within the organization as an employee that can be trusted and wants to continue to grow within the NBA.
MSBC: What are your current day-to-day responsibilities at the NBA?
Schachne: I work in the NBA’s Global Marketing Partnerships group, which is focused on the attainment of new partners and the management of existing partners. We have a Business Development team that is focused on outreach to companies that may want to explore opportunities with the NBA (as well as the WNBA, NBA D-League and USA Basketball). In addition, when these conversations lead to a formal partnership agreement, we have a Marketing Partnerships team that is focused on the activation of each partner’s assets throughout the year.
Specifically, I work in a group that interfaces with both Business Development and Marketing Partnerships — Marketing Solutions. We have a number of functions and I have continued to have exposure to each facet of our team throughout my years at the NBA. We work closely with the Business Development team as they’re reaching out to potential partners to compile the materials and concepts that are “pitched” to new companies. As part of that process, we have to research the company, learn about their objectives, their target markets and key time periods, and present suggestions as to what might or might not work for the particular client.
In addition, my role has expanded over the past three years to support our research. In this role, I manage our research budget and work closely with our NBA Market Research team to understand and demonstrate the successes of our partnerships, as well as identify growth opportunities. Lastly, one of the responsibilities most near and dear to me is my work with NBA Cares (the league’s global social responsibility initiative). Since joining the Marketing Solutions team, I have worked closely with NBA Cares to create sales materials and generate ideas to include within our marketing partnerships.
MSBC: Can you give an example of a specific account or partnership you’ve worked on?
Schachne: One of the NBA’s most recent partners is SAP and their main point of activation is focused on revolutionizing the way that NBA fans can interact with league statistics. As part of this partnership, SAP and the NBA created a custom microsite – NBA.com/stats – that utilizes SAP software to maintain a database of current and historical information.
As part of their activation, SAP provides NBA fans with the ability to log on to this site and compare the successes of today’s players to some of the biggest names in NBA history. Any information or statistic that we have at the league is housed on these pages and SAP’s software provides fans access to this information in both a clean and visual manner.
In terms of my role with the partnership, I was a member of the Business Development team that met with SAP and discussed opportunities for our two organizations to work together. From the initial meeting to the signed agreement, I was able to work on the deal and help SAP integrate their software and technology into the NBA to create a one-of-a-kind fan experience.
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