Tell us about your role as the Head of Partnerships of the FC Edmonton.
As Head of Partnerships for the club, I’m responsible for finding partners that can generate revenue for the club, raise our profile or give us access to targeted communities, or that can provide services that reduce costs or improve club operations.
It’s a role that reaches across a lot of the club so teaching myself how to tackle things one bite at a time was crucial, otherwise it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
A typical day consists of some cold calling and outreach to leads I’ve researched, developing proposals and presentations for leads I’ve met with, preparing for discovery meetings, and then some touch points and check-ins with existing partners.
We’re in the middle of the off-season right now so it’s a lot more forward-looking now, whereas in the season it’s a lot more reporting and coordinating content or game day activations for partners.
2What are some tools that you and your team use to identify and develop new business opportunities for FC Edmonton?
Currently we take a pretty old-school approach to a lot of our research and prospecting, however our new Club President has a lot of experience in different sports and different leagues so we are looking to incorporate some tools and platforms he’s used in the past to help bolster and streamline our efforts.
Honestly, LinkedIn is probably what I use the most to track down decision-makers at companies and organizations, as well as seeing what companies and other clubs are doing.
So much of the prospecting side of this job is just detective work.
Subscribing to newsletters from different sports business news outlets has also been incredibly helpful, because it’s much easier to look at what has worked for other teams or markets, then tweaking and adapting it to Edmonton and FCE rather than needing to come up with originals for every partnership.
3How do you embrace and attract the millennial audience at FC Edmonton?
As a millennial in Edmonton that loves football/soccer, I feel uniquely placed to answer this.
A lot of our staff would fall into this age range.
We really try to put ourselves in the shoes of our fans, we can look inward and think “what content interests me”, “how do I spend my money on entertainment”, “what experience am I after”, “what alternatives are out there to take my time or money”, and “where do I actually notice and pay attention to advertising”.
The answers to all of those questions need to work in sync because if you want to attract millennials you need to make sure you’re actually reaching them, that your messaging and marketing content resonates and captures attention, and then you need to back that all up with an experience that is enjoyable, valuable, and meets or exceeds the expectations you’ve set. Any weak links in that and it can all fall apart.
4As Head of Partnerships, how much freedom and creativity do you have at FC Edmonton?
There is a fair amount of freedom in the role, which is probably what I enjoy most about the job.
It’s kind of a sandbox approach, where I work with the team president and with the owner to define pricing, assets, goals, and strategy, and then they trust me to work and create within that.
This is especially helpful with bringing in new partners, as each has a different feel, different goals, different likes and dislikes.
Being able to work with partners to create something personalized helps the partner feel more engaged in the process, rather than selling cookie cutter packages or needing to ask permission from above every step of the way.
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Joshua Alexander, Head of Partnerships at FC Edmonton, brings his love of soccer to the forefront of the club. With his love of the sport, he brings the ideas that the audience will embrace with open arms. And with the freedom in his role, it's also great for working with partners of FC Edmonton. His advice to future sport management professionals is important too. We can all learn from Joshua's experience in working for a new club in a new league, somewhere we can all take those first steps into the sport industry.