Interview with Mark Selby, Managing Director of sportscoutingnetwork.com

By: Adam White, @FOSAdam

Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with Mark Selby, Managing Director of sportscoutingnetwork.com. He is an alumnus of the University of Glamorgan in South Wales where he received a Law degree and a Master’s degree in Marketing. He has a great passion for sports and giving back to the sporting community and he was gracious enough to sit down with us and provide insight on what it is like to run your own sports business, how much work it takes to succeed, and how being an octopus translates to success in the sports industry.

What previous positions did you hold prior to your current position? How did they help you get to where you are today?

I was lucky enough to become the Ospreys Marketing Manager which is a professional rugby team based in South Wales. So I started from the ground up, I was able to help them build their brand from zero as they were a newly established team into what it was. I then worked for Glamorgan Cricket Club as well as doing a little bit of sports agency on the side with a few athletes I knew.  I then went away from sports and became a Premier Relationship Manager for HSBC, but it wasn’t truly what I wanted to do as I was always looking for an a way to get back into sports and that’s when I made the transition with my company.

What is a normal day like for you? What are some day to day challenges?

There’s no such thing as a normal day. We are busy with the growth of the website and the request of athletes looking to do different endorsement deals, sponsorships or money for tournaments and travel. We deal with sponsors who are looking to do new or different packages with our athletes. Every day is completely different. You don’t get bored. I have normally 50 new emails a day. I also travel to talk to different clubs about getting on board with what we are doing. Right now we are trying to work with the NFL and NBA so they could use us as a scouting board for talent in Europe and across the world. Every day is a new challenge.

For people who do not know what sportscoutingnetwork.com is can you tell us about it?

The idea of the company is to help showcase the people who have fallen through the cracks in the floorboard so to speak. I want to be able to put them in the sporting spotlight! We deal with everyone from high school kids to professionals. It works as an intermediary. We contact the clubs to let them know when new videos have been posted. We want to be a global scouting resource. Registration is free which makes it unique.

In your opinion what does it take to succeed in running your own sports related business?

It’s passion for the industry you’re in. You have to have the ability to wear a lot of hats. You have to be able to bounce back and forth between things. You have to take as many angles as possible because you never know what you are hit with every day. You have to be well rounded and prepared for anything.

What is your favorite part about working in sports?

I’m a sports freak. I just love being involved in something I love with sports and my company and I love being able to give back to the sports community.

What is the best career advice you have received?

It’s a simple one that was taught to me by my uncle from a young age and it goes like this, “Treat everyone on the way up the way you expect to be treated because on the way down if you ever come down you might need their help at sometime.” Every person is a networking opportunity or a possible business partner.

Many up and coming students think sports is all glitz and glamour, could you offer some insight on how much work it actually takes and why it’s not all glitz and glamour?

There’s a heck of a lot of work. There is a lot of fun as well with after parties and parties and preseason events, but there is so much preparation throughout the year. You may go in the office at 6 or 7 in the morning and not leave till 6 or 7 in the evening. You have to be prepared to do everything especially during the preseason. The work will weed people out. You have to be prepared to being going full speed all the time. Flexibility is key!

What is the highlight of your career so far?

Starting my own business was great and I love that, but working for the Ospreys was such a great experience. The knowledge I learned there was invaluable. It’s helped me with my business.

How important is networking in your eyes?

It’s very important and it’s done differently all over the world. LinkedIn and Twitter are great resources. You have to work smarter not harder. You have to use as many tools as you can and you can’t judge a book by its cover. You have to be able to show company’s what you can do for them, they don’t just want your business card.

If you had to hire someone today, what traits would the ideal candidate have to succeed in the sports industry?

They have to be hardworking and prepared to put in the hours. You have to be prepared to soak up knowledge and have as many arms as an octopus to be able to juggle everything. You have to be friendly and approachable. It is essential. You have to be professional you can’t be a fan all the time.

His website is: http://www.sportscoutingnetwork.com/home

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