4 February 2022
Diary of a Senior Sales Manager
[6 minute read]
Welcome to our new blog series, where we chat to people from all areas of IMG ARENA to take a deeper dive into their roles and learn more about what they do and what they’re working on. For the first instalment we chatted to Theo Veremis, Senior Sales Manager. Keep reading to find out more.
Tell us about yourself and your role
I am the Senior Sales Manager at IMG ARENA for Southern Europe, which spans Greece, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, and the wider Balkan region. I joined IMG ARENA almost 3 years ago as part of the commercial team from a background in content distribution and sales for entertainment industry. We are responsible for the distribution of our products and services, which include official sports content – Live Streaming and Fast Path Data feeds, as well as a wide array of very innovative, fully interactive front-end products.
I manage a client base of over 40 sports betting operators across Southern Europe and I am responsible for the commercial strategy and sales delivery against our targets.
From maintaining existing relationships to helping build new business, our role is so much more than just closing deals. We use our expertise and judgement in the market to build long term partnerships and ensure we achieve the best agreement for both parties.
“The growth of IMG ARENA over the last three years is stunning”
When I joined IMG ARENA in 2019, the company was a team of just 25. We are now almost 400 people, and with all the exciting steps coming up, it is only certain we will keep growing at a tremendous rate! The growth of IMG ARENA over the last three years and its importance within the wider IMG and Endeavor structure is stunning. I like to think the Sales team plays a key role at IMG ARENA but to be honest everybody here does. It is a truly collaborative team. We are on the front line with our products and services but what we do wouldn’t be possible without all the great people and minds in this company.
Tell us a bit about your career history, what made you want to go into this type of role?
I very much have a sales background. I have more than 6 years commercial experience in distributing entertainment and live sports content across both the broadcasting and digital space. I have always been passionate about two things: cinema and sports, so I knew that a career in the entertainment industry was ahead of me. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family which was professionally involved in the entertainment industry, so I naturally leaned towards that in my studies, where I went to McGill University in Canada. Initially I wanted to become a lawyer in the entertainment industry, but I quickly realised that it was not an academic career that I wanted to follow! I finally graduated with a degree in Economics, Political Sciences and Cinema.
I started my professional career in the film industry, interning in commercial departments across multiple companies, including independent producers in Hollywood and distribution companies in Canada. I graduated university at a critical time in the film industry, as the traditional distribution models started becoming obsolete, and so a lot of the commercial activity started moving towards digital. When I graduated, what I thought I wanted to do was in a field that was undergoing a huge crisis and it took me a bit of time to realise that I could still do something I was passionate about as part of a wider field, which was working on entertainment content. I pivoted away from film to TV, and that’s where I started my career in London in the wider media space, working in sales with telecom companies across Southern and Eastern Europe for a global leading media group.
What is the best part about your role? How would you sum it up in three words?
The best thing about this role is that I am passionate about sports, and as a sports technology and data company we are involved in so many different sports in so many ways, and that’s absolutely amazing. It’s a privilege to be part of this ecosystem, to contribute to and to help grow this industry. I know that what I do in the end is about engaging with live sports that I care about and love, whether it’s football, basketball, tennis, or any of the other amazing properties we work with, so it’s an absolute privilege to be a part of the biggest company within that space. So, the best part of my job would definitely be that we get to work on this super exciting content and that we’re a major driving force in the development of the sports industry.
A close second however, is the international outlook I have in my job each day. I talk to clients in Romania, in Turkey, in Portugal or even as far as Brazil and Argentina on a daily basis. That international perspective is also represented within our team, we are a very diverse bunch who speak a number of languages, and that is something which is very empowering and that I aspire to contribute to by keeping a very open approach to hiring as well. To describe my role in three words I would say sports, innovation and leadership.
Tell us about an exciting project you’re working on at the moment.
One of the most exciting projects that I am getting involved in at the moment, and have been looking forward to for a while, is that I am starting to build out my Southern Europe commercial team. I am currently looking for a sales executive to join me to help us boost our distribution activity across the Balkan region, and so I am definitely looking forward to having someone work with me and helping them to grow. It’s an exciting time as we continue to grow and develop our teams across the board and explore new territories that we haven’t been able to focus on until now.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to make a career in a similar role?
I believe your drive and personality are two key factors that make you stand out in this role. The skills and understanding of the sports betting space can be learned, but the drive, the hunger and the professional work ethic is what really distinguishes people. My one piece of advice to my younger self or to anyone interested in this career is to not necessarily follow preconceived ideas about industries or companies you are interested in. A lot of people think there is only one direction they can follow and can be scared about deviating from what they think is the one career path for them, but it is all about how you present your role and how you think about it. There are many ways to work on something you love and sometimes you’ll be surprised by what comes up that you don’t expect.
When it comes to IMG ARENA for example, we work with Federations, Rightsholders, Sportsbooks and so many more. What you take and make out of it is completely up to you. Ultimately, we hold relationships with key Rightsholders and Sports Leagues, leveraging our technology and commercial knowhow to deliver products to the sports industry.
💡 What is your top sales tip?
My favourite is not to negotiate with yourself. This is one my English colleagues shared with me and that has stuck with me since I started at IMG ARENA. We often try to predict how a conversation will go, how a client might react, or what to answer, but sometimes the best thing to do is just cross that bridge when you get to it.