General Manager of Commercial, Blues Rugby
Bachelor of Communication Studies in Journalism and Bachelor of Business in Marketing
He loves being a part of a team and building something that so many people take enjoyment from, says Todd Hewitt who is now the general manager of commercial at Blues Rugby.
“I’m responsible for leading the commercial revenue programme for the Blues, including corporate partnerships, hospitality, merchandise and licensing, venue utilisation and economics, third party agreements and corporate social responsibility funding. Over two thirds of Kiwis follow rugby; it’s part of our fabric and I enjoy contributing to the show.”
Todd joined Blues Rugby in September 2020, after almost seven years in Sydney working for some of Australasia's premium brands.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of great people and kick a few goals. Leading sports marketing strategy projects for brands like Toyota, Sanitarium and Coke was a highlight; as was attending the Leaders in Sport Conference in New York in 2019.
“Before joining Blues Rugby, I was the general manager of commercial and digital strategy at the NRL and I’m proud of the impact I had on the growth of the commercial business. I helped grow sponsorship revenue by 50% over four years and led the new digital business, which went from $300,000 to $7 million revenue in three years.”
The right start
A career in the sports sector was always on the cards for Todd.
“I initially wanted to be a sports journalist. I decided to study at AUT because it was regarded as having the best journalism degree in the country. AUT was also known as a university that provided practical project work and on-the-job experience; something which I thought was beneficial.”
He still fondly remembers his time at university, says Todd who graduated with a Bachelor of Communication Studies in 2006 and a Bachelor of Business in 2009.
“I loved my time at AUT because of the great people I was surrounded by. Many of them are still my best friends today. The environment at AUT was welcoming, there was plenty of opportunity to collaborate with others, and the communications and business degrees both offered a wide scope for your final destination and your major. I always felt like I had options.”
The AUT difference
AUT’s practical nature is what set AUT graduates apart from those of other universities, says Todd who works closely with several other AUT alumni at Blues Rugby.
“The group work and the workplace experience, which are both key components of AUT’s degrees, ensure collaboration and enable students to get real-life experience while they’re still at university. My final-year workplace experience led to a job with Radio Sport, which gave me an insight into the journalism world and a headstart on others who were potentially seeking work without the practical experience.”
His advice for other students is to make the most of the opportunities on offer.
“Be open to meeting new people, ask questions, say yes to every opportunity and seek out a future employer in your chosen field while you’re still at university. Volunteer to assist them in whatever way you can and act as if you’re being paid by them. You won’t regret it and there’s a good chance you might end up with a job!”