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BenGroneman's picture

I write from Columbus, Ohio with great excitement for the next few days ahead. This will be my first opportunity to attend Minor League Baseball’s Promo Seminar Meetings , a three day meeting of the baseball minds to network, share best practices and exchange the creative and innovative ideas that make MiLB so unique.

With over 300 executives from all levels of the sport planning to be in attendance, I’m reminded how important it is to build relationships with my industry peers. Early on in my career I’ve been very fortunate to work for and watch some of the best networkers in the industry. There is an art to networking, which goes far beyond the initial introduction. The key, in my opinion, to maintaining strong relationships across the industry – teams, agencies, events, league offices – is follow up. It sounds simple, yet is rarely executed. Equally important is the context in which one follows up. If you haven’t talked to someone in years and all of a sudden reach out in a time of need – that’s no good.

Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way that have helped me maintain strong relationships within the sports industry:

Biz Journals – When I was an account manager at TeamWork Online, I started each morning by combing through the local Business Journals of my clients. When there was noteworthy news or an exciting announcement, I would send it to them, perhaps along with congratulations. It let them know a couple of things: 1) I cared. 2) I was up to speed on their business and 3) I was passionate about our industry. Those touchpoints were a great opportunity for me to build relationships when I didn’t have the ability to meet face-to-face.

Networking Events - To meet people, you have to put yourself out there! Attend conferences, happy hours, and networking events – formal or informal. You never know who you are going to run into, and that’s the fun! The National Sports Forum and TeamWork’s Teammate Event Series have been amazing platforms for me to meet my peers. Always bring plenty of business cards and give them a reason to remember you.

Pick up the phone – Just this week I was able to reconnect with a high-level industry contact to pick his brain and ask for some advice in anticipation of a prospect meeting. You would be surprised how willing people are to give you a few minutes of their time if you don’t waste it.

It’s the people that have made my early years in the sports and entertainment world so rewarding and the networking that allowed me to meet them. I look forward to building many new relationships this week in Columbus. For those of you that I’ve been lucky enough to meet already, I look forward to our paths crossing again soon!

About the author:
Ben Groneman
Ben joined Property Consulting Group in May of 2015 as an Account Executive, focusing primarily on exploring partnership opportunities for PCG client, Minor League Baseball (MiLB). Prior to joining PCG, Ben spent three years with TeamWork Online, the sport and live event industry's premier online recruiting network, managing relationships with clients in the NBA, NFL, MLB, MiLB, NHL, PGA TOUR, ATP Tour, IMG, USNGB’s and more.

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