Sports and Entertainment Competition Tips from the Pros

Mar 17, 2020

Did you know that the Sports and Entertainment Industry is one of the most popular and successful industries in the United States’ economy?

According to the website of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

“Employment is projected to increase by approximately five percent from 2018-2028 in this field alone.”

In other words, jobs are constantly being created in this field, whether it be for marketing a sports team, concert, theme park or new hit movie. In addition, if you are someone who is intrigued by a rewarding salary, then the sports and entertainment marketing (SEM) field is right for you. The median annual wage for these occupations in 2018 was $5,300 higher than all other annual occupational median wages combined.

Luckily, DECA offers several sports and entertainment marketing competitive events for members to flex their skills. To help you prepare for your next competition, I gathered some insider knowledge from two previous SEM event competitors.

Magazine Mar 2020 Sem Competition 3

I first spoke with Christopher Murphy, a two-year DECA member from Mauldin High School in South Carolina. Christopher achieved exceptional results at the regional and association levels and qualified for ICDC in a sports and entertainment marketing event.

When asked what helped him be successful, his top two pieces of advice were:

  1. Practice Makes Perfect - Take practice exams and stay up-to-date with current events related to your competition. DECA offers several sample exams online, so be sure to take advantage of them.
  2. Stick to Your Passions - Make sure that your chosen event is something that you’re knowledgeable and passionate about. Don’t just try to compete in a category with the least number of competitors. Not only are you less likely to succeed, but you will benefit far less in the long run.

Overall, Christopher believes that his competitive advantages were solid public speaking skills and a strong bond with his team decision making partner.

Magazine Mar 2020 Sem Competition 4

Another DECA member that was successful in SEM competition was Nikhil Namburi from Blanchet Catholic School in Washington. Throughout his high school career, Nikhil progressively reached higher levels of competition until he won DECA glass at the 2019 ICDC in Orlando. A few of his other DECA accolades and achievements include three first-place finishes at his association conference and several other top-five finishes.

When asked about his strategies, he suggested that competitors:

  1. Think Like a Judge - Prior to competition, review the judges' manuals. Doing this will allow you to hit all the performance indicators that the judges are looking for by directly addressing them in your role-plays. Use the indicators to form your pitch, then wrap it all up with your own creative ideas. This way you will certainly meet the judge’s expectations and have the potential to further impress them.
  2. Test Like a Pro - When taking the exam, first answer all of the questions that you know and mark the ones that you don’t to refer back to later. This way, you can knock out two-thirds of the test and then use context clues to answer the tougher questions you have less confidence in getting correct.

Interestingly, Nikhil never took a business or marketing class because they were not offered by his school. Looking back, he attributes his success to staying composed under pressure and not over-complicating the event scenarios.

Hopefully, you can use these tips to take your competition to the next level and make it all the way to the stage at next year’s International Career Development Conference.

This article was originally published in the March/April 2020 "Sports and Entertainment Marketing" issue of the DECA Direct magazine.


No items found.

Discussion Questions

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Classroom Connection

Career CLuster:

Instructional Area(s):

Performance Indicators:

No items found.