SBJ/May 21-27, 2012/People and Pop Culture

My first job in sports: Dario Brignole



Dario Brignole came to the U.S. from Argentina, where he had worked for Nike and Head, and made what he considers his official entry into the industry as an intern at IMG’s office in Washington, D.C. He spent 13 years with IMG before starting his own marketing company.



FINGERS DO THE WALKING: I went to the Yellow Pages. … There were three companies: One was IMG, the other was SFX, and the other I think was [ProServ] … I sent a letter to all of them and started calling, and no one answered. I realized that IMG was literally three blocks from where I used to live. Pretty much, I started to show up and make friends in this really small IMG office. … I don’t know if I really ever got an offer like, “Yes, please come on Monday.” It was more like me showing up, all dressed up with a full suit.

Brignole (left) working for IMG in Bolivia at Copa America in 1997, with former Argentine rugby player Matias Corral. Below: Brignole and Roger Federer at this year’s Sony Ericsson Open.
Photos: COURTESY OF DARIO BRIGNOLE
COMMUNICATION BARRIER
: [My first day] was very intimidating because, first of all, my English was 20 percent of really what I can communicate. I kind of understood more, but … literally, I was understanding maybe half of the things they were telling me, and I guarantee that expressing myself, they were understanding one-third of what I was saying.

OVERQUALIFIED: In Argentina, when you go to school, when you finish high school, you start working, and you are 18, 19 years old, and you go to school at night. Which means when you graduate, you are 22 years old or 23, but you already have five years of experience. … When they put me at the front
desk as a receptionist, in an office that maybe gets 20 calls in a day, I was totally bored.

AHEAD OF HIS TIME: I presented a marketing plan, how to either bring IMG talent to Latin America, or try to find Argentinian talent to try to sell it overseas. … It’s funny that a lot of things that I wrote there materialized [later]. … That’s one of the things about our business is maybe it’s the right idea, but the timing is not right.

SUITING UP: I forget my belt [on a trip for a job interview within IMG]. … I say, “OK, I will buy a belt tomorrow morning in New York when I’m close to the office.” What happened is close to the office what you have is Gucci, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana. Anyway, I went there [and] the cheapest belt I could get was $170. I think it was more expensive than my suit. … I still have that belt, and it’s a great belt.

BUILDING A STRUCTURE
: I have a whole system that I explain to [Shine’s] interns. … Why? Because when I did my internship with IMG, honestly, it was really bad (laughs). They were really nice people, but they didn’t have any structure. It was like, “Oh, gosh, the intern showed up, what are we going to do with him? Whatever. Could he grab my cleaning?” You know what I mean, or “Could he grab a couple of Subway sandwiches?”

‘TRY TO KEEP POSITIVE’
: There are ups and downs. You have to try to keep positive, but the truth is, Who is going to give you a break? Who is going to give you a meeting? I only want a meeting. I want to be in front of someone that gave me 15 minutes. You work really hard for that.

See also: Chris Wright, President: Minnesota Timberwolves, Lynx

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