Business in Sports
On May 15th, we held our Business in Sports panel where we heard from Elizabeth Mantle and Josh Remington who have worked for the Seattle Sounders and UW Athletics, respectively, about career prospects in the sports industry for business professionals.
What is your role and what kinds of responsibilities do you have?
Elizabeth Mantle (Operations Coordinator at Seattle Sounder FC)
Worked for over a year
Graduated last June from Foster
Majored in Marketing and HR
Worked in Business Operations as Operations Managers
Connect the dots and make things happen
Josh Remington (Assistant AD for Marketing, Game Presentation, and Fan Experience at UW seattle )
2014 graduate, 2017 masters from Illinois state
4th school that he worked at, his 9th year
From Northern Indiana, studied sports management and business administration
Marketing internships available
What does a day-to-day work schedule look like for you?
Elizabeth: There's no day to day schedule and everything really depends on the day and what's going on. There is a certain amount of things to get done, there is a match week schedule but not a daily schedule. She likes the aspect of never knowing what to expect.
Josh: There's lots of meetings and everyday is different due to the size of the athletic department. There's also lots of collaboration and he gets to script out what happens other than the game play, such as planning and executing the plan.
Were there resources during your time as an undergraduate that helped you prepare for your career? (ex: classes, student RSOs)
Josh: He went to a small school of 1200 people, but still had a sports management program so he primarily took experience off of campus. He volunteered outside of the classroom and the campus such as events on the weekends (Indiana Sports Commission). He was on the exec team of the sports management team.
Elizabeth: She made the most of off campus experiences. There were fun classes like sociology in sports and gender in sport. She was also a sports management club member, and knew since she was in HS that she wanted to work in sports, soccer, and the Seattle Sounders. She began making some connections in the community, in the supporter group, connections with the media, got mentors for that, wrote for the media and social media, ended in the press box, made connections within Sounders, job popped up and did not hear back for a while but reached out to contact. She ended up getting a reply to schedule an interview within an hour. She recommends working in lower division sports, if you can. A lot of people will give an interview with anyone who works in a lower level sport. One piece of advice is that experiences, even if not glamorous, always help.
Did you always know that you wanted to pursue a business career in the sports field?
Elizabeth: Yes. She hates networking but it does help.
Since sports are active in specific seasons, how does your work differ on and off season?
Josh: Off season is normal working hours. UW Football was really good last year, so now there's lots of offseason prep and lots of advanced planning for the next season. In season, there are a lot of reactions based on previous plans and things that occur, but now, it is more like a clean slate. There is only so much you can do when you only have a week or two before scheduling. Soccer is quicker, thus working with managers, promotions, schedules, etc. Lots of prep work for now. Then in season, lots of events are held.
Elizabeth: Exact opposite experience. Sounders missed the playoffs for the first time ever, usually will have a 3-4 week turnover period between playoffs and document submissions. The staff was composed of her and her boss. However, lots of people did not know what to do. Lots of waiting on other departments to figure out their work. Really fluctuates depending on the season, really loves the season versus the off season, and loves the cyclical nature of sports.
Any advice for students that are interested in pursuing a business career in the sports industry?
Elizabeth: Don't be afraid to do what feels right to you. Do not always follow the Foster way of doing things. Do not force yourself to do things. She knew what she wanted to do and what would be helpful to her. She wasn’t involved in any clubs. Do not be afraid to trust your gut and what you want to do. Be authentic to how you want to do things.
Josh: As best you can, get involved early and often. It might take unpaid opportunities and job shadows, but talk to someone in different backgrounds to pick up on things that you do not know that you liked. For example, digital marketing. You learn as you go, come in with a learning mindset, but also ready to roll up your sleeves. Twitter is surprisingly a good networking tool. Internships still have social media checks, so check your social media channels and personalities. Custom Linkedin reach outs, for example, I saw your job posting and I am interested, will you be willing to have a 5-10 min phone call? The degree is a base, the experience is what will take you far. Juniors - now is a great time to have a capstone internship. Freshmen, volunteer. Now is a time to gather experience.
What is your favorite part about working with the Sounders? What is the most challenging?
Loves working with the Sounders, because it has been the plan all along. She loves working on matchdays, because it is such a great environment. There are lots of employees that can leave their employees out to dry but Sounders do not. Mental Health Mondays, celebrate all the heritage months, lots of involvement with the community. Most challenging is setting boundaries for yourself, because before she was hired, she was surrounded by the Sounders. She watches matches, does work, and does this on repeat because she is a fan and works there.
How has working at your previous roles as Director of Marketing for SMU Mustangs and other marketing positions at Illinois State University helped you transition into your role now at the UW Seattle? Any similarities or differences?
First year intern, and was wearing a lot of hats due to the really small team. He tried a bunch of things and they did not have directors only administrators and landed on marketing (sports marketing). SMU showed him the diversification of college campuses. From a little town to the heart of Dallas in a wealthier people, made him as a marketer switch up and think a bit more. UW is a great state school, with a diverse campus in the heart of a big city. Each has brought a challenge and a change to grow. Do not throw away an opportunity to try doing small schools because it will teach you to grind more with less. Working in sports, you are working in business. The sports management side gives you a unique perspective. The business core has a strong connection.
Thank you for reading and we hope to see you next week!