The impact of COVID-19 from a student working in sports

by Wesley Jordan – Student at UNF and Sales Rep for THE Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp
July 14, 2020

Personally - How has this affected me?

The rapid domino effect of worldwide closure took place following the outbreak of what we have come to know as Coronavirus (COVID-19). The lifestyle transition of isolation and quarantine differs greatly from balancing a full-time schedule of academics and working in Minor League Baseball Ticket Sales. As a student at the University of North Florida, pursuing a Sport Management degree with a minor in Marketing, all school activities have been changed to “online only” through the Summer semester.

What I enjoy most about this educational adjustment is that you have the ability to work ahead in school and you can also log in at any given time to complete your work. This instant accessibility has helped me find a productive balance between work and school for the newly introduced home-based lifestyle. With enhanced emphasis placed on technological efficiency, I have found online learning is still comprehensive and interactive with the use of Zoom. UNF has connected our Sport Management program with special guest speakers, providing the unique opportunity to learn from and connect with individuals across the sports world. Living in a time where so much uncertainty surrounds the future, I have found it imperative to maintain positivity on all levels.

"Creating genuine connectivity through increased communication is now more important than ever."

Personally, my focus has become directed towards family, expanding knowledge, physical health and organizing to the extreme. We are now tasked with becoming more creative than ever in order to achieve, obtain or complete things that would previously be right at our fingertips.

Professionally - How have things changed?

Working in Ticket Sales and operating the box office for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp is an opportunity I admire with an organization I am honored to be a part of. With the world of sports at an abrupt halt, the landscape has changed through this pandemic with a natural market decline amidst a still-evolving situation. Creating genuine connectivity through increased communication is now more important than ever. Working in sales, the last thing we want to do is come across as pushy rather than kindly persuasive. Reaching out to clients, fans and potential new business with key informational updates has become a significant method to initiate relevant communication while also managing your network. This communication provides the perfect opportunity to strengthen your business partnerships through meaningful contact.

From a sales perspective, we face great adversity through this rocky time. I believe prospecting is the greatest way to ensure your future success within sales. When prospecting, targeting specifics such as previous cash spent, customer type (group/individual) and account history allows you to implement this information into the creation of an effective pipeline. Using detailed information documented from your client can be a direct advantage in meeting their needs, which provide better chances at closing a deal. Building a powerful pipeline when sales and predictive revenue are accurately forecasted will allow for a more efficient sales approach and strategy. Client connection, community outreach, and content creation are ways I have directly contributed to my organization during COVID-19.

Well-calculated actions, alongside transparent communication can make a positive difference in your client relationships.

Moving forward, the willingness to work outside my job description and interjecting creativity in order to contribute to new streams of revenue are few of the various ways I plan to uphold my organizational value.

Moving Forward - What does the future look like in sports?

Working in sports, we now take on the responsibility to adapt, improvise, and implement changes contributing towards the best possible experience for all. The reality of this circumstance is that we are all impacted with no exclusion. It is important to understand that the impression we give during difficult times will remain in the memory of our communities. Providing my clientele with updates surrounding our season first-hand rather than them finding out on the news has been very well received and a great outlet for open communication.

Be sure to lead with understanding and factual information. Well-calculated actions, alongside transparent communication can make a positive difference in your client relationships. When live events resume, teams will be working to comply with new standards and guidelines not only to ensure safety but also guest satisfaction. It will be interesting to see how innovation and creativity plays a role in upholding quality, yet conforming to new accommodations.

Being a part of the sports industry during this odd time in history without sports being played is truly something special. Through hard work, we each play our own unique part in the reopening of sports when that special time arrives. With unmeasurable excitement, I eagerly look forward to this upcoming time which will certainly be remembered in history. Most importantly for the unmatched unity our beloved games provide across the entire world for so many.

Wesley Jordan is a Ticket Sales & Services Associate with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp who oversees box office operations and all ticket-related activity. Wesley is also a student at the University of North Florida, finalizing his Sport Management degree with a minor in Marketing. An extreme passion for sports and 7 years of previous sales experience have led him to this point in his career. Wesley previously worked for the PGA Tour and Mizuno & Mission (founded by Dwyane Wade & Drew Brees). Wesley is enthusiastic and goal-driven when it comes to working in the sports world, this includes the desire and willingness to connect with peers across the industry.