By: Austin Weaver, @AustinTWeaver
Front Office Sports is happy to share insights from the mind of Chris Kosmala, Manager, CRM & Technology with Comcast-Spectacor/FanOne Marketing. A sports business veteran, Chris has made stops all over the country and has experience in a wide range of positions.
On how he got his start in the sports industry.
When I was in college, they [UC Irvine Athletics] posted that they were hiring sports marketing interns, it sounded kind of fun and like something I wanted to try. I applied for the position and got it. I absolutely loved it and decided I wanted to do this as a career.
On his experience with Ohio University and the Sports MBA program.
I applied to Ohio straight out of undergrad, and was accepted into the fellowship program. My first year in the program I worked a job that they helped me get. In my case I was actually in the Athletic department at Ohio. I was the assistant director of marketing before I started the program full time. That program was one of the best experiences I’ve had. Not only from the classwork, but the networking and the doors that were opened for me. I was very fortunate to get to do a program like that.
What are your current duties with Comcast?
We do sales and marketing consulting for pro teams and college athletic departments. We have over 500 clients, each operates differently and has different sets of goals. I tend to spend most of my day working on sales and marketing strategies to sell more tickets & sponsorships using technology.
On the difference between working for a team and working as a consultant.
Knowing that each team has its own set of issues and challenges. When you work for one team or department you focus all your energy on your own problems and how to solve them. In this role I have to shift gears to be able to solve completely different problems. It’s funny because I sit next to the Sales staff of the Flyers. I hear them all day, but I have to keep myself focused on the problems I’m working on.
What skills are necessary for students to have to make it in the sports industry?
My first internship advisor taught me that hard work and a good attitude goes a long way. Every college has a department that is looking for interns and volunteers, and there are so many opportunities to get experience, and having the initiative to find those opportunities. It is important to be reliable and ask questions. You have to be able to create opportunities for yourself.
Most rewarding part of working in the sports industry?
Knowing you are part of an industry that creates a lot of jobs in the economy and provide memorable experiences for different fans. In southern Louisiana, LSU is more than an institution; it’s a way of life. I was part of putting smile on people faces. Sitting there after a football game knowing we did everything we possibly could to make the day better for others and ourselves was one of the most rewarding parts of the job.
Importance of networking?
Networking is a must-do, but not necessarily in the traditional sense. It’s not about going to as many events, and collecting business cards. There are so many different ways to network these days. It’s so easy, but students are intimidated or shy. There is no other way to go about it other than jumping in. You have to find what works for you and is comfortable.
If you could go back and tell 22-year-old Chris something about the sports industry what would it be?
I think I would have spent more time learning about technology and the impact it has on business. It wasn’t something I thought too much about. I would have learned more about website design, social, and database programming.
Any other parting wisdom?
Most people in the sports industry are accessible. There are a lot of resources that make it easier to network in the sports industry than other industries. People are out there that want to be a resource to students and your professionals.
We would like to thank Chris for taking the time to share his insights on the sports industry and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors!