Estevan Hernandez and Kishore Ramlagan are taking the ultimate test toward their business management and marketing degrees.
Selected for a unique collaborative internship program between The Home Depot Center, the LA Galaxy, and the California State University, Dominguez Hills College of Business Administration and Public Policy, Hernandez and Ramlagan are putting into action the many lessons and concepts they’ve learned in their business classes to get as many Toros as they can to buy tickets to an LA Galaxy Major League Soccer game.
The “Toro Night” game is on Saturday, April 28, against FC Dallas.
Using phrases such as “target marketing” and “SWOT analysis” —SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats—Ramlagan, a junior majoring in sports management, explained that to maximize ticket sales, he and Hernandez have had to pay attention to how they market to different age groups and the various ways they advertise Toro Night. He admits it’s taken more than just business sense.
“We are learning that the ins and outs of promoting a global brand always requires hard work and dedication,” he said.
Lots of ideas on how to market the special Toros section have swirled in their heads since the moment they were told they had been chosen – or even possibly since they first heard about this internship program, which began last year. However, in the realities of the business world, where budgets rule, the two have had to weigh what ideas will give them the best bang for their buck.
“Working within a budget has been an experience in and of itself,” admitted Hernandez, a junior majoring in marketing.
One of their biggest marketing efforts has been their most economical – relationship building. Early on they began meeting with various departments on campus to see how they could help spread the word. The results have yielded outreach to alumni, placement on the video sign at Avalon Boulevard, emails to faculty and staff, and (full disclosure) solicitation of this very article.
“We’re learning to build rapport with contacts and trying to establish good relationships,” Ramlagan said, adding that those connections will help future interns of the program.
They’ve also had to think creatively and strategically when budgeting for traditional marketing strategies, such as the use of fliers and banners. Meeting with the Toro Copy Center on campus, they learned they could get a student discount on the cost. And they looked for opportunities to reach the largest number of people by piggy backing onto activities happening on campus. On Taco Tuesdays, Wing Wednesdays, they have manned a booth on the south walkway and brought in the “Galaxy Street Team” to create buzz. They’ll also be out during Unity Fest later this week.
As self-professed soccer fans, the two say they have tried to think like fans as well as businessmen when coming up with ways to attract their fellow Toros to attend the game. On top of the discounted price to CSUDH family and friends for Toro Night – at $18 – ticket holders, for instance, will receive a special Toro Night/LA Galaxy rally towel, the first 200 seated in the Toro section that night, will get to attend a post-game autograph session, and a chance for two lucky fans to win LA Galaxy jerseys.
They have also arranged for a special pre-game “Parade of Champions.” Before the start of every LA Galaxy game, local organizations – usually youth soccer teams –walk a Parade of Champions lap around the field, with the stadium announcer recognizing them over the loud speaker, and their walk displayed on the stadium’s giant video screen. On April 28, that parade is being reserved for CSUDH student clubs, fraternities, sororities, and alumni. The largest group in the Toro section will also get a special plaque; two will be made, one they can take home and one that will hang in DH Sports Lounge.
Hernandez and Ramlagan said they are hoping that opportunity for student and alumni to show Toro pride will bring out a strong CSU Dominguez Hills contingent. Beyond that, they want to see Toro Night become a sort of spring homecoming event.
“We want that feel,” Hernandez said. “We want to create a tradition so when we become alumni, we can come back to Toro Night.”
“It will be a day for students, faculty, staff, and community to look forward to every season,” Ramlagan went on to say. “April 28th will be an exciting night for all participants, filled with recognition, raffles, and lots of school spirit. We invite everyone who has been a part of CSUDH, either past or present, to come out and enjoy a night dedicated to being a Toro.”
To purchase the special Toro Night discounted tickets, contact Ramlagan and Hernandez at (310) 630-2057, or email them at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.lagalaxy.com/toronight.