Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport! We’re speaking to Marketing Strategist, Tom Ravenhill.

Tom Ravenhill - Vancouver Whitecaps

 

Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously? 

Hey! I’m Tom Ravenhill – a Birmingham-born Brit who emigrated to Vancouver, Canada about 5 years ago now, in 2015.

Growing up obsessed with sport, I used to be constantly told that I had a ‘footballing brain’ – I tried to make it pro, but so did the rest of my generation. At the University of Birmingham, I learned that I also had a ‘marketing brain.’ That, I found, that I could make a living from!

Thus far in my Digital and Sports Marketing career, I have given hope to those suffering from mental health illness, inspired and also humoured both the current and future Olympians of our generation, watch here, launched a craft beer and concomitant beer festival, plus taken three unique brands successfully into the volatile U.S marketplace.

My journey has evolved from Sports Coaching ➾ B.A (Hons) Sports Management ➾ Sports Events & Tourism ➾ Sports Nutrition ➾ Sports Fashion/ Apparel ➾Professional Sports ➾ eSports.

And I cannot wait for what is next!

 

What do you do in your current role?

My role at Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the MLS is split fairly evenly between marketing strategy and project management. My portfolios (overseeing all pieces from concept to market) within our internal marketing agency include Multicultural Marketing, Partnerships Marketing (think EA Sports, adidas, Fanatics), Merchandise, Influencer Marketing, eSports, In-Stadium pieces and PREM1UM sales, as well as liaising closely with some key external agencies and publications.

Tom Ravenhill - Work for Vancouver Whitecaps

 

What does a normal week look like for you?

Every day and week is different, depending what is going on with the club and our partners, as well what point in the year we are at. During the season we are executing strategy and working towards the next home game, event, sales piece etc – the off-season is where it gets the most crazy however, as that is where we do a deep dive as to what worked/ what didn’t last season, and rebuild from there. The key push is our Province-wide season campaign launch, tied closely to our new jersey for that year. For example, our 2020 campaign (and jersey) encourages Vancouverites and beyond to ‘Join the Wave.’ ?

Then, in addition to my full time role, I also make room in my calendar to take on a wide array of freelance projects – ranging from copywriting to full blown campaign management for various clients.

 

How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?

In 2011, I was fully preparing to go to the University of Derby to study Civil Engineering – I had done a fair bit of weekend/ summer construction work growing up, and thought that was the right path for me to take. One evening, watching football in the living room, my Dad said to me “You have no real passion or background in Civil Engineering – I really think you should look into a sports-based course. That’s your passion.”

My hometown University of Birmingham’s B.A (Hons) Sports Management degree was one of my finest decisions yet, and honestly, I have followed my instincts ever since.

Tom Ravenhill - UCB student

 

What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?

The MLS is growing so so quickly.

Crazy money. New franchises and stadia. The celebrity factor – David Beckham now owns a team in Miami! Rumours of further superstars coming to play in the league this summer.

There is no better time to be involved in football in North America as we build towards the World Cup in 2026.

 

What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?

It’s a fast paced, ever-evolving space. Learn from those who have made a career from it. Talk to people, network with them and learn from their mistakes…so that you don’t have to make the same errors! Of course, it is key to make your own mistakes and learn from them the hard way, but for me, this is truly the fast-track to success.

How to follow Tom Ravenhill on social media…

I’m obsessed with LinkedIn, and trying to grow to 10,000 followers by end of year. You know what to do!

 

Thanks for reading our Industry Insider feature with Marketing Strategist, Tom Ravenhill.