The following is an interview with the Joe Legaz, Game Entertainment Coordinator for the San Francisco Giants Professional Baseball team. Joe has also worked for the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees in various marketing positions and has an extensive background in game day entertainment.
Question: What is a normal day of work like for you?
This depends entirely upon if it is a game day or not. On non-game days I am usually busy either wrapping up last minute things from the previous home stand or preparing for the next home stand. This typically includes preparing the public address announcer’s scripts, creating the game formats which include a breakdown of what is to happen during each inning break of each game, working with the sponsorship department to create new in-game features and ensure sponsorship fulfillment, and overseeing the scoreboard fan message department.
On game-days my main duty is to relay all the information I receive to the day-of-game operations crew to execute (this includes the PA Announcer, The Video Director, the Scoreboard Operator, etc.). I will brief them on the events of the day and ensure that they have all text, logo’s and video’s that they need. I will then direct the on-field pre-game show and then assist the PA Announcer, Video Director and Scoreboard Operators in any way possible throughout the game.
Question: How is it different from the normal day of a ticket sales or sponsorship employee?
My day is very different from those in Ticket Sales and somewhat different from those in the Sponsorship Department. Our Account Executives in ticket sales generally spend most of the day on the phone either speaking with their clients (season ticket holders) or calling people who have inquired about tickets and trying to sell them ticket packages.
The Sponsorship Department is very similar in that the main objective in both departments is to market the team, however we do this in completely opposite ways. The Sponsorship Department’s goal is to market the team to businesses, helping to develop positive relationships and co-branding opportunities. Meanwhile, our department’s goal is to develop positive relationships with fans and ensure their satisfaction. This difference in goals can be most clearly seen when creating an in-game feature. While Sponsorship focuses on the needs of the business and how to please them with signage, my department’s role is to help ensure that the sponsored feature not only keeps the client happy, but also is something that is entertaining and enjoyable to fans that will make them want to come back time and time again. Having said this, while most of their time is spent focusing on the needs of corporate clients, my time is much more spent on understanding the needs and trends of the fans.
Question: What education/certifications/background is needed and/or most useful?
People I have gotten to know within the sports industry mostly majored in Business or Communication in college. Some of these people have Masters Degree’s in Sports Management or Marketing, others have nothing beyond a college degree. Most have some experience working in some sports previous to their experience here. As is the key to most businesses, the most important thing to have in this field is experience.
Question: Are there certain qualifications that help separate the best from the rest?
As far as other skills or experiences that can help separate someone from the rest of the pack, I see the following as very important:
Question: How does someone break into the field?
All sports teams have a large number of seasonal employment opportunities such as seating host, tour guide, guest services representative, and internships. When it comes to hiring they have a large pool of employees that they already know have a dedication to the organization and will most likely have good recommendations from someone within the organization. While an internship is by far and away the best way to break into the field, opportunities are limited and in high demand. If someone is really dedicated to getting into sports my best advice would be to take a job doing something in the organization just to get your foot in the door, work hard, try to meet as many people as you can, and express your interest in opportunities beyond the position you are currently in. This is how many people get their start, including me.
Question: Any specific tips for finding work as a beginner or with some experience?
The thing that will impress people more than anything is having a good attitude and being willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. In sports people are often forced to do a wide variety of things, many of which people with a college degree and a front office job would think are below them. Things I’ve done and seen other front office employee do include: serve and wait on people, dress up in a costume and embarrass themselves for an entertainment skit, hand promotional items out at the gates to up to 42,000 people, deliver and pick up supplies, do heavy lifting of items, and much more. The people who have the attitude to do whatever it takes do not go unnoticed. Other than attitude, just be a hard worker, come to work excited and ready to do whatever it takes, and don’t complain because if you are not enjoying yourself, everyone in the organization knows a handful of people who would love to take your position.
Question: Are there internships available? Where? How do you get them?
One positive element about working in sports is that there are often a great deal of internship opportunities. Unfortunately, these opportunities are in high demand, but all teams should offer internships in almost every department. If you are interested you can go on any team’s website and find information regarding internship opportunities.
Another way to contact the team is to go directly to the person in charge of the department you are interested in. Most team’s websites list the front office employees. You can write, e-mail, or call the people in charge of the department you hope to intern for and inquire directly.
Question: What are some downsides to the job?
As much as I enjoy working in sports there are many downsides that include:
Question: What are the best parts about the job?
Question: Are there good online resources for both finding work as well as just learning about the field?
Question: Do most jobs include benefits such as medical and dental, etc.?
A great deal of the entry-level positions are only seasonal and offer only hourly pay with no benefits. However, once full time most teams have competitive benefit packages that include medical and dental and rather good pension plans, which are very rare these days.
Question: How much vacation do these sports team jobs usually have?
Vacation is often the standard two weeks, however, since the most put in long hours during the season most organizations are good at recognizing this and allowing for further leave to make up for the extreme hours worked through the season.