Former Sabre continues to make waves with the Atlanta Braves
As a student at Marian University, Seth Condra always appreciated how many guest speakers were arranged to meet with him and his fellow Sport and Recreation Management classmates.
It’s why now, as the Manager of Group and Hospitality Sales for the Atlanta Braves, he never misses an opportunity to share with the current Sabres what it took to get him to where he’s at.
“My time in the program was highlighted by industry insiders telling me what I needed to know in order to be successful and looking back I recognize how helpful it was to learn from others’ experience,” he said. “It was never just a professor telling me to read a book, and if I can help continue that by now being the one to share with students what I’ve learned – that’s a gift.”
Believe it or not, though, Seth wasn’t always as comfortable being featured in a speaking role. Born in southern Minnesota and growing up in Rhinelander, he knew early in life that he wanted to be involved with baseball when he got older. But, recognizing that wasn’t going to be as a player, he looked toward the business side of the sport, and found the Sport and Recreation Management program to be one of the only ones in Wisconsin focused on it.
“A lot of schools I looked at were primarily focused on the kinesiology and medical aspects of sports, and being from a small town, it made sense for me to continue attending smaller class sizes as opposed to sitting in the back of a 150-person lecture hall,” he said.
As a freshman he was fearful of being vocal, earning the only two Cs of his college career in classes focused on public speaking. But at the end of his time being a Sabre, he wanted to only be graded on his public speaking abilities.
“Marian really forced me to talk, and to get comfortable with being genuine and being myself, and that’s all stuff that’s translated into my current role,” he said. “I learned how to create relationships at Marian, and that’s one of the many aspects it takes to be successful in my industry.”
Seth also learned a lot from the internships that Marian afforded him, including with the Beloit Snappers minor league baseball team after his junior year. As a Marketing double major, he was also able to obtain internships creating marketing materials for the university’s coffee house and the Alumni Office.
But, it was after he graduated that he got his big break – an internship with the Milwaukee Brewers that resulted in four years of employment.
Starting in Corporate Partnerships, he was responsible for helping fulfil sponsorship obligations – for example, running the Associated Bank Kid’s Club promotions or taking part on the Miller Lite t-shirt giveaways.
Nearing the end of his year-long internship, he interviewed with fellow Marian graduate and Senior Director of Ticket Sales Billy Friess to become a part of the Brewers ticket office, and a few months into that position knew that’s where his future was.
“I never felt like a salesman, rather I was just talking to people about a game I loved,” he said. “So many people focus on a team’s marketing positions, but some of the biggest opportunities for advancement are in ticket sales.”
After three years, though, he knew that to have even more opportunities he would need to change markets, with the Brewers being the rare franchise where careers can run 40+ years and the turnover rate isn’t high.
That was nearly nine years ago now, back when the Braves were still playing on Turner Field. Starting as an account executive, it took him four years to advance to senior account executive, where he didn’t stay too long before becoming a team lead and then being promoted to manager.
In 2018, just after the Braves’ inaugural season at SunTrust Park (now Truist Park), he took on the position he currently holds and has no intention of looking back or moving on.
But before that, he met his wife Stacy, who in 2013 as a music teacher needed a number of tickets as her chorus was singing The Star Spangled Banner before a Braves game. Then, in June 2015, she began working for the Braves, and the pair started dating and married in December 2016.
“There are countless times where I think about how I get paid to talk about baseball with people who have a similar love for the game,” he said. “It wasn’t easy, but so much of it comes down to me just being myself, and so much of that is the person I became while at Marian.”