Sport Sales Combine: Your Ticket to A Sports Sales Career

Interview with Bob Hamer of Sports Business Solutions

Getting an entry level sales role can be the first step in your climb up the sports career ladder.

Bob Hamer is Founder and President of Sports Business Solutions, a company specializing in recruiting and training for teams, leagues and other businesses in the sports industry.

Hamer is the former Vice President of Ticket Sales and Service for the NBA's Phoenix Suns.  He graciously responded to questions about his own career in sales, his latest entrepreneurial venture and what advice he has for those looking to start a career in sports sales.

How did you get your start in sports business?

Hamer: I started in Inside Sales with the Phoenix Suns back in 2006. For me it was all about networking, as I was involved in sports business clubs, a business fraternity and I was trying to meet people in the industry.

I heard a speaker from the Suns, got his card, stayed in contact and he got my resume to the hiring manager, who offered me the job when I graduated. You just never know who can help you down the road.

What made you leave such a great position as a VP in the NBA to become an entrepreneur?

Hamer: I had a great experience with the Suns - it was an amazing 8 years. But I realized at the end of my time there that my true passion is helping others succeed in Sports Business - and I wanted to do more of that. I love coaching, mentoring and developing young people who want to be great.

I’m also passionate about the Sports Business industry.

So, I thought if I could help my friends in the industry hire more efficiently, and help others accomplish their goals of getting a job in sports, it could be a perfect fit.

What can people who attend a Sport Sales Combine expect to experience?

Hamer: It is a two-day crash course on what selling tickets in pro sports is all about.

You get trained by some of the top sales trainers in sports business. Then you get to sell to real customers - and if you perform well and enjoy it - you get to interview for a job.

It is a great way to learn how to sell, and shorten the job search process, as there are 10 or more teams on site recruiting you. It is a win-win for Combine participants and the teams that want to hire them.

What kind of positions can Combine attendees expect to interview for?

Hamer: The sales combine is all about selling in sports, and learning how to do it. The majority of the positions the teams will be recruiting for are Inside Sales or entry level ticket sales roles. However, if you’re a more seasoned seller, you could make contact with a team and then come in as an Account Executive or premium seller. Every team that attends the Combine is looking for great sales talent.

What advice would you give readers who are in college to prepare for careers in sales?

Hamer: I’d say get some experience if you can. Then network with people who are doing the job you want. Learn what the day to day will be like, and talk to people about how to be successful with it. Sales can be a grind, so you want to know what you’re getting into before you do it.

Recently, I wrote a piece entitled How to Succeed in Entry Level Sports Ticket Sales that summarizes some key advice for starting a sales career in sports.

And if any of your readers are interested in attending an upcoming Combine, they can connect with me on LinkedIn or interact on Twitter, where I'm @SportsBizBob.

Thanks to Mr. Hamer for taking the time for this interview.  As a testimony to the Sports Sales Combine, one of my Sonoma State undergraduate students attended a Combine held in San Jose and was named "Most Improved" over the two-day event.  Within a week of returning to campus, she had landed an offer with an NHL team, which she happily accepted.

Also, while the emphasis of this interview was entry level positions, Sports Business Solutions also offers Executive Search services.  Look for an upcoming interview with Mr. Hamer about this exciting area of the sports industry.

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