Alumni Advice: Larry Martin on Making a Slam Dunk in the Sports Industry
- By Sarah Tuff Dunn
“At UVM, I really had no idea what I wanted to pursue for a career,” admits Larry Martin, the senior vice president of sales at ScoreBig, a ticket seller that allows consumers to name their price for sports, concerts, and shows. “Four great years flew by, and I was suddenly faced with the reality of the real world and what I was going to do for a living.”
Martin had grown up in Pound Ridge, New York, the son of a state Supreme Court judge. So after attending high school at Iona Prep in New Rochelle and pursuing a political science major and history minor at UVM, Martin “reluctantly agreed” to attend law school—in Miami. He quickly discovered he didn’t want to be a lawyer.
“But I did recognize an opportunity to use the degree to pursue a career path in the sports and entertainment space,” says Martin, who obtained a master’s degree in sports management along with a law degree. That opened a number of doors, allowing him to score jobs in the Miami pro sports business, and eventually his gig at ScoreBig.
How have your studies at UVM helped your career path?
My experience at UVM taught me to network. Networking inevitably got me my first break to obtain a position in the Miami Heat’s business operations division and got me exposure to the senior staff.
And how did that lead to ScoreBig?
After spending eight years at the Miami Heat, and rising to the position of senior director of marketing, I ran the sports vertical for a marketing software company owned by Acxiom Corp that took me around the United States for two years, handling 40-plus sports team clients. Then I was recruited by the NBA League office to work in its New York office developing and sharing best practices across the business. I worked with two executives who started ScoreBig, and I joined the company when it was founded in 2009.
What’s a typical day like?
My typical day, whether in the office or on the road, is predominantly client and prospect oriented. My job is to acquire contractual relationships with pro and college sports properties, venues and promoters to sell unsold ticket inventory. For most properties, this means using our Ticketmaster integration to allocate inventory to the ScoreBig platform for liquidation. The conversations are mostly centered in ticket pricing, inventory management and attendance. My days are often filled with client presentations, drafting of proposals, phone calls and e-mail. Really no different than most sales jobs. I guess where my job does differ is that I often spend time with clients at their games and shows, but we are there to discuss the product that we are watching.
What are some lessons you’ve learned?
- Learn to sell, even if you don’t want to be a salesperson.
- Never be entitled.
- Develop a personal brand, and don’t be afraid to change that brand over time.
- Hire people who are smarter than you.
- Pave your own path and look for opportunities beyond your daily responsibilities.
How can alums break into sports and entertainment?
Commitment and patience. If it’s a field you want to pursue, some of the biggest growth areas in need of talent are data and analytics, revenue management, pricing, interactive marketing and customer relationship management.
Are you an athlete yourself?
I played some team sports growing up, but the only sport I have a passion for is skiing. I guess, if anything, skiing continuously teaches me to take calculated risks and allows me to be independent.