Finding Early Success in Your Sports Career with Chris Valente, Director of Sales Fenway Sports

Chris Valente Director of Sales for Fenway Sports Management joins the podcast to discuss what it's really like to work in sports sales and what people should expect, honestly, when they start their career in the sports industry

Hi everybody I’m Brian Clapp Director of Content for and this is the Work in Sports podcast…

So what should I do?

This is a question I get a lot. People email in or message me on linked in with a broad question of … I want to work in sports what should I do? I love sports I know everything about sports – what should I do?

I hate to burst your bubble – but I can’t answer that. No one can answer that question but you. And do you know why? Because you aren’t a formula with a mathematical equation and a black and white answer.finding early success in your sports career

You have hopes and fears and dreams and ideas that enthuse you…and I don’t know any of them. No one does.

I get frustrated, when people try to tell the world you need to have a morning routine exactly like the top 50 CEO’s and that will turn you into a person on the rise. That if you follow my formula you’ll become one of the greats.

Greatness awaits if you just follow this outline in my book – just 14.99 on amazon, and attend my conference just $299!

Well, if the top 50 CEO’s all get up at 5am and read a book, or go for a walk or meditate… but you aren’t a morning person at all…trying to cram their concept of what works into your sensibilities doesn’t make any sense.

In fact it’ll probably make your grouchy and less productive. But alas, the concept of not having all the answers doesn’t sell any books, or increase download numbers.

Honesty doesn’t sell as well as an informercial.  But that’s what you are going to get here anyway.


I find the older I get the less apt I am to follow anyone’s lead blindly. Now, don’t read that as being a stodgy old man, who thinks he knows it all… quite the opposite, I may be stodgy but I’m not that old, and I definitely don’t think I know it all.

I read and observe and ingest information more than ever – but I think I have a stronger sense of me, and what works for me than ever before. I read more than ever, and listen to podcasts, but I probably also question more than ever.

I am attuned to what works and what inspires, and I take nuggets from everything I read and learn – rather than saying “well, this thought leader said I should do this, so that is my new world order”


But like I said, I read all the time, because I want to take in perspectives different than mine. Or sometimes it’s something that validates my own wonders.

The point is, you have to be you. Do you the best you can, strive for what works for you, be open to learning and questioning and being curious and thoughtful…and you’ll find your purpose.

To bring this back around, just last week I read an article on LinkedIn titled “Working in Sports – 5 things to be successful in year one” …my first thought was, here’s someone playing on my side of the street let’s see what they have to say!

And as I read, I found myself saying – yep, that’s right, oh yeah I totally agree with that, and Ok I can see that being potentially true. Bottom line, I was impressed, this person nailed what it’s like working in the sports industry, while adding some flair for storytelling.

It wasn’t until I finished, that I looked up to see who wrote it.

It was today’s guest – Director of Sales for Fenway Sports Management – yes, that Fenway, as in the Boston Red Sox, Chris Valente.

Neither one of us can tell you who you should be or where you should go, but we can give you perspective, a blueprint that may work for you, concepts that have worked for others and environments you should consider for your possible growth – the rest well, that’s up to you to take the reigns of your own journey.

Guys like Chris and I can be sherpas on the trail, but you have to get yourself to the actual peak.

Grab your pen and paper – there is a lot of information in here you can put to work today – so let’s get to it!


Questions for Chris Valente - Director of Sales, Fenway Sports Management


1: I need to get this part out of the way. Full disclosure, I am a Boston guy, born and raised, and I’m going to try and keep this professional rather than sound like a fan boy, but how is it working in the greatest sports city in the US?

2: We’re going to talk plenty about your role with Fenway Sports Management, but one of the reasons you and I got connected was because of an article you wrote on LinkedIn titled “"Working in Sports – 5 Tips How To Be Successful Year 1" as I guy in this world, I love to hear other people’s perspective on their sports career. What inspired you to write the article…not busy enough in red sox season?

3: Let’s unpack the article a bit – and for everyone at home I’ll post a link to Chris’ article in the show notes – your first point about the “Good Old Days” really resonated with me, would you explain that to everyone?

4: The next subject you take on is money, which is a dirty topic right up there with politics and religion, but is so important to be honest about. I’ll be honest and this ties into the Good Old Days commentary…my first job in sports I made under 20k in Atlanta, a very expensive market. And I was still very happy. Now that you are deeper into your sports career – what’s your broad angle take on the money you can make in sports?

5: The perception of most people is that working in sports is like being in a sports bar all day, chatting it up and dealing out hot takes. While I was lucky enough being in a sports newsroom that was kind of like that, you had a different experience – what was your first year really like? 

6: What do you think is the best move for someone just coming out of school? Where should they focus their job search?

7: Let’s talk Sales! You started out after graduating with a Sports Management degree from UMass in community relations with the New York Giants – why did you eventually switch to a career in sales?

8:  After years in the minors, at New England Sports Network, and on the Draft Kings bandwagon --- you are now the Director of Sales for Fenway Sports Management which includes the Red Sox, Liverpool FC, NESN, MLB advanced media and more properties – explain your day to day role as the Director of Sales for this awesome company.

9: We have this private facebook group comprised of fans of this show, and before every interview I ask that group if they have questions they want to ask our guest – this one comes from Jake Kernen, jake wants to know, and I think he may have been kissing up a bit --  With Boston being one of, if not THE most successful sports cities in the country, do you run into problems where you have to compete for sales amongst so many legendary franchises in close proximity?

10: Another one from Anthony Wesson Jr – this one is a little tougher -- As an African American the popularity of baseball in our communities has declined. How does the organization try to draw back fans from demographical areas where the popularity of the sport is not high?

11: Let’s end with this – sports sales jobs often get a bad rap, in your mind why should someone out there listening right now consider a job in sports sales?

By Brian Clapp | May 23, 2018
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