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RECENT PLACEMENT: Craig Amhaus – Pocono Raceway

Prodigy Sports is pleased to announce the recent placement of Craig Amhaus as Executive Managing Director, Partnership Sales and Service with Pocono Raceway.

Prior to accepting this position, Amhaus spent five years with the Philadelphia Union as Vice President, Corporate Partnerships and spent two years as the Director of Partnership Development with Just Marketing International.

In his new role with Pocono Raceway, Amhaus will be responsible for developing and implementing comprehensive internal and external sales, sponsorship and partner relations resulting in increased service, partners, exposure, revenues and profits.

About Pocono Raceway

Pocono Raceway, also known as ‘The Tricky Triangle,’ is family-owned and situated in the beautiful Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. In business for over 50 years, the Raceway hosts multiple, national motorsports events including two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, one Verizon IndyCar Series, one NASCAR XFINITY Series, one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and two ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards events each year. The Raceway has added multiple, adventure-running series events to their annual calendar, including the Warrior Dash. Pocono Raceway is recognized as the world’s first, privately-owned solar-powered sports facility. Their 25-acre, three-megawatt solar farm provides the energy needs of the Raceway, as well as, adds electricity to the local power grid. Each member of our raceway staff is committed to creating exciting experiences and lifelong memories.

For more information, please visit www.poconoraceway.com.                   

Prodigy Sports welcomes Craig Amhaus to Pocono Raceway!

RECENT PLACEMENT: Urel Martinez – Los Angeles Galaxy

Prodigy Sports is pleased to announce the recent placement of Urel Martinez as Vice President of Sales with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Martinez has been with the LA Clippers since 2005, serving in various capacities. For the past five years he served as Director of Sales after originally joining the organization in Inside Sales and being promoted to Season Sales Manager.

In his new role with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Martinez will be responsible for leading and managing all revenue lines of the club, including premium and non-premium ticketing.

About the Los Angeles Galaxy

The LA Galaxy, also known as the Los Angeles Galaxy, is an American professional soccer franchise based in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, California, that competes in Major League Soccer (MLS), as a member of the Western Conference of the league. The club began play in 1996 as a charter team in the league.

The Galaxy was founded in 1994 and is owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group. In their early years, the club played their home games at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Since 2003, they have played at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. The team holds a fierce rivalry with the San Jose Earthquakes in the California Clásico, and used to play the SuperClasico against city rivals Chivas USA before they folded in 2014.

In Major League Soccer, the franchise is one of the league’s most-decorated clubs, having won the MLS Cup on five occasions—more than any other club—the Supporters’ Shield four times, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup twice, and the old CONCACAF Champions’ Cup in 2000, being one of just two American clubs, along with D.C. United, to win the regional tournament.

Prodigy Sports welcomes Urel Martinez to the Los Angeles Galaxy!

RECENT PLACEMENT: Patsy Coyle – Monumental Sports & Entertainment

Prodigy Sports is pleased to announce the recent placement of Patsy Coyle as Vice President, Global Partnership Retention for Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

Coyle has been with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment in various capacities since 2005, most recently she served as Director, Global Partnerships where she was responsible for driving innovation and growth across all MLSE properties. Coyle also previously served as Manager, Global Partnerships and Manager, Partnership Marketing.

In her new role with the Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Coyle will lead the retention and growth of MSE’s existing global partnerships, while focusing on renewals and renewal strategy. Coyle will also be responsible for establishing a game plan for individual account retention as well as overseeing the partnership activation team.

About Monumental Sports & Entertainment

Monumental Sports & Entertainment (“MSE”) is one of the largest integrated sports and entertainment companies in North America with one of the most diverse partnership groups in all of sports.   MSE owns and operates five professional sports teams: the AFL’s Baltimore Brigade and Washington Valor, NBA’s Washington Wizards, NHL’s Washington Capitals and WNBA’s Washington Mystics. The company just recently purchased an NBA G League development league team, is co-owner of aXiomatic, which has controlling interest in global esports franchise Team Liquid, and also owns and operates Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Monumental Sports & Entertainment also manages Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the state-of-the-art training facility for the Capitals and EagleBank Arena on George Mason University’s campus.

