Transitioning in the Sports Industry: The Story of J.P. Lutz

By: Joe Barca, @BarkyCat

Meet J.P. Lutz.

J.P. Lutz, Owner of Bucks County Baseball Co.

J.P. Lutz, Owner of Bucks County Baseball Co.

Lutz is an adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University and Drexel University, an assistant professor at Manor College and the owner of Bucks County Baseball Co., a sports memorabilia store in Bristol, Pennsylvania. He possesses more than 15 years of experience in the sports industry and was kind enough to share his story.

For college, Lutz attended Drexel University, the place where his career in the sports industry began.

“I went to Drexel for my undergraduate. I was a marketing major. Drexel has a five-year, co-op program. Basically, after your freshman year, you work year-round, six months in the classroom and six months in your respective field. I give a lot of credit to Drexel, in terms of creating opportunities for me within sports. Through the co-op program, they had a relationship through an alum, and I was given the opportunity to work for the [Philadelphia] Eagles. I was working at Veterans Stadium, doing anything that was happening at the building.”

Lutz was a game day staffer, taking tickets and working elevators in the penthouse suites, the equivalent of a modern-day luxury box. He realized very quickly that he was in the right place.

“I knew immediately, upon working there, that I loved being a part of a massive event like an Eagles’ game or a [Philadelphia] Phillies’ game. It was something I really enjoyed. I enjoyed the people I worked with.”

Lutz stayed with the Eagles throughout his college career. Upon graduation, the Eagles offered him a full-time, entry-level position.

“My first entry-level job was titled ‘club seat coordinator.’ I was working in premium services, in charge of managing the customer service for all of our club seat holders. I was involved with the seat selection process. I basically handled all of the backend work, after the sales group had gone and sold the new stadium. The sales group was selling luxury seats and premium seating, before the stadium was completed. I had to go and manage that process. Once the building was built, I had to go select seats and manage all of the accounts. That was my first, sort of, customer service position within the Eagles.”

After approximately two years, Lutz was promoted within the organization.

“Probably within two years, I got promoted and transitioned into the box office. I went into an operational role. In my career, with the Eagles at least, I went from the front of the house to the back of the house to the front of the house in sales.”

After 13 seasons with the Eagles, Lutz decided that it was time to make a change. 

“There was probably a few reasons why I left the Eagles. I was with the Eagles, in its entirety, for about 13 years, from the 1998 season to the 2011 season. I had been there for so long. I grew up there. I was very fortunate that I was able to advance and move up. Most people in sports aren’t promoted within. They usually have to move to a different city or team. I was very lucky in that respect. When I was in a sales role with the Eagles, there were leadership changes. Just like any company, when a new leader comes in, there are going to be changes. It just so happened that as this transition began to happen, I was getting into teaching. I started to do more and more guest speaking at different universities. I got an opportunity to be an adjunct [professor] at Drexel. If you would have asked me five years ago where I would see myself, I would have said ‘with the Eagles.’ Now, I’m a full-time college professor and I really enjoy it.”

Lutz teaches a variety of subjects. At Drexel, he teaches a ticket sales course and a sponsorship course at the undergraduate and graduate levels. At Manor College, where he’s a full-time faculty member, he teaches Introduction to Sport Management and Sports Marketing. In addition, he teaches general business courses, such as Sales Strategies, Introduction to Business and Business Communications.

Teaching isn’t the only hat that Lutz wears. He is also an entrepreneur. 

“I built a sports memorabilia business out of necessity. I say that because, for the past three years, I felt like I was doing a circuit in Philadelphia but was only teaching as an adjunct. The adjunct world is great when you’re in class, but there’s not a lot of security there. When the spring semester is up, you have to adapt. So, I built a business, online, selling sports memorabilia. I was managing that business out of my basement. It quickly outgrew that, and I opened a retail store about two years ago. It’s a fun business that I enjoy doing. It’s probably more of a hobby than it is a business, but it’s enjoyable. It’s got its challenges, and I’ve learned a lot from it.”

As a professor, Lutz possesses great advice for students or young professionals looking to enter the sports industry.

“When you’re in school, you have to go out and volunteer. You have to get experience. You have to get internships. I know it’s difficult, but you have to get that experience any way you can. You have to build relationships. If you don’t do those things, it’s such a competitive marketplace that you won’t get opportunities. It’s not an easy thing for young people to break into that field.”

We would like to thank J.P. for his time and insight. You can follow J.P. Lutz on Twitter here or connect with him on LinkedIn here!

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