Headline Sports Business

RECAP: Inaugural Carolina Sport Business & Fitness Expo

The following recap was written by Belmont University Law School student and aspiring sports/entertainment agent Mark J. Burns.

The purpose of the Carolina Sport Business & Fitness Expo is to provide students the opportunity to gain insight and internships in the sports/fitness industry.
The purpose of the Carolina Sport Business & Fitness Expo is to provide students the opportunity to gain insight and internships in the sports/fitness industry.

This past weekend, the Carolina Sport Business Club hosted its first annual Carolina Sport Business and Fitness Expo (CSFE).  It was actually the first of four sports business conferences and career fairs on my plate this semester, and it surely did not disappoint.  Roughly 120-plus aspiring sports business professionals attended the event along with 16 sports organizations that were part of the career fair, including Wasserman Media Group, the United States Olympic Committee, Carolina Hurricanes, and others.

“I could not be any more proud about how well the day went,” said Sarah Pellegrino, President of CSFE.  “When you picture an event in your head for so long and then see it play out, that’s just the best feeling.  The attendees were very attentive, and everyone seemed to get a lot out of CSFE.  I feel confident that this will be an event to stay at Carolina for years to come — a complete group effort all the way through.”

Added David Fox, Co-President of CSFE: “It all started just as an idea from (Leverage Agency CEO) Ben Sturner back in January and then Sarah kind of took it and ran with it.  She brought me on board to help her out as her right hand man.  We have had a great Executive Board and Core Committee to help us out along the way.  It has taken a lot of work, phone calls, emails, planning, but I could not have dreamed of a more successful conference.  The energy everyone brought, the questions with the speakers, the great comments from the panelists, the interactions going on at the career fair — it was a great day.”

The three panels — College Athletics/Recreation, Fitness Industry, and Professional Sports — along with the Keynote Speaker, Tar Heel alum and former NBA player, Phil Ford, all offered their own unique take on the sports industry.

Below are 15 of the best takeaways, both advice-related and industry-related, from the inaugural event on the campus of North Carolina.

  1. Love the business of sport; do not just love sport.
  2. The fitness industry is growing at a rapid rate; there are a lot of global opportunities, especially for those individuals who can speak a foreign language.
  3. Professional sports is a more cut-throat industry versus college sports, which is more focused on the educational model and student-athletes.
  4. After you graduate, your sports business education does not end. You have to be a constant learner and always strive to be better.
  5. Attention-to-detail, solid communication skills, and being a good listener apply to all aspects of the sports industry.
  6. It is extremely important to be diverse when working in the minor leagues; when you are asked to perform a task, do it better than anyone else would have.
  7. For females: be knowledgeable about your product and your job — you will constantly be tested, even by your own fans if you work for a team.
  8. Business classes + writing classes = essential to working in sports.
  9. Strong work ethic, high integrity, and being relatable = ALL intangibles you need in the sports industry.
  10. It is OK for you to struggle coming out of your undergraduate/graduate career.
  11. Follow your dreams, get out of your comfort zone, and challenge yourself.
  12. ‘Must’ reads for those in the sports industry: Little Red Book of Selling and Little Red Book of Sales Answers.
  13. There is no traditional way to break into the sports industry; the sports world is built on developing lasting relationships.
  14. There are a growing number of jobs in the data analytics niche of the sports industry.
  15. Curiosity + initiative = look for ways to add value, make an impact, and then, take action.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.