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 Benjamin Gallagher: Head of Social at The Checkdown, the NFL’s pop culture and lifestyle property. Gallagher joined The Checkdown in 2017 after graduating from Chapman University. Over the past two years, Gallagher has spent time working with and consulting for some of the world’s largest brands and agencies. With lifelong passions for sports and creating digital content, the role at The Checkdown seemed like a natural fit to him.
In his time with The Checkdown, Gallagher describes being a part of #BreesAThon as one of his favorite accomplishments. Gallagher’s team noticed that Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees was very close to breaking the NFL’s all-time passing yards record. When Brees eventually did, his career passing total was more 71,941 yards — the equivalent of 41 miles. Gallagher had the idea to stage a 41-mile “marathon” called the BreesAThon through the city of New Orleans.
The event was accompanied by a complete social campaign and was heavily covered by local news. The run ended in the Super Dome; specifically, the end zone where Brees completed the touchdown that put him over the record.
“It went viral like pretty much instantly and turned into a Twitter moment,” Gallagher remembers. “Around that Twitter moment there were 36,000 tweets and it was a top trend in the U.S. Our hashtag #BreesAThon kind of became a centerpiece of the whole conversation. Producing the event and coming up with the kind of digital strategy side of it was a solid accomplishment for me.”
Creating the strategy for the event was tiresome. But Gallagher is used to giving each everything he’s got, no matter how big or small the task.
“Wherever you go, leave tired,” he says. “If you go to a brainstorm meeting, give it everything you’ve got and leave thinking like you didn’t leave anything on the table. It applies to pretty much every facet of your career. Even if it’s maybe not something you really want to be doing, make sure you’re giving it every single ounce that you’ve got.”
The hard work of a career in sports is something that people don’t always think of. Gallagher has noticed this perception of the sports industry and advises young digital pros to constantly improve.
“I think there’s a misconception that working in sports is easy. We’re not doing astrophysics, and it is a lot of fun but it’s long hours… especially in social media and production,” he says. “You make one thing and you’re on the clock for the next thing. So you’ve got to be getting better all the time, and you have to stay engaging with literally everything that you make from 6:30 in the morning to 8 at night and sometimes earlier and/or later than that. It’s not just watching football and telling jokes.”
READ MORE: Meet the Rising 25: Austin Cox of Hudl
Through it all though, Gallagher believes that the key to a long career is always appreciating the opportunity to work in sports in the first place.
“Have fun with it,” he says. “It’s really a people business at the end of the day. People who work in sports are generally the most personable people that I’ve worked with in any industry. Your social skills and your people skills are a huge part of the game. The best thing you can do is go out and network and be yourself. Establish that you’re hardworking, easy to get along with and a great personality to have around.”
Meet the full class of 2019 here.