The Department of Health and Kinesiology featured guest speaker Paraag Marathe of the San Francisco 49ers at the Rudder Forum Monday afternoon. Marathe currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the team.
The event, which was coordinated by the Sport Management Division, served as an additional platform to connect students with members of the professional sport industry, said Clinical Associate Professor Dr. John Eliot.
“Internships in professional sport are very difficult to secure” Dr. Eliot said. “We want to give our students a leg up in such a competitive marketplace, and part of getting that leg up is to think of it in terms of what one can give to a pro sport franchise rather than what one wants a professional sport franchise to give them.”
During the event, Marathe spoke about his 16-year career with the 49ers. He gave extensive insight into the marketing and business operations of the team and spoke about his own learning experiences throughout his career.
“My career has come full-circle, now that I am both on the team side of things and the business side. I have learned a lot of about working in sports but a key piece to keep in mind is to remember to be patient and be committed to the business and making it grow. You're going to want to pour yourself into your career.”
Recently, Marathe helped spearhead the development and construction of the $1.3 billion Levi Stadium that opened in 2014. The stadium is home to the 49ers and is the first major sports stadium to return energy to the grid. He said the team’s business operations grew significantly throughout the entire process.
“I love that I get the opportunity to build things,” he said. “We went from an 80-person organization to a 400-person organization and as we’ve grown, we’ve converted from being a sport team to being more of a sophisticated athletic business.”
Marathe also highlighted to the importance of growing the scope of business within the sport industry. The 49ers recently acquired an MLS team in Sacramento and are currently examining further professional sports franchise acquisitions outside of football. Marathe said the team is also investing heavily in technology and other fields with a multidisciplinary vision of business growth.
He advised that new and incoming professionals should market themselves by having a strong professional background and finding ways to solve solutions.
“Act, dress, and work for the job you want, not the job you have,” Marathe said. “Think about why you want to be a part of an organization and focus on how you can create opportunities to make the organization better.”