FRISCO - Ever wonder what it’s like to work for a professional sports franchise? Chances are you have. While working in the sports industry is more fun than you can ever imagine but it’s work. You sacrifice nights, weekends and holidays to do a job you love.
The upside that is that your colleagues really become family. There’s nothing like working for a sports organization because you do feel like you’re a part of something greater. And, many times, you get to witness history first hand.
A Day in My FC Dallas Life shares the stories of members of the FC Dallas family: their careers, their passions and the advice they have for someone who wants a job similar to theirs.
It’s time to meet Lauren Hasley, FC Dallas’ Director of Business Development who started with FC Dallas in 2013.
Gina: How did your career path lead you to your current position with FC Dallas?
Lauren: When I was 10 years old I created a life map in school and I said then that I wanted to work in sports! This has always been the path I have pursued and the first place I looked to get plugged in was when I went to school at Kansas State. I started off by volunteering in the football department: drawing up punt charts, helping at recruiting events, organizing summer camps, etc.
This led me to an internship in the Fan Experience and Sales Department where I led the Community Engagement efforts, ran the student ticket marketing campaign and the marketing strategy for the Women’s Tennis team. Between my junior and senior years, I interned with the Houston Astros in their business development department (the first time I was introduced to sponsorship).
Fun fact: While I was at the Astros, I was one of two interns selected to help with the 2011 draft. So I was in the room when George Springer was drafted! Also I was able to announce the Astros 30th round pick, Jordan Steranka, 3rd baseman from Penn State.
After graduating from K-State I moved back down to Dallas to work with the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League as the Director of Corporate Sponsorship. This was a great opportunity to wear MANY hats and learn how to cut my teeth in the industry. A year later, Matt McInnis (then FC Dallas’ VP of Business Development) made a cold call to my office phone and pitched me on the open position at FC Dallas: Account Manager, Business Development. I told him he would have to convince me, since I knew NOTHING about the sport. So he did and I moved over to FCD.
Gina: What’s a typical day like for you on the job?
Lauren: It’s never the same which is what I LOVE about the job! Some frequent tasks I do are: research and prospecting for new clients, building creative marketing platforms for new and existing partners, pitching proposals and negotiating contracts with prospects, working with partnership marketing to ensure fulfillment on contracts, creating sales strategies, identifying new inventory for the team to sell, managing the rate card for FCD controlled assets and oversee the two Managers of Business Development.
Gina: What’s gameday like for you?
Lauren: Gamedays are all about client/prospect entertainment. I check in with everyone on-site to make sure they are having a great time. I also either show how their partnership is being activated or how we can make their brand come to life through our platform.
Gina: What’s the biggest misconception about your position?
Lauren: That we close deals on a weekly/monthly basis. Truth is that it takes months, and sometimes years, to foster these relationships to the place where they will make the investment we are seeking. An outside perspective might also say that we only sell signage or spots and dots. In reality, it is a full 360-degree marketing approach that leverages our whole platform to build authentic connections with fans.
Gina: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Lauren: I love that I get to work with clients who represent so many industries. While I am an expert in the sports activation space, I am also challenge myself to understand different business models and what moves the needle for my clients’ companies. Because of this need to understand a broader landscape, I find that I am more aware of the economy as a whole.
Gina: What do you enjoy most about working for FC Dallas?
Lauren: The family atmosphere! In sports you spend unbelievable hours around your co-workers, and my favorite thing about working for FC Dallas is that my co-workers have become my family. That is a culture started at the top with the Hunts (Dan Hunt and Clark Hunt). We win as a family and push ahead as a family when the going gets tough. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by incredible people day-in and day-out that challenge and encourage me to be better!
Gina: What do you like to do when you’re not working? (I love the fact that you’re training for the Ironman):
Lauren: You hit the nail on the head. When I am not working, I am training! An average week for me includes about four hours of swimming, seven hours of biking, five hours of running, and two hours of strength training.
I raced in my third full Ironman event just last week on November 19th in Tempe, Arizona and it was awesome! Not the way that I thought it would play out (the wind was absolutely brutal on the bike - 25mph gusts in the middle of the desert), but the result was what I wanted. 12:43:52 was my final time, which is a 15-minute personal record for me. I’ve spent a lot of effort this year working on my run, and I was thrilled with how that part of the race came together. I felt strong getting off the bike and transitioning to the run. My coach was also out there, and he kept telling me how many of the people in my age group were dropping, and I just picked them off one-by-one. I ended up 12th out of 41 in my age group.
I have also completed four half-Ironman. My goal is to qualify for the Ironman World Championship in the next two years before I jump to the 30-34 age group.
Also in my free time, I volunteer in the junior high ministry at Watermark Church and serve on the steering committee for Vogel Alcove, the Heart of Dallas YP board, and K-State Texans Alumni board.
Gina: What advice do you have for someone who wants to work in your industry?
Lauren: There is no substitute for hard work! If you are an intern, volunteer for every opportunity you can. Be the first to put your name in the hat and show that you want to be there. If you are just starting out, come early and stay late. Success is not built overnight. Its repetition and continual pursuit of growth. The thing with sports is that there are a million people lining up to have the job. You have to show that you are different!
Great advice for anyone interested in working in sports. Interested in joining the FC Dallas family? Apply online HERE.