By: Adam White, @FOSAdam
Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with Natalia Dorantes, Social Media Intern for Sun Devil Athletics and Ticket Sales Intern for The Aspire Group. She is a sophomore who is majoring in Sports Journalism and Mass Communication, with a certificate in Sales and Marketing. Balancing a work and school schedule, she knows what it takes to succeed in the sports industry. She was gracious enough to step away from her busy schedule to talk to us about her internships, why experiences mean so much and why you must be nice to succeed in the sports industry.
What is your favorite part about your internships?
For Social Media what I like the most about this one is the fact that I can be on the court or field at the game. It gives me a point of view and it is so much more rewarding because it is a challenge to market the sport in 140 characters. You have to take into account what your followers are going to like. You have to be creative.
For Sales, I love getting the relevant experience because everyone I know has started their sports careers in sales and I know how important sales experience is to kickstarting ones career.
What are the hardest parts about your internship?
In social media, I don’t think there is anything that difficult about it other than protecting your brands image. Unfortunately, I made my first rookie mistake where I tweeted out a photo with one of our star players wearing another schools shirt. We got a lot of heat for it, but it was a learning experience. You have to make sure when you’re posting things that you double and triple check them.
In ticket sales, it is preparing the cold calling leads. They give you a topic and we have to research the contact information for everyone possible in that topic. They want it done in a very timely manner, which can be stressful.
What are some valuable things you have learned so far?
I have learned that there is so much that goes into putting on an event or game. There are so many numbers behind the scenes. I have learned that marketing is not just marketing; you have to sell and be good at sales to succeed. It is so valuable to understand the impact of social media on sports. It is amazing to see the impact is has on the industry.
What is the typical day like for you?
I’m at the stadium Tuesday through Saturday and I have class everyday. I use Monday’s to do a lot of my homework and get tutoring if I need it. Monday’s are my days to catch up or get ahead. I spend the rest of my week bouncing between classes and my internships. On top of that, I usually work at least two games a week or more depending on our schedule. So I’m very busy, but I love every second of it.
Do you think your internship is setting you up for future success in the sports industry?
Yes, I do because of the sales background I’m getting. Without tickets, there are no fans, no money and no teams. Sales are huge. They have also taught me how to adjust and overcome failure. You’re not always going to succeed. We had a promotion last week that we spent $1,200 on that had an ROI of 40 single game ticket sales. We definitely failed miserably, but it was a learning experience. My internships have also allowed me to see what field I would like to go into. My social media internship has helped me find my niche. Social media is half marketing and half media relations and that’s what I want to go into. I love it!
What tips do you have for students who are looking for internships?
A lot of people ask me that, and it is funny because I always feel like I’m looking for internships all the time.
I’d say the biggest one is be yourself, people can tell when you’re faking it and if you’re in the industry for the wrong reasons. One time I worked an event and saw another girl who was working it as well. All she did was talk to the players. I’m not saying you can’t interact with them, but if that’s all you are there for, that’s unprofessional and gives other girls who actually want to break into the industry a bad image. Others will think that they are just like the ones who want to schmoose it up with the players. It hurts their chances and ruins other girl’s chances.
Another thing is be nice, being nice will get you so far in this industry. When you work hard and are nice, most positions that come your way will be because of what others say about you and for the most part you won’t even have to interview for them, that is the power of your network and others’ words.
You have to make sacrifices and try your best not to turn down anything. For example, there's been days I've had class, my internship, and then work a game that night. Most kids would complain but I make sure to stay positive about it. Don't turn anything down, internships may not be glamourous sometimes but we all need to start somewhere. I had to clean the entire fridge out once.