Sports Marketing on a Global Stage - Work in Sports Podcast e053

Marissa Brooks spent 10 years in sales and marketing with the Miami Heat - then she went international. Her story and advice is the focus of this episode of the Work in Sports podcast

Hi everybody, I'm Brian Clapp Director of Content for and this is the Work in Sports podcast.

In the early days of Work in Sports, we're talking early 2000's, my boss Robert Oakley was on the grassroots hustle. When you are trying to build a name for an emerging sports specific job board you hit the streets.

More specifically, you go to job fairs. Lots and lots of job fairs. You meet employers, share your value proposition, get them excited about how you'll make finding qualified employees easier for them and then you work on fulfilling those promises.sports marketing on a global stage

In those early days Robert met Marissa Brooks, an up and comer with the Miami Heat in the sales and marketing department who was also at one of these job fairs. They hit it off from a professional stand point and now near 20 years later Robert asked Marissa to join the show.

I'm thankful he did, because Marissa brings something very unique to the table that no one else I have interviewed has. Global experience.

After 10 years at the Miami Heat, Marissa was looking for something bigger, a new spark, a challenge that had been dreamed of, but maybe never seriously considered - going international. Sports marketing isn't limited to the US, there is a whole world out there of brands looking to associate with the biggest stars in the world and Marissa wanted to be a part of that unique challenge.

So she left the Heat with a job offer that would take her to Switzerland, working as Senior Sports Marketing Director for luxury watch brand Hublot, but in truth, it was way more than just Switzerland, she executed events in 15 countries on four different continents with athletes like Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Usain Bolt, Floyd Mayweather and Pele.

She's back in the states now as the CMO for EEM World, the globally recognized leader in indoor show jumping and the Longines Masters event in New York.

Marissa and I ended up talking for almost 2 hours. Seriously. Now, this interview isn't that long, don't worry, I've cut it down to the best 40ish minutes, but trust me when I say, Marissa is a raw, thoughtful, straight shooter with lots to share.

So here it is, Marissa Brooks and her frequent flyer miles:

Questions for Marissa Brooks

1: I don’t expect you to be able to speak for all people – but, I’m kind of going to ask you to anyway -  what do you think motivates people to want to work in the sports industry?

2: I’d imagine you’ve been in hundreds of pitch meetings over your career in sports marketing – trying to sell a sponsorship, or an athlete, or a partnership – how do you keep it fresh?

3: Would you consider yourself a competitive person? And is that a necessary attribute to thrive in the sports industry?

4: Let’s talk about corporate culture – it is a buzzword in a way, a term people throw around but probably don’t spend much time really thinking about. You’ve worked in the NBA with the Miami Heat, for a luxury watchmaker in Hublot, and now with another high society brand in indoor show jumping at Longines Masters – how does corporate culture change from employer to employer?

4a: How much should a prospective employee value culture as they choose a job?

5: As I just mentioned you’ve been a part of the global sports machine having executed events in more than 15 countries on four continents -- I think in America we tend to think of ourselves as the center of the sports world, but that isn’t really the case. Are there more global opportunities than ever before and is that a market more prospective job seekers should venture towards?

6: What about from a sports marketing perspective – how hard has it been for you to change your messaging and style as you change targets, perspectives and global personalities?

** How linked are sales and marketing?

7: You’ve worked with elite athletes over your career -  Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, Pele, Floyd Mayweather to name a few – what have you picked up about dealing with these elite athletes that can be a lesson to anyone seeking personal success in their life and career?

8: I know when I was working in sports media, I thought I was the coolest guy in town. While other friends went to work in a cubicle, crunching numbers, I got to interview Terrell Owens and Shaquille O’Neal while watching sports all day. You’ve been around the globe, worked with elite athletes, created huge global campaigns – from the outside looking in you have a really cool life -- how do you stay grounded and level headed?

9: Let’s imagine you are hiring for a position tomorrow – what are you looking for in a hire – and please don’t say “work ethic” and “passion” – I know that is important, but what are you really looking for – how does someone show you they have the potential to be a great marketer?

10: I had an intern once who on their first day when given an assignment of logging incoming feeds, a normal first day get your feet wet type assignment. They quite literally said to me “Nah, I’m not doing that.” Needless to say, that was their last day…actually, their last minute. What are your expectations when you bring in staff -- at any level, interns or senior?

Lightning Round 

1: You label yourself a “strategic disturber” – when you unpack it and think about what it means I like it… but be honest, did you make that up during some fondue party you had in Switzerland?

2: What are the biggest mistakes you see young sports marketers make?

3: Everyone has a dream target in life – for me I’d love to have a sit down with Bill Belichick and get honest answers out of him, which will never happen, but a boy can dream. What about you, do you have a certain athlete or brand you’ve always dreamed of working with?

4: You have pressure all around you all day --- how do you find time to decompress and what do you like to do in that time?

5: It says in your bio you are an aspiring weightlifter and boxer – what’s the goal here? Is this a personal pursuit of strength and confidence, or are you aiming to seriously kick some ass?



By Brian Clapp | February 21, 2018
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