Big Town or Small, It’s a Really Tough Call

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By: Kyle Benzion, @KylonialKyle

One of the biggest adjustments for me between my first and second job has undoubtedly been adjusting to the market size. There are always going to be challenges working in media, but ultimately you want a large amount of people to see your product, become enticed by the product, and attend sporting events. Below, I will lay out the good, and bad aspects of working in a small market, or large market. For professionals entering the industry, it is certainly important to weigh the type of audience that you will have to figure out if that is the best fit for you. 

Small Markets

For me, I began working in TV Market #106, Lincoln, Nebraska. This was a perfect place for me to start my career. I thoroughly enjoyed the University of Nebraska fan base. It was incredible. No matter what we produced on social media, fans engaged, shared posts, and came to games of all types. When I say “came to games," I mean it. Sure, Nebraska has over 350 straight football sellouts dating back to 1962, but there have also been over 200 regular season volleyball sellouts. For virtually any sport, there is unbelievable support that is rarely seen anywhere else in college athletics. That support transferred over to the internet as well. Blog posts, Vines, produced videos, GIFs, you name it, they all typically do well. The support at Nebraska made my job incredibly entertaining. 

Large Markets

Once, I arrived at George Washington University in Washington D.C. (TV Market #9), I realized that it would take a different strategy to succeed. There is undeniably much more of a challenge in Washington D.C. to have students, alumni, and the general public attend sporting events. For example, there are 6 professional sporting teams in the immediate area, along with nightly concerts, other college events, and a heavy interest in politics. One of my first eye opening moments was when I was unable to understand why student attendance for a basketball game was low. Ultimately the reason was because many students were at home watching a Republican National Debate. This never would have even crossed my mind in Lincoln, Nebraska. Working in a large city brings an exciting challenge for every single home sporting event to try to find a way to draw people to the game. 

Finally

If you are just entering the industry and trying to decide what type of location you want to work in, it is important to understand the positives and negatives of each. While working in a large market can certainly be an exciting challenge, it can also bring frustration. Working in a small market is unquestionably rewarding when you look up in the seats, though it may not present you with challenges that would be faced elsewhere. My hope is that everyone in the media industry in athletics has a chance to work in both a small and large market at some point in their career. No place is perfect, but it is vital to get multiple experiences that breed unique challenges. 

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