Shortly after graduating from Rice University, Bryan Hodge ‘11 accepted a job as Marketing Communications Manager with the Sugar Land Skeeters, a minor league baseball team set to play its first game April 26, 2012. Hodge’s role encompasses handling all aspects of media relations including media coverage, social media, writing press releases and maintaining the website.
As graduation was drawing closer, Hodge started looking at various organizations for the first full-time job in sports. Sport Management Professor Tom Stallings knew of the opening with the Sugar Land Skeeters and introduced Hodge to the organization. After looking at the open position, Hodge described it as a great opportunity to start in a fast growing organization doing something he loves.
When applying for the position with the Skeeters, Hodge felt that his experience was what set him apart from other applicants who were competing for the same job. During his tenure at Rice, Hodge interned at several organizations including the Dynamo, Astros, Texans, Rice Athletics and the Final Four.
“The Sport Management Program at Rice got me in the door with those internships,” Hodge said. “Working for several different organizations, I was able to gain the hands on knowledge and experience that is crucial for any college graduate making the move into the workforce. Professor Stallings works tirelessly to help his students find a post-graduate position that fits them. The required internships and rigorous class work allowed me to be better prepared, which is invaluable in this industry.”
That position as Marketing Communications Manager has made Hodge a busy man at the Skeeters organization. In addition to working with the media, Hodge maintains the Skeeters interactive website, keeping it constantly updated with team information. When the organization hosts events, it is his job to get the media coverage it needs, handling news and photographers along the way. Another aspect of Hodge’s job has been taking on the new form of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, allowing the Skeeters to connect with the public and keep the fans engaged.
Working with a new team presents a very unique, albeit challenging position. Hodge must work with the entire organization to build not only a good team, but also a lasting culture and mindset that will shape the Skeeters for years to come. Hodge works closely with the sales and advertising department to ensure everyone is on the same page in marketing their team. All ticket sales, merchandising, and promotions are a result of collaboration between Hodge and his counterparts in these departments.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Hodge said. “I get to have my hands in everything being with a small team. It allows me to gain a lot of experience... I’m not confined to my title.” Working in this environment has allowed Hodge to use his prior skill set while also expanding his horizons.
Hodge attributes his success to the Sport Management classes he took while attending Rice.
“The public relations class taught by Dr. Haptonstall has had a direct correlation with my new job,” Hodge said. “The Sport Management Program taught various other classes as well that has proved invaluable in terms of preparing me for my current position.”
The Sugar Land Skeeters Historic Opening day will be on April 26, 2012 against the York Revolution, the two-time defending Atlantic League champions.
Cody Bauer, a junior from Pottsboro, Texas, is majoring in Sport Management as well as minoring in Business. D’Frantz Smart, a senior from Chicago, Illinois, is majoring in Mathematical Economic Analysis and Sport Management.