"I took great pride in everything that I did, knowing that this job was an audition for something bigger."
Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorship and Business Development
New York Jets
The interview with Andrew Agro was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.
Tell us about your role as the Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorship and Business Development of the New York Jets.
My role in the organization is to sell. I identify prospective brands, engage in conversations with these companies, ask a lot of questions to learn about how these companies aim to engage consumers or businesses – and in the end, the goal is to get these companies to form a relationship with our organization in some relevant capacity.
In addition to targeting new companies each year, I am tasked to retain the existing relationships that I have established, as their contracts come due. I also have my hands in assisting with various internal tasks tied to the operation and overall strategy of our department, in addition to managing the development of our departmental Sales Coordinator.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day starts with a train commute from NYC to our Training Center/HQ in Florham Park, NJ. My workday involves prospecting, client meetings, partner meetings with new and existing sponsors to discuss where our partnership is heading in the future and overseeing business accounts I am responsible for working with our Partnership Activation team representatives who oversee these accounts on a day-to-day basis.
There are also internal meetings (group strategy, providing updates on our sales pipeline, the status of conversations), maintaining our CRM reporting, as well as general networking with university students, graduate school students, and catching up with colleagues within US/Canada who are established within the industry.
When was the point you realized that you were meant to do this career? Take us through that realization.
Throughout undergrad, I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I studied Kinesiology, Sports Sciences at Wilfrid Laurier University.
My sister, Natalie was working in sports business when I was in University and she opened my eyes to the fact that you could have a real career in sports.
After undergrad, I was given an opportunity to travel to Bergamo, Italy to play “American Football” for the Bergamo Lions (AFI) during the Summer of 2006, with my brother and a few Ontario University football peers.
During that summer I left Italy to attend a Sports Business Graduate program at Ohio State University from 2006-2008. I didn’t yet know what I wanted to do professionally, but the opportunity to further my education bought me some time. Eventually, aninternship opportunity opened up through a friend at a University who had a family connection to the New York Jets
It is amazing how relationships throughout your life – can serve to change your life. You never know.
What were the motivations or reason you are in your position? Have you always known you wanted to work in sports, has this always been a love for you
I haven’t always known I wanted to work in sport, but sport has been consistent in my life since I was a kid. Sport was an integral part of our family, but academics always had to be taken care of before we were rewarded with it. Sport brought me discipline, the development of leadership skills, taking pride in a win, learning even more from a loss, and the motivation to have a competitive edge, which drives everything that I do personally and professionally.
What are three words you would use to describe your day to day work life?
Be ready for the “call” every day, expect the unexpected
You get out- what you put into it
Head on a swivel at all times
What is one of your most favorite parts of your job and what is one of the most challenging things about your job?
My favourite (or favorite in the USA) part of my job is that every day presents a new conversation, a new opportunity, a new industry to learn about, and new challenges.
You can never script the way a day is going to unfold and that’s what makes it exciting.
The most challenging thing about my job is the fact that our business throws you curveballs every day. We have to have the ability to face these variables, roadblocks and adversity, all while managing client relationships.
The job always leaves us on the edge of our seat and pushes us to make the best decisions for the organization and for our clients.
As I write this, we are navigating through an unprecedented pandemic, which is the latest example of dealing with adversity in real-time, while trying to minimize its impact.
Through all of your experience thus far into the sport industry, what has been one of the most useful or most applicable to your job now?
Of all of my experiences throughout my career, my time as a Summer Intern in Football Operations at the New York Jets is the most applicable to my job now in terms of what I learned.
It allowed me to get to know the organization from top to bottom, and it taught me that no task is too minor and that I should own that job like I was the President of the team. Whether delivering mail, picking up garbage, lining the fields, or mowing the lawn of our HQ.
I took great pride in everything that I did, knowing that this job was an audition for something bigger. Students who are volunteers or interns should know that people are always watching.
Any final thoughts before I give mine?
I always tell students looking to get into the industry, that in the shuffle of comparing job titles, base salaries, etc.
The most important things to worry about when considering a job is the potential, the people as well as the stability of an organization that you are working for.
Controlling these variables will give you the opportunity to focus on what’s most important, and variables such as title and earning potential will naturally take care of itself.
Beyond my job on paper, my goal is to continue to mentor and to be there for students who aim to be the future of our industry. Over the past four years, I have been co-teaching a Sponsorship Sales class within a University School of Professional Studies, which has been an extremely fulfilling role.
Happy Canada Day 🇨🇦 Friends & Fam – Looking forward to more 😷, less 🦠, & 👮🏻borders open at some point this summer! 👌🏽 pic.twitter.com/QLuftw49Mj
Andrew Agro epitomizes what it means to turn a college/university football playing career into a front-office role. As a kid, Andrew dreamed of playing professional football. Playing at the college/university level is a great consolation! But Andrew knew there was something else for him in the realm of his favorite sport. Fast forward 13 years and Andrew Agro is the Director of Corporate Sponsorship and Business Development for the NFL’s New York Jets. A large role that encompasses professional sport to its full capacity. A career many of us strive to have, Andrew’s story is important and a strong reminder that regardless of where you currently are no goal is too big and unachievable. His background in sport and education is so similar to many professionals starting out in the field and his story serves as an example of all the potential opportunities that await in this sector of work.