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Peak Sports MGMT partners with UCA Athletics

CONWAY, Ark. (UCA) — The University of Central Arkansas Athletic Department has entered into a partnership with Peak Sports MGMT to exclusively sell corporate sponsorships, expand the market presence of UCA Athletics and provide additional staffing.

The agreement is for a total of five years, with three one-year renewal options. The agreement provides UCA Athletics with a significant financial guarantee in each year that totals $3.3 million dollars over the life of the partnership. In addition, a revenue sharing amount is distributed once thresholds are met that will considerably eclipse the aforementioned multi-million dollar guarantee.

"We are pleased to have Peak Sports on our campus and working in the Athletics Department,’ said Dr. Brad Teague, UCA director of athletics. "We are happy to have their professionalism and expertise in the field of corporate athletics sponsorships.

"The model provided by Peak Sports for our athletics program will further enhance our image and extend our promotion throughout the community, state, and region.’

The market presence portion of the agreement provides for the building of an enhanced radio or television network and two seasonal marketing associates to enrich market presence in the Conway-to-Little Rock corridor.

"We are thrilled to bring our services to the UCA Bears and Sugar Bears,’ said Peak Sports MGMT President Ryan Holloway. "Since UCA joined Division I athletics in the 2006-07 academic year, we have had our eyes on Dr. Brad Teague, his staff and the entire UCA program. To put it plain and simple, they have done things the right way. The story at UCA is a great one to tell and we are excited to lean on the ‘Four Focus Areas of UCA Athletics’: Student-Athlete Success, Building and Enhancing Facilities, Community Service and Following the NCAA Division I Principles.

"We are ecstatic to be working at the premier university in the Southland Conference and one of the best FCS athletic programs in the country. We are excited to join the hard working staff and coaches, the talented student-athletes and the successful teams of UCA Athletics.’

The newest sports management firm to Division I athletics and the FCS level, Peak Sports MGMT specializes in sponsorship sales, marketing and event management. Peak Sports MGMT brings their services to the market that drive revenue, expand market presence and provide additional staffing.

Originally from the Dallas, Texas area, Holloway has moved the company to Conway and will serve as the General Manager of the UCA property. Cara Holloway, a former soccer Student-Athlete at Stephen F. Austin, will serve as the Account Executive of the UCA property. Although recently founded, the company’s NCAA Division I sales and marketing experience dates back to 2005 and the revenue raised, committed and maintained specifically to sponsorship sales is over $4,900,000. Ticket sales revenue is in excess of $2,100,000.

For more information, go to or follow on twitter at @PeakSportsMGMT.

Hiring Process: How do you find your team members?

I will start this off by saying that I am no expert on hiring.  I have never worked as a HR director and I have made some bad hires.  I feel that I have also made some pretty good hires and when I have, I have followed a pretty simple process.  No crazy tests or hiring matrixes.
As Peak Sports starts to grow we will be looking for some quality individuals that can fill big shoes and get the job done.  We will find these people by following this basic process:

Core Values
It all starts with your organization’s Core Values.  I am HUGE on this.  This is an extension of your “Why” (as I discussed last week) and these are your driving principles that you follow on a daily basis.  These are not items that you just place on your website, in a HR binder or hang on the wall.  These are day by day items that EVERY decision should be held against.  Plain and simple, if I am talking to someone about working with us they must not only believe in these, they must also LIVE them.  Matter of fact, as my wife, Cara and I started talking about her involvement in Peak Sports we had plenty of discussions on this topic.  She is a team member of Peak Sports and she doesn’t get an exemption.  If she or any other team member (including myself) can’t live be our Core Values the entire organization will begin to fail.

Core Values at Peak Sports:
• Do What is Right
• Practice What We Promise by Delivering Results
• Live a Well Balanced Life
• Be Passionate and Curious About Everything We Do
• Be Progressive and Open to Change
• Put Extra Icing on the Cake – Go the Extra Mile
• Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
• Have Fun

When I talk to potential team members I will press them on these.  We will walk through each of these to make sure they can truly live them.  If someone tells me that they can live a well balance life but then the next minute they tell me they love working 80 hours a week then we will have a problem.  Talk about your Core Values and live by your Core Values.

