From Media to Agency: The Andrew Stallings Journey

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Now working for Mosaic, Stallings has learned a lot along the way.

(Photo via Andrew Stallings)

After moving to a new city at a young age, hockey served as an escape for Andrew Stallings.

At 10 years old, the impressionable young Stallings attended his first Roanoke Express game. It was his first hockey game ever, and to be clear, the Express were far from an NHL team. In fact, throughout the team’s 11-year history (1993–2004), Roanoke failed to advance past the first round of the ECHL playoffs in all but three years.

But for Stallings, these ECHL games became an obsession. Attending them on a nightly basis with his father, they represented a connection to his new community. What came out of these early experiences was Stallings’ passion for hockey — attending those games planted the early seeds for his desire to work in sports.

Stallings began coaching women’s hockey in college, an activity that continues to this day. He currently coaches a women’s high school ice hockey program in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

“I owe a lot of credit to my high school basketball coach,” says Stallings. “The amount of time he took to focus on character building with his players was remarkable. It is one of the most underrated qualities of any leader in my opinion.”

Career Beginnings

(Photo via Andrew Stallings)

Stallings credits his blue-collar upbringing in Virginia for motivating him to constantly strive for excellence. While completing his degree at Marymount University, Stallings freelanced for many local media outlets in the Washington D.C. area, operated three blogs, coached, and worked as a bartender, all while interning at Sirius XM — which became one of his career’s first landmark moments.

The early 2010s was one of the most crucial periods for Sirius XM. The controversial merger between Sirius and XM in 2008 incited fear of monopoly power within the satellite radio market — a pervasive theme that extended for many years, even after it became clear to most astute stock pickers that there was no such thing as a “monopoly in satellite radio.”

Sirius XM turned a profit for the first time in Q4 of 2009, and in 2010, Stallings joined the team as a Sports Programming Intern.

Stallings eventually received a full-time offer as a producer, which was a major leap forward for his career. By observing the growth of the media landscape, and being a part of a company that represented the expansion of the industry, Stallings had the opportunity to take on responsibilities commonly reserved for industry veterans. During his time at Sirius XM, Stallings produced much of the sports content, including The Morning Drive, Sirius XM Speedway, and Fairways of Life.

But four years into his job, he hit a few rough patches in his personal life, leading him to ask: “what’s my big break?”

A Step Into the Agency World

(Photo via Andrew Stallings)

The experience garnered as a producer at Sirius XM made Stallings a valuable asset to many companies, including Octagon, with whom he worked closely during his time at Sirius XM through NASCAR Radio (Octagon led Sprint’s NASCAR sponsorship end-to-end).

With Octagon, Stallings moved to Charlotte, NC to continue working closely with many of the NASCAR sponsorship clients, and ultimately took his talents to their global headquarters in Norwalk, CT. In Norwalk, he helped manage Nature’s Bounty Co.’s sponsorship portfolio for Pure Protein, MET-Rx, and Osteo Bi-Flex.

Octagon, like many other global sports agencies, focuses on two broad areas: athlete representation and sports sponsorship consulting. Within both arms, but particularly in sponsorship consulting, where Stallings was recruited, Octagon’s influence could not be understated — with its presence felt in many of the largest activations in the world.

While at Octagon, Stallings worked with multiple clients including Lexus, Sports Illustrated, and AB InBev. Each client required a variety of skills: ranging from creative ideation, account management, and hospitality logistics. Stallings’s time working on AB InBev’s Global Brands allowed him to help manage sponsorship and partnerships for Corona, Budweiser, and Stella Artois — experience that would be prove invaluable in his next position.

A Fresh Opportunity with a Fresh Agency

While Stallings was in Russia for the 2017 Confederations Cup, he was approached by another agency: Mosaic.

In an ever-transforming industry landscape, Mosaic stands out as one the most innovative and successful experiential agencies. While the agency offering includes experiential, retail, shopper marketing, content and brand management, Stallings has had the opportunity boost his experiential chops — and he’s loving it.

“The beauty of this company (Mosaic) is the eagerness to not only adapt, but to influence the cultural trends that are ever changing around them. It’s refreshing to be part of an organization that just plain gets it.”

He once again finds himself working with AB InBev — this time, specifically on the US brands. At Mosaic, he’s found that the approach is different. “I see many of the same players that I was privileged enough to work with at Octagon, but seeing how the US side of the business is run for ABI is mesmerizing,” says Stallings. “The brand thrives on being ahead of the trends and it’s remarkable to see how they are able to position themselves for success.”

(Photo via Andrew Stallings)

Throughout his career, Stallings has maintained his strong desire to learn. Outside of his busy work life, he maintains a routine that includes constant reading and networking. Success also requires a degree of humility, and he has recognized that one of the greatest benefits to networking is simply learning through others:

“You have to be open to everyone and everything around you. You have to be open to understand it. It’s not black and white. Everything is grey.”

This piece has been presented to you by SMU’s Master of Science in Sport Management.

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