Sean Halbmaier: PGA Tour Director of Advanced Advertising - Work In Sports Podcast

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

I find there is a certain spirit that I look for in my guests. Not everyone wants to, or is comfortable coming on a show like this and sharing their journey, with tidbits of wisdom and advice thrown in -- but that’s exactly what we need! revenue optimization in sports Sean halbmaier pga tour

We need guests willing to share more than what we can read on their resume or LinkedIn profile, we need guests who are willing to go there. People that will share their bigger thoughts, advice, nuggets of change through their journey and dig into more than just their career moves...but rather their how and why.

Every once in a while I ask our private Facebook group -- which if you haven’t joined yet, you should - just search for the Work In Sports podcast on Facebook and join the fun. Anyway, every once in awhile I will post a question, asking our audience who their favorite guest was of all time. 

While there is a wide range of responses, there are also about 10 episodes that I could tell you beforehand would be the most popular. They aren’t the biggest names, they are the ones willing to go there and share their deepest insights, motivations, change moments and share...really really share. 

These are the moments that inspire me, those are the episodes that drive me deeper and further, for all of you listening. 

But how do you find more of these people? How do you find those willing and able to share real insight? 

I used to send out 20 invites a week -- randomly selected, barely researched, and my success rate was about 10%. 

For 2020 I changed my process and the results have been incredible. 


I’m being totally serious. 

Over the last 3 months, I’ve seen about 10 new podcasts launch which are focused on sports career advice -- so maybe I shouldn't share my secret formula - but what the hell. 

I start on LinkedIn, I research companies, people, and roles -- because in my mind, it often starts with some experience and credibility. 

I read I research, and then I go to twitter and look at their personal accounts.

You see on twitter, I think you tend to find out a little more about someone’s spirit, passion, and enthusiasm. Sometimes you also find out they are a horrible person, and you are glad you didn’t ask them to be a guest -- that has happened. 

So I’ll give you an example of what I mean, using today’s guest Sean Halbmaier from the PGA Tour

I was searching for people at the PGA Tour - I like to make sure I cover different sports teams and leagues - it’s spring-summer, a good time for golf talk. I see Sean, with a pretty cool title -- director of advanced advertising. 

If I asked myself, self, what does a director of advanced advertising do? I would have no answer! That makes it interesting! I want to dig into new areas!

So, then I head over to twitter and look for sean. 

His pinned tweet is an article he wrote breaking down his first 10 years in the sports industry -- ok good start, someone willing to share and give back!

Then I see: 

3 skills to acquire to be valuable to your employer…

  1. Always be learning. 
  2. Be Curious 
  3. Be vocal. Have an opinion.

Ok, now we got someone with a willingness to share guidance and advice.


This is why walled gardens are so insanely effective for marketers. 

They have your identity via login (the license), but they also have the full “wallet” of essentials based on your activity on their platforms.

Ok, I have no idea what that means -- but I see a willingness to get into the weeds of his role, and a passion for explaining what he does.

This is the ultimate mix!

After all that, I make the invite and cross my fingers. 

Thankfully, Sean, and about 90% of the people I reach out to when I do this level of research and intentional booking -- said yes, and we are all lucky for it. 

Here is Sean Halbmaier - Director of Advanced Advertising for the PGA Tour! Let’s talk about revenue optimization!!


Questions for Sean Halbmaier, PGA Tour Director of Advanced Advertising


1: There is so much I want to get into regarding your backstory – but let’s start with the now.

Your current title is Director of Advanced Advertising at the PGA Tour – which sounds cool and modern and awesome – but what is it and what does it mean in your day-to-day experience?

2: Clearly there is an emphasis on the digital experience in your role, understanding the audience isn’t just watching on TV, there are other places to reach them.

Digital media requires a very specific skill set, with new terminology, success metrics, and approaches – how did you learn this part of the sports world?

3: Is this what you always envisioned for yourself? Was the idea when you were in school to get into digital marketing and advertising in sports?

4: You’ve been on the digital side since 2014 – I’m sure you’ve played a role in hiring staff, and developing a team of people on the advanced advertising and digital side of the PGA Tour – so I’ll ask you, are schools doing enough to teach this skill set? This is the direction of our world, and yet it often feels many schools aren’t focusing on this area enough. What’s your take?

5: What skill sets are you looking for when you hire? There are so many intricacies of the digital side – do you want people with an overall knowledge set or specific strengths in areas?

6: I read an article where you wrote “I have yet to meet one person in all of revenue operations (not only in sports, but in all of media) that planned to work in this profession.”

Revenue optimization makes the world go round, and yet not many people set out to work in it? Why is that?

7: I talk to hiring managers and talent acquisition managers all the time, and they tell me the hiring trend is toward “any job that can help us understand how to make more money, or spend our money more effectively” which in layman's terms means roles in business analytics and revenue optimization… You and everyone else doing these roles backdoored their way into it - fell into it by luck – how do we get people focused in this area earlier and understanding the upside of these roles?

7: I’m in the business of helping people find their career path in sports – and I loved another quote from you in your article “Having a dream to “work in sports” is too vague. Sports is an industry, not a profession.”

What were you trying to get across with this plea?

8:  I was hired for my first job in sports because I had a very specific skill set – a tactical tool I was able to use that was in demand at the time. I tell everyone in our audience that they need to research the tools and techniques that are in vogue in their niche and master them, that’s how their resume will stand out.

So in your world, are there certain tactical tools, training or certifications that can help someone stand out?

9: Let’s pivot a bit to our current world and situation – I saw another quote from you on twitter, matter of fact it’s is why I reached out and scheduled this interview – you shard how people in the business should be helping those trying to enter it – especially in this time with COVID.

Can you explain your message on sports mentorships and how we can all do a better job helping the next generation?

10: We’ll finish off with this – if you were on one of these mentorship style calls with a young professional in the industry, what is the big message you’d try to get across to them?

By Brian Clapp | June 11, 2020
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