Sports Business Association is a Game-Changer

As a new member of ASU’s Sports Business Association (SBA), I was thrilled to connect and interact with others who share my passion of wanting to work in the sports industry. When word of SBA’s outreach trip came about I was definitely interested, and then even more so when I found out it was going to take place in New York City.

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I sent in my resume to our SBA president, and luckily I was chosen to be one of the seventeen members to attend the trip. Elana Kutz, our SBA advisor, has numerous connections in New York City because she used to work at Madison Square Garden and for the NBA. We met with executives from the NHL, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Wasserman Media Group, Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks, the New York Rangers, the NFL, the NBA, Major League Baseball, and the New York Mets. The executives ranged in departments: sponsorship and partnerships, sales and analytics, consulting, operations, finance, and marketing. Hearing the stories of how each person broke into the sports industry was very helpful for me as I move forward and closer to graduation.

There were a few takeaways that I felt really resonated with me, the first coming from Laura Lefton of the NFL. She told us to take on anything that is thrown at you even if you don’t know how to do it because you will learn. What I took away from that is to embrace a challenge, don’t shy away from it.

Another piece of advice came from Will Carafello of the New York Mets. He said that forget about the old saying of “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” He took it one step further and said “It’s not who you know but who knows you.” I never thought about it in this way, but it completely makes sense to me especially pertaining to the sports business industry.

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I think it is so important to let others know you and be assertive in making relationships and connections so that you are memorable. The sports industry is highly competitive, so any chance to make an impression on anyone you meet or differentiate yourself from others can only be beneficial.

Out of all of the leagues and companies we met with throughout the week, my two favorite were Madison Square Garden and Creative Artists Agency. I was drawn to the energy and passion of what the companies represent as well as the executive’s overwhelming enjoyment of what role they have in the company.

I am beyond happy that my ASU education included the opportunity to attend the SBA NY Outreach Trip. I have not only built a network with companies that are at the top tier in the sports industry, but I have also made connections and formed relationships with the other sixteen SBA members that attended the trip as well.

I am very grateful to have learned more about everyone because we all come from different backgrounds, yet are all pursuing careers in the sports industry. This is a trip that I will always remember because now I feel like I have a better sense of what career path I want to take and the steps I need to take to get there.