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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
  • Price: Free download
  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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  • Number of pages: 2

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Sports Product Management is a very broad career path that includes sports fashion, sports sponsorship management, retail licensing and branding, and everything in between.  Growing up I have had very clear goals. I would first start by get my undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University in Sports Industry and Fashion Retail Studies, continue my education at the University of Oregon where I would pursue a Graduate Degree in Sports Product Management, and finally I would start working for Nike doing retail licensing and sponsorships of athletes and athletic teams. I never knew what the exact title of the job I was chasing, I just knew the general concept of the job I wanted to do. I was looking for a career that would allow me to work with individual athletes, offering sponsorships, and making their athletic careers more beneficial. I have since realized I would like to be a Sports Sponsorship Manager and obtaining that career is much harder than the three steps I previously mentioned.

While researching more information on Sports Sponsorship management, I realized this career path is extremely competitive to get into and even harder to stay in. I had reached out to multiple companies in hopes of getting any basic information on the journey they took to making a career. Most companies brushed me off and ignored my calls and emails, while others answered my calls and were very against answering my questions. While on the phone with a Nike representative, I was told they would not provide me with answers because they had to “figure it out themselves” and so should I. I found more information while looking into things myself than I did in the weeks I spent trying to contact individuals. The question that sparked my curiosity the most was “What degree did you pursue in order to get here?” I have found that there really isn't a set degree these companies are looking for. There is a very large range of education levels, including complete lack of secondary education. However, I found that most individuals chasing this career path get a degree from a College of Business, whether that be in marketing, business management, finance etc. The love for sports comes second. I have also found that these companies look for individualism, creativity, and something that completely sets their resumes apart from others.  According to a job listing, the starting salary for the job title “Account Executive: Sports and Sponsorship Marketing” is from 53.8k-104k per year. Responsibilities include:

• Develop positive relationships with clients and promote strong team/client relations

• Develop a thorough understanding of the program scope with the ability to establish and manage budgets

• Develop client ready materials to drive communication with clients

• Showcase ability to plan and execute event independently, including logistics, on-site operations and follow-through

• Showcase ability to provide program analysis and present results to the client, including evaluation of program functions and recommendations for program changes or improvements as needed

• Proven ability to communicate effectively and professionally

• Demonstrate passion for highest quality of work

• Oversee day-to-day operations of program including staff relations, paperwork, routing and overlays showcasing ability to meet deadlines and budget parameters

• Process staff timesheets and vendor check reimbursements in a timely manner

• Support hiring process for program staffing and prepare and organize crew training for launch

• Ensure program routing is updated and correct and is communicated to internal staff and crew in advance and throughout the tour

• Analyze, review and provide guidance on types of events client should be attending

• Start to contribute to new business support

• Work closely with cross-agency support teams, including Creative, Operations and Finance, to ensure smooth and timely client deliverables & event production

• Manage budgets from start to finish, ensuring proper expense tracking

• Travel to various events throughout the year, from high profile client-facing events to smaller, one-off events (New Career Opportunity!, n.d.)

Nathan Tomasello is a former Ohio State Wrestler. He graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor's degree in Sports Industry and is currently perusing his Master's in Sports Management from OSU. During his time at OSU he became a four-time B1G time champion, and NCAA Champion all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. He does not hold the job I am interested in, however, I decided to interview him because of the amount of encounters he has had with athletic sponsorships in his athletic career. Currently he is sponsored by Max Effort Muscle and Rudis. I asked him a range of questions mostly on his experience through the sponsorship process, what his sponsorship entails, and the deciding factors on why he chose the companies he did. When asked what he was hoping to gain from his sponsorship he responded with “I wanted to have a company that provided me necessary training gear, would fully back me though competitions, and would be able help show my story as a wrestler.(Tomasello, 2018)” He was offered sponsorship from multiple companies all offering him the gear and training equipment he would need in order to reach his goal; winning gold at the 2020 Olympics and becoming a World Champion.  “I talked to a few different gear companies like Nike, Asics, and Adidas but I felt the most home with Rudis. They treated me like family and not just another number for them. They shared their goal and mission statement and I truly believed it what they wanted to do for the wrestling world. (Tomasello, 2018)” Included in his sponsorship with Rudis, he is given “$5000 for training purposes leading up to 2020 Olympics, unlimited gear and shoes and branded shirt (Tomasello, 2018)” He also incentivized to medal at Olympic and World competitions.  “Rudis promotes my story through interviews and videos of my training. They developed 2 shirts based on previous nicknames. Created a theme of a “Warrior” and toughness. They allowed me to help design the shirts and choose a logo that would represent me. Promoted technique through social media. (Tomasello, 2018)”  

Nathan is an incredible athlete with a very strong Christian faith. One of the most important thing while working with Sponsorship managers was keeping his dedication to faith  within the brand he would be creating. During this interview, I learned that the client is always more important. Nathan did not care about the accolades the companies had. He was looking for a company that would let him brand himself in the way he wanted to. Athletic Sponsorship is about being personable, and knowing each sponsorship is going to be different. The experience I had in trying to reach out to other sports sponsorship managers, has shown that this career is very cut-throat and every man for themselves. Working in sports is entirely about who you know, and knowing the right people will start a career, while other careers are very much about the experience you have and the education and knowledge you possess.

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