Happy Friday, and welcome to another edition of the Game Plan! We are only about 90 days away from 2021, and we can hardly believe we’ve made it this far! Last week, about 90% of you said you would be watching sports from the comfort of your homes. We will hit you guys up again in a few weeks to see if that changes


Highlights for this week:

Vince’s Top 10 LinkedIn Groups to follow 

Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin Drops by the MELT U Podcast

Vince breaks down the SEC’s Kick-Off weekend with Mr. College Football


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Vince’s Top Ten Linkedin Groups

Vince lists his picks for the Top 10 LinkedIn Groups to follow that will help you get the most out of your LinkedIn account, and land that first job!


Here is a quick recap of Vince’s Top 10 LinkedIn Groups to follow. We went ahead and linked the groups below, so no excuses, people! 

  1. Jobs Alert 
  2. sports industry network 
  3. Internships and Interns 
  4. Women in Sports and Events (WISE)
  5. A Job Needed – A Job Posted
  6. Entry Level Jobs and Internships
  7. Sports Marketing and PR Pros
  8. College Grad Recruiting
  9. Personal Branding Network
  10. Sports Internships and Networking




Catch up on all of the MELT U Podcasts here – new podcasts posted bi-weekly on Spotify and iTunes!


MELT U Episode #51:  Randy Bernard is currently the manager of Garth Brooks and has been for almost 5 years. He graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo before starting his professional journey. Randy has held positions with different companies such as The CEO of Professional Bull Riders (PBR), The CEO of Indy Car, and CEO and President of RMG. Randy is also a Board Member for the National Cowboy and Heritage Museum and TeamMates for Kids. Follow him on Twitter @randywbernard   LISTEN HERE  

MELT U Episode #52: Koonin, oversees all business, financial and strategic operations of the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena, he also represents the owners as the head of the organization. Koonin joined the Hawks after spending the previous 14 years with Turner Entertainment Networks. Among his many accomplishments, Koonin is a former SportsBusiness Journal Sports Executive of the Year. Follow him on Twitter @SteveKoonin



MELT U Podcast Series October Schedule

Coming this October on the MELT U Podcast series…

Tuesday 10/6
Cory Moss, Executive VP and Managing Director, CLC

Thursday 10/8
Kasia Horner, Public Affairs and Communications at THE Coca-Cola Company

Tuesday 10/13
Kimberly Beaudin, CEO of the College Football HOF

Thursday 10/15
Burke Magnus,  EVP Programming and Scheduling for ESPN

Tuesday 10/20
Ed Kull, Athletic Director at Fordman University

Thursday 10/22
Steve Pacheco, President, and CEO of the American Advertising Federation

Tuesday 10/27
Rick Jones, “Head Captain” of Fishbait Marketing

Thursday 10/29
AJ Maestas, Founder, and CEO of Navigate Research





This week’s MELT U Alumni Spotlight features Autumn Burnette, MELT U intern class of 2018.

Former student-athlete, Autumn graduated from the University of West Georgia with a degree in Sport Management. While being an athlete, Autumn participated in the 2018 Melt U Summer Internship Program which kick-started her career and passion to work in sports. Some advice she would give to the Melt U students is to not be afraid to be uncomfortable. 

Subscribe to MELT U and you too will be on your way to becoming another #MELTU Success Story!





Weekly Web series on YouTube hosted by Vince Thompson, covering the business of sports and the business of college sports


The MeltDown Ep. 10:
Join us as Vince Thompson breaks down the SEC’s Kick-Off weekend with Mr. College Football Tony Barnhart
 Subscribe Here






Expand your horizons with our curated collection of helpful articles, videos, and other essential recommendations.

