By Sean Savage
“As you grow into your career, fanhood is never the driving factor.”
Springfield College alum Rob Crain is living many adolescents’ dreams, working in the professional sports world.
However, he claims the desire to be a fan gets lost as you grow older, but he still has a strong passion for what he does. How is that so?
A glimpse into his journey provides the answer.
Born right outside of Pittsburgh, basketball was never Crain’s first love. Baseball is what he gravitated toward. His mom was his first T-ball coach.
Additionally, he loved the game of hockey, and he was a Pittsburgh Penguins fan growing up.
“Sports have been around my entire life,” Crain said.
His passion for baseball stuck with him through his collegiate career, as he was a relief pitcher for the Springfield baseball team.
Outside of athletics, Crain embodied a true academic scholar. He was a double major in Sport Management and Business Management at Springfield.
His desire to work in the sports world skyrocketed as he saw Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein’s impact in baseball. Crain graduated in 2004, the same year Epstein helped end one of the most prolonged World Series droughts in the history of Major League Baseball: the Red Sox winning their first World Series championship in 86 years.
Through 2004 he interned with the Houston Texans as an operations and scouting intern.
Out of college, Crain started his career in the world of baseball. He sold group tickets for the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays – an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the Midwest League – in 2005-06.
Following his time there, Crain had a few other notable jobs before the Celtics.
He also worked with the Omaha Storm Chasers as their assistant general manager, was the president of the Scranton Oak Railriders, and worked with Worcester Red Sox as the chief revenue officer.
Additionally, Crain did his own consulting for a few years and worked at Topgolf, where he ran the partnerships department on the East Coast.
After 17 years of working primarily in Minor League Baseball, his least favorite part was the hours.
“You would have to work all the games, and between 12-16 hours per day,” Crain said. “Sports are a place where you put in extra hours. Most of my days are 9-to-5 days, but there are game days that are much longer.”
Although the hours were quite long, Crain quickly learned that everything was not that bad. The former CEO of the Red Sox, Larry Lucchino, said something that has stuck with him to this day:
“We work in the toy department in life,” Lucchino said, and Crain believes there is truth in that.
Crain came to realize there is a distinction between strenuous hours and long ones. “People that really put in strenuous hours are the ones who are really working for a living,” Crain said. “People who build houses, tile guys, construction guys, and more are the guys who really have to put in strenuous hours.”
As the Celtics’ Senior Director of Corporate Partnership Sales, Crain sells sponsorships. When watching a Celtics game in the arena or on TV, some advertisements go around, and his job requires him to sell the advertising in the arena to those brands.
To this day, through the variety of work Crain has done, he loves the creative side of being in the sports business.
“At the end of the day, you are really making memories for people, and you are really having an impact on them,” he said. He feels lucky he can make this happen.
Crain believes that he always had to continue to persevere. Until then, he was always worried about the next step in his career. However, there is a new factor in the equation – his family.
Crain feels like life is different now. His goal is to be fulfilled professionally while being able to spend time with his family and not miss important things.
Photo Courtesy Rob Crain