The Seattle Mariners on Feb. 25 named Cal State Fullerton management alumna Kari Escobedo ’95 senior vice president of information technology. This position involves leadership of all areas of technology for the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball Club in the Pacific Northwest, including business operations technology, business intelligence and data, ballpark technology, baseball technology, and fan experience.
Escobedo played Division 1 softball for two seasons at Cal State Fullerton with an athletics scholarship as well as an academics scholarship as a CSUF Presidents Scholar. She has developed a 20-year career in leadership within a wide range of industries, including technology, health care, telecommunications, retail, and now sports and entertainment.
A Record of IT Accomplishment Prepares Escobedo to Lead the Seattle Mariners
Escobedo has served in senior technology leadership roles for Microsoft, Starbucks (while the coffee shop was hiring more than 1 million employees annually), T-Mobile, Kaiser Permanente Washington and, most recently, Bartell Drugs.
While serving as executive director of enterprise services and digital services for Kaiser Permanente Washington between 2015 and 2018, Escobedo spearheaded a revolution in virtual health care for members.
“Virtual appointments meant talking to a nurse over the phone. But we expanded this to include video-based and/or private messaging appointments with doctors and specialists,” says Escobedo. “Now, Kaiser Permanente regions all over the country are using the approach we developed as they provide care during the COVID pandemic.”
Escobedo notes that her professional journey began with a focus in human resources, but transitioned fairly quickly to technology. She encourages her fellow Titans to keep searching for the path that best suits their desires and interests, and what they excel in.
Tech on Display
With an increasingly strong fusion between high-tech and sports, Escobedo says, future experiences will be more firmly integrated with the wired world. For example, contactless technology makes fan interaction healthier and more efficient, biometric devices support safety and efficiency, 5G technology will ultimately connect fans through immersive experiences that wouldn’t have been possible just a few years ago.
Some of this technology was on display on April 1, when the Mariners played their first game of the 2021 season—and their first game with fans in the stands since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Mobile tickets were self-scanned via kiosks at all entry points throughout T-Mobile Park, where they also transitioned to a completely cashless venue this year as well to further cementing the transition to more seamless contactless experiences for fans.
As Escobedo and others lead major league sports into a high-tech future, the experience for fans, whether remote or in the stands, is sure to become increasingly personalized and interconnected.
For More on Sports Careers
Looking to the business-side of sports as a potential career path? There are many opportunities in such fields as IT, sports marketing, event planning, and entertainment and hospitality management.