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Sport Marketing Interview Submission for Grad School

Shawn McIntosh Interview
Alexis I. Hernandez
Term Interview Project, Western Carolina University
SM 640 Sport Marketing
Dr. Frank Jee
March 11th, 2022
Under the guidance of Professor Dr. Frank Jee, I conducted an interview on January 29th
with Charlotte Football Club's Shawn McIntosh. At the time, Mr. McIntosh was carrying out the
duties of the Chief Fan Officer (CFO), a position that was created by and specifically for the
expansion club. It should be noted that there was no other club in the MLS that has created a
similar position. With all of this considered, Mr. McIntosh was a perfect candidate to interview
for the term project.
My interest and reason for interviewing with Mr. McIntosh start with the CFO position.
First, I am attending Western Carolina University (WCU) because I first applied for the CFO
position in June 2021. I was not hired, but I was inspired by Mr. McIntosh's I saw. Though he is
not a Charlotte native, he has a strong sports background. After graduating with an M.S. Sports
Management from California University of Pennsylvania, Mr. McIntosh has worked with
professional teams in hockey, men's and women's basketball, and soccer in positions ranging
from sales to operations to department director. Not only does Mr. McIntosh have the job I
wanted, but he also has the skills I want to obtain, making him an excellent candidate.
Following Dr. Jee's course presentation, I identified a list of individuals I would want to
hear from. I followed our instructions to send professionally typed and addressed emails.
However, I found something else interesting. Mr. McIntosh did not respond to my google email
but did a day later from my school email. Although I did not ask, in addition to being only weeks
before the first inaugural game and in a position fans want to connect with, weeding through
emails is a must. Therefore, the first and only hard advice I want to write in my report is that
using an email address from an institution seems to be the reason I caught Mr. McIntosh's
attention enough to be granted the interview.
Below are attachments of the emails and transcripts from the thirty-minute interview. I
told Mr. McIntosh that the Zoom call would be recorded for transcription purposes. However,
during the Zoom call, I asked him to confirm his agreement before pressing the record button.
Failure to not push record before asking for permission was probably because I conducted the
interview from South Korea at 1 am local time.
The first screen shot shows my original email. The second email I send to Mr. McIntosh,
in which I outlined the questions I want to ask in detail and informed him I would be recording,
as well as his responding email that I was incorrect about a particular part of his background, are
lost. The transcript of the interview alone exceeds the page limit for this report. The key
questions are important, and heavily influenced on my attitude approaching the matter. I will first
share the set of questions sent to Mr. McIntosh before the interview.
Talking points
- Roles and responsibilities at the current position (Chief Fan Officer – CFC)
- Pros and cons (P&C) of working with a 'fresh' team, opposed to joining an existing team
- New initiatives at CFC to welcome new fans
- What will game day look like compared to other MLS teams? Compared with Euro clubs?
- Identified barriers in building a fan base
- P&C of housing two teams in one stadium
- Addressing the 'regurgitation' of fans chants mentioned in an interview
- With numerous other teams in the area, what does a working relationship look like?
-Crossover Panthers fans? Competition with Knights?
- Innovative ways to approach the rising of E-sports market
- How do MLS teams act differently without relegation? (Investment, player acquisition, etc.)
First and foremost, I wanted to separate the SM 640 student and the sports fan that hates a
lot about what I see with CFC. While the fan in me believes that the MLS is no more than a
billionaire’s playground, the title FC does belong in a country that says ‘soccer’, and the
organization is no better at running a team than a blindfolded toss at a darts board (Tepper Sports
and Entertainment bought the Carolina Panthers), the student in me wanted to be respectful and
show gratitude as the interview was not meant to serve my personal needs. Therefore, the above
topic in red was omitted, as well as other questions about ‘FC’ and PSL seats being sold. The
above topic in blue was generated from an interview done by CLTFC FANTV (CLTFC FANTV,
2021). Knowing that time was limited, I wanted to get the most information from Mr. McIntosh
as possible, while also showing that I was capable of finding answers to other topics previously
discussed on social media platforms.
Mr. McIntosh preformed much better than I had imagine. He mentioned he was working
from home on that Friday, and had chosen a to sit in front of a wall of memorabilia. He promptly
entered the virtual room at the agreed upon time (11am EST for Mr. McIntosh) and slid in a CFC
hat. All of these actions signed that he was a professional and it set a tone for the interview to
keep up to that level.
To learn more, I asked in my follow up email how I could also better prepare for these
situations, and how to respond had someone tried to trap him with an unfair question. He
responded with the following; “Best way to prepare yourself for an interview is to stay as
informed and educated on your product knowledge or whatever the topic is you are being
interviewed for. I’d add that honesty and transparency has always been a guiding light for me.
So while a question may be difficult, I try to be honest about my answers and keep a cool head. I
try to shed light on the positives behind things.” (McIntosh, S. personal communication, January
29, 2022)
Overall, I believe that I chose the best subject possible. Mr. McIntosh reflects
characteristic that I want to emulate in my professional career. Though I do not like what is
going on with the sports world, I believe that Mr. McIntosh is carrying out his duties to please
the organization while keeping the fans in mind. This interview process has also helped me
understand the importance of name recognition and connecting with people in the sports world.
As careers in sports, from personal broadcast to player management, continue to trend upwards,
the importance of networking is as strong as ever. Mr. McIntosh earned the position of CFO by
working hard over a fifteen-year professional career in sports. The actual content of the interview
was to strengthen the final project for SM 640 in which my team will be creating a marketing
plan for CFC. The interview set a great example on how we should conduct ourselves when
presenting the material as understanding Mr. McIntosh’s mannerisms is the most valuable
information to take away.
CLTFC FANTV. (2021, October 7). Charlotte FC new Chief Fan Officer joins us to discuss the
role and Charlotte FC. [Video] YouTube. https://youtu.be/4rEmOb7EMYo