Annual Sport Sales Workshop and Job Fair Serves as Audition into the Industry

March 05, 2010

For the past six years, Mount Union College has been sponsoring the Annual Sport Sales Workshop and Job Fair with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cleveland Indians.

The 2010 Sport Sales Workshop and Job Fair was held on Friday, February 26 at the Quicken Loans Arena and Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH. The event provided nearly 90 recent graduates, soon-to-be graduates and current college students with successful sales techniques and valuable insights from some of the most successful professionals in the industry. Mount Union students attended the event, along with students from other colleges and universities in the United States. The event provided the opportunity for participants to receive more than four hours of sport sales training, as well as to network and have their resume reviewed.

“It’s like a ‘job audition,’” said Dr. Jim Kadlecek, associate professor and chair of the Department of Human Performance and Sport Business at Mount Union. “Students have the opportunity to receive terrific sales training from sport industry professionals, have their resumes reviewed and critiqued, network with professionals in the field and even schedule interviews with sport organizations seeking to fill positions.”

During the opening session, Mike Tomon, vice president of sales and service for the Cleveland Cavaliers laid the foundation for the five key elements that set the tone for the workshop - a strong work ethic, positive attitude, openness to learn, leadership and passion for the job.

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Bob Sivik, director of inside and organizational sales and Mike Behan, director of business development, explained to the participants that without the ability to network, smile and ask personal, yet not private questions, they would not succeed in the world of sales.

Personal connections are necessary because many times that is what sells the sale. “It’s all about relationships,” says Behan.  “People buy from people they like. Talking all the time does not impress the person on the other end, it often offends.”  Behan explained to the audience that the sales industry is about listening. Allowing the customer to communicate can open doors for the seller to expand his/her opportunities.

Following the opening session that gave an overview of ticket sales and the variety of ticket inventory sold in sports, participants received nearly four hours of personalized sport sales training from sales professionals from the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Oakland Raiders and New York Knicks, among others.

“From the outset, we were very selective about who we invited to participate,” said Kadlecek. “All of the organizations represented here today are ones from which I would encourage students to seek employment.  I would personally endorse each one.  These representatives are the best in the industry and are all highly regarded for their work in professional sports.”

This year, four Mount Union alumni served as sales trainers – Flavil Hampsten ’01, director of team marketing and business operations for the NBA/WNBA/NBDL; David Melfi’01, senior director of ticket sales for the Columbus Crew; Jordan Taylor ’00,assistant general manager of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers; and Ryan Robbins ’00, director of suite sales and service for the Oakland Raiders

Many of the sales trainers at the workshop felt the benefits of the event were many.

“It provides students with the opportunity to learn about the industry,” says Katie Stocz, manager of ticket sales for the Orlando Magic. “As professionals, we are able to share information about our organizations and provide an understanding of what students should look for in an employer.”  She also emphasized that it is an opportunity to be interviewed by an organization, but it also allows the student to interview the potential employers.

In addition, Mount Union sport business students stood out to many of the professionals in attendance.  “Dr. Jim Thoma and Dr. Jim Kadlecek have worked tirelessly to elevate the program and to put Mount Union students on the sport sales industry map,” said Buffy Fillippell, founder and president of TeamWork Consulting and Teamworkonline.com.

The sport business program at Mount Union yields high numbers for job placement for its graduates. Often times, this workshop allows for students to secure an entry level sales position. "Our sport business major at Mount Union is one of the premier programs,” says Becky Doak, executive director of career development. According to Kadlecek, at least 50 percent of hirable candidates receive job offers as a result of the workshop and job fair.

Whether a Mount Union student leaves the workshop with a job lead or not, they certainly benefit from the practical experience gained in helping to organize the event. Brittany Keen for example served as the logistics coordinator of the event. The senior sport business major at Mount Union, created travel schedules, maintained contact lists and followed up with many of the sales trainers.

“I have never had the opportunity to work on the logistics end of event planning,” she said. “It has been really interesting to speak with all of these individuals throughout the planning process and then actually meet them in person at the event.”

This year, the Sport Sales Workshop and Job Fair had sport sales trainers and resume reviewers from Atlanta Hawks and Thrashers, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Indians, Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Crew, Duquesne University, Lake Erie Monsters, Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Mandalay Baseball Properties, New York Knicks and Rangers, Oakland Raiders, Orlando Magic, Pittsburgh Pirates, TeamWork Consulting and teamworkonline.com and University of Akron, as well as two representatives from the National Basketball Association (NBA) league office.

The successful event has expanded into other markets. The Sport Sales Workshop and Job Fair has been held every in November since 2008 in Denver, CO in conjunction with Metro State College and the Denver Nuggets and Avalanche, as well as in Sacramento, CA in May of 2009 in conjunction with Sonoma State University and the Sacramento Kings and Monarchs. Tentative plans have been made to hold the event in Tampa, FL this May in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  

The Sport Sales Workshop and Job Fair takes place annually and is a coordinated by the sport business students at Mount Union. 

 

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