Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is the founder of Up To Par Management, Nathan Watts!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
I’m Nathan Watts, I’m 23 and I am the founder of Up To Par Management. The company was set up to aid professional athletes, brands and businesses, with the goal of creating stronger sports partnerships. UTP offers a full management service to some of the finest young professional athletes in the UK, from professional golfers, to YouTube stars and racing drivers. Our clients compete across a plethora of Tours and circuits, ranging from the Challenge Tour and Le Mans series to various development tours such as the PGA Euro Pro Tour and Clutch Tour.
In addition to this role, I am a part-time professional golfer and full-time retail manager at American Golf in Cheltenham.
Previously, I was working in the golf industry as an Assistant General Manager at Lilley Brook Golf Club. I graduated from University of Gloucestershire in May 2020 with a BA (Hons) in Sports Business Management. Through this I was able to undertake a placement year working as a Trainee Golf Club Manager at Lilley Brook. My role was varied, working on several marketing projects helping to implement social media campaigns across various platforms, creating digital content accordingly.
What do you do in your current role?
A lot! As a founder of a new start-up sports agency, I had to adapt quickly. Currently I am the only member of staff. We recruit a specialist team to tackle a client’s objectives. Most of the week will be spent networking, speaking with brands and potential sponsors. To maintain a healthy working relationship with my clients, I check in with them weekly to ascertain their progress and answer any queries they might have. One of my biggest roles weekly is managing my clients’ diaries; booking hotels for them and helping to schedule their season. As a player’s social media brand is vital for their overall brand awareness, improving the validity of their brand allows my clients to stand out from the crowd. I help create content for their various platforms and outsource graphics and templates for various posts. Updating my own website and creating content to put out onto our social media platforms is also another key task I undertake regularly.
What does a normal week look like for you?
There is no normal week! In a year where all meaning of the word work is rendered useless, my working week has been very different since going into lockdown. Before lockdown I would work 9:30am-18:00pm five days a week and then use my evenings and days off to work on Up To Par Management. Lockdown has given me time to focus on the company, building up a healthy portfolio of clients. I’m looking forward to growing the company over this period and into the future.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
From a very young age, my aspiration was actually to become a professional footballer. For me growing up, I played all sorts of sports, but my two main focusses were football and golf. I was fortunate to represent Coventry schoolboys in football and achieved a scratch handicap in golf before turning pro in 2019. Going through college I understood I needed a plan b if I didn’t make it to the top as an athlete, so pursued that through my degree at University of Gloucestershire with the intention to start my own sports company after university.
What’s been your favourite moment whilst working in sports?
Whilst having a lot of success on the field, it has been my efforts off of it that I look back on with the most admiration. I have used the knowledge I gained from my degree to build up an ever-expanding skill set with my favourite moment being starting my own company. At a young age I always hoped that I would one day create my own company, and I’m very grateful for all the help I have received to make this possible. My aim now is to give something back to the community that helped give so much to me and there is no better way than to set up a company helping others to fulfil their potential and achieve their goals.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Networking and developing strong relationships are key in the sports industry. The one bit of advice I would really recommend is to develop a strong presence on LinkedIn. This is an excellent platform in which to connect with people in the industry and learn from their experiences about what they do and how they got there. Also, I would advise a regular catch up with your mentors – a good mentor will teach you so much and offer great advice.
Another piece advice I would give is don’t listen to any negative energy, always keep learning and strive to be the best and never give up on your dreams. Find out what works for you, everyone has different ways of working. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
How to follow Nathan Watts on social media…
I’m on Instagram @nathanwattsgolf and an avid fan of Linkedin so connect with me on there! I am always happy to chat, so feel free to get in touch. Email – firstname.lastname@example.org, our website is www.utpmanagement.co.uk and we are also on Instagram @utpmanagement and Twitter @utpmanagement.
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider with Nathan Watts! To read more from our Industry Insider series click here.