A newly offered one-hour course has been designed specifically to help Sport Management students get real life experience in sales.
The introduction to sports sales course helps students to apply sport sales techniques through working for the local hockey team, the San Antonio Rampage.
The class is taught by Jacob Tingle, assistant professor of the practice, business administration and the director of experiential learning.
Tingle explains his favorite part of teaching this class is “the high energy environment. The students in the class are mostly juniors and seniors; very motivated and goal-oriented.”
The class is assisted by Trinity alumna Britni Henderson, a group sales account executive for the Spurs Sports and Entertainment group.
“I quite frankly can’t imagine there being a better working relationship with anyone else,” Tingle said. “Britni is an outstanding account executive, but even more importantly she truly cares about the growth and development of Trinity students.”
The students have access to local ticket industry professionals, due to the Spurs staff members who come to run discussion every week.
This not only gives the students a chance to learn more about what these professionals do specifically and learn the difference between the sales segments, but it also affords them a great opportunity to connect with them individually.
“Mark Cuban argues that the most important job in team sports is group ticket sales,” Tingle said. “The ability to demonstrate sales experience helps our students stand out in the job and grad school search process. Even if someone doesn’t want “” or doesn’t think they want to “” work in sales, this class peels back the curtain on an important revenue stream for professional franchises.”
For the curious student, asking lots of questions to these successful professionals is a great way to demonstrate interest and potentially keep in touch with them in order to use them as a contact later on.
Since having connections is encouraged, this class serves as a tool to broaden students’ scope of job opportunities.
Some of the course objectives include creating sales strategies, identifying target markets and promoting an event, as well as exhibiting critical professional skills and attitudes.
The ticket sales project is the majority of what the class is based on. The class this semester must sell 480 tickets as a whole, giving everyone has an individual goal of 30 tickets, but the class must work as a team in order to be successful.
The class is pass/fail, so it depends on the students to put in the effort to get the most out of the class, but there are some incentives to help their motivation.
The top five salespeople get the opportunity to have lunch with Spurs Sports and Entertainment vice president of franchise business operations, Tim Salier, as well as receive one suite night to a Rampage game during the 2015-2016 season.
The top sales representative also gets the opportunity to interview for a sales internship with Spurs Sports and Entertainment.
Given the rewards at the end of the class, the Spurs have taken on many Trinity interns who have completed the class including Chris Bianchi, Jesse Gamble, Mia Mineghino, J.P. Sanchez and Libby Kruse.
One of the many students coming out of this class, Libby Kruse, is now a season ticket service representative for the Spurs.
Along with Kruse, Sanchez, class of 2015, now works for the Spurs as a new business consultant also in the sales department.
He at first was unsure about going into sales, but at the end of the day he worked hard and received an internship the following semester.
“My favorite part of the class was that we got real world experience in ticket sales,” Sanchez said. “I also value the connections I made through the class with our point of contact, Henderson.”
Students are told to first make a list of groups you are a part of and reach out to them, then find off-campus groups to reach out to like churches, schools and youth sports leagues.
This forces students to reach out of their comfort zone and talk to people they don’t know, but Britni Henderson is by their side the whole time.
Jake Vaught, a senior in the class, is taking this course in order to get an idea of how to make sales in the sports world in order to benefit his production in future internships and jobs.
“We are told to send Britni any emails we are sending or contacts we find in order for her to walk us through the steps to make a successful sale,” Vaught said.
Students learn what to say during a sales pitch with the step-by-step guidance of Henderson.
Since the class is selling group tickets, teamwork is encouraged to make a sale, giving the students someone to lean on and work with through the process.
“Every sale is a tremendous success because it helps teach the students about the sales process,” Henderson said. “One fun thing about working in sales is the dynamic environment, so it’s definitely interesting to learn from student success in the class.”
Sanchez gives some advice to students in the class currently or wanting to take the course in the future.
“When you are talking to a group leader, get to know them,” Sanchez said. “People are more likely to buy into what you are saying when you show interest in them and aren’t afraid of the word “˜no.'”
With this being the first sales experience for almost everyone in the class, the act of cold calling can be very frustrating, with most people not wanting to listen to what you have to sell.
Another former student, Gamble, speaks on his learning experience from the class.
“My favorite part of the class was the professional development we got,” Gamble said. “A good impression might make all the difference and help you with a big sale or, even better, recommend you for a better position.”
Although Gamble is not currently in a sales position, this class still helped shape him as a business professional.
The introduction to sports sales course is a great way for students to get real-world experience and provides them with the tools to succeed in any sports-related job they want to pursue.