NetWorks Rising Star – Vencent Kirkwood

NetWorks is committed to supporting young professionals looking to get their foot in the door in the sports industry.  Our team has received an extraordinary amount of support throughout our careers and are truly impressed with the generation of young leaders who are ready to help take the sports industry to all new heights.  If you know of any individuals like this, please let us know about them.  If you are in a position to hire or recommend these NetWorks Rising Stars, please contact us and we will put you in touch with them.  They are our future!

Vencent Kirkwood


Today’s NetWorks Rising Star is Vencent Kirkwood

Vence is someone who has a great understanding of what it takes to be successful in the sports industry.  He possesses strong leadership & communication skills and demonstrates a willingness to take on a plethora of responsibilities to help the organization be successful.  At this stage in his career, he has significant work experience that will be beneficial to any company interested in succeeding
–Angela Taylor, President – NetWorks Sports Consulting

Name: Vencent Kirkwood

College: Wayne State University

Degree(s): Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication with Minor in Public Relations.  Master of Arts in Sports Administration – conferred June 2011

Resume Available: Yes, upon request (send email request)

Tell us a little about your background.
I grew up playing sports in the suburbs of Detroit Michigan. I began my career in athletic administration as a volunteer manager for the Mens basketball team at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

What type of work experience have you had?
My experience working in sports started as a manager for the Wayne State basketball team while in undergraduate school. From there I went on to become a graduate assistant with the Women’s basketball team at Wayne State University while in graduate school. In working with Wayne State Women’s basketball I played a major role in implementing different marketing strategies on improving our fan attendance to a more residential student fan base. Some of my main responsibilities as a graduate assistant included: monitoring study table, classroom checks, and staying current with academic reports from professors. In the summer between my two years in graduate school, I moved to the nation’s capitol and interned as a game presentations intern with the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. While working with the Washington Mystics as a game operations and new media intern, I had the opportunity to work in marketing, promotions, accounting and sales. In Washington, I was responsible for: game day operations, promotional events, and various marketing incentives. In addition, as the intern manager, I was responsible for managing ticket selling competitions and social media projects. Following my experience in Washington, I became the Group Events Seasonal Coordinator for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. While working with the Cavaliers, I was responsible for assisting in the planning, organizing, and execution of various aspects of special events at Quicken Loans Arena. In this role, I provided a high level of customer service to group leaders and members. Each one of these opportunities has taught me incomparable skills to one day be a great manager.

What type of job(s) are you seeking?
I am looking for a career in the field of sports that will be challenging and allow me to piece all of the skills that school, internships, and work experiences have given me and use the skills to help a sports organization reach its’ highest possible potential.

What is your greatest strength?
My greatest strength is my personality. I have a deep understanding of people and how to interact with people in a way that makes them feel comfortable. Networking is a skill that I have become very familiar with in college as well as in my adulthood. Networking is not only a key factor in landing a job but once you do land that job networking is what builds relationships with managers, interns, clients, season ticket holders, and even executives at higher levels. The ability to network and have a welcoming personality is a very important strength that must be honed in this great field of athletic administration. I possess that as well as experience in being able to articulate the benefits of an organization to a top athlete who is considering your team or your organization.

Tell us about a project that you completed successfully.
In 2010, I produced and co-directed the “Club 35″ documentary style video for the Wayne State University Athletic Department. The “Club 35” documentary style video highlights some of the most influential female student-athletes to play at Wayne State University. “Club 35″ is a celebration of Women in Athletics for 35 years at Wayne State University.

What experience (if any) do you have in the sports industry?

I have been a manager for the Wayne State University Men’s basketball team. I have experience as a graduate assistant with the Women’s basketball team at Wayne State University. I have experience as a game presentations intern with the Washington Mystics and also experience as a Group Events Seasonal Coordinator for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Aside from those great experiences:

Produced/Co-Directed- “Club 35” documentary style video on the Celebration of Women in Athletics for 35 years at Wayne State University

Coordinator- Wayne State University Basketball annual “Think Pink” event, which recognizes those who have suffered from breast cancer within the community.

Coordinator-Wayne State University’s 1st annual “Sock Drive”, which collects diapers for low-income families in the metro Detroit area.

Why do you want to work in the sports industry?
The best way to describe why I want to work in sports is passion. Passion is simply wanting to surround myself with a sport or an organization and becoming wrapped up in it. It is true, I want to always be around the competitiveness of sports, but it goes beyond watching the game and sitting in the seats. After all the school, internships, work experiences, and networking I have come to know that my passion now stems from getting others into the seats that I once used to want to sit in as a sports fan. The business side of sports is what drives me to continue to pursue a career in sports. I have a desire to help mold and structure an organization to be the best in performance on the field, court, arena as well as best performers in the business aspects of the game.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
My grandfather George W Young has had the greatest impact on my life. Although I have never met him I feel as though I have known him all my life. His life accomplishments inspire me everyday to be great.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I would hope to be working in some aspect of sport administration. Not just working in sport but using my skill sets and abilities to have great impact on the lives of those around me and the organization I am a part of.

