Name: Ron Seaver
Current Job Title: Founder
Company Name: The National Sports Forum
First sports job: Telemarketing (Ticket Sales) for the San Diego State Aztecs
College education: Bachelor of Science, Television/Radio & Advertising, Syracuse University
Brand most admired: The Walt Disney Company
Tell us a little about your current position and your career path.
I was one of those guys that graduated college not having ANY idea about what I wanted to do “…when I grew up”. As a result, I bounced around right out of school – with eight different jobs in my first five years. I started working in sports selling tickets for the SDSU Aztec football team in 1983, moving on to the San Diego Padres (doing the same thing) later that year. In 1984, I moved into Promotions and Sponsorship for the Padres … and instantly loved it. Spent eight seasons with the Padres before jumping over to the agency side in 2001. After three years as VP at Fantastic Sports Promotions – started my own agency, (Seaver Marketing Group) in January 1994 – which owns and operates the National Sports Forum. And we’ve been doing that ever since.
How does working in sports differ from working in other industries?
While we’re admittedly not curing cancer, we’re in an industry that brings a tremendous amount of enjoyment to literally millions of people on a daily basis. I love the fact that every day is different – and that our world is constantly in motion.
What advice would you give to students looking to make sports their career?
My advice to students getting out of school is to not focus so much on finding the money – but rather to focus instead on finding a mentor. I know – money’s important, but money comes …and money goes. However the wisdom and insight to be gained from having a boss that teaches you, guides you – will create wealth for the rest of your career. I was one of the lucky ones – I had a great mentor, and I continue to benefit to this very day.
What advice would you give to people in established careers trying to make the transition into sports?
Be willing to do whatever you have to in order to get your foot in the door. The supply of “interested talent” wanting to get into the sports industry grows by the day – and the competition for positions is intense. So if you really want to break in – you need to be willing to do whatever needs to be done to make yourself an asset from the get-go.
We all know that working in sports generally involves long hours. What are the perks that offset this?
My sports career has been spent working either in the team industry, or around team industry folks (…which is what I do now), and one of my favorite perks has to be the outstanding relationships I’ve enjoyed with folks throughout our industry. It’s very much like a family where we tend to look out for one another – which is something I had not ever experienced in any other industry I’ve worked in.
When hiring, what major traits do you look for in a candidate?
There’s an expression that says: “Attitude is Everything” – and that’s exactly what I’m looking for when I sit down to interview an applicant for an opening here at the Forum. The candidate that comes in here eager to learn, eager to do whatever needs to be done to help the company succeed – that person gets my attention. Another thing that appeals to me is someone that possesses a “results-oriented” track record. I don’t care so much what it is they’ve done (…in their previous positions), but rather “…what they did with what they had”. Did you make a tangible, measurable difference in your previous positions – and if so, are you prepared to be able to tell me about it?
Where do you see hiring in the sports industry heading in the next 3 years?
Unfortunately, I don’t see anything going on that tells me it’s going to get any easier to get a job in this industry ~ so folks coming in need to be prepared, need to be willing, need to be flexible to do whatever is necessary to get into …and stay in … the industry. Keep your antenna up to different opportunities going on out there – and present yourself as a “problem solver” – not as a potential employee.