SBJ/March 12-18, 2012/People and Pop Culture

My first job in sports

Executives recall their first job in the industry



Photo by: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Mike Stanfield is entering his 12th season with the Saints. Under his direction, the team has leased every Mercedes-Benz Superdome suite since the beginning of the 2008 season.



Stanfield, as a Clinton Giants assistant GM, took one of the few jobs in which you can end up on a trading card.
Photo: COURTESY OF MIKE STANFIELD
LOBBYING IN THE LOBBY: I got an internship with the Cincinnati Reds and was the assistant to the traveling secretary during spring training. I did that for one season and I learned the way to get a job was by going through baseball winter meetings. So I stood in the lobby with a suit on and passed out résumés and talked to anyone who would talk to me. I got interviewed by Dr. Bernie Mullin for the [Pittsburgh] Pirates and also by the Clinton Giants. Bernie hired me at the winter meetings, but before I started I got a call from the Clinton Giants asking me to be the assistant GM. I called Bernie and he said to go for it and “find what you want to do in sports.”

THE MORE YOU SELL …: That year I was given the yellow pages and told to go sell some program ads, billboard signs, promotional dates. I needed to eat. I wasn’t making very much money, and I realized the more I sold the more I could enjoy myself. You do a lot of networking even at that level. I had no clue there was a whole business side to sports and how important that was in the generating of revenue. I just knew going to a game was a cool thing.

IT'S THE SHIRT: I remember being given my first shirt [as an intern], and I always remember that today when I see people starting in the business. When I put that Cincinnati Reds shirt on, I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. I wasn’t just buying a team shirt, I was putting it on and there I was working for the team.

RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE: I was standing for the national anthem at the first game at Clinton, and I was near the president of the team. I was so proud. We’d worked so hard to get everything up and running. Then [the announcer] said, “Please stand for the playing of the national anthem.” The only problem was, I had forgotten to put the flag up.

See also: Jeff Purser, executive director, Toshiba Classic

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