By: Adam White, @FOSAdam
Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with Brandon Randle, an Ultimate Guest Services Team Member for the Orlando Magic. Brandon attended the University of Missouri for 2 years and plans on finishing his Bachelor's soon at the University of Central Florida in Public Relations w/ a Minor in Sports Management. After excelling in positions with the Tampa Bay Bucs and Tampa Bay Lightning, he now finds himself working in the exciting atmosphere of the Amway Center for the Orlando Magic. He was gracious enough to offer up his insight on what a 21st century sports professional needs to succeed in today’s industry, how important networking is, and how each position is a stepping stone to the next.
What were your previous positions prior to your current position?
My very first position in sports came in the summer of 2011 interning for ESPN101 St. Louis’ Sports Station. It’s funny you mention this as I just reached out to Chris Neuport, the Program Director there most recently thanking him for breaking me into the sports industry, giving me my first sports opportunity. Since then I’ve gone on to work Premium Services for the Tampa Bay Bucs, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and I just became a Media Relations Assistant with Florida Citrus Sports not too long ago.
How did those positions help you get to where you are today?
When approaching a career in sports, you should see every opportunity as a steppingstone to get you to where you want to be. Although all of my experiences were in different business capacities, I enjoyed them all and learned a lot about what direction I wanted to head later on down the road. That road has finally come in me wanting to pursue Public Relations in sports, but the important thing to remember is that you’ve got to start somewhere.
What is the average day like for you? What are the day-to-day challenges of your position?
Well honestly, game days are electric at the Amway Center! We try to present an exciting fan experience and we focus on providing Legendary Service to our fan base. From our CEO, Alex Martins to the janitor, we are all striving to achieve the same goal and working cohesively to do so. When the doors open, everyone is ready to serve and provide a unique fan experience!
I have the honor of working at our Field’s Ultimate Lounge right in front of the player locker room and the atmosphere down on the floor is amazing! The challenges are making sure everyone who enters the Lounge have the proper credentials and trying to get fans to finish their drinks inside before the end of the fourth quarter per league rules, but everyone is ensured to have a great time!
What drew you to being a part of the media and guest relations aspects of sports?
Ever since I was little watching the news with my Mom, I knew that I wanted to go into some form of journalism. After crashing and burning on ESPN’s Dream Job: The Experience at Hollywood Studios at Disney a while back, I knew that sports anchoring probably wasn’t going to be a good fit! I had some tough critics in Dick Vitale and Maurice Jones-Drew and essentially lost in the competition. I decided that behind the scenes wouldn’t be so bad and have always been infatuated with what coaches and players had to say after the game in Press Conferences. I followed my passion and I’m now able to capitalize on that with Florida Citrus Sports this Bowl Season.
What is your favorite part about working for an NBA franchise?
The best part of working in the NBA is a feeling of belonging! We have to great community champions in former Magic Bo Outlaw and Nick Anderson, and they both will come up to you, introduce themselves with whole names as if you didn’t know who they are, and they’ll treat you like Magic Family vs. an employee! The NBA is a very tight knit, close group and it truly is “where amazing happens”! The networking opportunities are endless and the people you get to see in Premium are unbelievable!
What is your greatest professional memory or highlight thus far?
My career is short so I have yet to experience such a feat! However, as a former student at Mizzou, I’m more than thrilled about being able to assist in the Press Conference and the Media Relations for the Buffalo Wild Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day! I’m so excited!
What are some tips you have for people who are trying to become successful in the sports industry?
Narrow down what you want to do in sports and try to either intern or volunteer for a department in Collegiate Sports, Professional Sports, or a minor league affiliate. Don’t waste valuable time in college! Intern from sophomore year all the way until you grad or you’ll just be applicant number 439 with no real chance at getting hired with no real world experience.
LinkedIn is your best friend! I would not have advanced as far as I have now without it! Find professionals in the field of your choice, give a professional introduction about yourself, latch on to them and learn as much as you can.
Learn how to network properly and effectively! Attend networking events in or around your area. Don’t just network; build relationships with people that can help you later on in your career. However, genuinely get to know them first, or they’ll see right through you!
How important is networking in your eyes?
To be flat out honest, networking is imperative and will become an essential part of your career. Without it, you’re at a disadvantage and while you may have more experience than another candidate, you’ll get passed up every time if your name isn’t out there!
What is the best career advice you’ve been given so far?
Always be professional in all situations! You never know who’s watching or who can give you an opportunity later down the line in your career!
What is one thing you wish you would have known when you were starting out?
I wish I would have known that real world experience trumps all the school in the world and a great GPA! Employers want to see that you’re prepared, not that you can be valedictorian!
What is one thing the 21st century sports professional needs to have in order to succeed in today’s cut-throat industry?
In the 21st Century, one needs drive, passion, preparation, social media skills, and patience! Sports is not a “career by night” profession. It will take several internships and volunteer experience to land that full-time job. Stay the course, and be patient!