How Major League Teams Hire Entry- Level Ticket Sales Representatives: A Qualitative Analysis

Nels Popp
Michelle Harrolle
and Janelle E. Wells

Maintaining a robust salesforce is critical for nearly any business. The sport industry is no exception, as salespeople help sport organizations generate essential ticket revenue. While the sport industry is a popular career option for young professionals, relatively few aspiring sport managers desire to work in sales. As such, entry-level sport ticket sales positions experience high turnover. The purpose of this study is to assess the hiring processes of recruitment, evaluation, and selection of sales candidates among North American professional sport leagues. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 21 ticket sales hiring managers from teams in the four major North American professional sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL). Data analysis from interviews revealed four primary themes: (a) recruitment as an active and continuous process, (b) contrasting approaches to interviewing, (c) hiring managers’ preferences for ideal candidates, and (d) challenges assessing candidates. Several subthemes were identified. Implications for faculty, practitioners, and students are discussed.