Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport! We’re speaking to Senior Manager of Digital & Social Media at New York Red Bulls, Andrew Vazzano.
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what have you done previously?
I’m Andrew Vazzano and I’m currently the Senior Manager of Digital & Social Media for the New York Red Bulls, one of the original clubs in Major League Soccer. Previously, I worked as Senior Editorial Producer at SNY, a regional sports network in New York, covering all New York sports teams (with a special emphasis on New York Mets and New York Jets content). I’ve also worked at Birchbox Man and The Daily Voice. I have my Bachelors in Journalism from Quinnipiac University and my Masters in Interactive Media, also from Quinnipiac. I live with my wife and daughter in New Jersey.
What have you done & what do you do in your current role?
I oversee essentially anything that goes on the internet, on any platform, for our first team, second team, academy, Arena, eSports and support accounts. From our website to social platforms or our app, I work with my digital team, video team and PR team to make sure everything is streamlined and we can get ahead of as much as possible!
What does a normal week look like for you?
A normal week, let’s say for a match week, has me at training a couple of times a week, grabbing content from training, players and coaches. The rest of my time is spent at Red Bull Arena preparing for the match.
On match day is when the real fun starts. I usually get to the Arena about 6 hours before kick off, which is only possible because I spent the last few days creating, publishing and scheduling content on our social platforms. Once I get to the Arena, I can focus on creating content for the game – setting up match graphics, score graphics, etc. I can also start grabbing scene setters from inside the arena to help fans get excited for the match. I’m lucky enough to work from a press box that is right next to the field, so I am able to be on the field, live streaming warmups to our social channels, right up until kickoff. I take my seat in the press box and get to sharing content from the game – especially highlights of goals, great plays and graphics.
After the match, we livestream our players on the field and thanking fans, stream our coach’s press conference and hit the locker room for player interviews. Then it’s back to the office to publish content to our channels and schedule stuff to run the rest of the weekend – if possible! That is a very, very abbreviated version of everything I do during a normal week, but that’s at least the highlights and doesn’t include meetings with other departments or anything else that falls into my job description.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
I’ve always wanted to work in sports. My dream job growing up was to be a reporter covering the New York Mets, and in a way, I was able to accomplish that feat in my previous gig. I grew up playing and watching sports my whole life, with my two loves being baseball and soccer. Once I saw the opening with the Red Bulls, which I knew would be both closer to home for me and allow me to get out from behind a desk a lot more often, it was a no-brainer. I absolutely loved my time at SNY and everything I learned there I took with me to the club I’m at now. I really love being able to get creative with the team, speak as the de facto voice of the club and it feels great to be engaged in so many aspects of the club, because digital and social is just so important in this day and age.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
I’m excited for how our team functions right now. We’re unique in that our PR, digital/social and video team are all one team, so it makes all of our jobs a lot easier. I’ve seen and know about far too many places that keep PR and digital/social/video/content in separate silos, and it only makes things harder for everyone involved to tell the story of their club. I’ve heard too many horror stories of digital folks finding out at the last moment about some crazy news they need to get out in minutes/hours/days and I just can’t wrap my head around that. You’re all on the same team, you all want to tell the best story about the club, why wouldn’t you want to work together? That boggles my mind, so I’m really glad we’re set up the way we are!
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Get well versed in data. Everything you do now is going to be rated, ranked and analyzed – you best be able to understand why something worked, how successful something was, or… why or what you can change to make it better.
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Thanks for reading our Industry Insider feature with Senior Manager of Digital & Social Media at New York Red Bulls, Andrew Vazzano.