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SBJ/20100308/Forty Under 40
Published March 8, 2010
Julie Tyson sat at a dinner while on vacation with friends in the mid-1990s and they began tossing around things they wanted to accomplish before the age of 40.
“Top on the list was being a sports agent,” Tyson recalled. “Honestly, until I said it aloud at dinner that night, I’d never really thought about that job, but all of the sudden I couldn’t shake the strong desire to pursue it.”
Tyson began her career in sales at places like Raycom and ESPN Regional TV, and in 1996 ran the national cable office for FSN and FX, becoming the first Fox employee in the U.S. to sell dual networks.
Shortly after that vacation, she put in a blind call to the LPGA, thinking that golf would provide a good foray into the agent business. She was connected with Ty Votaw, who was then in charge of tournament business affairs.
“For about two years I would touch base every once in a while, but eventually came the realization that maybe the LPGA wasn’t what fate had in store for me,” she said. “So in what I presumed to be our last conversation, I laughingly told Ty that we should talk again when he became commissioner and promised to come work for the LPGA when that occurred.”
Shortly after he indeed became commissioner, Votaw hired Tyson in 1999 to handle tournament business affairs and then lead business development. During her tenure, Tyson closed deals with ADT and State Farm that represented the largest individual sponsorships in the tour’s history.
Tyson followed Votaw to the PGA Tour in 2007, where she now manages relationships with companies representing more than $130 million in sponsorships, including some of the longer-tenured blue-chip companies on tour, such as AT&T, Shell and Deutsche Bank.
Among the other “bucket lists” that Tyson and her friends discussed on that vacation were places they wanted to see and skills they wanted to acquire.
“I’d better get moving on some of the other things on that list, because 40 is definitely gaining on me,” she said.