Welcome to Sports Biz Advisor

Internships are viewed differently depending on your place in life. Some employers view them as free labor. Other employers view them as a preview of how their future employees will fit in with their company. Alternatively, some students view them as requirements for their degree while other students view them as an invaluable learning experience. No matter how an internship is viewed, there is no denying that it can be a valuable experience for both students and employers. Here are some tips to have a successful internship that I learned during my summer internship here.

  1. Ask for Feedback

This is quickest way for an intern to understand what their supervisor is looking for when they are assigned a task. The best way to do this is to complete the task that was assigned to you in a way that you think your supervisor would do it. Then take it back to your supervisor and ask if this is what they wanted. Whether they say yes or no, you’ll now know your supervisor prefers work to be completed.

  1. Do More Than Expected

During my internship a phrase I heard often was “next level”. This was in reference to the work that is done at U/S Sports Advisors. As my internship went along I quickly learned to take my work to the “next level” before even showing it to my supervisor to ask for feedback.

  1. Find a Mentor

This is one of the most important tips for a student who is about to start an internship. The best way to learn about a company or even an industry is to establish a person who you will be working with often during your internship that you can go to for questions or even advice for certain situations. For example, my mentor was also my supervisor, Jesse Ghiorzi (incase you were wondering, the “next level” phrase came from him).

My internship with U/S Sports Advisors ended in August. So you might be wondering why I am writing a blog for them in September. The reason is because I was able to achieve a successful internship, which led to a job offer from the agency. I am now a full time employee at U/S Sports Advisors with the title of Assistant Coordinator.

I wasn’t a sports management major in college. My alma mater didn’t offer it when I was there. There wasn’t a sports leadership major, sports marketing, sports administration or anything else of that ilk. In some areas, your schooling directly relates to your profession, like it does for doctors, lawyers and engineers. Good thing the sports business isn’t one of them. I was a Speech Communication major with a focus in PR and I was still able to snag a job in sports out of college. Here are a few things I picked up in college as a non sports marketing/admin/management major that I put to use in my career.

  1. How to write well. Not that they don’t teach you this in the sports management department (or all other departments, I hope). But I’d rather work with someone who writes well but doesn’t know the intricacies of player contracts or stadium operations than the opposite. Thankfully, I had my writing style critiqued and cultivated for four years by some smart professors and classmates.
  2. You’re always selling something. Whether you’re trying to get someone to buy season tickets, secure a big brand for arena naming rights, pitching a story about your team to a big news outlet or trying to land a job for yourself, you are always selling something. I realized this when I’d ask for an extra credit opportunity or convince a colleague to switch shifts with me at the pool.
  3. Stories sell. You need a hook. Tell a story that the client/reporter/player can relate to and sticks with them and you’re off to the right start. Facts are important, so don’t forget those, but stories that hit the heart make a big difference.
  4. Relationships matter. Stories/content are king (see above), but making a pitch to a person you have good rapport with is always better than a cold call. Find something in common with a prospect, reporter or client and start from there. People like dealing with people they like, sometimes that’s the difference between a sale, a story, an upgrade and a “no thanks.”
  5. Never stop learning. I like to read. Reading is great because it engages your creative side more than watching TV or listening to a song. The internet, podcasts and trade publications are other fantastic resources to help further your education. Read a book, thumb through the Sports Business Journal or take a class at the local college or online. Coursera and edX have hundreds of classes that will educate and entertain you – even ones of a sports management variety!

Name one negative thing you’ve heard about PGA golfer Jordan Spieth.

Can’t, can you?

Following his 2nd-place finish in the PGA Championship, golf’s 4th and final major of the 2015 season, Spieth took over the number one spot in the world, slipping past Rory McIlroy, and closing the book on one of golf’s finest seasons ever when it comes to major championships. He won the Masters. Won the U.S. Opengolf-new-desktop-wallpaper-of-high-resolution2. Finished 4th at St. Andrews in the Open Championship. Even as runner-up to Jason Day in the PGA, Spieth was always in position to win, but Day, deservingly so, never took his foot off the gas and didn’t leave the slightest crack for anyone to surpass him en route to the Aussie’s first major title and major record-setting 20-under-par finish.

Spieth’s $10.4 million in winnings this season is nothing short of astounding, either.