More specifically, my ultimate goal would be to take steps toward being a general manager/president of a professional sports organization. I believe this job involves everything I have learned in school, from people, and through experiences. Being a general manager/vice president of operations brings all the pieces of a sports organization together whether it be ticket sales and service, community relations, player relations, scouting, on court performance and creating a one of a kind organization. In this role I will be able to have a part in many aspects of the organization offering my knowledge and abilities where needed

Anything else we should know about you?

Throughout undergraduate school and graduate school I have been involved in several groups and organizations that include:

Spiritual Development Chair – Student African American Brotherhood (Wayne State University 2008-2009)

Vice-President – Mercy Faith Temple Youth Department (present)

Chair of Academic Affairs – Black Student Union (Wayne State University Undergrad 2007-2009)

Board Member – College of Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts Alumni Association (Wayne State University-present)

NABC (National Association of Black Coaches) – member

MBCA (Men’s Basketball Coaches Association) – member

PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) – member

Produced/Co-Directed – “Club 35” documentary style video on the Celebration of Women in Athletics for 35 years at Wayne State University

Coordinator – Wayne State University Basketball annual “Think Pink” which recognizes those who have suffered from breast cancer within the community.

Coordinator – Wayne State University’s 1st annual “Sock Drive” collects diapers for low-income families in the metro Detroit area.

My community service efforts are as follows: Scholars Together Learning Community, Habitat for Humanity, Mercy Faith Temple COGIC, Great Lakes Second Youth Department, Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Harper Woods Recreational Center

For more information about Vencent or to request a resume, please send an email to

Industry News – Pac-12 Media Deal

Impact of New Pac-12 Media Contract
Written by Angela Taylor

While we still don’t realize the long-term implications on the collegiate athletics landscape, a week ago today, Pac-10/Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott stood before an audience of media members, coaches, and athletic administrators gathered in a ballroom at the Arizona Biltmore and shared the nuances of a new 12-year/$3 Billion media deal between the Pac-12 and Fox & ESPN.

The press conference lasted for less than 22 minutes but has captivated the attention of sports executives around the world.  One senses that Larry Scott, through his innovative leadership, is setting the Pac-12 Conference up to challenge what many consider to be the elite conferences in college sports (the SEC and the Big XII).  Watch the press conference here.

Yesterday, the Pac-12 announced their inaugural early TV Schedule for games that will be televised on ABC/ESPN during the 2011 football season.  The schedule, which includes 20 games televised on either Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, pales in comparison to the extensive coverage Pac-12 football & men’s basketball will receive under the new deal.  Fans, however, will have to wait until 2012-13 to enjoy this widespread coverage.

Some highlights of the Pac-12 Media Contract

  • Twelve year, $3 Billion contract from 2012-13 to 2023-24
  • Pac-12 schools have agreed upon an equal revenue share model, so annual revenue will be distributed equally to all 12 schools on an annual basis
  • There is an annual escalator throughout the life of the contract, but schools will average $20+ million per school year over the 12-year period
  • Pac-12 also created Pac-12 Media Enterprises, which will own the Pac-12 Network, Pac-12 Digital Network, and Pac-12 Enterprises
  • Forty-four regular season football games & 68 regular season men’s basketball games will be broadcast across ESPN or FOX national broadcast networks or national cable networks.  For more on the read the press release.

One of the more interesting aspects of the deal is that Scott was savvy enough to convince UCLA & USC to share the wealth equally.  USC, a program that many consider to have as strong a brand as the University of Texas while residing in the 2nd largest media market in the United States, probably had enough clout to hold out for a larger share.  Nonetheless, each of the teams in the newly formed Pac-12 conference, will benefit greatly from Scott’s aggressive & innovative negotiations over the long-term.

The Pac-12 owns a plethora of content (academic & athletic) to distribute across the different channels and intends to do so when its Pac-12 Network and Pac-12 Digital Network come to fruition.  As the Big Ten can attest, getting to the point where the network is profitable may be quite a chore.  A task that can be made easier if Scott can find a way to negotiate a relationship with a cable provider to ensure that the new channel is available in households across the country.

So while the long-term verdict is still out, Scott & the Pac-12 get two thumbs up for the monumental shift of the college landscape that we all witnessed one week ago.