This is the most entry level position within sports sponsorship sales. The account coordinator is typically responsible for researching and prospecting sales leads. This person assists the account executive with category and company research, activation program development, and presentation development. Depending on the department’s structure, the AC may report to several different people.
On a day-to-day basis, this person spends a great deal of time on the Internet and making phone calls in order to obtain the most relevant and up-to-date information. For example, an AC for a league looking to sell exclusivity in the automotive category, will research the sports marketing strategies of the major automotive players, especially with regard to their involvement in sports. This information will let the organization know which companies are spending money on sports sponsorship and what their objectives are.
An AC also works closely with an organization’s marketing department to collaborate on activation of sponsor programs - i.e., signage, in-game promotions. Proper execution is critical to the health of the relationship between the organization and the sponsor, increasing the emphasis on good teamwork and relationship building skills in this position.
Typically, organizations hire AC’s from within, either as former interns or members of the ticket sales department. As a sales-based position, AC’s must have a proven track record in sales and a demonstrated ability to work in a high pressure, revenue driven environment. Hours usually extend beyond a standard 40-hour week, especially during critical sales periods and during the team’s season. It is not unusual for AC’s to work late nights and weekends. Most organizations will require a bachelor’s degree, and PC proficiency is an absolute must.
Other skills include:
Additional responsibilities often include:
As discussed, a key to getting started in sponsorship sales is a solid internship with the organization. This will expose you to the inner workings and familiarize you with the relevant personnel that make the hiring decisions. If you do not have an internship in sports or sales, and are not in a position to get one, be sure to emphasize any past sales experience when interviewing for an AC position. Also, be prepared to take a job selling tickets as a precursor to sponsorship.
Salaries for AC’s vary slightly, but typically lie in the $20,000 to $35,000 range, depending on the size of the organization. Most organizations offer full benefits as well.