Our latest Industry Insider is from the other side of the pond. We head to the Big Apple to chat with Perry Mattern, Sr. Manager, Social Media for the New York Jets about his career in sport.
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
Hello I’m Perry Mattern and I am the Sr. Manager, Social Media for the New York Jets, having just completed my fourth season with the team. I’ve also spent three years (one as an intern) with the Washington Commanders as a social media producer.
Other stops in my past have included play-by-play broadcaster/PR rep for the Harrisburg Senators (AA affiliate of the Washington Nationals), a graduate student within the Sports Information Department at Shippensburg University and a high school sports reporter for the Carlisle Sentinel.
What do you do in your current role?
I manage a group of three individuals and work with a content department that exceeds 20 to lay the foundation and strategy for the New York Jets across seven social media platforms.
I work both in the day-to-day execution of social posts while planning out long term goals and initiatives for our handles.
“Normal” isn’t a thing in sport so what does an “average” week look like for you?
Well, that certainly depends on the time of year. As of this writing, my job is much more similar to that of a 9-5 job at the office with a heavier lean on planning for the upcoming year/season than execution.
When training camp and the season comes around an average week looks more like 9-5 during the week with possible game travel on Saturday and then gamedays are usually 12 hour days.
How did you end up where you are right now?
During my third season with the Harrisburg Senators (and the summer after my first year of graduate school), I applied to and secured an internship with the Washington Commanders to help create content for the team’s website – mainly as a writer.
Following that NFL season with Washington, I returned to grad school where I finished my degree and was offered a job with Washington in that May.
Following my two seasons as a full-timer in Washington, I joined the Jets as a coordinator, social media. In my time with the Jets, the social team has expanded from two to four and I’ve become the highest ranking member.
When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
From a very young age. I grew up around the ballpark with the Senators where my dad worked until I was a freshman in high school. I played sports growing up, but knew my playing days would be over after high school.
My fandom, and sports nerdom, was what really drove my interest to keep sports as part of my life. What I exactly wanted to do bounced around from sports management to front office dreams to writer to play-by-play broadcaster, back to writer, and then eventually into video and social media.
What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?
How I collaborate with my teammates. Becoming a first-time leader in 2021 was a big point of pride for me and I believe the best way to lead is to help those on my team as best I can. Then there is collaborating with my other department mates.
Our social channels are nothing without the incredible contributions of our videographers, photographers, video editors, writers and more. It’s important that our relationship with them remains stable and has open lines of communication.
Can you tell us about a time you failed and what you learned from it?
It’s not hard to find a certain New York Jets TikTok that was a complete failure for us. For me it was a great learning experience of the Jets brand being the most important thing. These accounts that me and my team run are not our accounts, they’re the Jets accounts. It’s very important for us to build and nurture the voice of @nyjets to become the best it can be. And this TikTok was not in service of that goal. Was the TikTok wildly popular? Yes (and still is unfortunately). Was it right to come from the Jets? Absolutely not.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
I’d say a mix of storytelling and showcasing player personality. And many times, a lot of that can go hand in hand. When you look at the platforms where audiences are still growing consistently, a common thread is that player personality works well on those platforms. We’ve made it a priority with the Jets to bring these players stories to the forefront and connect our fans to the team as closely as we can.
If you could change one thing about your Industry, what would you change?
Mostly just wish we didn’t post so much. I say that with a laugh because obviously we could just make that change ourselves, but the standard was set years ago that sports teams would just naturally be super active. I would like to normalize being quiet when fans don’t necessarily need to be talked to. I think an emphasis on larger, deeper campaigns should be the priority.
Sport is a hectic industry, what do you do to switch off?
Playing sports, to be honest. But anything really moving my body and being outside is what I’ve found to be the best stress reliever. I’m a big proponent of sleep as well, but usually if I’m feeling anxious or burnt out, I also likely haven’t been exercising much at that time.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Your personality and work ethic goes such a long way. It’s pretty well known that if you want to get into sports that you’re going to work long hours and often unique hours. That means a boat load of time with your coworkers. I’ve found that the people I enjoy working with most bring positive energy and work really hard. Working hard isn’t just a matter of being at the office for long hours. It’s about bringing energy and going the extra mile to help out your teammates.
How to connect with Perry Mattern…
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