This interview is presented to you by the University of Nebraska — Lincoln Master of Arts in Business with a Specialization in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration.
By: Richalyn Miller, @RLMiller4_92
Trying to fit Peter Roumeliotis into one box is seemingly impossible. Currently, he’s a contributing National Hockey League writer for Sports Illustrated, Adult League Facilitator for Senators Sports & Entertainment, host of his own podcast PopTernative, co-owner of Autograph Communications Inc. and Social Media Coordinator for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Growing up, hockey was Peter’s first love. More than just playing, Peter became very interested in the business aspect of the sport as well, poring through various magazines and analyzing statistics and trades. In high school, Peter got involved in music, which would set the tone for his career in music event planning. At that point in time, social media came on the scene, which gave Peter the opportunity to promote his events in a cost-effective way and he saw a great deal of success with his shows.
Using the social and digital media marketing skills he learned from planning events, Peter combined this with his involvement in sports marketing at Carleton University, where he received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Communications. While writing his Master’s paper on the L.A. Kings and their use of digital media, Peter was building a network and gaining opportunities whether volunteering or working experiences.
“The one thing I pride myself on is effective networking and I love meeting as many people as possible, whether in the social media and sports business world or the marketing world. You should always want to meet as many people as you can and establish that group of interconnectivity. “
Peter plans on using that network to bring on guests for his podcast, PopTernative. The show is centered on social media and sports pop culture, but in the future, will evolve into a bigger brand that will include a website that will include articles on social media and technology and sports and entertainment.
“I love the concept of cross-pollination of sports, social media and pop culture. We’re seeing it everyday and right now with Pokémon Go as the current trend. So being able to apply it to the digital media strategies of sports organizations is very interesting to me.”
Peter has always wanted to have his own business and ventures and began this opportunity through Autograph Communications. Originally his father’s company that specialized in health promotions, as Peter began booking more shows, event planning became an umbrella under the company.
“I see my projects as a way to showcase my networking abilities while displaying my passions while helping people on their journey. I’m a big believer in helping people and paying it forward and that’s something we could definitely use more of in this industry and others.”
Peter admits that the biggest challenge for him was where he should begin, but knowing what he wanted to do was a big help.
“For me, that was the question and I think that’s a big problem that up-and-coming professionals in the industry are facing. But that’s why it’s important to have an idea of what you want to do in your career. I always knew that I wanted to be in Communications, so I knew the biggest challenges were getting the opportunities and meeting the people who were going to be able to help you. But ultimately, you have to make it happen-you have to talk to people and ask questions. Unfortunately, many people are afraid of rejection and of course that’s normal, but if you don’t ask if there’s opportunities, you could be missing out.”
“There are going to be challenges everywhere and of course, it’s going to be competitive. Business was already competitive and because sports business is a more focused industry, the level of competition has greatly increased.”
Peter understands, firsthand, the importance of cultivating and sustaining relationships of people he’s connected with, which in turn allows him to refer students to his contacts. For example Chris Yandle, Strategic Communications Consultant, Maximus. Strategic Consulting and Andi Perelman, Media Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins have been supportive and open to speaking with those interested in sports but have also helped him along the way.
“You should never forget the people who have helped you, especially in a competitive industry like this because it definitely helps to have those people who can give you a leg up.”
Of course in this industry, the perks and positives make the journey all worth it. Peter recalled a time where he was one of the social media contributors for the World Junior Hockey Championship.
“Of course, hockey has been a big deal in my life and that was something I watched every year as a kid with my dad and I’ve always been interested in it — you’re seeing the top junior stars that one day will be in the NHL. Getting to be there two years ago and live-tweet the Canada vs. US game on New Year’s Eve was honestly one of the coolest things I’ve done in my career.”
Recognition for your work is always appreciated no matter what you do, but definitely in the sports industry. With all of his work, Peter has been on the receiving end of his work, but most importantly, his words being recognized and shared.
“Another cool thing that’s happened in my career is seeing my hash tags or my content being shared on television. In the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, there was one prospect who plays for the Winnipeg Jets who was a very fast skater and so we created the hash tag ‘#DashingDane,’ which was used on The Sports Network many times as well as for another player, we created ‘It’s #TimoTime.’ So to see your creations get that national attention is really cool.”
What helps Peter balance his different jobs and opportunities is knowing that his passion is not yet his full-time job.
“If you want to do something specific, follow your passions and make it a priority. Some people are lucky and get to make their passion into a full-time job, but for others, it’s not happening. So even if you have your day-to-day job, find opportunities outside of that that are more aligned with your passion. You have to keep grinding and hustling until one day, your passion becomes your career. You have to plan it out and have your priorities in line. “
Even having a busy schedule, Peter has time to think about where he wants to be in the next few years. He hopes to be a director of communications whether in sports or entertainment or even his own company with PopTernative.
It’s clear that Peter’s grind won’t stop until he accomplishes his goals, but even then, he’ll probably still have that hustle mentality.