In 2018, Monumental Sports & Entertainment will bring the Mystics and the G League team to a new state-of-the-art Entertainment and Sports Arena being built by Washington, D.C. and Events DC at the St. Elizabeth’s campus in Ward 8. The Wizards will also practice there.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment co-owns and operates Monumental Sports Network with the NBC Sports Group. Monumental Sports Network is the mid-Atlantic region’s top direct-to-consumer destination for exclusive fan experiences and original sports content across desktop, tablet, mobile and OTT streaming devices.

Prodigy Sports welcomes Patsy Coyle to Monumental Sports & Entertainment!

 

RECENT PLACEMENT: Tony Cima – SMG

Prodigy Sports is pleased to announce the recent placement of Tony Cima as Senior Vice President, Stadiums & Arenas for SMG.

Cima previously served as Vice President of Projects with Flash Entertainment, leading the development of the company’s global business strategy and portfolio. Cima also had a long tenure with Live Nation in various capacities including Executive Vice President, Facilities, National Director of Facilities and Director of Operations. He got his start in facility operations with Sun National Bank Center as Assistant General Manager.

About SMG

SMG, the world leader in venue management was founded in 1977 with the management of their first facility, the Louisiana Superdome. SMG currently manages convention centers, exhibition halls and trade centers, arenas, stadiums, performing arts centers, theaters, and specific-use venues such as equestrian centers. SMG’s clients benefit from the company’s depth of resources and its unparalleled expertise, leadership, and creative problem-solving. Their successful growth has been built on the many partnerships, relationships, and resources they have developed with clients — both municipal and private. This unique combination of resources, relationships, and expertise has allowed SMG to define and refine the industry throughout its history.  SMG’s ownership and team of dedicated corporate support personnel makes them unrivalled in the field of private facility management.

Prodigy Sports welcomes Tony Cima to SMG!

RECENT PLACEMENT: Josh Brickman, Boston Bruins & TD Garden

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Prodigy Sports is pleased to announce the recent placement of Josh Brickman as Vice President, Business Strategy of the Boston Bruins, TD Garden, and Delaware North.

Josh is a data driven professional who spent the last five years with Monumental Sports & Entertainment, having been promoted several times and most recently served as Vice President, Strategy & Research.  He oversaw pricing, reporting, email marketing, CRM and all revenue generation for the respective sales teams, partnerships and rewards departments. Before his time at Monumental, Josh spent three years with Turnkey Sports & Entertainment in their Market Intelligence department.

In his new role with the Boston Bruins and TD Garden, Brickman will be directly accountable for overseeing the business intelligence and strategic marketing for all revenue generating properties. Josh will work to streamline Boston Bruins and TD Garden research and strategy efforts in conjunction and collaboration with ticket sales, corporate partnerships, premium, retail, and other ancillary revenue drivers. He and his team will be directly responsible for providing direction on customer marketing, loyalty marketing, customer analytics, retention and sales strategy, retail operations/supply chain, operations and market research, CRM and sales planning.

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About Boston Bruins/TD Garden

Delaware North Companies Boston is home to the TD Garden and Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League.  The TD Garden has long been one of the must-play sporting and entertainment venues in the world.  Anchor tenants include the Boston Bruins and the NBA Boston Celtics, some of the most successful franchises in their respective leagues. That notwithstanding, Delaware North Companies Boston has built a championship squad off the ice, court and field, as well, that’s dedicated to delivering first-rate sporting and entertainment experiences. Pair that with the commitment of the Jacobs family, which has owned the arena and the Boston Bruins since 1975, and all signs point to victory.

The Boston Bruins, the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion, is one of the original six teams of the National Hockey League, and is known equally well for an unrelenting style of play that has led it to six overall Stanley Cup championships. Over the 30-plus years that Delaware North Companies Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Jacobs has owned the legendary team, it has showcased some of the best talent the sport of hockey has ever seen.

