Sports Career Spotlight

We've been featuring executives from the sports industry since 2001. Naturally, some of these executives have moved onward and upward in their sports careers. We believe these profiles remain relevant and valuable because they highlight the hard work, dedication, brilliant successes, and lessons learned in a variety of career paths through the sports industry.

Jeff Eccleston

Jeff Eccleston, Vice President and Group Director

Sponsorship Research International


Research exec helped company come back from the brink.

Age: 36
New title: Vice President and Group Director, Sponsorship Research International
First job: Landscaping back in high school
College education: Bachelor’s degree in marketing, Penn State University
Resides: New Canaan, Conn.
Grew up: Big Flats, N.Y.
Executive most admired: Bill Gates
Brand most admired: Nike
Favorite vacation spot: Chatham, Mass.
Last book read: “Big Joe’s Trailer Truck” by Joe Mathieu, to the kids
Last movie seen: “Kung Fu Panda”
Favorite movie: “Caddyshack” and “Slap Shot”
Favorite musician: Billy Joel

What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
It was probably back in late 1999 when I took the job with SRI. I had no idea that less than a year later their parent company [ISL Worldwide] would go bankrupt.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
When SRI’s parent company went bankrupt, I remember we were all called into a conference room, and via global conference call, we were all told they were closing the doors immediately, so basically no notice. So a colleague of mine and I were able to keep the SRI business going and make it into the company that it is today.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
Having experience in other industries [that] can be applied and brought to this industry is extremely important. Also, there is no substitute for hard work.

What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
The story that I’m watching, certainly in my world, is from an ROI perspective, and watching the research techniques that we are developing … [that] are evolving at a very rapid pace. Lots of people are talking about ROI and are really getting to a point where we have techniques and process that can deliver on that need.

What is the one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
Just the real commitment to measurement, really understanding what is driving impact. As an industry everyone is talking about it, but I would still like to see us become much more proactive in evaluating versus being really reactive on the back end.

How is the importance of media measurement in the current recession changed?
The importance of media measurement is waning a bit. … Brands are becoming much more focused on not only just media measurement, but quantifying how the activities have built their brands in terms of building brand equity. So media measurement is really only one small component.

This career spotlight is courtesy of the SportsBusiness Journal. CLICK HERE to visit their official website.

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