Students: Finding your Perfect Sports Business Employer

Students: Finding your Perfect Sports Business Employer
by Brian Norman – January 2015

Students: Finding your Perfect Sports Business Employer

It’s your senior year. You’ve been through hundreds of hours of classroom instruction, completed multiple industry internships, and built your network extremely well. You’ve taken advantage of every opportunity. You are ready to jump head first into a full-time position within the sports business.

Now that you’re ready for the real world, how will you choose your perfect employer?

This is a simple question I ask every job candidate I interview, yet I’ve found it is very hard for many to answer with ease.

How can you find your perfect fit? Be honest with yourself, and decide what job characteristics are most important to you. You’ll find many of the biggest factors below.

Coaching

Who will you report to? Personally, I believe this is the most important aspect of finding the right fit. Your first boss in the sports business should be someone who will actively coach you in your first role.

They should genuinely care about your long-term success and develop a personalized plan to help you accomplish your goals. You should expect them to push you to accomplish your goals while also serving as a resource and support system along the way.

This individual should be proactive in providing feedback, as it is important for you to consistently understand your strengths and areas for improvement. They should know how to best deliver feedback, and how they can assist you in applying it in real time.

Finally, their reputation matters! It is important that your first supervisor is well respected and well connected as, more often than not; they are your primary connection to the rest of the industry.

Culture

Simply put, culture matters. Some questions to consider asking your future employer:

  1. Does the leadership team promote and foster success at every level?
  2. What type of traditions are unique to their organization?
  3. Are best practices both shared and celebrated?
  4. Do employees truly root for one another?
  5. Is the organization proactive in seeking new opportunities and trying new ideas?
  6. Is executive leadership accessible?
  7. Do business departments collaborate well across the board, or do they operate in “silos?”

Training Program

You will learn more in your first 12 months in the business than you can ever imagine. Your training program is vital not only to your success in your first year, but it serves as the foundation for your entire career.

In Philadelphia, new sales executives with the 76ers go through an intensive two-week training program before they begin reaching out to prospective ticket buyers. This ensures they are truly ready to communicate with prospects, while also giving them the confidence to succeed early on.

While your initial training is important, consistent ongoing training is equally as crucial. Just like professional athletes, you must continue to fine tune your craft and work on making yourself better everyday.

In Philadelphia, the sales leadership team provides consistent ongoing training to their staff every Wednesday and Thursday morning. This training focuses on different topics each week, keeping in line with the current sales process in order to give members of the sales team the tools necessary to succeed.

Opportunity for Growth

The best hiring managers aren’t looking for the next entry-level candidate. They’re looking for someone to groom to be the next great sports business executive.

In order to do so, they must provide opportunities for entry-level employees to grow within the organization. Therefore, you should ensure these types of opportunities exist when applying for your first position.

Further, be sure to ask about additional opportunities that may exist after your first promotion. Does the organization you’re interviewing with offer their senior level employees the opportunity to further grow their careers through “track” programs? Remember, career growth doesn’t end after your first promotion!

Exposure

Your first job in the sports business should serve as an extension of your college curriculum. You should constantly look for opportunities to learn more about the industry.

In order to do gain this knowledge, you’ll undoubtedly need exposure to other members of the organization you work for.

Does your potential employer facilitate these opportunities?  Are you given access to materials to broaden your knowledge of the business?

Pay Scale

Unless you’re a 20-year-old who can hit a 100-mph fastball, throw a 50-yard touchdown pass, or guard an NBA All-Star, chances are you’re never going to get rich off of your first job in professional sports.  A typical first year sports business executive in ticket sales used to be less than $35,000 (when this was first written), but better offers today (2021) are in the $40s with a chance to make more on commissions and bonuses depending on the position and level of success.

Should an additional few thousand dollars be the deciding factor on which job you take?  My advice? It should not.  Make sure every other category measures up before relying on pay scale to make your decision.

For those looking to learn more about sports business compensation, click here to see inside sales rep salaries from Ziprecruiter of roughly $45k or $22/hour. The question really isn’t what your starting salary is; the question is where are you going?

Location

This factor is entirely personal and unique to every one.  One thing is for sure, having the ability to move out of your hometown, city, or state drastically opens up your opportunities.  There are 122 professional teams within the four major American sport leagues, or over 140 counting MLS.

Limiting yourself to 2-3 throughout your career can inhibit your growth.  Nonetheless, it is important to find what makes most sense for your personal situation. Just know that you’ll spend about one-half of your waking hours with people you work with (see the graph in the cover photo). That’s a lot of time to spend with people if you pick the “right” location, but the wrong job.

Sales Training: The Four Benefits of Waiting

Sales Training: The Four Benefits of Waiting

Ketchup

by Tom Parsons – January 2015

Heinz had a commercial with a slogan when I was young, “The best things come to those that wait.” The guy whose friends ditched him because he was waiting on the ketchup to come out of the bottle ended up on a date while the others twiddled their thumbs.

In many years in the the advertising sales business, I have learned the truth of this saying. No doubt, many of us with the benefit of hindsight have found value in waiting. Besides asking us not to wear some of the things we wore, here are 4 truths about waiting we would say if we could go back to give a talk to our former selves.

