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Success is ‘in the game’

March 4, 2008
By Laura Mead
ESCANABA — Accepting challenges was the advice given by Brian Movalson to those who attended the Bay Area Economic Club meeting on Monday night. Movalson, a Gladstone native with a successful career in sports marketing, was the featured speaker at the last meeting of the club’s Hometown Achievers-themed season.

Movalson began his speech by sharing with the group the story of how he went from being a Gladstone High School student with a love for sports, to working for ABC’s Monday Night Football, to his current career as a sports marketing consultant for one of the world’s largest and most successful video game makers, EA (Entertainment Arts) Sports.

Movalson said in college he wasn’t good enough to play sports, but had a strong desire to be a part of the sports world. It was his personal motto, “Sure, I can do this,” that gave him the confidence to walk in to the Athletic Public Relations Department at his school, the University of Michigan, and volunteer.

Through his athletic PR work at the university, Movalson got exposure to such TV networks as ABC, CBS and ESPN.

“I got to work with broadcasters that I grew up watching and had the opportunity to work with major players.”

Movalson shared an anecdote of one of his first big interviews, talking to Major League baseball manager and former pitcher Tommy Lasorda. Movalson shared how Lasorda gave him some sage advice on first impressions.

After his college graduation in 1990, Movalson said ABC Sports asked him to cover a number of sporting events. Although Movalson said oftentimes he had no experience with the job at hand, he always took the attitude, “Yeah, I can do that.”

“I had to go to Australia to cover the Australian World Gymnastics Championships … up until then the only gymnastics I’d ever seen was when I was in high school at Gladstone and was there checking out the girls. But it’s about accepting challenges,” he said.

Movalson said he considers working for Monday Night Football, one of the highest-rated television series in history, to be a key turning point in his career because he got to work for the series that he’d grown up listening to and watching, and got to work with people he’d admired since childhood.

Although Movalson has traveled to a dozen countries, all 50 states and the Winter Olympics, he said the friendships he’s made along the way have been most important.

“The best times I’ve had were with announcers after the games… hearing their stories. They became great friends,” he said.

Movalson rounded out the evening talking about his work in the ever-growing market of video games.

Movalson said he’d gotten into the field following his father’s advice which was: “Take a job for free, learn the job, then later on you can do what you want.” Movalson started out at $10 an hour testing video games for 12 to 14 hours at a time — a job that soon segued into being a consultant for video game creators.

However, Movalson said making the games wasn’t really what he wanted to do.

“I was a salesman,” he said. “My brothers are salesmen, my dad’s a salesman. It’s in my blood,” he said.

Movalson said for the younger generation looking into the business of video games, it’s all about innovation and creating a buzz.

Movalson also gave advice for the general population looking to achieve success.

“I recommend having a personal board of directors. People whose wisdom you can seek out, whether it’s family members, friends, those whose business sense or common sense you admire. Keep them around you. They can be there to call on when tough decisions need to be made.”

Movalson also stressed the importance of networking and keeping in touch with people throughout time.

“Reach out. It’s a lot easier to ask people for something if you need it, if you keep in touch with them,” he said.

Although Movalson has patented his own tools of success throughout his career, he said he wouldn’t be where he is now if it wasn’t for the local community support he received from Delta County.

“Having grown up in a recreation-based area, I got interested in sports,” Movalson said. “This was really created through the school systems, the enthusiasm of the young people. It’s just really tremendous and it helped me to get where I am.”

Today, Movalson lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Katherine, and his two children. He still has strong ties to the area, and even named his black lab Mackinac.

Article Photos

Brian Movalson, who currently works as a sports marketing consultant for EA Sports, shares his advice with attendees of the Bay Area Economic Club meeting Monday night. (Daily Press photo by Laura Mead)

Fact Box

“I was a salesman. My brothers are salesmen, my dad’s a salesman. It’s in my blood.”

Brian Movalson
EA Sports marketing consultant



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