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 Travis Case: Manager of Business Development & Strategy at the Los Angeles Kings. Case competed in track and field at Belmont University in Nashville, where he graduated in 2016. He officially began his career on the business side of sports shortly after graduation with an inside sales position with the Ontario Reign (a minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings).
“I truthfully didn’t really know what I was getting myself into,” Case recalls of his first job in sports. “But it was just a cool opportunity. I think once I started doing it post-graduation I realized how fun it was. I obviously have a passion for sports and then pair that up with a competitive drive and ambition to succeed at a rapid rate, it just lined up perfectly.”
After working with the Reign for about four months, Case moved on to work in sales for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings for a year and a half. Late in 2017, Case rejoined the LA Kings’ organization as a ticket sales manager. Case started the Kings’ and Los Angeles Galaxy’s inside sales department, including physically building desks and stocking it with water. Accomplishing this is one of Case’s proudest professional moments to date.
“I’m proud of building the department from scratch and seeing that come to fruition and being successful in transforming part of the culture here for AEG Sports,” Case says. “I’m now parlaying that into this year where I’ve started the B2B department as well in conjunction with the inside sales program to oversee our top reps. It has been a really fun challenge.”
Through developing new sales reps, Case has learned that adaptability and being able to trust is one of the most important characteristics for leaders to have within the sports industry.
“Every person that you lead is going to be different from the next person,” Case states. “I’m a big believer in being able to adapt to the person. Also, empower people and trust in them. I’m not much of a micromanager. The more trust I have in my reps, the better they seem to perform. Maybe one likes to have more meetings and face-to-face time with me while others just want to march to their own beat. Not making them confer or convert to my style, it’s more me converting to their style and bringing them out to be the best they can be.”
Beginning a career in sports is no easy feat. The early struggles can sometimes scare people away from the idea. Case, however, advises people just starting out to take opportunities, stick with them, and make the most of them.
“So many people get scared of the pay when you first start out,” Case says, “but any type of opportunity you get, take it and run. I took a minor league opportunity all the way across the country in the desert of California. It didn’t initially make sense for me, but I believed in myself and the opportunity. Go bet on yourself. Take the position that is not paid as high, make the most of it and eventually the money comes.”
Meet the full class of 2019 here.