Megan Hughes: Sports Industry Dealmaker
At Genesco Sports Enterprises, Megan Hughes is a senior marketing director running the Charlotte office where she oversees the NASCAR platform for their PepsiCola North America client and new business development for the Motorsports department of Genesco.
Did you plan to have a career in sports marketing?
Interestingly enough, I wanted to go into sports medicine. I studied [at] Hampton, getting my degree in biology, but I transferred to Old Dominion University and ended up with a degree in exercise science and sports medicine.
What is your typical day like?
Whether it’s getting ready for some activation that’s coming up around a race or talking through points in a negotiating contract. You name it, I’m advising, providing recommendations on their media, their brand positioning, how they use their athletes.
How do you pair an athlete with a brand?
It really comes from understanding the brand’s position, the brand’s personality, and who their core target is, and we do have a lot of resources for pulling insights on the different athletes.
What happens if your athlete is involved in a scandal?
There are definitely morality clauses in all the contracts we sign. We make it a point, from our agency’s perspective, to make sure that, when we are aligning our brand with an athlete, we’ve done all of our research, and we know that the values that athlete has are shared values with the brand and the company.
Through contacts within the league, I learned that Dale was looking to leave his current team, and there would be an opportunity for a new brand to align themselves with him. So going back inside the walls of PepsiCola, I learned there was a young, energy brand, Amp, that needed to align itself with a big property to kind of take it from where it currently was in the category. A six-share partnering with Dale provided ample opportunity to tap into Dale’s loyal fan base of 20 to 30 million fans. Amp saw the results and grew in their category from six to four to three.
What’s your advice to other women who may want to enter your industry?
The sports industry is dominated by men. So, understand the business before being a fan. Be professional, be confident and knowledgeable, and don’t be afraid to look for female mentors in the industry because they are there. –zondra hughes