At Roanoke College, Mike Pugh ’18 dreamed of putting his sport management major to work in the big leagues. After just a few months as an inside sales representative with the Washington Nationals, he is living that dream big time as the Nationals play in the World Series.
As a student, Pugh interned with the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs hockey team as an operations intern.
“The operations team was responsible for the overnight changeovers from concerts to the hockey rink,” he remembers. “That taught me a lot about the hard work it takes in sports, the commitment required and the long hours that are often necessary. And that is really important since there are 82 home games a year in baseball.”
In a phone interview this week from Nationals Park, Pugh said his Roanoke experience helped prepare him for a career in sports.
“Dr. K.C. Mayer was the best professor I had in my Roanoke career,” Pugh said of Mayer, an assistant professor of sport management. “He helped me understand what it takes to go to the next level in a full-time sports position. He emphasized building connections with people.”
With the Washington Nationals, Pugh is responsible for generating revenue through sales of season ticket packages, group experiences and Nationals Park suites. He says he makes a minimum of 80 calls a day on a typical workday.
“Dr. K.C. Mayer was the best professor I had in my Roanoke career. He helped me understand what it takes to go to the next level in a full-time sports position. He emphasized building connections with people.”
Mike Pugh '18
With the playoffs and now the World Series appearance, Pugh says the current call volume and work pace has reached a new level. “The only way to get World Series tickets is to buy a plan for next year,” Pugh said. “So we are getting a ton of calls and making lots of sales right now.”
Pugh has been busy preparing for the games. For away games in the World Series, the Nationals hosted a watch party at the ballpark. Pugh will work for an inning or two during the World Series games selling packages for next year.
During the regular season, he would work until the fifth inning and then catch the end of the game. “With the World Series, there aren’t as many tickets left to sell so we close our ticket sales booth early and we get to watch the games,” he said, with excitement.
“Our managers tell us all the time to take it in,” he said. “They remind us that people who work in sports might never get to witness this in their entire career so we should take it in and enjoy the experience.”