Lisa Woodward: Anheuser Busch Director of Sports Sponsorships - Work In Sports Podcast


Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp VP of Content and Engaged Learning at and this is the Work In Sports podcast…

Quick note: We’re airing three episodes a week, 1 out of the three will be corona free. That is today. Wednesdays will be our industry interviews and they will be a break from corona coverage. making sense of sports sponsorships

That is not to minimize the impact of the virus, it is not to downplay all who are affected, it is for two reasons -- one we all can improve in ways that are not corona related, which is the purpose of our industry interviews. And two, this interview was conducted before none of us could leave our houses. 

And if you are listening to this podcast -- please, isolate yourself. Don’t be foolish. I remember a few decades spent thinking I was invincible, and you know what, you may be… but the difference is you may infect someone who isn’t. Don’t be selfish. Stay home. 

Ok, so lets transition here. 

We all so often think of the sports industry in terms of leagues, games, and events. Makes sense in a lot of ways since that is what pretty much everything feeds off of.

But there are worlds of jobs and opportunities that don’t directly involve the score of the big game. 

Mark Cuban wrote an article years ago about how sports management degrees were a complete waste and people shouldn’t strive to work in sports, they should get a business degree and work in sales. 

His theory was essentially, with only 100ish professional teams hiring about 200 staffers each, there are only 20,000 sports industry jobs period and yet we graduate 20,000 new sports management grads each year. 

Well, I couldn’t take this sitting down so I confronted the shark tank dude explaining his math was rudimentary at best and his analysis quite superficial. 

This was about a decade ago, we’ve both moved on from the debate, I won of course because I was looking at the complete picture and he was just trying to be clickbaity and bombastic.  

Look at our job board. 

Jobs with NBC Sports -- not a team. Red Bull, Blizzard, Kansas State, Arizona Sports Foundation, Discovery Communications, Twitch… none of these are teams, and yet they are listed on the first page of our industry sports job board right now. 

Yes, places are still hiring. 

The jobs in sports reach further than team. This isn’t an argument for sports management degrees, your degree is a personal decision, this is more of a discussion about how wide the sports industry cuts. 

The opportunities are out there in various ways… you have to be creative in finding them...or you can just get a membership to our job board and we do the work for you.

Nonetheless! Today’s guest Lisa Woodward is a perfect example. She started out her career with the then St. Louis Rams and for 8 years was a major part of their marketing team.

But her job now, as Director of Sports Sponsorships for Anheuser Busch, isn’t with a team… but it is deeply connected to sports. 

She works with her team to find the right spots and negotiate the right deals, to expose her brand to the right audience in the right way. 

These are the type of opportunities Mark Cuban didn’t calculate in his theorem. Lisa works for Budweiser’s sports sponsorship team… and she’s incredibly good at it. But let’s hear more about her role fro her… here’s Lisa Woodward:

Questions for Lisa Woodward, Director of Sports Sponsorships Anheuser Busch


1: There are so many interesting subjects for us to dive into – but let’s start with this, at the University of Illinois, you interned with both the Basketball and Football offices – how did this early on experience frame your desire to work in sports?

2: When you are part of a big school athletic operation, like Illinois, you are part of a huge business – what do you remember learning most from your early exposure to the sports industry?

3: You were also an intern with the St. Louis Rams and later became a full-time employee. I swear this is one of the most common questions I get, “how do I turn my internship into a real full-time job?!”

So help the audience out here, what was your approach to this internship experience and how did it turn into a full-time role after college?

4: 8 years with the Rams and 4 promotions – you were obviously doing some things very right – all of your roles were in marketing; how did you discover marketing as your fit in the industry?

5: Marketing is such a broad term with tons and tons of components – when you say “Marketing Manager” and that could entail hundreds of things! How would you characterize your role in marketing with the Rams?

Follow: What has been your favorite part of the marketing world?

6: After the Rams, you jumped to Anheuser Busch as the manager of sports sponsorships – were there any eye-opening moments as you transitioned from the team side to the brand side?

7: With Anheuser Busch, you have this incredibly powerful global brand and I’m sure you can really get your product anywhere you choose … so does it really come down to deciding where you want to be vs. where you can be?

8: We hear so much nowadays about influencer marketing – and yet it feels like brands have always been trying to leverage authentic connections between their product and relevant personalities – like Post Malone being featured in the Bud Light Seltzer Super Bowl commercials -- so is influencer marketing really a new technique or just a new buzzword?

9: We all know the sports industry is constantly changing and evolving… but specifically, how have you seen the sports industry change during your decade-plus in the industry?

10: You obviously work with partners across the sports stratosphere to help build and promote the AB brand… how important is it to focus not just on the original deal, but in retaining and building the relationship?

So often, we talk about sexy concepts like negotiation and big deal-making… but isn’t retention just as important?

11: Let’s shift gears a little – we have many young women in our audience who look for positive, successful role models like you in the sports industry. We’ve had many, many female sports executives on this show, again to help teach and show everything is possible.

As someone who has found success, how much responsibility do you bear to help young women find their way in the industry?

12: We all know the importance of diversity, inclusion, improving the gender gap - especially in sports – but tactically, how do we do it?

13: We’ll finish up with this - If you had a message you could send, a final piece of advice for all the young people listening in our audience – what would it be?

By Brian Clapp | March 25, 2020
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