Throughout his illustrious career as a sport marketing practitioner, Dr. Bernie Mullin has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to sport marketing education and providing opportunities for the next generation of sport marketing practitioners. This award exemplifies the very spirit of Dr. Bernie Mullin by recognizing sport organizations that have also demonstrated an exemplary commitment to sport marketing education.


2019 Mullin Awardee:
San Francisco Giants

Academicians and industry professionals acknowledge the need to develop stronger partnerships between universities and corporations to help bridge the gap between industry and academia. In addition, the benefits of healthy corporate/academia relationships include, but are not limited to, student learning and employment, practitioners’ insights, and the development of research. The industry immersion program between the University of San Francisco’s Sport Management Program and the San Francisco Giants is a perfect example of a partnership where both the university and the corporation mutually benefit. Congratulations to the Giants on receiving this year’s Mullin Award!

Educational Partnership

San Francisco Giants executives have regularly contributed as Adjunct Professors on USF's Sport Management Program. These executives have included Jack Bair, Giants’ Executive Vice President and General Counsel, who has taught the core Sport Law course; Shana Daum, the Giants’ Vice President of Public Affairs and Community Relations, who has taught the core and elective Public Relations courses; and Bryan Srabian, the Giants’ Vice President of Brand Development and Digital Media, who has taught the elective Social Media in Sports. In addition to these course instructors, more than 18 senior Giants front office personnel have contributed as speakers in USF's Program.

The San Francisco Giants have supported an action learning approach to graduate education. Following Yury Boshyk and Robert Dilworth’s guidelines for business-driven action learning, Program faculty have worked with the Giants to identify important and relevant sport marketing projects that can facilitate quality learning, while also contributing to solving real problems facing the franchise. Relevant Giants executives are involved in scoping the projects at the beginning of the course, sharing information during the course, and providing feedback at the end of the course. For example, in one sport marketing class project, students investigated customer acquisition strategies related to traveling fans of opposing teams. The students surveyed residents of Washington D.C. and San Diego to determine their likelihood to travel to away games at the Giant’s AT&T Park. The students used their findings to develop a community-focused social media plan to generate demand for the additional ticket opportunity. Through this action learning project, students were able to learn more about sport marketing research, sociological fan motives, and social media planning. In another sport marketing class project, students focused on season ticket holder loyalty. The students interviewed a selection of season ticket holders, identifying profiles of spurious, latent, and truly loyal consumers. The students went on to develop a loyalty reward program to deepen attitudinal and behavioral loyalty. In this way, the San Francisco Giants provided a real-world platform for students to learn important sport marketing content and skills in an engaging way.

The strong relationship between the University of San Francisco and the San Francisco Giants saw the 8-time World Series Champions receive USF’s California Prize for Service and Common Good in 2012, in recognition of the organization's community work in the areas of education, health and violence prevention, and support of Junior Giants leagues throughout Northern California, Nevada, and Oregon. The annual prize honors individuals or organizations that have made notable advances or innovations in serving the public and advocating for many underserved populations in California. In accepting the award, Larry Baer, President and CEO of the Giants, acknowledged the role of USF graduates in driving a shared commitment and vision of good citizenship within the MLB franchise.

Experiential Opportunities Partnership

Over 70 current and former students of the University of San Francisco are employed by the San Francisco Giants. These students and alumni work in a range of management disciplines, including Marketing, Media and Communication, Sales, Business Development, Community/Social Services, and Operations. Eighteen of these are current students gaining either internship or full-time sport management experience with the San Francisco Giants, including the current Gallagher Fellow.

The Pat Gallagher Fellowship

Each year, the San Francisco Giants partner with the University of San Francisco’s Sport Management Master’s Program to award a year-long paid sport management internship, known as the Gallagher Fellow. This unique Fellowship is named in honor of long-time Giants marketing and business executive Pat Gallagher, and recognizes one graduate student from USF’s program for their academic and professional excellence. Through the Fellowship, the Giants provide the recipient with a comprehensive understanding of the business operations of the front office, as well as a hands-on experience of professional sport management. The Gallagher Fellow rotates through four business departments of the Giants, including marketing, business development, community relations, and communications, with opportunities to job-shadow club executives and engage with Pat Gallagher.

The first Gallagher Fellow in 2010, Nick Tanza, reflected on the value of the design of the Fellowship: “The opportunity to be the first Gallagher Fellow with the San Francisco Giants was an amazing experience. The chance to rotate through multiple departments gave me a chance to get to know the majority of staff in the front office as well as figure out what department I enjoyed most. I was lucky enough to spend the majority of my time working in the Community Relations department, which was perfect because it made me realize a career in community relations and sport was the direction I wanted my career to take. The connections I made at the Giants have been invaluable as both professional mentors and friends. The Giants front office staff were incredibly gracious and professional while also allowing me to take the lead on certain projects and events. They made me feel like an important part of their team.” The value of this unique design element was reinforced by Sarah Levant, the 2012 Gallagher Fellow: “The opportunity to traverse through a company and witness the operations of four departments within a year was the exact expertise needed to land a dream job in sports.” Sarah’s rotational internship directly resulted in a long-term Corporate Partnership position at the Giants, where she was responsible for driving revenue and overseeing growth of over 30 sponsors, including Levi’s and Virgin America.

