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News > Events > Sports networking proves popular

Sports networking proves popular

The first ES sports networking evening looked at careers and opportunities in the industry
23 Jan 2023

Rob Stevens (Pennell 1999-2004) reports:

Just hours after an epic Andy Murray comeback at the Australian Open which demonstrated the ability of sport to captivate and astound, current and former Eastbourne College pupils gathered to hear about opportunities and careers within the sports industry. 

A panel of expert professionals shared advice and insight into their backgrounds and routes to their current jobs at the offices of CSM Sport & Entertainment in central London on Thursday 19 January, before attendees had the chance to ask questions and network. 

Alongside Becky Durrant (née Stewart) (Blackwater 2001-06), a business director at CSM, were a trio of former Pennellians; Robert Rogers (1957-61), Andrew Rogers (1991-96) and Tim Ellerton (1991-96). The quartet discussed how sport offers a myriad of different roles to those who may not make it as a professional on the field of play. 

Robert Rogers, former President of the Rugby Football Union, explained how he came to be chairman of the amateur committee at the RFU, and the impact the professionalisation of the game in 1995 had on the sport and its support structures, as well as stressing the importance of being involved in grassroots sporting organisations. 

His son Andrew, meanwhile, talked about his journey to becoming the head of governance and salary cap director at Premiership Rugby and his role in the headline-making decision to relegate former domestic and European champions Saracens in 2020 for breaching the league’s rules. 

Becky pulled back the curtain on the world of sports marketing, and how her agency works with global companies to deliver brand and business growth across a range of sports, and finally Tim explained how he went from managing sports sponsorships for Coca-Cola and Heineken to becoming the commercial director at Team GB. 

Aside from hard work and the element of luck, the panel explained how self-belief, humility, enthusiasm, problem-solving and a can-do attitude were also key to gaining a foothold in the industry – attributes found in many a pupil and Old Eastbournian. 

Also on hand to offer a different perspective was BBC Sport’s Rob Stevens (another former Pennell boy), who has worked for local radio, the BBC Sport website and the BBC World Service as a reporter, producer and writer for over a decade. He explained his roundabout path to becoming a journalist and reporting on big events such the respective World Cups in football and rugby. 

Meanwhile, Hugo Millns (once of – you guessed it – Pennell, 2011-16) talked about his job in the marketing department at Premier League leaders Arsenal, which involves planning and delivering campaigns on the club’s digital channels. 

The number of former Pennellians working in the sports industry did raise questions on just what is in the water at the bottom of Blackwater Road, but no doubt current and former pupils from other houses at the College will be encouraged to try and pursue a career in the sporting world. 

Thanks go to Becky for arranging to host the event at CSM and to Sam Wicks and Emma Garrett for organising what was the Eastbournian Society’s first ever sports industry networking event – with hopefully more to follow in the future. 

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