Entry Level Sports Jobs
Profile of Dexter Albrecht, frst year Inside Sales Representative with the Minnesota Wild
By Matt Krumrie
Many people dream of graduating from college and landing a job in pro sports. Dexter Albrecht is living that dream. As an inside sales representative for the Minnesota Wild hockey team of the National Hockey League, Albrecht sells season tickets, group tickets and event suites for the Minnesota Wild.
He also sells event suites for other events at the Xcel Energy Center, the arena that is not only home to the Wild, but to many events such as rock concerts, other sporting events and more.
Education/background: B.A. Degree in Marketing/Communications, Concordia College Moorhead, MN
Albrecht has a Bachelor of Arts in marketing/communications and graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.
Albrecht talked about he landed the opportunity with the NHL Wild.
“I got my current position with the Wild after interning with a USHL hockey organization for a year, as well as with a Minor League Baseball team,” says Albrecht. “I also did some training with a company out of Portland, OR called Game Face. Game Face does sales training with a lot of professional sports team’s front offices. They helped me get an interview with the Wild, and from there I was hired.”
A typical day for Albrecht is probably a lot like other sales professionals, he says. He’s on the phones, going out to meetings and just trying to connect with people about how their products can benefit them. What is different is he attends a ton of sports-related events such as games, player appearances and charity events representing the team.
Albrecht admits, when he first tells people he works for the Wild their first impression is something like “wow, that’s pretty cool.” But….
“What they don’t see though is a lot of hard work and sacrifice that goes into your job,” says Albrecht. “The hours working for a sports team are long and the pay isn’t as great as other jobs. In sports you tend to be working days that most other professions have off like holidays and weekends so people have to sacrifice time that they could be spending with their families and friends. Having done research on this before I started looking at getting into sports was key, because I knew what to expect and it didn’t really shock me.”
If you are going to look into working in ticket sales for a professional sports team, these are some key skills and qualities one should have:
1. Love Sales: You can get by for a month or two on how great it is working for a sports team, but if you don’t like sales you’re not going to enjoy your job, and probably won’t have a lot of success either.
2. Stay Organized: For every 10 calls you make or 10 emails you send, you have follow up actions to take. It’s important to stay on top of things.
3. Enjoy helping people: I get the most satisfaction out of my job when a family tells me how great the seats I sold them are, or a company tells me what a wonderful time they had coming out to a Wild game. Sales aren’t just about numbers it’s about helping people.
4. Prospecting: “Always be prospecting,” is something I was taught and is definitely something to always remember. You never know when you’re going to be talking to a potential client. Always have some business cards.
5. Know your product:
This goes with prospecting in that, if you’re talking to someone and don’t necessarily have your information in front of you, what are you supposed to try and sell them?
Albrecht had been around sports his entire life, so it was only natural he would pursue a career in sports, he said.
“For me just being around sports is fun, because I have been involved in athletics my entire life,” says Albrecht. “Other pluses are probably the fact that I get to work at the games, and actually get paid to catch a little of the action. If you would have told me in college that I would be getting paid to work for an NHL franchise I would’ve said,”sign me right up.”
Misconceptions of Working in Sports
But there are misconceptions those looking into pro sports must be aware of, says Albrecht.
“At the end of the day we are still a business that has to produce money,” he says. “This is especially important in my position because I am in a position that brings in revenue, so I need to produce. Sometimes people might think that if you work for the team you’re at practice during the day, or you’re in an office sitting around watching hockey. The truth is that the majority of the time we are operating just as any other regular business out in the Twin Cities is.”
Tips for Getting Hired in Pro Sports
Albrecht offers these tips for getting hired and/or finding a job in professional sports:
- Get internship experience with a professional sports team: This is most likely going to be unpaid, but that’s what it takes, says Albrecht.
- Get some sales experience: This will help build your resume and make you more attractive.
- Use Social Media: Connect with people on social networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. “It’s a great way to get in touch with the people who might be hiring you,” says Albrecht.
- Read: Albrecht recommends the book Break into Sports through Ticket Sales by Mark Washo. “It’s a few years old, but a must read for anyone trying to get a job in sports,” says Albrecht.
How Important Were Internships?
Albrecht worked as a marketing intern with the Fargo Force expansion team in the United States Hockey League (USHL). After college he started as a box office intern with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, an independent minor league baseball team. It was working there and at those places that helped Albrecht get an interview with the Wild.
“There is no doubt in my mind that without these internships I would not have even been considered for an interview with the Wild,” says Albrecht.
Other Tips To Try
Since Albrecht knew he wanted to work in sports, he knew he needed some experience in a professional setting related to sports. So he worked part-time as a sales rep for a local newspaper’s Web site. This gave him additional experience that he could use on a resume and on the job training that helped him in all aspects of his career. Many jobs in ticket sales can lead to other positions within an organization. The possibilities are endless. What Albrecht did was set himself up throughout college and through internships to prepare himself for that opportunity when it came along.
“I knew for awhile that I wanted to work in sports, so everything I did in college was geared toward me reaching my goal,” says Albrecht.