Zach recently started working for the Miami Dolphins in their Premium Sales department and is focused on selling the newly renovated Sun Life Stadium. Prior to working for the Dolphins, Zach attended the University of Mount Union. He was a double major in Accounting & Sport Business and graduated early to start his sport business career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He held various sales roles with the Cleveland Cavaliers and worked for the Phoenix Suns sales staff prior to joining the Dolphins. While with the Suns, Zach worked on the sponsorship deal between Local Motors and the Phoenix Suns.
1) What is your best advice for students trying to enter the sponsorship world?
I would have two pieces of advice that are equally important. The first is obvious but that is to network. Networking allows you to learn and make connections that can become valuable to you in your career if you cultivate those relationships in the correct manner. When I say networking, I don’t mean just attending conferences and collecting business cards, this is something that should be done proactively and a concerted effort is required. Reach out to people on LinkedIn giving them praise and letting them know you are interested in learning more about them and their successes. Often, people are very receptive to helping those wanting to learn. Remember the saying when networking, “If you ask for money, you get advice. If you ask for advice, you get money.”
The last piece of advice is to have a passion for business in general. Those who truly want to succeed in sponsorship will have an understanding of business that extends beyond the sports realm. Sponsorships sales and activations roles you are expected to be a strategic business advisor for your partners. The need to understand traditional business practices, especially the digital landscape has never been greater. As brands are looking for more integrated sponsorships beyond the traditional media buy, one needs to comprehend what their partners are truly trying to achieve, their KPis and then prove those goals have been achieved with data.
2) Outside of your brand, who do you think is setting the standard in corporate partnerships?
I have a lot of respect for the Fenway Sports Management group and what they are doing in the corporate sponsorship realm. They are a unique and innovative agency because their experience representing rights on the team, collegiate, athlete, international, digital and brand side allows them to have a unique perspective of the entire partnership spectrum. Not to mention they represent some of the most valuable and well respected brands in each category such as Lebron James, Red Sox, Dunkin Donuts, Liverpool FC, MLBAM and Roush Fenway Racing.
3) Who is your favourite athlete of all time?
I am going to have to go with my fellow Clevelander Lebron James. He is someone that everyone should admire for not only his athletic ability but for also his business savvy. He has done a great job building his brand in a very strategic way in which has allowed him to become a global icon. From the equity he acquired in Beats by Dre to the way he structured his current contract to capitalize on the NBA’s new TV deal to his international investment with Liverpool FC, Lebron is someone to admire on and off the court. There is no doubt he will achieve his goal of becoming a billion dollar athlete as he continues to use basketball as a platform to grow the business of Lebron.
Job: Account Manager, Premium Sales Miami Dolphins
Education: University of Mount Union
Age: 24 years old