Tomorrow, millions of Super Bowl viewers will return to day jobs that have nothing to do with athletic pursuits. But for Bethesda resident Ricky Mattei, 24, every workday is sports-related.
In January, Mattei began working as an account executive for Washington’s professional men’s soccer team, D.C. United, for which his job focuses on persuading more Hispanic fans to attend games. “I said I’d never go into sales, but I love it,” he said.
Sports management is a $221 billion industry, up from $182.8 billion in 1999, according to the Charlotte-based Sports Business Journal. The field includes advertising, endorsements, facility construction, apparel, broadcast rights, concessions, ticket sales, community recreation programs and much more.
But insiders caution that being an athlete or avid sports fan doesn’t automatically mean you are cut out for employment in the sports world. “There’s a naive sex appeal sometimes among people who read the sports section or watch ESPN SportsCenter three times a day and think that because they know players’ batting averages they should be working in sports,” said Jeff Yocom, vice president for executive search and placement of the Tualatin, Ore., sports-marketing firm Game Face Inc. “At the end of the day, sports is a business,” Yocom said.