With a major in finance and international management, you might wonder how Joe Levy ended up as a Vice President of Business Development for the Phoenix Coyotes. “I started with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1988, which was actually the season before their first game,” said Levy. “I started 16 months before they ever played a game. I was an account executive selling tickets.”
Joe was lucky to land the position he did. “I had just sent my resume in along with everyone else when it was announced that there was going to be an expansion (basketball) team in Minneapolis. I found out after I got the job there, 15 of us (were) hired on that original staff. There were over 1500 unsolicited resumes, so it was kind of like winning the lottery.”
After two years as the director of retail operations for the Timberwolves, Levy moved to Denver, Colorado and spent five years as director of ticket sales for the Denver Nuggets NBA team. He also took over the same position for the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL after they relocated from Quebec.
Levy did not always have his sights set on working in professional sports. “I loved sports, but had no idea what it really took to help run a professional sports team. So in that regard, I cannot say I saw myself doing it; but people always say, do something you love, so that was certainly the magnet towards me working in sports.”
At the time of the interview, Levy was overseeing ticket sales, ticket operations, suite sales and retail operations for the Coyotes’ web site. Not any one day was exactly like the day before. “One of the things that I love most about my job is that there are no typical days. Every day is a little bit different and every day the issues change. Some days I may concentrate more on ticket sales, other days I may concentrate more on suite sales.”
Another primary part of the job is making himself available to anyone who may need his assistance. “A lot of my day is making myself available to the entire staff to help bring a lot of the marketing and sales pieces together,” said Levy. “I spend a lot of time at my desk having people go through the revolving door so to speak. People come in and I help them with the various issues that they are working on. I would say that a good part of my day is being a resource to other staff members.”
Focusing on finance and management in college did not exactly prepare Levy for his current job, but he still uses that knowledge. “I love having the financial background. Even though I am a marketing and sales guy, I still use numbers all the time, whether that be in budgeting or ticket pricing. So it is great to have that financial background to assist in my marketing and sales issues.”
“Working in Sports” is not necessarily easy, and after changing his living location three times in an eight year span, Levy says one of the requirements is that you be flexible.
In addition, be prepared to work hard in a competitive environment. An internship will speak volumes about your character and dedication. “If you are able to volunteer your time to get your foot in the door, then that is the way to go,” said Levy. “Every professional sports team, both major and minor league, get flooded each year with hundreds and hundreds of resumes from people who want to get paid for utilizing their skills with the team.”
Because there is such a huge supply of people out there who want to “Work in Sports”, and job supply is so limited, Levy says it will stand out on your resume. “If you can afford to go to a team and say, I want to volunteer ex-number of months of my time and this is what I can do for you, that is going to be very well received and should be highlighted on your resume when you want to get paid for doing it.”