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Be A Storyteller: San Antonio FC’s Luis Leyva On PR And Communications In Sport

Luis Leyva | Senior Communications Coordinator | Spurs Sports & Entertainment

You have to make sure that the content you’re putting out is interesting and that you stay engaged and interact with fans while telling your club’s story in the right way.

Luis Leyva

Senior Communications Coordinator

Spurs Sports & Entertainment

×This interview was completed before the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. The interview with Luis Leyva 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 Communications Coordinator of the Spurs Sports & Entertainment.

It’s a very fun gig. I work for San Antonio FC, our professional soccer franchise, and I’m in a role which is a blend between PR and Digital, which makes for a fun dynamic. Along with our Communications Manager, Preston, I help oversee our club’s communications efforts and serve as the liaison between our team, fans, and media. I also manage our club’s social media accounts and content strategies, which is one of my favourite aspects of the job, and I serve as a translator for the club whenever it’s needed.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Usually, we start with training in the morning. A perk of the job is we get to watch training sessions and after those are done, we facilitate any interviews with media who come out. A lot of times after training we’ll shoot digital content videos with players, which is a fun process. Sometimes we have player appearances to execute, which can be a variety of things and are a great way to engage with the community. After that, we’ll head up to the office and take care of the more routine tasks like updating stats, developing content plans, and preparing documents for game day.

When was the point you realized that you were meant to do this career? Take us through that realization.

I grew up in Mexico City and spent most of my time at the street soccer court which was 50 yards from my house. This is where my love for soccer began, and I started supporting Pumas (Liga MX) and Real Madrid on a global scale. I originally went to school to be a dentist, but early on in college, I realized that even though I was really interested in science, I wasn’t fully invested in my classes and I didn’t want to make a career out of that because it wasn’t fulfilling.

I ended up taking a few days to analyze what I thought I was good at and what I enjoyed, and I stumbled upon PR and communications. I learned that communications in sport was a thing, so when I found out there was a way to overlap those two worlds, it was kind of a match made in heaven for me and I pursued it from there.

What is one of the biggest challenges you face in your position?

One of the biggest challenges of running a social media account is constantly trying to come up with creative, engaging content for fans. Everyone has a digital presence these days, so you have to make sure that the content you’re putting out is interesting and that you stay engaged and interactive with fans while telling your club’s story in the right way. That’s a big challenge, but at the same time it’s very motivating and fun, and it allows for creativity.

Obviously some things are more successful than others, but the process of learning what works and what doesn’t – and even going back to the drawing board with your team and having to come up with something new – is a good challenge. There’s also no better feeling than coming up with something that fans react very well too.

What would you tell a new sport industry professional wanting to get into communications?

They’ve probably heard this already, but my biggest suggestion is to get experience and make connections while they’re going through college. What you learn in the classroom is essential and an important foundation but knowing how to apply those concepts in a practical way is just as important. Personally, my experience interning with the San Antonio Scorpions in 2015 directly had an impact on getting hired as an intern by SAFC in 2016, which led to my current full-time position at the end of that season.The other piece of advice I suggest is to become as versatile as possible.

Learn how to use Photoshop, produce and edit videos, write, or any skill that you think could be an asset in this field. The fact is that it’s very competitive, so the more you can contribute to your team across different areas, the more you increase your chances of succeeding.

What are 2-3 reasons why you chose to work in communications? Were there any motivating factors, or have you always been interested?

Writing was always one of my strong suits, and I like to think I’m personable. When I found out about the communications field and the career opportunities I could pursue through it, I felt that the skills needed for it and those I felt comfortable with in myself kind of aligned. It took a bit of a process to land in PR and soccer specifically, and there was a point in college where I explored journalism and advertising, but mass communications in general just had my curiosity.

What is one thing you did not expect about your job? Is it what you expected, or very different?

One of the things I had to learn immediately that took some getting used to is that social media never sleeps. It’s important to stay connected and be ready to interact with fans because those small interactions help build the connection between fans and the club. Something I did expect but continues to be a positive surprise is how enjoyable it is. Obviously we take our jobs seriously and we strive to be among the best in the league, but at the end of the day we’re privileged to work in soccer.

Marilyn Napoli Marilyn's Final Thoughts

Luis Leyva’s role as Communication Coordinator for the San Antonio FC requires him to be a storyteller for his organization. A career in Public Relations and Media has the ability to reach millions through an online presence. That’s why its important to create content that is relevant, cohesive and engaging for your audience. While I can greatly appreciate the importance of qualitative content, I think its especially important for others to realize that there’s a lot more work that goes into PR/Communications. We can see this through Luis’ day to day roles with the San Antonio FC, it’s great to hear the positive experiences this specific field of work brings and it’s really inspiring to people who are starting out in a similar career paths.

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