“Working in sports is something I knew I wanted to do since high school. In college, I was simply focused on getting the education I needed to help pursue my dream. I knew I wanted to be in sports, I just didn't know what area of the industry I wanted to work in.”
“If you are planning on pursuing a career the sports industry, you need to enter the field with an open mind”, says Adam Link. In his second year as one of three Event Managers for STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Link graduated with a major in marketing from Florida State University in 1996.
While at Florida State, Adam interned and volunteered in numerous sports related areas, for organizations including the British Olympic Team and the Leon County Civic Center. “At Florida State, they have an excellent sports program. Although I was not enrolled in the Sports Management Masters program, I took a few of those classes. I asked the school if I could somehow work my way into a few classes. They agreed, and I was able to complete a minor in Sports Management. I don’t know how many credits it was back then, but I took six or eight classes that definitely enhanced my education. Officially however, I have a Marketing major.”
While his primary function is to be the liaison between the Los Angeles Clippers and two-time WNBA Champion Los Angeles Sparks, Adam’s job with STAPLES Center is not just limited to sports. Link says that is really just a small portion of the job.
“We have so many events here that every event gets assigned an Event Manager. Whether it is the Grammy Awards, the PAC10 Basketball Tournament, Home Depot Tennis Championships, WWE wrestling, Stars on Ice or a concert, every event gets an Event Manager. We are the direct contact for the events that we are assigned to.
When taking care of the basketball teams, Link says it is his job to get the building ready for the game based on what those teams are telling him they need. “The Clippers will go to me for everything. I get the building prepared for their games. All the different things that the team may do, like giveaways for example, we get them ready for that. Anything that is building related, they will come to me and say, I need this done. If it means having tables set up on the concourse, I make sure that happens.”
Prior to working for the STAPLES Center, Link spent three years in ticket sales for the Phoenix Coyotes and one year in marketing with the Phoenix-based Harlem Globetrotters. Adam just celebrated his two-year anniversary with STAPLES Center.
Adam reinforced his feelings of being open minded if you want to “Work in Sports”.
“There are so many organizations in the sports industry, from college to amateur to professional sports, and so many different roles. There is such a great diversity in job descriptions from organization to organization that it requires you to have an open mind and not limit yourself to one mindset”.
Internships and volunteering are the keys to getting to the people you need to know in an effort to advance yourself. “Everybody says it is who you know, and to a point, it is, but you have to meet these people. If your father knows the CEO of the Chicago Bulls, that’s great. But most people do not start with these connections. It is important to go out and create your own network in the industry. A year down the road you are going to run into someone you worked with or worked for that could provide you with your next opportunity.
Last but not least, try everything. “When you are in high school or college and there is a local tournament, anything that is going on that you may be interested in, volunteer or intern. Just find a way to get involved. By starting in high school as a volunteer for events, you’ll see more options that are available. This is the first step on your career path”.