There are different ways to achieve success in the sports industry. Claim Mark Cuban as your brother. Have an Amish-like work ethic. Possess a mind full of brilliant, creative ideas. Get a splash of luck at the right moment. But one sure way to reach your goal is to find a niche and fill it.
Dan Migala has done exactly that.
Migala is the guy who franchises – big time to small market – turn to when they need help marketing their product. He’s created The Migala Report (www.migalareport.com), which is a hub for creative ideas, tips and suggestions for teams looking to increase revenue.
Interestingly, just like many successful people, he didn’t set out to do what he is currently doing. He bounced around, soaked up valuable lessons and eventually found an untapped corner of the industry that he knew he could master.
“My background is a mix of journalism and marketing that has led to an interesting career in sports,” Migala says. “My degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism is in Broadcasting. As a college student, I had on-air positions with an ABC affiliate in Louisville, KY and an NBC affiliate in Columbia, MO.”
During his time doing TV work, Migala had a revelation: “I realized I liked television but was not passionate enough about it that I wanted to dedicate my life to it.” That’s a tough decision, especially when you consider Migala had gone to broadcasting school. He knew he’d have to basically start over.
“I left a post in television and took at $900/month job with the minor league baseball team Kane County Cougars doing anything from handling public relations, promotions, sponsorships and driving a fork lift stocking concession stands.”
A perfect lesson to all those who believe your sports-related job should be 100% glamour. Here’s an educated guy, who had a promising career in TV, driving a forklift. But Migala realized it wasn’t permanent. Just a means to an end.
Then a break. “Following the season at the Cougars, I was fortunate to find Team Marketing Report, a publishing company that reported on the best sports marketing ideas,” Migala says. Now he was getting closer to his goal.
“There, I was able to combine my first love of journalism with my new love of sports marketing,” he says. “During my tenure at Team Marketing Report, I wrote four books on sports marketing and was eventually promoted to Publisher during two stints there. In between, I took a hiatus to go work for the Chicago Bears and developed the team’s first website and received a Webby Award for Best New Sports & Entertainment Website.”
Last July, Migala left his post at Team Marketing Report and launched The Migala Report.
“The Migala Report chronicles in-depth ticket and sponsorship sales topics designed to help teams generate more revenue. In 10 months, we have subscribers in every level for sport ranging from marketing and sales executives at the major league level to college teams to minor league teams.”
Now you know his background. But what exactly does Migala do on a day-to-day basis?
“The best way to describe what I do is to be an idea scout for ticket and sponsorship sales ideas. The consistent challenge for any team marketing executive, whether they are the Los Angeles Lakers or the South Bend SilverHawks, they have the same challenge: Generate more revenue. My job is to use our contacts at all these teams and identify topics that teams are faced with and find solutions with proven ideas from other teams and consolidate these ideas into our monthly reports. The great part of the job is I get paid to learn from virtually every team marketing executive at any level. The challenge is to coordinate everyone’s schedule as these executives are very busy and always on the go.”
Not a bad way to make a living. Migala now does exactly what he wants—and he’s good at it. Sports execs from around the country contact him for his advice. A far cry from driving a forklift.
Migala says the key to reaching his level of success is this: “Be educated and don’t settle. Being educated means knowing about the issues that impact the department you are hoping to break into. If you are trying to become a ticket sales executive, know how the team sells their tickets and the challenges they face. Not settling means that you need to be patient. I see too many college grads give up on their dream of a job in sports because there is another job in another field immediately available. Be patient and a job in sports will come if you want it enough.”