The following is an interview with Sean Twohy of the National Football League’s Arizona Cardinals. Sean has been a Season Ticket Sales Account Executive for the Cardinals for six years.
Question: What is a normal day of work like for you in your ticket sales job?
Much of my day is spent responding to emails and voicemails. I also call people about wanting to add themselves to the waiting list because we have sold out all of our season tickets for this coming season. I’m also prospecting people for suites. Basically, it comes down to a lot of phone work.
Question: How is it different from the normal day of a sports marketing or sponsorship employee?
The marketing department works on concepts (slogans, signage, etc.) in selling the team to the city. Sponsorships are all about relationships and building those with the largest businesses in the city and then turning them into partners for your team, who spend thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars with the team.
Question: How does someone break into the field?
Internship, work game days – and best of all know someone who works in the industry who gives you a chance.
Question: What education/certifications/background is needed and/or most useful?
As long as you have a degree you’ll be fine.
Question: Are there certain qualifications that help separate the best from the rest?
Degree, personality – and industry/previous sales experience.
Question: Any specific tips for finding this work or other careers in sports as a beginner or with some experience?
Keep knocking at the door of the people who you know in the industry – don’t give up.
Question: Are there team sports internships available? Where? How do you get them?
Talk to the people in the HR department find out what departments need seasonal help. Work in any department you can get into. You have a better chance to acquire a full-time job as more people in the organization see you working hard.
Question: What are some downsides to the job?
Random work hours, low pay and the difficulty of getting your foot in the door are the main downsides.
Question: What are the best parts about this kind of sports job?
Being a part of sports has been a dream of mine since I was 15. The 10 game schedule is great, new facilities are great, the chance to work with a premier organization such as the NFL, and the 401K plan.
Question: Are there good online resources for both finding work as well as just learning about the field?
Team Work Online is a great resource to find out what teams are currently looking for employees from marketing to ticket sales to sponsorship.
Question: Approximately how much does each of these jobs pay at each level?
I’m not sure of exact pay scales for marketing and sponsorship jobs, but I can tell you that lower level marketing jobs pay very little ($30K-35K). Sponsorship jobs pay moderate to high and if you are part of the sales team your pay would be based on how much you can sell…on an average you might back $50K-65K.
Question: Do most jobs include benefits such as medical and dental, etc.?
All the teams in all the sports I know of – have medical and dental benefits for all the full-time employees.
Question: How much vacation do these jobs usually have?
10 days per year is standard. After 3-6 years you normally start increasing the number of vacation days per year. The increasing tops out at 15-25 days per year once you have been with the organization for 15-20 years.