Prodigy Sports welcomes Josh Brickman to Boston!

To see the full description of this placement with the Boston Bruins, TD Garden, and Delaware North, visit http://bit.ly/2dndaXi

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INTERVIEW: Kevin Duplaga- Director, Ticket Sales – Miami Heat

Finding a Job in Sports Sales: Advice From a Team Leader, Kevin Duplaga

By: Brian Clapp, Director of Content, WorkInSports.com

Sales is a skill that can be learned, but there are certain instincts, certain traits, that emerge from within a person and push them down this popular career path.

Kevin Duplaga, Director of Ticket Sales for the Miami HEAT is one such person, a Sports Management major in college who worked his way up from minor league baseball to the NBA, gaining career clarity along the way.

“After graduating college, I knew I wanted to work in sports but I was not sure which area of the business I wanted to explore. I learned at the minor league level that I realy enjoyed learning about customer needs. I also enjoyed the responsibility of creating new ticket sales programs to drive revenue to sell out our stadium.”

The minor leagues are unique in their ability to present a variety of professional experiences, exposing employees to all facets of the organization, as most teams employ minimalist staffs and have an all-hands-on-deck operational model.

“You have an opportunity to work with a variety of departments in the minors because the staff is much smaller. You really find out what areas of the business you enjoy the most,” adds Duplaga. “Then when you are presented with an opportunity to work for a pro team, when the expectations are higher, you know exactly what it will take to have success in that role.”

The jump from minor league baseball in Fort Wayne to the Portland Trailblazers isn’t the leap most people are able to make, but for Duplaga it all came down to displaying his instincts anKevin Duplagad relentless nature, and knowing what the Trailblazers wanted in their new hires.

“The Trailblazers were looking for someone that was competitive. I shared a story in my interview where I asked Subway what they were doing with the business cards in their fish bowl for their “Enter to Win” a free lunch. They told me they picked a winner and then threw the rest out. I stopped in the next day and made phone calls to every business card I received from Subway. I ended up selling four Fort Wayne Wizards season tickets behind home plate.”

Having a story that like that to tell leaves a lasting impression with employers and led to Duplaga’s jump to Portland. The Wilmington College graduate spent three years as a Group Sales Representative with the Trailblazers before leaving the Northwest and heading Southeast to Miami to act as their Group Sales Manager.

In just a few short years after graduating Duplaga not only rose quickly up the professional ranks, but also relocated numerous times. Relocation is an undeniable truth of working in the sports industry, you are often forced to move to improve your career standings, a willingness to do so matters.

Duplaga’s first year with the HEAT was 2008, otherwise known as the “Pre-LeBron” era, where the team finished 15th in the East and well out of the playoff race. In the game of high-stakes sales careers, working for a team that loses isn’t a rationale for decreased performance.

“I have learned in this business that you will never control team performance. However, you can control what we believe in, how we behave as a sales team, and you can control the outcome we all work to achieve.

“Ticket Sales is all about building strong relationships. When your team is winning, if you have strong relationships built, your results will grow quickly. When you are winning you attempt to maximize all revenue opportunities. When your team is not having the success that you would like it’s even more important that you are teaching a repeatable sales process to your sales team so each individual sales person gains confidence in their sales ability to close business. Winning or losing should not affect your sales process. You have to compete on daily basis to improve your sales results regardless of the demand situation.”

With the HEAT, Duplaga has entered “The Management Zone” where hiring, training and creating a culture is a large part of his personal success metrics. Hiring is the most important task for any manager, bringing in the right people comes down to knowing what you want, and what you expect.

“I look for people with relentless effort, competitiveness, and a real self-starter. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you have a group of people that share an uncommon commHeatitment with each other and also an uncommon commitment to the work it takes to reach the team goal.”

Sales teams comprise the largest singular department of any professional sports team, because these roles directly relate to operational revenue. Without a fully functioning sales team, the rest of the organization suffers.

