The Rising 25 Class of 2019, presented by AB InBev, represents some of the brightest young professionals in the sports industry. Over the next several weeks, we’re proud to introduce you to this year’s winners and highlight some of their achievements to date.
Today, meet Nick Carey: account coordinator at Bespoke Sports & Entertainment. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Carey originally arrived in Ann Arbor to pursue a business degree, but made the switch to sports management to pursue his passion.
During his sophomore year at Michigan, Carey was approached to work as a brand ambassador for the launch of FS1’s college football coverage, specifically Michigan’s season opener that season against the University of Utah. His primary task: dress like head coach Jim Harbaugh and travel across the country doing appearances for three weeks. This was Carey introduction to the world of sports business.
“I love Michigan and I wanted to get more involved in sports business,” Carey says remembering this role. “I had an amazing time and learned a lot about the industry on the agency side, the brand side, and the media side all a really robust, three week, immersive experience. Coming out of that trip I knew this is definitely what I want to do and exactly why I was interested in this in the first place.”
Carey interned with Bespoke during his undergraduate days before joining the company full-time in 2017. He believes he is currently doing some of his best work with the company.
“We focused on building a full-service integrated marketing platform with Navy Federal Credit Union,” he says. “That ranged from onsite activation at partner schools to assisting our leadership with, planning out the integrated media. We also did a scholarship program as part of that focusing on ROTC units. Getting to work with those folks on such a robust platform at such a young age is probably the highlight of my career thus far.”
Being a part of several smaller-scale teams and projects has taught Carey a valuable lesson: do not underestimate the value that can come from hands-on experience.
“If I went back to when I first was in that sport management class, probably 90% of people said they wanted to be a GM for a big team or work for a major agency,” Carey states. “I’ve learned from direct experience that working with a smaller agency where can I get a lot of exposure to a ton of stuff that I feel like I would miss out on if I had gone to one of those mega agencies or a large team right away.”
Carey has been successful up to this point in his career because of his ability to build strong relationships with those in his network. His advice to aspiring sports professionals is to find a similar ability within themselves.
“Follow your passion for sports business, but make sure that you are connecting with others in the space and dedicate time to networking,” he says. “The only way to get good at networking is to practice. My best advice would be to network, network, network because whether you’re selling or not, those kind of interpersonal skills are invaluable.”
Meet the full class of 2019 here.