SBD/Issue 72/Franchises

Sutton, Irwin Expand Sports Sales Combine To Three New Cities

Sports Sales Combine Back
For Second Year
After a “successful first year, the Sport Sales Combine will be rolling out in at least three new cities beginning in January, including a stop next month with the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden,” according to Tim Lemke of the WASHINGTON TIMES. The combine also will head to Phoenix and Orlando in February, “with a possible stop” in Chicago later in the year. The program, created by sports business execs Bill Sutton and Richard Irwin, “includes three days of training and evaluation in everything from making the pitch to closing the sale and offers teams a chance to examine candidates in a real-world setting.” The addition of three new dates follows combines at Philips Arena in Atlanta and PNC Park in Pittsburgh in '09. Sutton, the associate director of the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program at the Univ. of Central Florida, said, “I don't think we thought about this when we first did it, but it looks like it's a pretty cost-efficient way of doing it because you're interviewing somebody that you've already observed doing the things you need to have them do." Lemke wrote the “whole premise behind the combine is to find out things about candidates that might not be apparent in a traditional job interview.” During the combine, candidates "seek out sales leads during a live game, collect surveys from fans and then follow up with calls the next day." Candidates also will "meet with sales professionals from the teams hosting the combines." Sutton: "The combine is like an audition.” Details on the “combine curriculum -- as well as some entertaining YouTube clips of candidates in action -- are posted on sportsalescombine.com.” At least 15 teams from the NBA, NHL and MLS are scheduled to attend the combine to look for sales staff (WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/25).

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