Alumnus Developing Brand Partnerships for Fox Sports
By Trisha Ratledge
When Carson Luna transferred to Cal State San Marcos in 2017, he knew he wanted a career in sports, but he didn’t know his niche. Just three years later, he is in Los Angeles developing marketing relationships between corporate sponsors and USC athletics for Fox Sports. His competition for those sponsorships? The Lakers, the Dodgers, the Kings, the UCLA Bruins and many other teams in the No. 2 market in the country.
“L.A. is a very competitive marketplace, so it’s definitely tough,” Luna said. “But the thing I keep telling myself is that if I can continue to rise to the competition in this market, then I can conquer anything else that’s out there in the sports landscape.”
As senior coordinator of partner services for Fox Sports College Properties, Luna helps build multimedia brand partnerships that benefit both the sponsoring organizations and University of Southern California athletics programs, which also includes the iconic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, home to the USC Trojans since 1923. The proceeds generated by sponsorships support athletics scholarships, equipment, facilities and more.
Luna’s early days on the job coincided with the 2019 grand-opening celebration of the $315 million renovation to the Coliseum and its new naming partner: United Airlines. The naming rights partnership was developed through the Fox Sports division Luna is now a part of.
“It was a unique experience to see the back end of that deal and to be there for opening day,” Luna said. “I work with United Airlines on a consistent basis to implement their sponsorship. I know firsthand the importance of that relationship. It makes for fascinating day-to-day work.”
The business of sports
Luna enrolled at CSUSM after completing an AAS in business administration at Palomar College. With a strong background in athletics, including experience as a football athlete and a volunteer youth coach, he was searching for a future career combining business with sports.
Luna found a guiding light in Bill Bear, a San Diego executive and member of the College of Business Administration’s Executive in Residence program, which partners students with local business leaders/mentors through the Business Professional Development program. With extensive experience in developing high-level corporate and professional sports partnerships, Bear introduced Luna to the field of sports marketing and sales.
At the same time, Luna made a move that he called “a lifesaver.” He learned that CSUSM has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) program at its Temecula campus near his home, which would eliminate his commute. By his second CSUSM semester, Luna was set up in Temecula. With guaranteed classes on Tuesdays and Fridays, he was able to continue working full time as manager of a local sporting goods and collectibles store and progress through his degree without any scheduling complications.
“I was able to put my schoolwork and my outside work into two different worlds so I could focus on each, one at a time, knowing that I was working toward a much larger goal,” he said. “It was a lot less stressful.”
Building a base
That simplified schedule also gave Luna the time he needed for an internship in marketing and sales with Fox Sports at San Diego State University, which in turn helped him secure his current position with Fox Sports at USC in Los Angeles.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily altered some aspects of athletics at USC — including an abbreviated 2020 football schedule and no fans in attendance — Luna and his colleagues are as busy as ever. He continues to gain experience not only in attracting and fostering sponsorships but also in managing customer relationships, coordinating communication with the USC athletics department and working with the corporate partnerships team to ensure that everything is in place on game day for any of the 20-plus USC teams.
It’s experience that will carry far into his career, he said.
“Starting my career path in San Diego and L.A., two of the largest cities in the country, has definitely shaped my mentality and my grit factor,” Luna said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity and I make sure that I’m always doing my best so that at the end of the day, I can sleep at night knowing I gave it my all.”
For more information on the BS in Business Administration at CSUSM Temecula Campus, visit csusm.edu/el/bsba.
Eric Breier, Public Affairs Specialist
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