May 5, 2011
Reflection on Sport Event Planning
In the past few months of this class I have done a lot of research about the career I want to have one day. Being in the sports business has been a career aspiration of mine for years, but until this semester I was sure what aspect of this business I wanted to be a part of. Learning about stadium event planning and special events with professional teams just made me even more excited to get a Sport Management degree. Each paper of the three papers taught me something different and useful about this career.
With the first interview paper, Ashley Berst who is the director of special event sales for the Kansas City Royal gave me some great insight to her job in the sport business. I learned that, while most of the events booked by Ashley are not sport events, they are all important to the Royals organization because they bring in revenue by using the stadium when the team is not playing games. She also was a reminder that no matter what position you have in a sport organization, you still must deal with basic business activities such as budgeting and other sales necessities. One thing that Ashley mentioned about the industry that really appeals to me is that is it like plate spinning, meaning that every day is different. I was never one to look forward to spending everyday in a office always knowing what to expect. I am excited about being in an exciting environment with ever changing duties.
Ashley also explained the customer service side of the job. After she books an event, she spends hours with that client making sure that everything is clear and all the details are known for their particular event. Aside from her specific clients, she is also constantly on the phone with potential and past clients speaking with them and answering any questions they may have, even occasionally dealing with unhappy clients. She made a point to acknowledge that not every client will be happy, and often, there is not much you can do to make them happy. I learned that knowing who you can please and who you cannot is important. Never let a unsatisfied customer get to you. Ashley referred to this as having a "Teflon skin" because often, mistakes are unavoidable in such a detail oriented job.
Once I was excited about a career I could aspire to, I was ready to research how to get there. I am already on the right track by being in the School of Education at KU majoring in Sport Management. This degree will put me ahead of a business major when applying for sport teams after graduation. The degree will allow me to learn all about the business of sport and I will learn all aspects of it, not just one specialty.
One of the most important things you can do to further guarantee your success in this business is to get involved with internships. The program at KU requires a internship in the student's last semester which is helpful, but for more experience I have already began getting internships and will hopefully get as many as I can while I am in college. Every internship will help you gain experience and will look good on your resume to possible future employers.
These internships are important for future employers but also in terms of contacts and networking. Networking is keeping contacts from organizations that can help you get jobs or hear about possible openings. The more people you know in the industry the more likely it will be that you succeed in the career.
In the second paper, I did hands on research about the job. From this paper I now know that events are important to any team because they are a direct connection from the organization to its fans and community. Events are considered a type of marketing, but one that is much different than other aspects or techniques. When planning an event for marketing purposes, you have a big responsibility. Events are not like other techniques of marketing where you can simply write a sponsorship check for someone else, they require money plus time and effort of many different people. Most event planners or event planning agencies delegate their tasks to other companies like caterers, graphic designers, and venues. If you work in a stadium, you may turn to the other departments for marketing of your event, food and beverage, and maintenance and clean up. If I get a chance to work for a professional team in the future, my job would be committed to earning revenue in more unconventional ways for a sport team. The chance to work in many different setting for different causes and with different people is partly the reason I am so excited about my career goals.
Along with an ever changing duties and differing clients there are many things you have to plan for in this career. With every event it is guaranteed that things will happen that you do not expect. In order to be a successful planner of these events you have to be creative in how you handle yourself to allow the event to continue running smoothly and hopefully the clients will not notice the difference. This goes back to the most important part of this career which is the client. As a director in special events if you do not make the client happy, your business will not continue. Their expectations should be either met or exceeded to make sure they have a great time at your events. These clients are who you will rely on to continue to come back for future events.
The research for these papers has made me more excited than ever to enter into this industry. I would love to be the detailed, communicating, and delegating person that is needed to successfully plan and put on events in a sports venue such as a stadium. I know where I want to go and what I need to do to get there and am excited for my future as a sport management degree holder.