#MySportsBizStart - Tyler Marcotte: "It was a hobby, now it's a lifestyle"
by tyler marcotte - member experience executive, boston celtics | July 25, 2019
For our fifth-grade yearbook I was asked “What do I want to be when I grow up?” Like many kids, I wanted to be a professional baseball player. Growing up in a small Massachusetts town, I dreamt of playing for the Boston Red Sox. Throughout my childhood, sports was my passion and I was willing to do anything to be around it. What once was a hobby and passion is now part of an everyday lifestyle. Looking back, it’s been quite a journey. I still wake up every day with a sense of gratitude and feel blessed that I get to do something I’m passionate about. However, I never forget what it took to get to this point and the lessons I learned along the way. I want to share those with all of you:
Lesson #1: Be a team player and offer to help in ways that benefit both you and others around you
After my sophomore year at Bridgewater State University, I started looking for internships. There was one for a summer college baseball team in my hometown of Plymouth, and it was the perfect fit. I remember my first job was dropping off sponsorship gift bags to local businesses and talking to the owners about the upcoming season. After just the first day, I was hooked on the sports business and couldn’t wait to start this journey. During games I helped with concessions, picked up postgame meals for the players and retrieved the gameday signs that were scattered throughout town after the games.
Lesson #2: Internships are an ideal starting point
After the season ended, I wanted to return for another summer and expand my role. After meeting with the General Manager, he appointed me as the Internship Coordinator. I networked with fellow college students and attended job fairs promoting the internship program. I also assisted with the Community Relations team where I got to bring players to meet and greets, baseball camps and I also drove them during the Fourth of July parade. After finishing two summers with the team, I went into my senior year with the goal of attaining a part-time, or even full-time role, with a sports organization.
Lesson #3: The sports industry is a close-knit network. Get your name out there
I applied for a full-time role with the Pawtucket Red Sox but had another semester of school remaining. Instead they offered me a part-time position as a sales representative. During games, I was stationed at the Fan Center handling customer service inquiries, sponsorship gift pickups and assisting with the meet and greet appearances. I worked a limited number of hours each week so in my spare time I connected with other people in the sports industry. I vividly remember one conversation I had with someone who attended the same school I did, who also interned with the PawSox and now worked for the Boston Celtics. We talked about his journey in sports and I shared some of my career ambitions. That wouldn't be the last time we spoke...
Lesson #4: Don’t sell yourself short. Understand the value you bring
The season finished and I didn’t want my employment to end so I found ways to remain active during the offseason. I assisted the team store in processing orders and organized merchandise inventory for next season. I also conducted research projects on their sales packages compared to other minor league teams. I even created a full-time position and presented the job description to the General Manager. Despite all these efforts and wanting a full-time role, it didn’t work out and it was time to move-on.
Lesson #5: Have an open mind when looking for opportunities in sports. Be willing to relocate
Over the course of three months, I applied to 78 job openings, interviewed for 18 of them and had in-person meetings with 5 teams. Throughout the process, I participated in every type of interview you can think of; phone, skype, individual and even group interviews. I flew to Texas, Arizona and New York and never in a million years did I think about venturing outside of New England. But I wanted to find that next opportunity to continue my career in sports.
Lesson #6: Sometimes you need to take risks to get to where you want to be
After going through this process, only one team offered me a full-time position. I accepted an Inside Sales role with the Frisco RoughRiders. I moved 1,700 miles away from my family and was living on my own in unfamiliar territory. I remember after making my decision, people thought I was making a mistake. They didn’t think I’d last long. On my first day in Texas I remember going to the grocery store. I got stopped by a cop for making a three-point turn on a one-way street (thankfully he gave me a warning). After that, I remember thinking what did I get myself into?
Lesson #7: Be ready to work long hours if you want to stand out
In Inside Sales, I made 80-100 calls a day selling mostly flex plans and partial season tickets. I also had game night duties where I handed out programs, pulled tarp, set up hospitality and suite areas before the game and helped out in the box office. There were no restrictions on my work hours and because of that, I did whatever I could to make the most of my time. After the first homestand, I began to understand and embrace the grind of the sports business. About halfway through my first season, I was promoted to a group sales role where I focused on selling group fan experience packages, hospitality areas and luxury suites.
Lesson #8: Maintain a healthy work-life balance
I really enjoyed the first few years in sports. I was able to work at the ballpark, interact with the fans and watch some of the games too! Work was going great, but personally I was struggling. I became homesick and was only able to see my family a couple times a year. I gained 40 pounds in two years and wasn’t taking care of myself. I felt mentally fatigued and was constantly second-guessing myself and what I was doing. It was as if I was living two lives, one at work, and one outside of it.
Lesson #9: Stay in contact with your network. You never know what might happen down the road
After two seasons with the RoughRiders, I was determined to take my career to the next level and get closer to home. There was a job opening with the Boston Celtics in their Service and Retention Department. I reached out to the Director who happened to be the same person I connected with a few years back.
Lesson #10: Always remember “your why” in sports. Let it drive you
After nearly two years in Texas and three seasons in Minor League Baseball, I was ready to transition to the NBA and work for a team I had personal ties to, the Boston Celtics. My dad was a season ticket member. Our seats were right next to the players’ tunnel and I remember some of the events and experiences we got to do together when we were younger. I remember attending a private documentary screening of a movie and meeting Paul Pierce. I remember my brother going onto the court after a game and shooting hoops with Kendrick Perkins. I remember what the postseason atmosphere was like in the arena with 18,000 fans waving their green towels. Those moments I will cherish forever and I’m grateful for the position I’m in because now I get to help create similar memories for other season ticket members.
Looking back on my sports career thus far, there are many lessons I’ve learned, and some I’ve yet to discover. Many of these lessons were shared with me and they may seem cliché to you. However, once you have these experiences yourself, then you will understand how important they are and how they can impact both your personal and professional growth. It’s an honor and privilege to work in this industry and I’m grateful for the experiences and relationships I’ve built thus far. I’m excited for the road ahead and thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope it was helpful and I look forward to hearing yours!
Tyler Marcotte has been in the sports industry for nearly six years. He started his career in the Collegiate Baseball League with the Plymouth Pilgrims, then he spent three years in Minor League Baseball with the Roughriders and Pawtucket Red Sox. He’s now working in the NBA as a Member Experience Executive with the Boston Celtics. He is also a Clubhouse Mentor and he’s more than happy to network with current and aspiring sports industry professionals. You can become a Clubhouse Pro and connect with Tyler here.