There’s this rush you get when something you’ve had a hand in building is about to play in front of a lot of eyes!
Game Presentation Specialist
Toronto Maple Leafs at MLSE
The interview with Melissa Bromley 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 Game Presentation Specialist for the Toronto Maple Leafs and what a typical day looks like for you?
It depends based on where we are during the year, but mainly it’s in-season and off-season. During the season, my job revolves around a few keys areas. I’m focused on planning and preparing for every Toronto Maple Leafs home game. We work off of a blueprint for the season (which I prepare in the off-season) that details what promotions we want taking place on which night, as well as what partner obligations are needed for each game.
The planning for games also includes coordinating intermission performances and timeout promotions, whether that’s sourcing exciting talent for those moments or working through our partnered features and ensuring we have the appropriate people ready to take part. It also includes preparing for ceremonies, building ceremony maps and coordinating carpets and movement.
I’m also responsible for a part-time staff of 60 awesome people.
Our staff is split across three different crews (Game Crew, Interactive Crew and Skate Crew) and they each play an essential role on our team. On game nights, I am the floor director for the Leafs, meaning I am responsible for everything from a Game Pres perspective in the bowl. I deal with our hosts, special guests and camera operators to make sure everything will go smoothly.
From a more day to day perspective, I manage the relationship between our Global Partners (GP) and Game Presentation, meaning I work with GP to create and execute promotions for our partners, but also come up with plenty of new ideas that our GP team can pitch to those partners.
I am also ideating new ideas, features and innovative ways that we can take our show to the next level, and ensuring that it can all be properly executed come game night.
What would you say is the best part about your position? If you could explain why it’s the best part of your position, that’d be excellent.
I don’t think I have just one. The obvious answer is that I get to work every Leafs home game. I’m a huge Leafs fan but I love nothing more than hockey, so that’s great. (And there was been some incredible games/moments over my time here). But like I said, there are a couple…
Seeing my ideas come to life in front of 20,000 fans. Sometimes it might be a small video that we produced, other times it could be a new feature that we’re trying for the first time or that I’ve had a hand in building. There’s this rush you get when something you’ve had a hand in building is about to play in front of a lot of eyes!
Engaging with fans and contestants and seeing the amazing experience we just created for them. Seeing fans light up – at any age – when a big moment happens is so rewarding. The game itself could be going sideways, but we may have just awarded something as big as a trip or as small as a t-shirt to a fan and they could be over the moon.
Working with incredible people from my team to everyone else that makes game nights run smoothly. It’s been amazing getting to know ushers, beer vendors, ice maintenance folks and just about anyone else working behind the scenes.
How every day is different! I love that every day presents a new challenge, each game is a new show, and we are always on our toes. No one game is ever the same so it’s a rush every day/night!
What is something people don’t realize about working in the sport industry?
I think people may not fully understand the amount of preparation that goes into a game, as well as the quick turnaround that goes hand in hand with that. There are some weeks where we could have 3 games in 5 days, but there’s only so far in advance that you can prepare (grids & scripts), so the turnaround is always tight and keeps you on your toes.
People also may not know that it takes a village to make sure the show goes off without a hitch! From our Game Presentation staff, to control room, lighting, camera operators, audio technicians and many more people, game nights are a combination of a lot of hard-working people.
Other than that, it’s not your typical 9-5 when you’re in the middle of the season. Saturday nights are huge hockey nights in Toronto, so we’re usually working weekends in season (but I feel like people should know this!)
I noticed that you were on the Women’s Varsity Hockey Team at Rochester Institute of Technology. What skills and knowledge did you develop as an athlete that you have transferred to your career?
I think one of the biggest things I take with me is teamwork and hard work.
Even before playing at RIT, growing up playing hockey and really playing sports in general, taught me to be a good teammate and how to work hard. If you aren’t willing to be a good teammate and to do the hard work, you aren’t going to get very far. If it means putting in extra hours to finish a project or to help a teammate or colleague with something they are working on, those are the things that need to get done.
What advice would you give to recently graduated students looking for their next opportunity to grow to be in a similar position as you one day?
I think being open to taking on a wide variety of tasks is important. Never shy away from trying something new and be excited to learn.
Particularly in this time of uncertainty with COVID, it would be good to take on things that may not necessarily be up your alley to develop your skillset and have more to bring to the table!
Even more, things are constantly changing in the sports industry, from technology to ways we can engage with fans and how we present our show. If you get stuck in your ways, that could be a downfall.
So always be open to new ideas and new tasks. Learning how someone else does their job could impact or improve ways in which you go about your job!
Anastasiya's Final Thoughts
Melissa Bromley knows all about being creative and thinking outside of the box. As a Game Presentation Specialist for the Toronto Maple Leafs she sees her own ideas become a reality right in front of her eyes! She talks about how important it is to get to know not only the people you work with but the people who will enjoy your work (the fans!). Melissa’s role is all about ensuring that everyone has a great experience and everything runs smoothly. This, of course, means that she is kept her on her toes and she is always doing something different every day. As a former athlete, she knows the importance of hard work, and clearly it is paying off. I can only imagine how exciting it is getting to work during Leaf games!