John Bateman's job at the UGA Athletic Association is officially the Director of Marketing, but as he puts it, it's hard to call something you love "work." In the first edition of the Between The Hedges Q&A, we sat down with Bateman to learn what he does for the UGAAA.
BtH: Thanks for sitting down with us. Could you describe what being the Director of Marketing entails, what an average day is like?
Bateman: Well, I usually like to get in around 7:30 - I read up on what's going around in the SEC online, make sure I'm up to date on what other schools are doing - and then after that, it's really a mixed bag. On non-event days, I'll do work around the office with our student assistants and interns to prepare for and handle group and single game tickets for events coming up. On days we do have events, I'll usually organize ticket sales at the student bookstore or coordinate large sales to groups. Then I'll head to the event and make sure that souvenirs and concessions are running smoothly and that our groups are having fun. Around halfway we'll get attendance figures, and that's when the cycle begins again.
BtH: Last night's baseball game against Georgia Tech drew a crowd of 3,004, a season high.
Bateman: Yeah, it went really well. Georgia versus Georgia Tech is always such a great and competitive game no matter the sport, and always draws a large crowd. It helps when the weather is as nice as it was yesterday. We tried hard to promote it within the student body specifically, and we couldn't have asked for a better turnout. 1,044 of that crowd were students, which completely surpassed expectations. So thanks to them for making it such a great success.
BtH: The game didn't go too bad either (Georgia won by a scoreline of 7-1).
Bateman: As marketers, we don't throw touchdowns, make free throws or score goals, but we do influence the game. We try to pitch the event to the fans as what it is: an enjoyable SEC sporting event put on by one of the top athletic programs in the nation, featuring incredible student-athletes.
BtH: What you do for Georgia is really appreciated. How did you end up here?
Bateman: I grew up in Albany and came to UGA as an undergraduate in '86, graduating in '91. I got my Masters degree in education from the graduate school here, focusing in sport management. As an undergrad I had been a student manager with the basketball team, and that was where I got started. After grad school I interned for a while at the offices of the Southeastern Conference in Birmingham, but came back in '94 to work on the promotions staff. I haven't left since.
BtH: So Athens has kind of been a second home to you. What's your favorite part about living here?
Bateman: Oh, do I have to pick one? It's America's greatest college town. The food, the music, the downtown life... it's just so easy to go out and get involved, to meet people. I've had the opportunity to coach the Athens Academy 5th and 6th grade girls' basketball team, just through friends I've met. The town keeps you young.
BtH: If it's hard to pick one aspect of Athens you like most, it's got to be even harder to pick the best thing about work.
Bateman: It's hard to call it going to work, really. But getting to interact with all the students is certainly a highlight. We have an especially close relationship with the campus community.
BtH: You're the "Mayor of Milledge," right?
Bateman: Some of the [fraternities and sororities] came up with that nickname for me a while back, just because we're so involved in marketing events and coordinating with them.
BtH: I've seen it's your twitter handle, @mayorofmilledge. You've got quite a following.
Bateman: I just talk about Georgia, and make sure people know when and where events are happening. It's not hard selling the Dawgs.
Check back next week for another edition of the Q&A!