Ahead of the Game: What Every Athlete Needs to Know About Sports Business

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Ahead of the Game, 2007 - Business & Economics - 236 pages
Each week, 52 million kids take to Americas gymnasiums, playing fields, and race tracks. Most of these young athletes dream of becoming the next Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Danica Patrick, or Mia Hamm. Ambitious kids may believe that countless hours of training and hard work will get them to the top. But, sacrifice and dedication are not enough. They have no idea that a different game awaits them down the road: the game of sports business. This multi-billion dollar, winner takes all, industry requires as much practice and skill to master as any on-the-field competition. Without preparation for this off-the-field game, athletes risk derailing an otherwise promising career with a single business misstep. Today, there is no single resource for an athlete to get the business guidance needed to have a real shot at commercial success in sports. So, how can this athlete stay Ahead of The Game? Ahead of The Game: What Every Athlete Needs To Know About Sports Business offers young athletes, and their families, a complete primer on the challenges they will face off the playing field. Ahead of The Game starts by walking the athlete through complex subjects, like sports marketing, media relations, sponsorship sales and legal affairs, in easy-to-understand terms. After describing the basics of sports business, Ahead of The Game lays out a step-by-step process for building a comprehensive professional sports career plan. Along the way, Ahead of The Game offers simple tips to immediately apply to an athletes career, including how to: Define and position your own Personal Sports Brand; Live by the 10 Media Commandments, and avoid mistakes when dealing with the Media; Select an agent and other business team members; Sell sponsorships, endorsements, and merchandise; and Steer clear of 10 Ways to Kill A Sports Career Ahead of The Game includes practical advice gleaned from the authors experience and research, shares valuable insights from sports industry professionals (including athletes, agents, sports lawyers, sports executives, and others), and offers simple Dos and Donts in managing ones career. For the athlete just beginning in his or her sport, this book provides a better sense of the challenges that lie ahead. For the more advanced athlete, Ahead of The Game serves as a valuable checklist of issues to address now. Better informed and more educated about their future, an athlete will be empowered to make his or her dreams in professional sports come true.

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Section 1
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Section 8
Section 13
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Section 19
Section 20

Section 9
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Section 21
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Section 24

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About the author (2007)

Ahead of The Game was written by Ken Ungar, a sports business insider with a decade of experience in sports management. As a former leader of the business of IndyCar racing, Ungars work day often included close dealings with such sport icons as Danica Patrick, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, AJ Foyt, Johnny Rutherford, Michael Andretti, and Roger Penske. His deal portfolio includes multi-million dollar partnerships with Fortune 500 companies, including Walt Disney Resorts, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Bridgestone-Firestone, Bombardier Aerospace, Tag-Heuer, and many others.Ungars media interviews have been carried on numerous local, regional and national outlets including ABC World News Tonight, ABCs Good Morning America, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, CNBC, ABC News One, ESPN News, Sports Illustrated, and the Sports Business Journal. No stranger to the art of promotion, Ungar also directed a public relations group that garnered tens of millions of impressions each year for auto racing, including national media events from Capitol Hill, to the White House, to New York Citys Times Square with former Secretary of State Colin Powell. He also frequently speaks before various trade groups on sports business topics. Ungar has seen the sports world through the eyes of both a promoter and a sports league. Ungar was a former key executive for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500, the largest single-day sporting event in the world. In this role, he dealt with many high profile players from the world of Formula One, NASCAR, and IndyCar. Drawing on his unique set of experiences in sports, politics, and law, Ungar led a staff handling all aspects of a sport including, marketing, sales, public relations, broadcaster relations, event marketing and scheduling, as well as athlete development. It was in this role that Ungar first saw the need for a resource like Ahead of The Game.Ungars unique sports business resume includes a variety of innovative tasks: o Built a state of the art sports stadium from the ground up. In the late 1990s, Ungar led a team that built the Chicagoland Speedway, a $135 million stadium in metro Chicago, which hosts NASCAR, IndyCar, and drag racing events each year. o Negotiated detailed media deals, including the six-year rights agreement for the Indy 500 and the IndyCar Series with the ESPN and ABC television networks. o Created IndyCars first national radio relationship, by partnering with XM Satellite radio to broadcast all IndyCar events live. Today, Ungar advises various clients, including American Honda, on how to make the most of their sports business programs. He writes a column for Inside Indiana Business on sports business issues, and resides in the Indianapolis area with his wife (who graciously tolerates her husbands sports obsession), two sons (who dream of being professional athletes), and three dogs (who enjoy SportsCenter and want Nielsen Media to count dogs as households).

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