But all that’s on the course. Off the course, Spieth appears to be a role model’s role model. It’s no wonder he has locked up multimillion-dollar endorsement contracts with Under Armour and AT&T, and now ranks No. 5 when it comes to endorsement value among nearly 4,000 celebrities tracked by The Marketing Arm. And when it comes to “I want to be like him,” only Tom Hanks, Bill Gates and Kate Middleton track higher.

Spieth seems older and more mature than his age, having turned 22 on July 27th.  On the podium following the PGA Championship, he first pointed out that Day deserved to win, which was the right thing to say. Partly because it’s true. Partly because that’s simply who he is. In every interview I’ve seen, there is a humility that often is missing in professional sports. You always get the sense that he’s honored to be playing the great game of golf. That golf doesn’t owe him anything.

I hope that continues. I hope we’re seeing the beginning of the best in professional sports.

Want your kids to look up to someone? Here he is.

Want a case study in professionalism, maturity, humility, grace, and class? Jordan Spieth is your guy.

One fine season. One finer dude.

There are significant dates throughout the course of history that are permanently etched in the minds of every American in our country and the same is true in sports.

August 4tnfl-footballh, 2011 is one of those significant dates in sports. On that day, the National Football League and NFL Players Union agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement and avoided a work stoppage at the beginning of the 2011 season. While the start of the 2011 season was significant for millions of avid and casual NFL fans around the world, the real significance proved to be the granting of ultimate power and authority to the NFL Commissioner to rule on player related disciplinary issues. One would think that with ultimate power and authority, comes an obligation to be fair and objective when ruling on player related disciplinary issues. I believe that most current NFL players would argue this has not been the case since the last CBA was signed and that the NFL Commissioner has significantly abused his power and authority in most cases.

Since 2011, there have been a number of very high profile disciplinary issues involving NFL players. In fact, the NFL leads all leagues where a player has been either suspended or forced into early retirement due to a significant violation of the law. While I do not condone the actions of Ray Rice, this case is an example of how inconsistent and unfair Roger Goodell has been in handling the situation. Especially, when you compare the Ray Rice situation to other NFL players like Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson. Both will continue to play in the NFL following suspensions for their domestic violence actions, while Ray Rice may never play the game again.

On August 12th, a federal judge rules on the latest abuse of Mr. Goodell’s power and authority in the pending four game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. A federal judge is urging both parties to settle out of court but it doesn’t appear likely. It is unfathomable to me that Mr. Goodell had the authority to hand down the initial four game suspension, then hear the appeal from Mr. Brady and again rule that the four game suspension will stand. I am not even going to broach the subject of how the NFL had very loosely written rules around the amount of air in the footballs as well as how the footballs are handled prior to the game. To me it appears like the intent of the August 4th, 2011 collective bargaining agreement specific to the Commissioners authority has been significantly over extended and the ultimate result in the Tom Brady case will be a reversal of the suspension by the Federal Judge. This should serve as notice to Mr. Goodell that it is time for him to move on as the NFL Commissioner and the owners will need to realize that they must work with the players to develop a more equitable system to address player- related disciplinary issues. If these two moves are made, then I believe the league will benefit greatly in the future.

That is the question.  In fact, that’s the question on the mind of many rookie pro athletes.

Of course, they use Twitter in their “personal” lives, not realizing the line is not blurred between their private persona and  on-the-field life. However, now, they debate using this social media tool in the age of TMZ.

My advice to these athletes is direct.  Twitter is an invaluable tool to convey your personal brand, who you are and what you stand for. To avoid it is to leave a lot of promotional value on the table. You have to use it.Tweet

How should you use it?

Avoid the common mistakes. Don’t use it to trash talk. Don’t use it to let the world know what your breakfast looks like.

Use it to:

  • Talk about events or issues that matter to you;
  • Give fans a behind-the-scenes look at your sport;
  • Provide insights about your life’s journey, your goals and your aspirations; and
  • Offer leadership to any one aspiring to achieve their dreams (like you have).

Be respectful. Be courteous. Be smart about confidential information involving other people, your team and your sport.

And, when in doubt, don’t. Don’t tweet, post or comment.  The Internet can be a very unforgiving place.

However, using Twitter isn’t just a smart decision for pro athletes building a brand . . . it’s the only decision.