By: Adam White, @FOSAdam
Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with Josh Daniels, a former Marketing Executive for Play with a Legend and a current Events Intern for Sports Resolutions UK. Josh attends the The Manchester Metropolitan University where he is majoring in Sports Marketing and Management. He has used his vast experiences to give him a leg up on the competition at an early age. He was gracious enough to share is insight on what he has done to get where he is today, what his average day is like and some tips for taking the next step in your career.
What were your previous positions prior to your current position? How did they help you get to where you are today?
I just left Play With a Legend as their Marketing Executive for a position at Sports Resolutions. Prior to Play With A Legend, I worked at SoccerEx, Arsenal, for Manchester Metropolitan University, for Tesco Super Markets and as a sports counsellor at Camp JCA Shalom in Malibu. Some of these positions were voluntary others were paid but all of them gave me experience of the working world, exposure to the sports industry and a chance to build contacts and relationships. Each has played their part in furthering my career in this industry.
What is the average day like for you as a Marketing Executive for Play with a Legend? What are the day-to-day challenges of your position?
At Play With A Legend, a lot of my day would be spent researching blogs, twitter feeds, and Face Book pages trying to find partners who would be willing to promote either the core business of Play With A Legend or the subsidiary business of Partner Fan and enhanced odd’s gambling. My job was to find suitable partners and sell them the concept of one of the areas of the company to bring them on board with promoting it. The day to day challenges ranged from finding out who are the physical people behind the blogs and who would be making the decisions to convincing them that it is worth it for them to sign on.
What drew you to being a part of the marketing and aspect of sports?
The only industry I ever wanted to work in was the sports industry and when I started to realize that my dreams of being a professional sportsman may not come true (apparently you need to have actual talent and not just a love for all things competitive), I started looking at other ways I could be involved in sports. I was already coaching soccer but could see that I wouldn’t be able to do this full time and make enough money to be comfortable so I started looking at the business of sports. I was lucky to be moving in that direction just as the sports sector started to realize that social media was the way forward for them and a lot of new opportunities were opening up. Marketing allowed me to work in a creative environment that wasn’t going to be stuck behind a desk all day long and work with everything sports.
What is your favorite part about working in the sports industry?
My favorite thing about working in the sports industry is that I actually care about the end product. In sports every story or topic can provide debate with unlimited ways of viewing things, and it’s this exact reason why I love all things sports. You can’t predict what will happen and the underdog always has a chance of throwing the form guide out the window. Which only leads to more debate. I also get a chance to work with people who are as obsessed as I am which makes it feel like I am working more with friends than colleagues.
What is your greatest professional memory or highlight?
My greatest professional highlight has to be meeting Patrick Vieira, former Arsenal and France captain. When I was growing up, I idolized everything about this man. I wore his number on all of my shirts, used his name in passwords and modelled everything about the way I played soccer on him. When I was working at the SoccerEx global convention earlier this year, Patrick Vieira decided that he wanted to come along, so his agent asked me to get him in, which I duly did and then had the honor of taking him around the convention. They say it’s dangerous to meet your heroes but I would urge everyone to try and meet theirs, they are usually top people.
What are some tips you have for people who are trying to become successful in the sports industry specifically the marketing aspect?
Don’t take no for an answer. If you want to work at a company, research the company until you have found people who work there, and any contact information that may be available and actually contact them. Pick up a phone and speak to them. If they say there are no positions available, convince them to make one for you. In marketing, when they say that there are no positions often it’s because they don’t realize the importance of marketing. Take it upon yourself to create a marketing plan and send it to them regardless. It may be doing work for free but it shows a willingness to go all out and get a job done and going that extra mile puts you above the thousands of rivals you are up against who won’t.
How important is networking in your eyes?
Networking is the single most important thing in business. Before any job is posted on any job site people always think if they know anyone who would be good for the job. The best way for them to know you would be good for the job is to keep networking. You would be amazed at the opportunities you discover.
What is the best career advice you’ve been given so far?
The best career advice I have been given so far is to treat everyone you meet like a future boss. You never know what will happen and it’s not worth risking a career opportunity by making a mistake.
What is one thing you wish you would have known when you were starting out?
That school actually does matter. By the time I came to realize my previous grades did actually count, it was too late and I had to work a lot harder than I would have done had I cared from the start.
Did you have a mentor when you were coming up in the sports industry? If so who?
My Head of Course at university Dr. Steve Mansfield was very much a mentor, he was always around for advice and always willing to make introductions if he could. Him along with my parents who opened doors for me and showed unwavering support in my desire to only work in sports.
If you could have any sports job in the world for a day, what would it be and why?
I would be the captain of Arsenal Football Club on a cup final day. Every little boy dreams of leading their team out at Wembley Stadium and lifting a trophy to rounds of applause from adoring fans. It’s never too late is what I keep telling myself.