By Ed Brennen
With one of the biggest sporting events on the planet, the FIFA World Cup, underway in Qatar, this has been an unusually busy time of year for Adam Klionsky, director of communications for Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution.
The MLS season has been over for nearly a month, but Klionsky has been busy pitching Revolution players and coaches as soccer experts to Boston media outlets for their World Cup coverage.
“I’m basically like a speaker’s bureau right now,” says Klionsky, who has been with the Revolution since 2016. “The World Cup is hugely important for growing the game of soccer in the U.S. We need to capitalize on this moment as much as possible, when all those casual sports fans are finally watching soccer.”
Klionsky visited Alumni Hall recently and spoke with more than 100
Manning School of Business
students about career paths in professional sports and the importance of developing a strong professional brand. He was invited by
David Rattigan, an adjunct faculty member in the marketing, entrepreneurship and innovation (MEI) department and co-host of the “Soccerheads New England” podcast.
Klionsky has worked in professional sports since 2010, when he interned for D.C. United of the MLS while a student at American University and then Georgetown University. He went on to work for teams in Major League Baseball (Washington Nationals), the National Basketball Association (Golden State Warriors) and the National Football League (Washington Commanders and Oakland Raiders). He also worked on the NFL public relations staff at three Super Bowls.
Speaking to students in Rattigan’s Professional Communications course, as well as students of adjunct faculty members
Barbara Russell, Klionsky offered these tips for breaking into the world of professional sports:
- “The most important thing is not to waste a second while you’re in school. Whether it’s volunteering or interning, go out of your way to build up that first level of your résumé. Get some experience. What you don’t want to do is get to the end of your college career and then try to take that first step.”
- “Take advantage of the resources you have right at your fingertips, whether it’s your college athletics department or one of the pro teams in Boston. There are so many ways to intern or volunteer, and also game-day positions. A team like the Celtics is probably hiring game-night staff in operations or marketing. See what you can do to get your foot in the door somewhere.”
- “If you’re looking for that first step, look to your immediate circle. Who do you know that is in a field related to what you want to do? Ask them for 10 minutes of time to talk about their work. Learn what people do on a day-to-day basis in the sports industry. If you’re stuck and don’t know how to take that first step, a professor might point you in the right direction.”
- “It’s a lot easier to come into work when you’re winning than when you’re losing. There’s just a much more positive office culture. But if you’re working in sports, you can never go into your boss’ office and use the team’s poor results as an excuse for your own performance. If you’re in marketing, you can never go to the president and say, ‘Of course media results are down; the team is bad.’ That might be true, but you need a strategy for good times and bad.”
- “The group projects you do in college don’t go away. So much of my job is building consensus within an organization, trying to figure out what the goals are of our marketing, sponsorship and ticket departments. I’m trying to figure out what everyone needs, what they’re trying to accomplish and how I fit into that. The whole thing of playing nice with others to reach your objectives, that never goes away.”