I think that it is super important to find people that are very passionate about college athletics.  I want people that ooze it.  I want people that are so darn curious about athletics that they have more questions after leaving a game (to scope things out) then when they showed up to it.  I can help people with sales techniques, organization, professionalism, etc. but I can’t teach passion.  Nobody can.  The people that I have hired that I consider to be bad hires lacked one thing and one thing only and that was passion.  These people had great experience, pretty good work ethic but the lack of passion held them back from being successful because at the end of the day they didn’t care.  Passion fuels success.  My Dad used to tell me that he didn’t mind what I did once I grew up as long as I was passionate about it.  Everybody is passionate about something and I want the people that are passionate about college athletics.

Let Others Do The Dirty Work: Basic Training
I met with a sponsor a few months ago that is in the aerospace industry and they use helicopters to fly people from different cities in the Gulf region out to drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.  Around 95% of their pilots are former military pilots.  They chose to go this route for a variety of reasons but primarily because they understand that it is too expensive to train new pilots.  They look to the military to train them and the other 5% of their pilots come from industry competitors.

I am not flying helicopters and I don’t completely believe in letting someone else fully train your team members but I do believe that just in the time and effort category (let alone money) you will be spending a ton of resources to train your new team members.  The industry and culture of college athletics can’t be underestimated.  I will not and refuse to hire someone from “the outside” as training them to understand college athletics is too much effort.  It is not fair to Peak Sports, our property and the new team member.  I will only look at those people that come from college athletics and have spent some time grinding it out.  I want them to receive their “basic training” from someone else not only because of the expense but because spending time elsewhere will also make them a better-rounded person.

There will be times that I may look to the outside of college athletics but those times will be rare and the person must be off the charts.  I think it is too much of a risk to take on someone that has never worked in an athletic department because a lot of these people think that the signage shows up, the video board operates itself and the popcorn pops itself on gamedays.  Just remember when you pulled in a slew of interns at the beginning of a semester and of those 10 interns only two made it through the year because most of them thought they got to show up at game time and watch the game from the field or club level.  No sir that is not my style.  I’ll hire those two interns that made it and understand what college athletics is all about.

Yes, Peak Sports is a “sales organization” but I would rather hire someone in college athletics with little sales experience than someone with a ton of paper copier sales experience and no college experience.  The culture and language of college athletics is deep and that is the only culture we live and the only language that we speak at Peak Sports.

Take Time and Build A Stable
The other reason that I have made a few bad hires is because I didn’t take time or wasn’t allotted proper time to fill a position.  This killed me because I rushed through the process and had to hire someone that wasn’t the best fit.  I found out through this process that regardless of the time frame the “hiring process” starts way before a position comes available or is even created.  This can be a little tricky because you can’t advertise jobs that are not available and you want to handle HR issues with departing (or soon to be departing) team members with grace.

First things first… if you can’t hire the right person then just wait till you find the right person.  Trust me as I have gone both routes.  Regardless of route, you will be doing that job but if you hire the wrong person you are not only doing their job but you are also stuck with them.  Don’t freak out, wait and hire the right person later!

The best way to handle hiring is to always be talking to people in the industry.  Keep tabs on them and people they work with and really get to know them.  Talk to them about your Core Values and what your organization is all about.  As you start to talk to more people and get a good handle for their passion, work ethic, knowledge, etc. you will begin to build a stable with some really good people.  Once a position opens up you can then approach these folks and recruit them over.  If you have built and fostered a good relationship they will trust you and what your organization is doing.  Don’t get this confused with just your plain network…  these are people that you are really tracking on.

Peak Sports plans on doing some recruiting events throughout the year to find the type of people that we want.  These events won’t be labeled as “recruiting events”, they will be fun events that will help us identify people that we want to work with and will show a non-stuffy interview side of them.  If we like them and feel they would be a good fit then we will start to track on them.  If they excel in their job they will become part of our stable.  When positions open we will have a nice group of people to talk to about filling them.

