Careers In Sports: The People Behind The Scenes Of Game Day Experiences
Kevin Young is the assistant director of event presentation for Miami University Athletics.
His primary duty is to create the best game day experience for Miami University fans for a number of sports, through marketing, videos, music and everything in between.
He works with student organizations on campus to help with the game day experience as well.
As a native of St. Louis, Kevin has worked with the Cardinals in Major League Baseball, George Washington University athletics and even RedBull.
Kevin was kind enough to give us his story about his background, his passion for sporting events and why he cherishes his position every day.
Here's some advice he has to offer on carving out a career in his field:
On what it takes to succeed in ticket sales:
I really try to connect our student athletes and team to our fans, whether it’s by selling tickets, fan engagement, videos, marketing or anything. That’s one thing that helped, especially in the role with the Cardinals. Growing up in St. Louis, you know that everyone is a Cardinals fan. So once we got people down to the stadium and showed them around, it was an easy sell. I was very passionate about the Cardinals and I’m passionate about what I do now. I feel like if I get talk to someone on the phone or get someone to sit down and speak with me, I can relay that passion. That’s something I enjoy doing and the passion shows when I talk to people. Even with the stuff I produce on game day, I think my passion shows through that as well. I think people appreciate that and it resonates with them.
On qualities needed to break into the industry:
In this industry it’s all about networking. As large as it seems, this industry is very small. I’ve come across a lot of great people and finding mentors along the way has helped me. Being a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) has helped me, especially being a member of the mentoring program, as both a mentor and mentee. My first mentee just accepted an assistant director position at Virginia Tech, and my mentee from this past year just accepted a full time marketing internship at Notre Dame. Seeing them grow from when I first met them to now has been awesome. I try to give back when I can and share my knowledge. As far as networking, it’s about not being afraid to send an email to someone if you have questions about something. People will be willing to help you out, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
On skills that are vital to succeeding in event presentation for college athletics:
I work in athletic events and presentations. It’s catered around game day operations and it’s a new position. I’ll eventually bring in an intern at some point. I look for someone who is creative and is able to manage things. I think you need time management skills, as there’s a lot of stuff going on with game day operations, whether its trying to determine when is the next time-out, or what music is playing next on the video board. You always have to be three to four steps ahead, and be able to work with things on the fly in this position. Taking risks in this position is another big thing. And one last thing, you have to be able to take criticism well. As hard as you work, you have to be open to other critiques and ideas, and be willing to see things from different angles and viewpoints.
Last words of wisdom:
Working in sports is a privilege. For people who do it on a full-time basis, they understand not to take it for granted. One thing I try to do is be aware of the life we have, and how we can impact fans. We get fans in our stands and arenas for a two-hour mark. How can we make a great impact? What can we do in this time frame to make them forget about whatever stress is going on in their lives and just have fun? We have to remember we are in the entertainment business. One of the things that I really enjoy, and one of my favorite promotions I’ve done was a Special Olympics day game. When going back and reading some emails and feedback from parents, a day like that where we get the kids on the court with the athletes is something they remember forever. Creating those types of experiences is what keeps me going. I come here every day and ask myself how can we make this experience better for fans. That’s why we are here.
This post was written DaWon Baker for FrontOfficeSports.org. You can follow the author at @dawonbbaker.