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Especially during the current environment, there is even more emphasis on being a community steward.

Courtney Ksiazek

Director Of Partnership Marketing

San Jose Earthquakes

× The interview with Courtney Ksiazek was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

1

In the role of Director of Partnership Marketing, my day is centered around executing activations for all of our corporate partners at the San Jose Earthquakes.

This spans across all areas of our organization: ticketing, hospitality, social and video content, gameday and events, community etc. and is different for each of our partners. I have a team that helps execute at all levels ensuring all contract assets come to life.

Every day is different, a “normal” week consists generally of both internal and external meetings for planning how we are integrating partners into all facets of our business and gameday experience.

2A common label people working in marketing and digital get is that they are creative (sometimes more creative than most people working in sports). Is this realistic? Beyond creativity, which you have a ton of, tell us about other skills and abilities required and/or often overlooked when working in sport marketing?

For a role in sports in general, relationship building is essential.

There are so many elements that need to come together to make a sports organization function well, not to mention it's usually on a quick timeline, so being able to effectively work with different people is absolutely required.

More so, sports are fun at the end of the day and you want to work with other fun, like-minded, hardworking people so building relationships of all kind are vital.

Taking that one step further, in the Partnership Marketing space, it’s even more emphasized to building relationships. Specifically, with your partners. They are a part of your organization too so being able to communicate clearly and appropriately on behalf of your organization is such a key skill set.

3How do you embrace and attract the millennial audience at San Jose Earthquakes? What is the extent of your role that is responsible for ensuring that this audience is attracted to and committed to your organization?

Soccer fans in the US generally are younger and fit the millennial audience so our product on the field attracts that inherently.

Soccer is different in the sense that there are no natural stoppages, the full 90 minutes are the star in comparison to some other sports with timeouts, commercial breaks, etc. So, we plan our sponsorship activations around the play on the field to engage with our fans.

We focus efforts on creating a ‘hangout’ environment inside the stadium that includes a variety of food trucks with food and beverages where fans come to hangout early before kickoff. 

4How much of being Director of Partnership Marketing involves community relations? What is the most impactful situation that you have had in your role to really make a difference to others?

A lot of what I, and the work of my team do, involves interactions with our Community Department and our Earthquakes Foundation.

Especially during the current environment, there is even more emphasis on being a community steward. Our company has launched a new platform called Pledge74 that aims to eliminate food scarcity in San Jose. We are working on incorporating our partnering into this platform in the short and long term.

5This question ties in nicely with #3 and I am personally quite intrigued by the work done on this San Jose Earthquakes’ Pledge 74. It’s a fantastic initiative and I am curious to know how your department works and coordinates with others on it, if at all. Regardless, explain your role in facilitating, implementing, planning, and executing in noteworthy, organization-wide projects.

My department specifically looks for integration points in the Pledge74 program that we can include our partners in.

Areas such as volunteer hours, financial support for events and food donations, supplement promotion of our Pledge74 effects, and things of that nature. This is a relatively new venture for the club so we are really trying to keep the goals in mind and make genuine integrations of our partners.

Andres Larranaga Andres's Final Thoughts

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