UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Students enrolled in a new course at Penn State had an opportunity to dive deep into the entertainment arena industry with on-site experiences.
Led by instructor Al Karosas, general manager of the Bryce Jordan Center, students enrolled in Advanced Arena Management, offered by the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management and the Office of Outreach in the College of Health and Human Development, traveled to New York City where they met with a variety of sports and entertainment leaders and then visited the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
“The ability for students to visit venues and hear from industry leaders first hand challenged them to take what they were learning in the class and see actual application of those concepts,” Karosas said. “The New York trip alone gave them access to one of the leading people in the venue management and booking world, a representative from an NHL team, a vice president of the second largest promoter in the world, three agents from the Agency for the Performing Arts and someone with experience at Madison Square Garden and the NFL.”
Students met with Sean Saadeh, executive vice president of entertainment programming at the Prudential Center; Joseph Altenau, director of event operations at the Prudential Center; Peter Albietz, vice president of hockey communications and team operations for the NHL New Jersey Devils; Jessica Quinlan, marketing director for NFL On Location Experiences; Andrew Russell, vice president of comedy touring for the Agency for the Performing Arts; and Mark Shulman, senior vice president for AEG Live and The Bowery Presents.
Students also visited the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, where they toured the facilities and met with leaders in the arena and the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins.
Student Katie Mischler, who is majoring in recreation, park and tourism management, appreciated the course lessons offered by Karosas.
“As a student who wants to work in the music industry, this class has been crucial for me to learn details I would not have learned elsewhere,” Mischler said. “We learned about event staffing, how to calculate risk management, booking processes, ticketing policies and concerns with the secondary market, marketing, and so much more. It was a very well-balanced course that tried to hit on all of the necessary fundamental parts of what it really means to run a venue with so many consistently moving parts.”
Mischler also appreciated hearing directly from a group of professionals working in a variety of areas in arena entertainment, as well as visiting the Prudential Center.
“Site visits are important because I believe they take the learning experience to the next level,” she said. “It is one thing to talk about how arenas operate but it is an entirely other experience to see it before your very own eyes. As an experiential and visual learner this really helped me to understand and apply what I learned in class to what was being explained to me while on tour of an arena.”