Waiting builds STRENGTH

The good news for most of us is that life isn’t hard at all times. While we wait for a break, the level of strength goes up during difficult times as we work through struggles. When you have a bad sales month, if you are ambitious, the acumen rises as you increase self-discipline. When you have a baby and are tired, your mind will try to convince you that you have been up all night changing diapers and feeding for 18 years. Your strength will build if you can fight off these kind of lies. Waiting for good things makes you strong in the process.

Waiting offers PERSPECTIVE

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]It’s only through the exercise of patience that we truly understand and appreciate the full value of the payoff at the end.

~ Bill Guertin, 800PoundGorilla  [/dropshadowbox]How many times in your life did you want something badly only to move on to a different passion or interest while you waited for it? There are going to be more times like this. While you wait you can determine whether your commitment is deep. Your managers will do this with you from time to time. They’ll want both of you to come to a realization that something mattered to you. Allow the wait to offer perspective both inwardly and outwardly.

Waiting deepens DETERMINATION

Once you gain the perspective that the thing you are waiting for actually matters very deeply to you, the drive and determination to get it becomes a juggernaut. When it’s you against the world and achievement is your only option, you’ll likely perform above your usual potential. Coaches tell me that talent doesn’t separate top athletes from the rest–it’s the depth of determination.

Waiting stores ENERGY

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he made several promises and indications to his disciples about His future plans. While waiting for the go-ahead, Peter decided to go back to the family business of fishing. Many of you are just itching to get out there and sell something or improve the value of a sales team. You may even know exactly where you are going and just can’t wait to get there. Let this time be one of refreshing yourself for the tasks to come. Enjoy the last of this season before taking on the world.

A final word…

Weaved into each point is attitude. Waiting will only frustrate you if you allow your attitude to be influenced by petty problems. Your attitude must be at a high level if you are going to use waiting to your advantage.


 

Cover photo courtesy of Philip at HalifaxLight.

Why Stadium Connectivity Presents the Best Sponsorship Opportunity for Teams & Corporations

Why Stadium Connectivity Presents the Best Sponsorship Opportunity for Teams & Corporations
by Angelina Lawton – January 2015

The second screen in sports

The ongoing conversation is how to integrate the second screen into the sports industry. More and more, fans spurn attending games to watch events from the comfort of their own homes. As teams and leagues seek to increase  revenue, the time has come to fully integrate the second screen into the stadium.

In order to fully integrate the second screen into the stadium experience, stadiums must present fans with seamless Internet connectivity. The data usage at some of the sporting world’s biggest events demonstrates the reliance fans have on the second screen, even while they’re inside of a stadium attending an event.

The Super Bowl of data usage

At the 2014 Super Bowl, fans used 3.2 terabytes of data. This amounted to fans uploading over five photos per second onto Instagram throughout the game. More recently, at the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, fans used 6.34 terabytes of data–nearly double the amount of data that Super Bowl attendees used! This amount of data corresponds to 18.1 million social media posts with photos being sent during the game held at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.

In order to attract fans to events, teams and venues must have reliable Wi-Fi connectivity. In fact, in a recent survey of 3,000 college students and young professionals, Cisco found that one in every three believes that the Internet is as important as air, water, food and shelter!

What teams and corporate partners must ask themselves is: If one of the most important parts of the game experience is what fans are holding in their hands, how can we build our brand and improve our bottom lines by providing reliable Internet connectivity?

Finding partners

One way teams and venues can maximize revenue by providing reliable Internet connectivity is to partner with corporate sponsors to provide or upgrade connectivity. This year, the Dallas Cowboys did just that when the team partnered with AT&T to fully upgrade AT&T Stadium’s connectivity to maximum potential. Doing so ensured that fans attending the College Football Playoff National Championship Game wouldn’t hit any snags when posting on social media during the game. Fans attending games at AT&T Stadium can access mobile devices with exactly the same reliability they get at home.

seahawks field wifiOther teams have likewise made seamless connectivity a priority in their venues. One team that has also successfully done so through a corporate partnership is the Seattle Seahawks. In October 2014, the Seahawks announced that along with Verizon, they would make significant enhancements to CenturyLink Field’s Wi-Fi network by having Extreme Networks install high-density Wi-Fi and Purview analytics systems.

Given that every team needs to maximize connectivity capacity to ensure fans connected to the second screen continue to attend games, it’s critical that teams look for sponsorship partners to help provide connectivity upgrades. Sponsors can serve not only the important role of helping pay for the upgrade costs, but can also help publicize the improvements through their networks.

Corporations should be attracted to the possibility of partnering with a team for a connectivity upgrade, because of the goodwill created among fans–if the partnership is strategically articulated in a campaign that links the WiFi provision for the team’s fans with the providing sponsor. Every digitally savvy fan will celebrate a corporate partner who ensures seamless communication on their social media channels while attending a game.

In the digital age, robust connectivity should be one of the top priorities for every team. As teams look to cut costs and create revenue streams, it becomes apparent that partnering with sponsors for the upgrades provides the best solution for making robust connectivity a reality.

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