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Rising 25

Meet the Rising 25: Travis Case of the Los Angeles Kings

Shortly after graduating from Belmont University in 2016, Case began a career in sales that is off to an impressive start.

Front Office Sports

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The Rising 25 Class of 2019, presented by AB InBev, represents some of the brightest young professionals in the sports industry. Over the next several weeks, we’re proud to introduce you to this year’s winners and highlight some of their achievements to date.

Today, meet Travis Case: Manager of Business Development & Strategy at the Los Angeles Kings. Case competed in track and field at Belmont University in Nashville, where he graduated in 2016. He officially began his career on the business side of sports shortly after graduation with an inside sales position with the Ontario Reign (a minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings).

“I truthfully didn’t really know what I was getting myself into,” Case recalls of his first job in sports. “But it was just a cool opportunity. I think once I started doing it post-graduation I realized how fun it was. I obviously have a passion for sports and then pair that up with a competitive drive and ambition to succeed at a rapid rate, it just lined up perfectly.”

After working with the Reign for about four months, Case moved on to work in sales for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings for a year and a half. Late in 2017, Case rejoined the LA Kings’ organization as a ticket sales manager. Case started the Kings’ and Los Angeles Galaxy’s inside sales department, including physically building desks and stocking it with water. Accomplishing this is one of Case’s proudest professional moments to date.

READ MORE: Meet the Rising 25: Paige Hegedus of Minor League Baseball

“I’m proud of building the department from scratch and seeing that come to fruition and being successful in transforming part of the culture here for AEG Sports,” Case says. “I’m now parlaying that into this year where I’ve started the B2B department as well in conjunction with the inside sales program to oversee our top reps. It has been a really fun challenge.”

Through developing new sales reps, Case has learned that adaptability and being able to trust is one of the most important characteristics for leaders to have within the sports industry.

“Every person that you lead is going to be different from the next person,” Case states. “I’m a big believer in being able to adapt to the person. Also, empower people and trust in them. I’m not much of a micromanager. The more trust I have in my reps, the better they seem to perform. Maybe one likes to have more meetings and face-to-face time with me while others just want to march to their own beat. Not making them confer or convert to my style, it’s more me converting to their style and bringing them out to be the best they can be.”

READ MORE: Meet the Rising 25: Ryan Olli of the NFLPA and REP Worldwide

Beginning a career in sports is no easy feat. The early struggles can sometimes scare people away from the idea. Case, however, advises people just starting out to take opportunities, stick with them, and make the most of them.

“So many people get scared of the pay when you first start out,” Case says, “but any type of opportunity you get, take it and run. I took a minor league opportunity all the way across the country in the desert of California. It didn’t initially make sense for me, but I believed in myself and the opportunity. Go bet on yourself. Take the position that is not paid as high, make the most of it and eventually the money comes.”

Meet the full class of 2019 here.

Rising 25

Meet the Rising 25: George Steinbrenner IV of Harding Steinbrenner Racing

The youngest team owner in the history of IndyCar, Steinbrenner carries a passion for sports he inherited from his father and grandfather.

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The Rising 25 Class of 2019, presented by AB InBev, represents some of the brightest young professionals in the sports industry. Over the next several weeks, we’re proud to introduce you to this year’s winners and highlight some of their achievements to date.

Today, meet George Steinbrenner IV: co-owner and partner of Harding Steinbrenner Racing. Steinbrenner is the youngest IndyCar team owner in the history of the sport and the grandson of legendary New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner III. With that type of family legacy, a career in sports simply made sense.

“I envisioned myself being involved in sports business in some way,” Steinbrenner says. “It’s something I had a passion for just being around it and looking up to my grandfather and wanting to be like him. In a lot of ways I think that started my passion for sports business.”

2019 has already been quite good to Harding Steinbrenner Racing. On March 24th, the team picked up a win at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Not only was this Steinbrenner’s first professional win, it also made him the youngest owner to win a race in history of IndyCar. He describes this as his most exciting achievement to date.

In his time working in racing, Steinbrenner has found that the biggest misconception about working in the sport relates to the partnership side.

“I think a lot of people don’t have a full understanding of how difficult it is and how much time it takes to find commercial partnerships,” Steinbrenner says. “In the racing world, we’re working primarily on sponsorship money. We don’t get ticket revenues. We don’t really have many revenue streams independent of sponsorship money and prize money. So for us, how difficult it is and how much time it takes primarily to create that base for the partnership and how long a deal can take to make to bring sponsors onto the race team is just something you learn. It’s always a lot more difficult than people anticipate even coming from other sports in selling sponsorship.”

While there are plenty of other challenges that come with owning an IndyCar team, Steinbrenner’s confidence and abilities suggest that he is ready to face any more that may come his way. From his own personal experiences, his advice to aspiring sports professionals is to find ways to keep grinding through the busy or difficult times.

READ MORE: Meet the Rising 25: Zoë White of the Atlanta Hawks

“When you work in the front office environment, there isn’t really much of an offseason,” Steinbrenner states. “What I learned is the offseason, for me, is the busiest time of the year because that’s where a lot of the money raising happens and all the hard work happens. When I feel like I’m getting overworked I have to remind myself to look toward the ultimate goal: winning the Indy 500 and winning IndyCar championships. That was a big factor in helping me sort of grind through the beginning of the team and the long off season.”

