Fandom for a favorite sports team might be one of the strongest emotional bonds in the world. But is it strong enough to get in the way of a paycheck? So my question for those working in the sports industry is, would you be able to work for or with your favorite team’s archrival?
What made me think about this? When watching SportsCenter earlier in the week, I saw an image of LeBron James, whose fandom for the Yankees is well-known (but in my mind, pretty dubious), wearing a Red Sox hat. I then learned that he reached a agreement with Fenway Sports Management to work with his LRMR firm to handle his marketing and sponsorship. Though LeBron called this a purely business decision, and may be a very good one, it still got me thinking about this “working for the enemy” concept.
I then thought back to the time when I was in business school, working hard in trying to break into the sports industry, and I interviewed for a summer internship with the Philadelphia Eagles (I’m a big Giants fan). Though I got rejected for the internship (by who is now my current boss at the Caps, so it worked out) and never had to make the decision, I was seriously considering how my fandom for the Giants would affect this process. Kind of crazy.
I also thought back to the times when I was asked if I would ever take a job with the Boston Red Sox (I’m a big Yanks fan, so the job would have to be huge for me to take it). I also thought about my Caps colleagues who are fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins and what they go through.
Some rivalries are bigger than others, and some fans are bigger fans for a team than others, but I think it’s an interesting question to ask. Am I crazy to think that fandom for a sports team could get in the way of a paycheck? What are your thoughts?