SOJC Major Shares Tips Learned at Sport Marketing Event

Advertising major shares what she’s learned as she develops a career in sports content marketing.

Maggie Troxell poses with her hands in the shape of an O in front of a wall of sports equipment painted teal at the Gondola sports content marketing conference
Maggie Troxell ’25, an SOJC advertising major, poses in front of a photo wall at the Gondola Sports Summit in Denver in May. The event drew heavy hitters from the world of sports marketing. All photos courtesy of Maggie Troxell.

As a GoDucks creative intern for the UO Athletic Department, I love everything at the intersection of content and sports. So when my go-to content-tracking platform Gondola announced it was launching its first-ever Gondola Sports Summit in Denver in May, I desperately wanted to attend. After all, this event was sure to draw the top names in sports marketing and give me an extraordinary opportunity to network and learn from the best.

But, unfortunately, ticket prices were upward of $500 — way out of my college intern price range.

Enter Warsaw Sports Business Center, the UO’s prestigious training ground for sports business, where I am the Women of Warsaw undergraduate liaison for Warsaw Sports Business Club. My contacts at Warsaw connected with officials at Gondola, and I was offered a heavily discounted student rate and approved for university conference funds.

view of four speakers on stage at the Gondola sports content marketing conference
Maggie Troxell ’25, an advertising major, attended sessions and networked with big names from the sports world at the Gondola Sports Summit in Denver.

In addition to my roles with the Athletic Department and Warsaw, I am a junior majoring in advertising at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication and minoring in sports business. I’ve interned for TrackTown USA and contracted for Nike, ESPN, NCAA, NBA and USA Track and Field. I’ve also served as the creative director for Oregon Women in Sports Communication.

As you can tell, I have a deep interest in sports content, and going to this event was next on my bucket list.

While there, I met representatives from countless sports content creators, agencies and organizations, including Bleacher Report, the NBA, the Chicago Bulls, the Atlanta Falcons and the Washington Commanders. I was most excited to talk to Katie Cavender, the assistant director of communications and branding for College Football Playoff (CFP). Two of my former coworkers at GoDucks had interned for CFP and spoke very highly of her.

In addition to networking, I also attended sessions during the two-day conference and came back with so many tips, ideas and insights that I wanted to share my biggest takeaways for breaking into sports content marketing:

1. “Other tasks as assigned”: The importance of flexibility and adaptability.

The sports industry is always changing, and it’s crucial to be ready to shift plans. Your job is not limited to your job description, and you must be willing to lend a helping hand. For example, during my time with TrackTown USA, I was a photo intern, but I pitched in during event setup and takedown, helped the video team with its projects and revised social media posts for the social team before they went up.

2. The 80/20 Rule: Great content plans should only be 80% full.

Planning and scheduling is critical, but you have to build time and room into your content plans for the delightfully unexpected things that occur organically. The outstanding 20% is the good stuff you can’t plan for. Allow yourself wiggle room, and you won’t be as stressed when you have to accommodate surprises.

Maggie Troxell shoots a selfie in a mirror encased within a basketball hoop at the Gondola sports content marketing conference
SOJC advertising major Maggie Troxell, left, and Katie Perlitz, a junior at Cornell University, take a selfie in a mirror made from a basketball rim at the Gondola Sports Summit in May. The event drew big names from the world of sports marketing. 

3. Specializations: Have one specific skill set to hang your hat on.

Be really good at one thing and expand your skills from there to make yourself more valuable. I specialize in photography — that’s my strong suit — but I also do graphic design, videography and social media management. I know what I am best at, but I can help out anywhere.

4. BOGO Deals: Capture the content you need for today — and tomorrow!

Go into events, like media days, with the intention of getting what you need for that day, but also grab the opportunity to load up on content for the future. Think of it as a “get what you need” while you also “get more than you need,” and create a content bank for later.

For example, during shoot days, get content for the campaign you’re working on, but use it as a way to get media for upcoming special events like Memorial Day or Pride Month.

5. Plan B: Have a clear, well-thought-out plan — and a back-up plan.

Always include a fail-safe or back-up plan because shoots don’t always go your way.

Earlier this year, I did a shoot for Oregon Track and Field in the library. I pitched it as a campaign to bring athletes outside of their athletic facilities. The initial concept used an umbrella light and motion blur, but once we were at the shoot, neither of those worked. Instead, we shifted to use long exposure and a speedlite.

Going into my senior year, this summit was beyond helpful. I have spent too much time worrying about post-graduate plans and battling imposter syndrome, but this event reminded me that I am part of a community I love and have found success in. I am on my path and loving the ride, and I simply have to be where my feet are and enjoy the journey.

—Maggie Troxell

Maggie Troxell is a second-year advertising major in the UO School of Journalism and Communication with a minor in sports business. She works as a sports creative for GoDucks for the Oregon Athletic Department and is a team photographer for Oregon Track and Field. Her work has been used by Nike, TrackTown USA, Boston Celtics, Portland Trailblazers, March Madness and Team USA.