Some college students didn’t show up amid COVID-19, recession – especially at community college: “When Hannah Hyatt imagined her freshman year at Clemson University, she had a clear picture in mind: crisp fall mornings hustling by Bowman Field on her way to class, hanging with new friends at her dorm and Saturdays spent at a packed Memorial Stadium, cheering on one of the best college football teams in the country. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic collapse, Hyatt, 18, is instead 250 miles away in Charleston, South Carolina, nannying for a 5-month-old baby girl, after deferring her enrollment.” READ MORE.

College admissions set for a significant change: “Universities have long served as “the gatekeepers to a prosperous life,” Jeff Selingo writes in a piece on LinkedIn. Up until now, the admissions process to enter this world has been “imprecise, ambiguous, and unfair.” But the pandemic has inadvertently upended the opaque selection processes used to screen prospective students.” READ MORE


NCAA issues COVID-19 guidelines for college basketball season:In a series of guidelines issued Friday, the NCAA suggests testing players, coaches and officials for COVID-19 three times each week and limiting access to court and bench areas during the 2020-21 college basketball season, which is scheduled to begin on Nov. 25.” READ MORE


The Sports Industry’s Gen Z Problem: “With more access than ever to a wider range of competitions, the men and women born between 1981 and 1996 developed an insatiable appetite for live sports, lifting leagues, teams, networks and brands to unprecedented heights. New research, however, indicates the next wave of consumers — Generation Z — is much less enthusiastic about sports.” READ MORE




Vince was featured on two different podcasts this week! Want to listen? Check them out below!


In this episode with Change Cultivators, Vince shared a lot of the learnings on this podcast about the world of disruption that’s going on right now and all that’s affecting live sports and sports sponsorships and how he leads his team to make the changes required to stay ahead of the game, sniff out new business opportunities in times of disruption and pivot his organization to continue to be successful. LISTEN HERE


Rick Jones invites his pal Vince Thompson back to the bridge to discuss his new book “Build Brand YoU” the two talk how MELT Sports has piloted during this time and all of the silver linings that come with that. And as always we get back on ‘The SoapBox’ and find another great place to eat ‘On The Road With Rick’. LISTEN HERE





Vince and virtual MELT U are heading to a campus near you soon!

Tuesday 10/8: Buckhead Club

Tuesday 10/13: Media Mavens Podcast Appearance

Tuesday 10/20: Auburn Guest Lecture

Thursday 10/22: UAB Collat Employer Chat

Wednesday 10/28: Georgia Tech Athlete Virtual Career Fair

Tuesday 11/17: UGA PRSSA Virtual ZOOM

Book a live or virtual keynote or training session with Vince Thompson, MELT Founder and CEO! Hear from Vince on a variety of topics such as career development skills, student-athlete branding, collegiate sports marketing, and more! LEARN MORE



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Build Brand You: Insights For Pursuing Your Dreams is a step-by-step guide to building the network, the résumé, and?most importantly?the mindset you need to stand out from the competition and win the job you want. Pre-order your copy now!!




What’s MELT? 

It’s a high-powered sports marketing agency that’s based in Atlanta and works with the world’s biggest brands, teams, and events. MELT, which I founded in 2000, has become one of the nation’s leading sports marketing agencies, including a 20-year representation of The Coca-Cola Company, the activation of 17 (would have been 18) consecutive Final Fours, seven seasons of ESPN College GameDay, AFLAC’s sponsorship of The Southeastern Conference (SEC) and much more. We have won a collective 20 industry awards since 2017, including CEO of The Year, Event Marketer IT list of Top 100 Event Marketing Agencies, Chief Marketer’s Top 200 agencies, and many more. MELT and I sit in a unique position in the sports and college sports marketplace, offering insight into the significant business issues in sports and college sports.

What’s MELT U?
It’s a one-of-a-kind virtual internship program offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the world of sports marketing. This Summer MELT U educated 1,100 students with 50 podcasts of industry leaders, live Lunch & Learns from my upcoming book, “Build Brand YOU.”  MELT U will now extend the offerings to be year-round and to include newsletters, video series, seminars, student-athlete branding, and much more.