An Account Executive is a senior level position within a sports team’s sales department. It’s an exciting, fast paced job that requires natural communications skills, charisma and salesmanship. Though the position exists in many industries, within the sports realm its responsibilities include group ticket sales and working with clients who advertise with the team.
What Does a Sports Account Executive Do?
Account Executives often start at lower level roles within a sales department including ticket agents or advertising sales agents. As they gain the right experiences and show a knack for client sales, they’re promoted and eventually aligned as an Account Executive. In this role, they’re responsible for maintaining accounts with companies that currently advertise with the team as well as gaining new business. Sports teams continuously search for new revenue streams and selling more and more advertising space contributes to this endeavor. In-arena promotions include signage, giveaways, sponsored seating areas and restaurants. And television sponsorship includes pre- and post-game shows, highlight packages, scoreboard updates and more. Account Executives sell these promotional “slots” and maintain client relationships. They will present prospective clients with advertising options and prices, recommend advertising models that meet client needs, and help draw up contracts. They’re also responsible for working with the team’s internal marketing department or an outside advertising agency to ensure the work is carried out to the company’s expectations. Group ticket sales, another area of focus, involves selling season ticket packages or high-end suites to corporations. While personal season tickets and individual game ticket sales bring in revenue, sports teams want companies to purchase large blocks of tickets and expensive suites, bringing a more reliable income source. Aside from these direct sales tasks, it’s also important for good Account Executives to be knowledgeable about their field and continually study new trends. To truly add value to an organization, they must stay up-to-date on new advertising streams, understand how to analyze sales statistics and know how to develop sales tools and promotional plans for client presentations.
Who Does Well as a Sports Account Executive?
Top-notch Account Executives have the traits of a good salesman with the drive of an entrepreneur. Extroverted, well-spoken people that are both convincing and trustworthy do well in the position. A great attention to detail and organizational habits are necessary because the position deals with multiple client contacts all at different stages of the sales process. As with most sales jobs, pay is at least partially commission based, so persistence in pursuing a sale is important to your success. Be willing to keep selling your product even if a company’s client contact says no the first time. Sales is generally a high stress, fast moving environment so hours tend to spike at times and it’s important to have the ability to juggle multiple clients at the same time. Travel requirements can also add to the stress depending on your family situation; take that into account when considering the field. The thrill of making a sales pitch and closing a deal is hard to rival so, for those who enjoy working around sports and presenting to clients, a Sports Account Executive career is an excellent choice.
Education and Experience Required for a Sports Account Executive
Sales is a field where experience and a proven sales record can surmount college degree requirements but the path to landing a position within a sports team will take a little more time. A bachelor’s degree in advertising, marketing or communications will help you more easily land an entry-level position in a sports team’s sales department. But, when applying for jobs, your resume needs to also reflect some prior sales experience or a sales internship. Account Executives are well-proven sales agents so, beyond learning the trade through college courses, it’s that experience that lands you the position. Whether you’re already in college or you’ve graduated but are currently unable to find work in the sports industry, search for internships or full or part time paid sales positions in the advertising space. Television, radio stations and newspapers often accept interns or hire new sales agents because advertising fees, now more than ever, drive revenues. These and other media outlets will give you experience cold calling local companies for new business, teach you persistence and allow you the chance to hone your communication skills. Don’t rule out minor league or college sports teams as places to gain experience either. Look for open positions with these small market teams who rely even more than professional teams on advertising dollars to make ends meet. This type of work gives you adequate sales experience and teaches you how to operate within the sports industry at the same time.
Whether you choose college first or bound straight into a sales job, you’ll need some seasoning to move into the Account Executive role. Your experience and resume needs to reflect your positive customer interactions, deals you’ve closed and work you’ve done within advertising agencies and internal marketing departments. Once you have the proven track record, you’re well positioned to approach a team in the sports industry with an open Account Executive job.
How Much Money Does a Sports Account Executive Make
Sales agent jobs are the standard bearer when it comes to pay-for-performance and commission-based pay. Instead of a flat base pay as most positions offer, many sales people including Account Executives generate much of their compensation in sales commissions and bonuses. This incentive drives employees to become better salespeople and makes it possible for organizations to meet their goals. Commissions are paid as a percentage of each sale you close while bonuses are paid annually, if individual or team sales targets are met. If the idea of writing your own paycheck peaks your interest, a sales role is a good one to pursue.
Because pay varies due to the salary plus commission and bonus structure, it’s a challenge to define pay ranges. For someone having middling success at a minor league sports team, the pay could be in the low to mid $20,000 range. But top earning Account Executives at major or minor league teams can earn into the six figures with 10% earning more than $96,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In this role more than most, the real money comes when success is achieved. There is a more direct path to financial success when you’re an Account Executive or general sales agent because of the performance-based pay structure. As corporations increase ad dollars and sports teams find new ways to generate advertising revenue, the need for strong leaders in the sales and advertising space will only grow, making an Account Executive an excellent career to target.
If being a Sports Account Executive sounds like the perfect career for you, start your search today at JobsinSports.com!