The 2002 Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden was a defining moment in my life and career in sports. My old man, an NYPD lieutenant, was selected as the honorary captain for the UConn Men’s Basketball team and he got to sit at the end of the bench. My brother and I had tickets behind the bench, with food and beverage delivered right to our seats! At the time, it was an incredible experience that I would carry with me forever. In that moment, watching the coaches and players interact, the intensity on the bench at every time out... I thought I wanted to coach basketball (5’8 wasn’t going to cut it without a jump shot).
Who would’ve known some of the things at that game would come back around - the experience of being so close to the action, the all-inclusive nature of the seats, and the high five from Caron Butler! The I/MY statements were endless, and I didn’t even know it!
It’s moments like this that make you fall in love with sports, but my sports story is how I fell in love with the business.
Naturally, without an official visit – and acceptance letters from many of the schools in the Big East, I decided to attend UConn. I wanted to be a sports agent and decided that I should major in History/Poli Sci so I could go to law school. I tried to be as involved as I could in college, from Intramural sports, to becoming the president of my fraternity.
I ended up emailing the head manager of UConn’s Basketball team and there happened to be a spot open, so I became a student manager of the National Champion Huskies, including a trip to the Final Four I’ll never forget.
While being a manager was incredible, my roommate told me about an opportunity with UConn Game Day Marketing – where I was able to go behind the scenes, assist with ticket sales, in-game promotions etc. I realized in this job that there were other avenues in sports that were appealing. I graduated in 2015 a 2X National Champion with no real answer for what I would do next.
My first job
I started working for a company called Main Street Hub – a startup social media marketing platform for small businesses. Here I worked with dozens of sales professionals who helped me understand the hustle and the tough skin needed to work in sales. It was a fun, vibrant atmosphere. but I knew I wanted to ultimately get into sports.
If there’s one thing I can say that will help people break into such a crowded field, it is asking for help and finding a mentor that understands the business. My mentor introduced me to a few teams and explained to me what the grind would be like and how important it was to be ready to work.
After many interviews, I finally got my shot with the Philadelphia 76ers and Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment.
What it was like when I started
I remember telling my friends and family that I was going to the 76ers and they weren’t as excited as I was... since “Trust the Process” was still a process.
There are a lot of ways that you can learn to be a good seller, but the 76ers organization taught me how to be an adult! No joke, I remember wearing big suits and living in a small apartment in Philly and I wasn’t even sure if I would make enough money to pay my bills. We were the largest sales team in pro sports, and the competition, the grind and the closing of deals were some of the most enjoyable times I’ve had in sports. Here are some of the things I learned in my first year:
Sales Process – How important it is to understand how the sales and buying process works.
My Personal Brand / How to be a Professional – The impact it can have on your success.
The Importance of People – People first.
Here’s one that stands out – I have worked with some of the best people in the industry, and a key to some of the success I’ve had is having others to keep you motivated & mentors/leaders you believe in.
- My inside sales class was filled with a group of guys that all wanted to be great, and we’ve remained best friends until this day. Build relationships and keep them!
This idea of “people” continues to come up for me, but this is where it’s key.
After seven months with the 76ers inside sales team, I had the opportunity to continue to work with the HBSE Brand and join the New Jersey Devils. I had never watched or enjoyed hockey, but I believed in the leadership team and it was critical to understanding the business of sports.
I was able to refine my B2B sales skills there because I didn’t focus on the sport or the wins and losses. I was able to focus on the experience for clients and for fans, and the benefits they could utilize throughout the year.
Fast forward to today – I decided to take a role with the Miami Dolphins & Hard Rock Stadium as the opportunity to work for a world class stadium with international events has given me the chance to expand my skill set even more, and learn from one of the best suite sellers in the industry, Ron Hecht. I hope to continue to grow in my current role as we build this into the best global destination in America.
Things that have helped me along the way
People – There are 5-7 folks in the industry who I wouldn’t make a decision without consulting first. But the people who I have learned the most from have been my peers. When in inside sales, there was a point when the season was coming to the end and I wasn’t sure where to capitalize on revenue. I ended up sitting for coffee with every Rep ahead of me on the leaderboard, as well as some of the Account Executives. I realized that everyone has something they’re good at and everyone can offer you something new that you can learn.
Patience – I have constantly struggled with the balance between ambition and impatience, one thing I can always look back on is a conversation I had with my old manager Ted Glick – he told me to be the best in my current role and opportunities will find me. Wish he told me that earlier!
Personality – This has worked for me more than anything else - I have always tried to be true to myself and let my personality shine during in-person meetings and phone calls. A lot of my colleagues will tell you they’ve never seen me in a bad mood. I try and pride myself on being the best version of Terrence each day.
My final piece of advice is Pinch Yourself – Sports is the most exciting industry in the world to work in, not only for the relationships but for the experiences you get to have. I’ve been able to work at NBA playoff games, the Stanley Cup playoffs, sold out arenas, and I’ve been on countless professional fields, the Miami Open court, and will be there for this upcoming Super Bowl. All in just the last three years! Sometimes you have to sit back and realize how special your job truly is to fully appreciate it. That appreciation and gratitude can carry you through on those days when the phone feels heavy. Hope you enjoyed my article and best of luck!
Terrence Brown is an Account Manager in Premium Sales at the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium. A graduate of UCONN in 2015, he's been in the sports industry for more than four years and has had success selling with the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils, and now Miami Dolphins. He's always open to giving back to help others and he has made himself available to you as a mentor here in theClubhouse! You can connect with Terrence for a call here.