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Marissa O’Connor didn’t plan to work in sports. Going to school for journalism, her goal was to cover health and fitness or lifestyle news. That all changed while she was working at E! News.
While there, she ended up freelancing for the USOC during Sochi and fell in love with sports.
It just so happened that the Director of Marketing for the USOC was leaving to take a job as the CMO of the Coyotes and asked her to join. Five years later, she has built the social voice of the Coyotes into one that feels more like a friend than a team account.
Edited highlights appear below:
On the Similarities Between Entertainment and Sports (7:03)
“I think in so many ways, both entertainment and sports are different, but it really is so transferable. If you know the art of storytelling, if you can connect with an audience, and if you can build a brand in entertainment, you can do it in sports.”
On Building a Unique Voice (10:19)
“Our audiences are unique, our audiences are quirky, so we have to have a different approach to things than a lot of other teams. I think the NHL can be really old school at times and we’ve been able to embrace being different. I think we’ve had some more unique opportunities with our leadership being as young they are, but our approach has always been really to embrace that and they also understand that we are building a brand that requires us to do things a little bit more unique.”
On Change in Overall Strategy (12:38)
“I think a big part of when we first started was just the nonstop game coverage and that play-by-play analysis. Our approach is just so different now. We really try to use our in-game coverage to not only feature highlights and what’s happening that’s going well, but also we take a really big customer service approach. We’ve also been allowed a lot of access in the locker room and other areas, which was something I didn’t have my first year. I think just in general, our whole company has gotten a lot more forward0-thinking and social isn’t the wild west to them anymore.”
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On Hardest Part of Managing Everything (25:29)
“I think one of the hardest things is that we are extremely short staffed and anyway you slice it, we could have a million other people on our team. I remember when I was making the transition from entertainment to sports, I spoke to one of the reporters at E! News and he said to me, ‘You’re going to go there and do 10 jobs.’ I think that is a pro because you learn so many different things and you get thrown out of your comfort zone so fast. The con is that you kind of feel like your work is never done.”