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Sports Marketer

By Carolyn Stedinger

Twentysomethings across the country are forging their own career paths in the new world of work. Are you a sports nut but not making the draft? Combine your passion for sports with a head for business. Consider becoming a Sports Marketer.

You get to see the players; you meet upcoming stars, hopefully the guys who are going to be in the majors on down the line. - Brian Hayes

Working model: Sports Marketing

Brian Hayes


Ticket sales associate for the Rockford (Ill.) IceHogs, one of 14 teams in the United Hockey League

Bachelor's degree in sport and event marketing from the University of South Alabama

Career goal:
"To be the general manager of a minor league franchise."

Favorite thing about job:
"It's never the same thing every day."

Least favorite thing about job:
"The odd hours."

How he landed the job:
Hayes used to work for the Mobile Bay Bears, an AA baseball team that was owned by the same company that owned the IceHogs in 1999. When the Bay Bears' assistant general manager was promoted to general manager of the IceHogs, he invited Hayes on board.

Philosophy for success:
"The harder you work, the more rewards you're going to see."

The job:
A lifelong sports nut, Hayes was painfully bored following in his father's footsteps as an accounting major. Then his university added a new major -- sport and event marketing. "[The major] was everything I ever wanted," says Hayes, who ran cross-country and track in school, and plays tennis, basketball, and hockey whenever he gets a chance.

Hayes started selling tickets to the IceHogs' inaugural season, which began in October 1999. He also was responsible for basic sports marketing, including drafting press releases and getting quotes on advertising opportunities (as well as the occasional odd job, like finding an apartment for the head coach). "You fill what roles come up," he says.

Hayes says he knew he'd never be a professional athlete, but he called his job the next best thing.

"You get to see the players; you meet upcoming stars, hopefully the guys who are going to be in the majors on down the line." And though he says he never pictured himself in sales, he believes that there is money out there for every company through sports. "It's just a matter of finding what would work best for them."

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