Q & A with Amy Miller, Senior Marketing Coordinator for the Tampa Bay Rays

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Amy Miller is a Sr. Marketing Coordinator with the Tampa Bay Rays. She has been working with the Rays since October 2010 and is involved in every step of the advertising process from media placement to creative design. Amy received her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and her MBA from Georgetown University.

GSABR: How did you get your start in sports? How did that lead you to your current job with the Rays?

Amy: When I was at Georgetown getting my MBA, I did an internship over the summer with FedEx in Memphis. I worked in marketing there any got to work on some of their sports initiatives including the FedExCup, NASCAR and the NFL. They needed help the following season at FedExField, so they hired me to work there during the 2008 season while I completed my final year at Georgetown. After graduation, I took an internship with the Tampa Bay Rays. I was over-qualified for it, but I hoped it would help me break into the tough world of marketing for an MLB team and it worked. A position opened with the Rays, which I was able to get in 2010. I’m from Tampa and am a Rays fan, so this was my ideal place to work.

GSABR: What education and experience should people have to break into and be successful in sports marketing? How has your Georgetown MBA helped you?

Amy: An MBA is not required in sports marketing, though it is always a great thing to have. Several of my co-workers have MBAs and I think it helps with career progression. Having an MBA gives people more of a strategic mind, which is always useful. Having a degree in Sports Management is also not a requirement. I like to see people with regular marketing degrees who show that they have a passion not just for sports, but for marketing specifically as well.

GSABR: What are your day-to-day and seasonal responsibilities? What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your job?

Amy: One of my primary responsibilities is to work with our media buyers placing our advertising and to work with the stations and other media outlets on various promotions. My first job after college was as a Media Buyer, so I enjoy that aspect of my job – deciding which stations, publications, etc. to use along with when we should be advertising and to whom. We also do several post-game concerts. This year, we did four “adult” concerts and three for kids. I work with the tour manager and production manager for each band along with our own production team to prepare everything needed for the concerts.

It may sound corny, but it’s true – the most rewarding part of my job is seeing all the smiles on the faces of kids of all ages. Sometimes you see the kids (or adults!) get their giveaway and they will start jumping up and down. Baseball is such an exciting game – especially right now for us in the middle of the playoff hunt – and I just love to see people letting loose and enjoying the game and all our ballpark has to offer. We’re helping to create memories that our fans will remember for a long, long time.

GSABR: How are the Rays marketing efforts different from other teams due to being in such a small market and historically struggling with attendance? What skills are necessary to perform well in this unique situation?

Amy: We are a very unique market. We have an old ballpark located in downtown St. Petersburg, about a 30 minute drive from the center of population in the Tampa Bay market. At last check our TV ratings were 6th in baseball and we see Rays gear everywhere we go, but it’s tough for people to get to the games. This does give us the opportunity to come up with the fun giveaways and concerts that we think will get people to make that drive over. We’re very proud that our giveaways are regularly rated some of the best in MLB and we are at the forefront of the post-game concert scene in MLB. It’s exciting on giveaway nights to see a long line of people waiting to get inside to get their item. The concerts have allowed us to reach into new markets that we may not have hit with just the baseball game.

GSABR: What kinds of students would enjoy sports marketing and media, either with a pro team or a corporate partner? What would you recommend they do to best position themselves for those opportunities?

Amy: Obviously, it certainly helps to be a fan of the sport when you go to work for a team. Especially with baseball. We have 81 home games that are played at night and on the weekends, so it’s long hours. Depending on your department and schedule, you can regularly put in 14 hour days. I really feel that I can’t complain though since during those long days a lot of my extra time spent working consists of hosting people and watching baseball games. Internships are key when it comes to sports. You have to put in the time when you’re young. The internships don’t all have to be in sports, but for me I do like to see that you’ve at least worked in sports at some point to show you have a passion for them and you understand the hours. I was told that I shouldn’t bother trying to get into sports since it’s a tough world to break into, but I’m glad I didn’t listen to that. I absolutely love my job and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I may have originally had to take a position that I was over-qualified for, but I still believe it was a great step for me since it got me to where I am today. There are so many Georgetown alums who work in sports and everyone I talked to when I was looking for a job was so happy to talk to me and give me advice or put me in touch with someone else. Use that great Georgetown network as much as possible!

Special thanks to Amy Miller for her time and insight.

Interview by Nik Oza

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Follow Nik on Twitter: @NikOza2

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