Don Costante, Kansas City Royals Senior Director of Game Presentation explains his role in creating a great game day experience for fans and shares his insight on job shadowing, mastering your resume and finding you true calling in sports.
Hi everybody, I’m Brian Clapp Director of content for WorkinSports.com and this is the work in Sports podcast.
It’s Wednesday, and here in Philadelphia it’s cold, there’s two inches of fresh snow on the ground and I’m dying for spring.
You know what you do when spring feels like it’s on permanent delay --- you watch some spring training. Everything is green, the sun is out, people are smiling… ah, the thought of baseball dreaming in my head.
To be honest, spring training games are a little boring, so that idea only lasts for a bit…then you look outside and remember puxatawney phil has barely started his countdown and you are still in for a few more weeks of this white stuff.
But this isn’t eh weather channel podcast, this is the work in sports podcast and it’s spring training time, so what the heck am I dawdling on about?!
This weeks guest is Don Costante, Senior Director of Game presentation from the Kansas City Royals – a great guest, who I have to thank Cole Sales for. Cole is a member of our private facebook group, and when I asked that group who they’d like for guests, he said –Don is a must.
Cole was right, Don isn’t just an expert in the sports industry having worked in college sports, the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs and currently with the Royals – he is also uniquely passionate about helping people find their way in the sports industry.
You know you start an interview and you have a gameplan in mind, then the next thing you know you inadvertently hit on a subject that you can tell your guest is passionate about…so you lean in a bit deeper. That happened duringthis interview with Don, we started to talk about discovering your passion in sports, and how you go from being a sports fan to being on the path to a sports career and Don started to talk very enthusiastically about job shadowing, and resumes, and interviewing techniques.
Yes we talk about game presentation and working in major league baseball and all that other good stuff – but Don’s advice on finding you way…is just, uniquely awesome.
So, let’s get to it – here’s Don Costante Senior Director of Game presentation for the Kansas City Royals!
Questions for Don Costante, Kansas City Royals Senior Director of Game Presentation
1: Your career began more on the sports marketing and promotions side in college sports – you were at the University of Memphis and North Carolina State - how did you eventually find and take comfort in your current niche in game presentation?
2: That early phase of discovery can be a difficult part for the sports career minded person – I get this all the time … ‘they love sports but they don’t know what to do in sports’ – what suggestions do you have for someone to help them start figuring out what excites them?
3: You’ve hired for a lot of positions over the years, how do you pick someone out from the pile? What are you looking for?
4: Let’s talk about your specific role now – what does your game day role look like with the Kansas City Royals?
5: I had Josh Rawitch SR VP of Content and Communication for the Diamondbacks on the show a few months ago and he said – baseball is such a long season, you really have to love the sport to work in it.
You’ve worked in college sports, the NBA and MLB, do you agree that a real deep passion for the sport you work in is essential to thrive?
6: Teams differ in their approach to game presentation -- What is your preferred approach and are you allowed the freedom to be creative and try new things?
7: We have a private facebook group and I always ask that group prior to an interview if they have any questions they want me to ask – here’s one from Tommy Mazzariello, Tommy wants to know “How do Game Presentation and Live Entertainment for an MLB team differ from the NBA? Is there a different approach to your strategy for sponsorships, fan engagement, managing promo staff, in an arena vs ballpark?hh
8: Kelsey Smith wanted to know – how do you keep things fresh and creative over an 82-game season?
9: So many positions in sports have tangible metrics that can be measured and correlated with “success” – how does it work for you – what does success look like and how do you, or your superiors, measure it?
10: If someone hearing this feels like this is their inspirational moment, this interview helped them crystallize their passion and what they want to do in their life – what advice would you give them to learn and prepare during their college career for a life in game presentation and production?
1: Better championship parade – Spurs or Royals?
2: You worked in Memphis and now in Kansas City – I have a feeling you’ve had your share of ribs/barbeque – so who wins the bbq contest in your stomach?
3: How many times over your career have you hired an intern and they eventually became a full-time staffer? (What was it about them?)
4: You’ve worked in MLB and NBA – those are some long seasons – NFL season = 16 games… ever been tempted to make a jump?
5: There is something very special about spring training – things are turning green, all teams have hope, the sun is out --- what’s it like for you? Do you feel the building pressure of a season, or is this just a time to get excited
I learn a great deal from these interviews, you know what really stood out – two things, the idea of hot and cold breaks – the concept that during an NBA game you have to stay on top of the mood in the building and utilize your promotions in a manner that keeps energy high.
This job of game presentation isn’t a set it and forget it format, you are in the moment making decision based on the mood eand energy – I loved learing that.
And the other I loved was his quote that your resume should be the single best document you have ever created.
We don’t typically think of it that way – but it’s true. It’s the singular representation of how you will be evaluated by potential employers, it’s the one document you know they’ll be looking at. The may never see your cover letter or your references, or know your network of contacts …but they’ll see your resume and start judging you right away…so why not focus on making in the best possible format that you can?
Thanks again to Don – what a great perspective in the world of sports.
That’s it for this weeks expert interview – we’ll catch up again on Friday – for WorkinSports.com …I’m Brian Clapp.