Hiring never ends and at times it is hard to tell when it begins.  I may come across somebody at the FCS Championship game in Frisco this January that I like and try to hire him or her next year.  They might love their job and I might not be able to get them this time around but I will continue to track on them and talk to them when I don’t have anything open.  Maybe the following year or in five years I can get them.  Don’t start to the hiring process once someone leaves because you will already be behind.  Get it going now!  Also, don’t sell you self short.  Start this process now even if you are an intern.  I went from the smallest man on the totem pole at Texas State to Senior Staff at Northwestern State overnight overseeing Marketing and Tickets. I made my first hire a month later.  You may be hiring people before you know it!

As we start to grow, I can assure any AD or President that I sit across from that we will only hire someone that follows our Core Values, oozes passion, understands the culture of college athletics, speaks the language and we will take our time to find the perfect fit.  This sounds very basic and it is, the problem is that the process is rarely followed.  Remember, an organization is only as good as its team members and you NEED good ones! 

Thanks for the read and remember to Keep Climbing!


Let’s Talk!:  @PeakSportsMGMT   @RyanMHolloway

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What is your “Why”?


A simple word and a question with a long answer.

What is your “Why”?

Why do you get up every morning?  What is the spark that lives within you that turns into a wild forest fire?

Everyone has one but not everybody can clearly express it or even worse they don’t follow it.  It took me a career change from the private sector to college athletics, getting to my 30s, getting married, having my first child, eight football seasons and several other things to figure out my “Why”.

I have always wanted to start and run my own business.  Not because I didn’t want to work for “the man”, have the freedom or because of the money that can be made.  –Trust me, I will still have a “boss” and it cost money to run a business…  :)  I am infatuated by building things from the ground up and seeing them blossom.   I would love to take my experience and some financial fire power that I recently received to start a sponsorship sales and events management business.  All this and remember Wayne Gretzky said you won’t make any shots that you don’t take!

I have been working in college athletics for eight football seasons with stops at Texas State (Marketing Assistant), Northwestern State (Assistant AD – Marketing), Rice (Assistant AD – Marketing and Tickets Sales) and KP Sports (General Manager and Regional Sales Director overseeing McNeese State and Nicholls State).  It has been a hell of an experience and I have learned a ton.  In all these stops I have bled, talked, slept and ate each school.  I have believed in every student-athlete, coach and fan that I have served.  Those that work in college athletics know what it is like to help make a student-athlete’s experience better in the classroom and on the court, help a coach win or enhance a fan’s game day experience.  I believe in those three things.  I love those three things.  This is what gets me up in the morning.  This is the first part of my “Why”: I believe that I am making a positive difference for our student-athletes, coaches and fans.

The way I fulfill this is through selling sponsorships.  I love sitting down with sponsors and telling them how many eye balls are going to see their signs or sample their food that in turn will help sell X more trucks or tacos.  I love this stuff.  I love hearing the story of sponsors:  the good of their business and the areas they want to improve on.  I love bridging that gap.  I love having conversations with decision makers of businesses based locally, regionally and nationally on making a good and sound business decision that will help them fill the void and take their business to the next level.  This part is fun, but the part that I am most passionate about is talking to them about how they will be making an impact on our student-athletes, coaches and fans.  The $1,000, $10,000 or $100,000 sponsorship will pay for summer scholarships to help with APR, a chartered flight to help prevent a sore back and legs from a long bus trip or a locker room renovation that will attract the next great student-athletes.  This is the second part of my “Why”:  I believe what I am selling will deliver a positive result to our sponsors.

I have had the idea of opening my business for a while.  In March of this year I really started to think about it and then in July I decided to do it.  My “Open” sign will flip over this month and Peak Sports MGMT will find its flagship property shortly.

Peak Sports MGMT believes in the student-athletes, coaches and fans.  We believe that selling sponsorships help businesses.  This is our “Why”.  This is my “Why”.  Plain and simple, I love getting up in the morning and making the athletic department better than the day before.  Sponsorship sales fuels my forest fire.  Sponsorship sales generates revenue.  Revenue supports initiatives that graduate student-athletes, helps coaches win and enhance the experience of fan bases. 

Do you know your “Why”?  Take a look at this lecture by Simon Sinek.  I think this is something great for everybody to watch whether it is an individual or an entire organization.  Figure out your “Why” and live by it:  “To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” - Gandhi

Thanks for the read and remember to Keep Climbing!


Let’s Talk!:  @PeakSportsMGMT   @RyanMHolloway