My career in sports began with Penn State Athletics. I was there for seven years, five of which were spent in marketing. In summer 2010, I stepped in as game day coordinator for State College Spikes, a single-A minor league affiliate for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Throughout my experiences at Penn State, I went the extra mile to learn everything possible about the business of sports. While absorbing every morsel I could, I built relationships that helped me understand how the roles of others fit into the organization as a whole. To those entering into the sports industry, I highly recommend networking to establish credibility and advance your career.
After a couple of years, I was able to sharpen my skills and develop my marketing work by honing my presentation skills, receiving productive feedback from colleagues, and acquiring support from the top. This enabled me to do my job better. I also found that I received more recognition from within the department and gained credibility from administrators. I climbed the ladder to higher positions as coordinator and assistant manager, where I held more responsibility, a higher salary, and started building a solid career as a business professional.
But for me, it would have been impossible to complete grad school while continuing to work at PSU. After starting my studies in the M.S. in Sport Management program at Goodwin, I began working as an independent marketing contractor. I started my own company: MCM Matt Checchio Marketing. I am seeking sports and non-sports clients. I am currently working with a colleague on a digital media mobile platform for schools, specifically for football, as a smartphone interface for fans to use on game days. The goal of the platform is to activate sponsors and increase stadium and ancillary revenues. I also represent a few former Penn State football players for marketing and athlete appearances.
My business model is based on engaging a network of marketing and business professionals to bring in other skilled people to complete a task or project. With the economy and job market in recent years significantly underpaying or laying off young professionals, I believe many people will be open to working in these types of cohorts or ad-hoc structures breeding a new type of entrepreneurial business professional.
With the M.S. in Sport Management courses, I am sharpening my business skills and preparing to continue my career in the sports industry. I’m looking forward to working in a new capacity in sports at the college level, perhaps teaching undergrad or graduate students. Sports is a unique business, but that’s one cool thing about the industry; tomorrow always brings something new.
Matt Checchio is a first-year student in the M.S. in Sport Management program at Goodwin College. He works as a marketing professional and business consultant for MCM Matt Checchio Marketing. Visit his sports business blog at chexsportsbiz.blogspot.com