In late July, I was fortunate enough to be able shadow the marketing team of the Detroit Lions for a few days. My good friend and mentor, Marie Keeler, who serves as a marketing manager for the Lions, helped set it up with the help of the Department of Sport Management. The Detroit Lions are a class organization, one that can serve as a model for other professional franchises. The administration and players were extremely kind and humble individuals. They treated all people, no matter their rank, with the utmost respect. They also showed great teamwork in all situations.
Upon arrival to the training facility, I was greeted by a couple of marketing managers who briefed me on team policies. After meeting with human resources to go over some legal work, I was given an all-access badge so that I could move around freely and witness everything.
On my first day, I entered into the training facility and watched part of training camp. The marketing managers were interacting with sponsors, season ticket holders, and VIPs who all had special access at the event. After practice, several of the Lions participated in an exclusive autograph session.
The following days I was able to spend more time in the office at Ford Field where I was able to speak with different people like Dr. Galen Duncan (Senior Director of Player Development) and Todd Lambert (Vice President of Ticket and Suite Sales). Dr. Galen and I talked about how he landed his job with the Lions even though he had not previously worked in football. Mr. Lambert and I discussed some of the challenges that he and his staff face when selling single game tickets, season tickets, and corporate suites. I also enjoyed meeting with the Lions’ media relations staff where I was able to get a behind-the-scenes look at training camp, something that the general public rarely gets to see.
My tour of Ford Field was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. I got to experience many of the different areas of the building and I was certainly impressed. I enjoyed seeing the business-side and the football-side of the Detroit Lions. The departments work well together in order to put together a positive experience for their fans. Every person in the organization plays an important role and it was enlightening to see how the machine runs off the field.