Michelle Gong, the 2011 Gallagher Fellow, highlighted the important experiential learning role of the Fellowship: “The Pat Gallagher Fellowship is an incredible opportunity between the Giants and USF Sport Management that epitomizes the value of learning first hand. The Giants understand and focus on the person's skills and passion to provide realistic lessons and responsibilities that translate from the USF classroom to real life. I am honored and humbled to have been selected to represent Mr. Gallagher, USF and the San Francisco Giants in the fellowship program.” This design element was echoed by Addie Byars, the 2013 Gallagher Fellow: “The most impactful part of my Gallagher Fellowship experience was the legitimate, empowering responsibility I was given. My supervisors in each department included me as an equal, allowing me to dive into projects and truly make the most of my time with the organization. The hands-on learning in the realms of event coordinating, public relation, and research, provided me with tools I continue to implement as I’ve transitioned to a different sector of the entertainment world.

Laura Nichol received the Gallagher Fellowship in 2014, while in the second year of the Sport Management Program: “I appreciated the way that the Giants treat their interns. Long-tenured executives will often look to these newcomers as the team on the field looks to promising rookies - with an understanding and hope that something new and different may be brought to the table that will elevate the organization. I was also extremely pleased to work under many brilliant, strong women (the majority of my superiors in the organization were women), as well as men who valued, supported, and listened to their female colleagues.” Laura transitioned into a full-time Project Coordinator role with the Giants, where she contributed to generating over $150,000 per year in private revenue for The Yard venue.

The 2018 Gallagher Fellow, Karen Cerda, emphasized the shared commitment to community and social development: “The San Francisco Giants have given me an experience I could not have gotten anywhere else. Not only have I grown in my career but also as an individual. Every day I go to work I interact and learn from world-class professionals and leaders - a really invaluable opportunity. Over the course of my time with the organization, I have been able to learn the essence of what it means to enrich our community both on and off the field, something I’ll forever cherish and take with me wherever I go.

Research Partnership

The San Francisco Giants regularly provide an interesting, important, and useful context for sport marketing research within USF's Program. Most recently, USF's faculty have supervised collaborative student research projects on stadium attendance at the Giants’ AT&T Park after a MLB World Series Championship, another on fan response to the Giants’ Instagram content design and format choices, and a third on ticket and merchandise purchase intentions of previous Junior Giants players. Prior, USF's faculty have collaborated with Program alumni at the Giants to study the franchise’s Korean Heritage Night. Through these and other research projects, the San Francisco Giants have added to the creation of sport marketing knowledge and the development of strong marketing research skills.

Networking Partnership

The San Francisco Giants have regularly hosted TeamWork Online events, Women in Sports and Events (WISE) events, and specific Sport Management Program annual social events. The Giants’ investments in these events have seen senior executives engaging directly with USF's students, and encouraging Giants employees and interns to apply to USF’s program. Most recently, participants have included Russ Stanley, Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales and Services, Brenden Mallette, Vice President of Partnership Sales & Business Development, Lindsay Campbell, Director of Luxury Suites, and Eric Flemming, Coordinator of Minor League Operations. In addition, numerous Giants front office personnel have provided informational interviews to USF's students, thereby investing their time and sharing their networks with USF students looking for professional career guidance.

In these ways, the San Francisco Giants have made an exceptional contribution in providing impactful educational, experiential, research, and networking opportunities to the students of the University of San Francisco’s Sport Management Program.


One of the goals of the Sport Marketing Association is to bridge the gap between the sport industry and the academy. The purpose of the Mullin Award is to recognize a sport marketing practitioner or organization which has partnered with an academic program of an SMA member in a way which provides students with unique and exceptional educational opportunities, helping connect them to the sport industry and advance their career. This award honors an individual or organization which has made exceptional contributions in one or more of the following areas:

  1. Education: Brings real world sport marketing experience into the sport marketing classroom and education (e.g., teaching seminars, classes, writing case studies or textbook chapters, etc.)

  2. Experiential Opportunities: Provides experience-based opportunities for the next generation of sport marketing practitioners (e.g., experiential learning, volunteer, internships, or graduate assistantship opportunities)

  3. Research: Contributions in sport marketing research (e.g., collaborative work with sport marketing faculty on marketing based research projects)

  4. Networking: Excellence in connecting students with industry professionals (e.g., utilizes its own resources to create a symbiotic relationship between industry and sport marketing students via networking opportunities, job fairs, etc.)


Any marketing professional or sport organization having a strong relationship with a university where SMA members work is eligible to be nominated for the Mullin Award.


Nominations for the Mullin Award should be submitted by current SMA members no later than May 24, 2019. To nominate a candidate for, the SMA member should submit a document (4 pages single space maximum) outlining the history and collaboration between nominee and the academic program. This letter should describe the relationship as well as projects or collaborations conducted between the nominee and students. Nomination letters should provide details of positive outcomes stemming from the collaboration. Nomination letters are not required to, but may. include material evidencing the partnership such as sample projects, portfolios, websites, photos, videos, etc. 

Nominees who do not receive the Mullin Award will be considered for two (2) years after their first nomination. Past nominees will be asked by a member of the SMA Awards Committee if they wish to be considered again and, asked if they wish to re-submit updated materials.

Nominations should be submitted as one PDF file to Dr. Greg Greenhalgh, Member at Large for the SMA, at  


Members from the SMA Awards Committee will evaluate candidates based on the criteria listed above. The committee's Chair will notify the SMA Executive Board of their recommendation no later than June 29, 2019. This selection will then be voted on by the SMA Executive Board. Upon approval, the award winner will be notified of their selection. The Mullin Award will be formally presented to the winner at the Awards Banquet of the 2019 SMA Conference in Chicago, IL. The Mullin Award winner will have the option to present on the partnership during the conference. 

Nominations, questions, or comments regarding the awards process can be emailed directly to Dr. Greg Greenhalgh, Member at Large for the SMA, at  


2019 - San Francisco Giants
2018 - Tampa Bay Lightning
2017 - The Aspire Group