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INTERVIEW VoL .3 NFL Associate - Business Development

NFL Associate - Business Development

Will Campbell


Pacific League Marketing (PLM) and The University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management in the Isenberg School of Management have entered into a global partnership focused on delivering consulting and education services to Japanese sports stakeholders since 2020.

The McCormack Department of Sport Management is the second oldest sports management program in the world and has been ranked #1 in the world for five of the last six years. As a part of the partnership, McCormack interviewed notable alumni of the school who are involved in the front lines of sports business around the world, to gather insights regarding their careers and their business.


 

Tell us a little about you!

My name is Will Campbell. I grew up in the US in the state of Massachusetts. Sports have always been an integral part of my life. Through participation in them as a child and high school, I built a base of invaluable life skills and long-lasting friendships.

I attended the University of Massachusetts for college where I first started on my path towards a sports career. Before attending UMass, I’d never considered it as an option for a career. I currently work for the National Football League in their Sponsorship Department. Before that and after graduation from UMass, I interned at Wasserman and worked a year at CSM Sport & Entertainment.

 

Can you tell me what your job is?  What do you do?

I work for the National Football League in their Sponsorship department, specifically on the Business Development team which is responsible for bringing in new sponsors for the League. My role on the team has evolved since I joined in 2019. I largely supported my managers in their sales effort which included creating research materials, presentations, and working on adhoc projects related to potential revenue opportunities for the team. As I’ve progressed, I begun to work on deals myself by pitching in meetings, working cross-functionally with other teams to push forward ideas, and putting deal terms and proposals. I also manage our CRM system through Microsoft Dynamics365. This has become a more apparent part of my job where I’m focused on creating a more uniform process selling assets as part of agreements, pricing out new sellable assets, and enabling further collaboration between the Business Development and Account Management – which is the adjacent group managing current our current sponsorships and upselling them on their current deals.

 

Tell me about your career path so far.  How did you land this job?

Starting my Junior year at UMass I focused heavily on networking both to make connections with people in the industry and to see what was out there for job opportunities. Through this and an experiential course on campus called SoccerFest – an experiential learning course that had students managing a soccer tournament – I discovered sponsorship as a career path. I liked this path as there were many paths this career could take me, even if not directly tied to a sports team or league. This interest took me to my first job at a marketing agency called CSM Sports & Entertainment. During my Senior year I had met someone at the NFL while networking. I’d met him in NYC and remained in touch post-graduation. While at CSM, I’d seen a job opening on that person’s team and decided to apply. Three years later I’m in that role I originally applied to!

 

Those who want to get into sports would find your career path inspiring, so any unique stories you could share would also be appreciated.

When I began applying to full time jobs my senior year I took a hard look at my experience and compared myself to my colleagues. I felt my internship and school experience was the same if not slightly behind my fellow students. With this in mind, when I started applying to jobs I felt I needed to stand out in some way that I could actually control. I decided to make a minute and a half video that “showed” why I was a unique candidate and how I could provide value. I used this video while networking and in replacement of a cover letter. At this time, Zoom was not being used as a communication tool so people weren’t seeing me during interviews. All of it was over the phone. I truly believe it played an instrumental role in my job considerations as I received numerous pieces of positive feedback following job interviews and networking chats.

Feel free to take a peek

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFbxkBpNYQ4.

 

Why did you choose to work in sports?

Sports always played a key role in the friendships I made growing up. Outside of playing them, I never considered it as a career opportunity until I arrived at UMass for my first week of school. I then met a friend who introduced me to the Sports Management program. I immediately decided to look further into it, and ultimately, decided to apply into the program. I slowly learned about career paths and became interested in Sponsorship, so I networked with folks and decided it was the right path for me at the time to build a potentially lucrative career around something I also enjoyed.

 

What makes working in sports appealing?

The opportunity to have a career around a genuine interest of mine and to be surrounded by many people who feel the same way. Also, it doesn’t hurt having access to/attending sporting events as part of your job!

 

What advice or message would you give to others looking to work in sports?

Do not use your fandom as a differentiator while networking or applying to jobs. Be genuinely curious about the business. When speaking to someone in the industry, or applying to jobs, think about and ask questions that get to the core of what’s valuable to them and what challenges they are facing. What are new ways they are trying to drive revenue? Regardless of team performance, how are they engaging the fanbase? What tech/innovation initiatives are they focused on implementing? Any bit of information you can garner that wouldn’t be accessible in the general news cycle can be used to your advantage to differentiate yourself. Other things that seem small but go a long way:

  • Write handwritten thank you notes
  • Stay in touch with those you network with (particularly while in college before looking for a job)

 

 

interviewed by Takehiko Nakamura

 

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