Image courtesy of MLB.com
Through a hunt to find an internship or a job, I decided to start looking into other fields of sports that I had not already looked at. This led me to consider a path in sports media and specifically social media. My brother has a friend, Matt Stein, who works for MLB.com with their social media department, so I gave him a call to pick his brain about the industry.
Namendorf: How did you get into this field and your position?
Stein: I started off with writing for the Rutgers University newspaper for the sports section. I always knew that I wanted my career to be in sports and my main goal was to be a sports writer or journalist. I got an internship with MLB after my junior year of college and I worked really hard for them, so they offered me a part-time job. After some time working part-time, I was moved to the social media department in a full-time role. I work on the sponsorship side of the business as well.
Namendorf: What does the sponsorship side entail?
Stein: Sponsorship involves many different areas of the business. In a typical day I’d focus on making pitches, creating art, and integration, so there’s a lot of variables involved with sponsorship.
Namendorf: Which social media entities that people follow would be from your team of employees and which is most effective?
Stein: Anything you see from MLB accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. I’m not sure which is most effective, but in terms of readiness the quickest way to put things out there is through Snapchat and Instagram stories. People would usually think Twitter, but they’re actually our biggest concern because they aren’t profitable and have been trending downwards.
Namendorf: What are some things that have surprised you being in this industry?
Stein: Mainly how fast it has grown. We went from an office of 6 employees to now having around 90 employees in only a handful of years. It’s been pretty amazing to watch the industry’s growth from the ground up. I was also surprised that it has taken us this long to integrate with MLB Network, we only started with them this year. It seemed like a fit that should’ve been done a while ago.
Namendorf: What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
Stein: My responsibilities include collaborating with our sponsorship team, integrating branding to highlights, at bat notifications for our app, and overseeing the staff of content gatherers and producers. We have live staff until 3:00 am in all 30 ballparks.
Namendorf: Do you like managing your department?
Stein: I certainly do not plan on leaving anytime soon. The perks of the job are very enjoyable. I get to travel and go to the World Series and All-Star game for free every year. I actually spoiled the result of game 7 of the Giants vs. Royals World Series because I live-tweeted it before the 10-second delay to the TV screen.
Namendorf: What is your work environment like?
Stein: It’s kind of like a bar. We’ve got 16 desks around 16 Apple TVs so we don’t miss anything that happens during the games. It’s very important that we have no cubicles because communication is so much easier in real time in the same room. Especially with how quickly we need to get the information out onto people’s screens.
Namendorf: Can you give me an example of how the room operates once there’s something you want to post?
Stein: Ok, let’s say Mike Trout hits a walk-off home run. We immediately start getting an image of the point of contact. Someone else works on the alert for the application. Another person thinks of or looks for a caption. It’s all a big team effort and our environment allows us to work as smoothly as possible.
Namendorf: What was your major in college?
Stein: My major was journalism and media studies. Being the sports editor at Rutgers and then having a part-time job with MLB.com really showed me that there are some things you can’t just be taught. You need the experience of learning on the job and that was much more impactful than the classes I was taking in school.
Namendorf: If there’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone trying to enter the field what would it be?
Stein: It’s a bit simple, but I’d say never say no to more work. You never know how that extra effort could impact your whole situation. It certainly has helped me along the way. I was working 40 hours per week my senior year of college for MLB and it really paid off. So, always accepting the work shows your bosses and coworkers that you’re willing to contribute and could be capable of something more in the future.