Meet the full class of 2019 here.

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Rising 25

Meet the Rising 25: Andre Robinson of the Los Angeles Clippers

Currently a video producer in the NBA, Robinson takes pride in being a point of inspiration for young videographers and people in his hometown.

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The Rising 25 Class of 2019, presented by AB InBev, represents some of the brightest young professionals in the sports industry. Over the next several weeks, we’re proud to introduce you to this year’s winners and highlight some of their achievements to date.

Today, meet Andre Robinson: video producer for the Los Angeles Clippers. The son of a college athletics administrator, Robinson was never far from the excitement of live sports as a child. Robinson then carried his love for sports and his desire to be a storyteller into his college career.

“As a kid, you follow the excitement of what your family and the people around you get excited about. So sports was definitely a part of my childhood,” Robinson says. “But I think the storyteller aspect was more so my route that I really wanted to take.”

READ MORE: Meet the Rising 25: Zoë White of the Atlanta Hawks

Robinson began his college career at South Carolina State University where he filmed social events on campus for various student organizations. He then transferred to Clemson University, where he took on an internship in video production with the football program. Much of the content that Robinson created for Clemson football centered around recruitment and telling the story of being a student-athlete from the perspective of being an African-American.

When his time at Clemson ended, Robinson moved on to an associate producer position with Raycom Sports in Charlotte before becoming Ohio State football’s assistant director of new and creative media. Following the 2017-2018 academic year, Ohio State football had more Instagram followers than any other college football team and had a 77% growth in Twitter followers that year. In October of 2018, Robinson made the move to California to join the Clippers.

Accomplished sports professionals will attest that it’s not uncommon to receive messages from people looking to learn from them. Robinson is no exception. He describes the highlight of his career as the opportunity to inspire other aspiring creatives, especially those back in his hometown.

“It’s a good feeling knowing that people look up to me,” he says. “Growing up, I never saw people pick up a camera. This kind of career never dawned on them. But then I go home and I look around and there are a bunch of people picking up cameras and trying to do video. My community was people who wanted to be an athlete or a rapper or just people with regular nine-to-five jobs. But I think that opened a new tunnel for people to say ‘I want to do something like what Andre is doing.’”

READ MORE: Meet the Rising 25: Travis Case of the Los Angeles Kings

For his greatest piece of advice to up and coming professionals, Robinson refers to a quote from one of his former coaches: Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney.

“Do common things in an uncommon way,” Robinson recites. “Studying a little bit more, being very attentive to people around you, nurturing relationships, giving a little bit more effort, putting in a little bit more time, staying that extra hour to finish that project, do one more review session. It will take you to places you’ve never been”

Meet the full class of 2019 here.

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Rising 25

Meet the Rising 25: Zoë White of the Atlanta Hawks

A Stanford graduate, White successfully made the transition to sports marketing after beginning her professional life in sports medicine.

Front Office Sports

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The Rising 25 Class of 2019, presented by AB InBev, represents some of the brightest young professionals in the sports industry. Over the next several weeks, we’re proud to introduce you to this year’s winners and highlight some of their achievements to date.

Today, meet Zoë White: manager of marketing integration & operations at the Atlanta Hawks. The daughter of a basketball coach in the San Diego suburbs, White attended Stanford University with the hope of one day pursuing a career in the sports industry. She earned her degree in human biology but eventually decided to explore another side of the industry.

“I started working for Stanford Athletics in their marketing department and went to start looking for jobs in professional sports during my senior year,” she recalls. “I ended up finding a position with the Hawks and I had never even been to Atlanta before. I just thought I’m going to take this with both feet in and try something totally different and then here I am still today.”

READ MORE: Meet the Rising 25: Samantha Timmons of the USTA

White credits her family’s support in being able to make the switch from the medical field. She took well to marketing, beginning as the Hawks’ marketing integration & operations coordinator. She stayed in that role for about two years before being promoted to senior coordinator. Within the last six months she took over the Hawks’ marketing integration and operations team after internal restructuring. Growing into a leader within the Hawks organization is a great point of pride with White.

“Getting the opportunity to be a manager, I think is a really cool experience that I’m super grateful for,” White states. “It’s still a work in progress and I’m still learning a lot but I’m excited to see what we can all accomplish together.”

Moving across the country site unseen was something of a risk for White. The move, however, ended up being one of the best decisions of her life. Getting out of her comfort zone helped her achieve success.

“Coming from a small town in California and also going to college in California, I’d been kind of in this bubble my whole life,” White says. “My parents were really pushing me to do something different and get outside of my comfort zone. I’ve got so many great opportunities that I would have otherwise had. Of course you don’t want to be uncomfortable, but just push yourself to do new things and take on projects where you don’t always know what the outcome is going to be. I think that has always really boded well for me so far.”

READ MORE: Meet the Rising 25: Travis Case of the Los Angeles Kings

White’s key advice to the up and coming professionals is to not be afraid to reach out and learn from those who have been there before.

“Build relationships with your professors, talk to people, meet up with people, and do informational interviews with people that have the job that you want,” she suggests. “I think that is something that can be valuable no matter what career path you’re going, you’re going down. Just talk to them, not try to get something from them, but just try to learn. If you maintain those relationships, there will be opportunities that will come to you.”

Meet the full class of 2019 here.

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