But even with the vast opportunities sales career offer, finding the right people, those who are able to survive and thrive, is still a challenge to find and teach.

“Sales is a skill that you can learn,” believes Duplaga. “The people that choose to make the commitment to learn the sales process typically thrive. The people that love daily competition also thrive in sales. I think people entering the industry may not understand the commitment to the actual work it takes to be successful in sales. You are initially setting up face to face meetings and making outbound phone calls to prospects.

“People want success immediately. It takes work and you have to be skillful to build your customer base.”

But once you do, the sky is the limit.

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INTERVIEW: Sam Cole- Fmr, Director, Corporate Partnerships – New Orleans Pelicans

Inside the World of Corporate Sponsorship in Sports

By: Brian Clapp, Director of Content, WorkInSports.com

In the world of sports sales, being a smooth-talking, charismatic speaker with glowing white teeth, isn’t enough to close the deal. Professional sales jobs, not the person coming to your door or trying to get your attention in the mall, is a highly skilled art form.

According to the Harvard Business Review, a good salesperson must hve two qualities: empathy and ego drive.

Empathy, the ability to feel as someone else does, allows a salesperson to change their approach as they learn more about client needs, staying agile and adjusting, instead of sticking with a singular approach which may or may not work.

Ego drive is a personal need, a deeply rooted feeling that the salesperson needs to make this transaction happen and the client is their conduit for doing so.

“Within the sports industry, I believe a lot of the failure for people to succeed in sales jobs, is attributed to the fact our jobs aren’t as easy as people think they are,” says Sam Cole, Director of Corporate Partnerships for the New Orleans Pelicans.

“Despite what people think, our phones are not ringing off the hook with companies begging us to take their money. Even the most successful teams and properties don’t see that.”

In the world of corporate partnerships, the qualities needed to be successful are even more specific and requires an even greater knowledge of business metrics, projections and educating the client – which takes time.SKC

“Sponsorship sales is not an easy concept to grasp,” concludes Cole. “The benefits of sponsorship are often ambiguous and intangible and not something that is always easily communicated, and I think a lot of sales people who don’t find success have trouble understanding that.

“The two attributes that I have found to be the most helpful to me are patience and persistence.  Sponsorship deals hardly ever come together on a property’s timeline.  Inevitably it takes way longer to pull it all together, and I have seen many deals fail when a salesperson became impatient and pushed for an answer, or decided to stop pursuing a prospect because they were dragging their feet.”

 

Contrary to popular belief, sales don’t necessarily get easier in sports based on how successful the team you represent is on the court or field. Relying on team success to achieve your own personal goals is not permissible.

“Having teams that are on the rise helps with the conversation and sometimes makes it easier to get someone to return your call, but it doesn’t always guarantee a sale. To a certain extent you have to be careful going down that road as we have no control on what happens on the field or court. It becomes more important to sell the value of partnering with a sports team regardless of the record.”

For example, a team like the Detroit Lions hasn’t made the NFL playoffs since 1957, they can’t sell sponsors on the concept of being aligned with a winner. Instead, they sell the experience of the NFL, the ability to reach a passionate audience whose loyalty isn’t swayed by the wins and losses and develop programs that benefit the client no matter the on-field results.

“Each deal has its own formula for success and you have to take in account so many factors to make it work, budget, timing, objectives. More often than not the budget isn’t big sam coleenough to fit the objectives and finding a program that will work is challenging, but very rewarding when you can develop something that works for everyone,” says the University of Florida grad.

No matter how challenging the sales world can be, even for a seasoned veteran like Cole who has worked in sales for teams in all four major sports leagues and Daytona International Speedway, at the end of the day, sales is sales.

“The process is essentially the same in our business, but what is more important is having to learn and understand the market you are selling and the product.  Every market is different and reacts to a sports property differently, and each sports property has its own target audience and it’s important to understand that audience so you know which companies will be the best prospects.”

It all starts with knowing your client’s needs and then helping solve their puzzle with them.

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