When the Swarm moved to Georgia in 2015 and was looking for individuals to join the front office team, the team was looking for high character people ready to hit the ground running to help establish the Swarm product in a new city. To do that, the front office knew it would need some local flavor joining the team, a born-and-bred ATLien with strong ties across Georgia.
Starting her fourth season with the Georgia Swarm, Brittany Cooper is the Swarm’s Manager of Season Ticket Sales & Services. Cooper helps lead the Swarm’s sales team in its quest to grow the fanbase and spread box lacrosse throughout the South.
Cooper’s track-record of success led to her being promoted in Feb. 2018 from senior account executive to her position as manager, her third promotion. She is consistently one of the top salespeople in the Swarm and specializes in working with Swarm Season Ticket Holders.
Cooper grew up in Atlanta, going to high school at North Atlanta H.S. She played basketball her entire high school career, captained her senior season and almost taking the Warriors to state.
When it came time to go to college, only the University of Georgia would suffice. Cooper knew she wanted to be involved in sports and chose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in sports management.
“The competitive nature of being an athlete; building relationships, whether it was with a coach or other teammates; and just having fun with it,” Cooper says about what drew her to pursuing her collegiate path. “I think sports is one of the few career paths that you can actually have fun on a day-to-day basis and work … You’ve got to have that drive, work hard, set yourself apart.”
Cooper directing the Wesleyan School Band during a game | Photo Credit: Ruthie Colegrove
She learned a lot during her time at UGA and was heavily involved with the university’s popular hockey team for three years. Cooper donned a jack-of-all-trades cap with the club, handling gameday operations, the merchandise table, selling tickets, acting as liaison between the general manager and intern staff, and scheduling meetings.
Once she graduated, Cooper hit the ground running. She started with IMG Tickets, but it was a seasonal gig, so she kept looking. After finding out about the Georgia Swarm on LinkedIn, Cooper reached out, the interview was set, and that’s all she wrote.
Growing up following basketball her entire life, Cooper was unfamiliar with lacrosse. North Atlanta High didn’t get a lacrosse program until her junior year, but Cooper was focused on her basketball team and acing her classes at the time.
“I thought it was a very unique experience with the goals scored, high pace, lot of action, the Goal Dance,” Cooper says about her first Swarm game. “At the same time, I saw similarities from other sports … It’s different, but at the same time, I see how it overlaps with other sports, and that’s what draws me to it.”
Picking up the game and its energy quickly has served Cooper well. She’s able to translate that action and passion to fans and form strong relationships from that common ground. When the Swarm won its first-ever World Championship in 2017, Cooper was watching from home, thinking things were over with 11 seconds to go in the fourth, and elated when Miles Thompson netted the game-winning goal in overtime.
“I literally jumped from my chair once we won, that’s how excited I was,” she laughs.
Talk with her for just a few minutes, and it’s easy to see why Cooper is so successful. She is dedicated and attributes most of her success to building strong relationships with Season Ticket Holders. Cooper meets with many of them in off-site meetings, attends client events, and visits them in their seats during Swarm home games.
“I love the unique events,” Cooper says. “We can always go to lacrosse, we can always do business expos, but I think there are certain events that kind of tear at you a little harder than others. Whether it’s a Boys & Girls Club that has never been out, and they come out and they enjoy it, passing out free merch, stickers and magnets, things like that. Those are things that really attract me to the job that I do, knowing it has a positive effect on people.”
Cooper never forgets where she came from and always gives back whenever she can at various initiatives.
She regularly speaks to sports management classes to educate students on the intricacies and realities of working in the industry. Most recently, Cooper provided this service for students of Dr. Charles W. Jones, Assistant Professor of Sport Management at East Tennessee State University. She has also served as a panelist for the UGA Sport Management Alumni Association.
“I don’t want to work my way up in any type of industry and feel like I’ve arrived,” she says. “I always want to reach out and help others learn about my journey so they can see not only the positive sides of what I go through, but there are some down sides. There are some times where I struggle personally and professionally.
“I want to be authentic, I want to keep it real with them that sports is fun, but it’s not necessarily the glitz and the glamour that you may think it is. I’m kind of like that insider that connects them behind the scenes and lets them know this is exactly how it is, this is what I did in college to get here, this is what I’m doing now professionally to continue to be in sports and continue to make that upper movement in management.”
In addition to being dedicated to the Swarm fanbase, Cooper donates her free time by working with her church, Hunter Hill Baptist Church, and the Gwinnett Christian Athletics.
For Hunter Hill, Cooper works with its Food Pantry and Health & Wholeness ministries. She meets with struggling families and those less fortunate to help deliver hand-packed meals, participate in CPR training, and money management. On Sundays, she serves as a guest speaker for the youth at her childhood church, using the opportunity to impart her Christian values and encourage them to work at goal-setting and achieving academic excellence.
“We’re all here to help the next person, and I think it’s a very kind of selfless love to service people, which is what I do professionally and personally,” Cooper says. “The same way I do it professionally, why not do it in the local community? That’s what draws me.”
Cooper celebrating with a contest winner | Photo Credit: Brittany Cooper
Cooper also assists Gwinnett Christian Athletics with its administrative and coaching needs, primarily focusing on basketball. When she’s not helping register new entrants for the program, Cooper steps in for coaches who are unable to make a game or provides a live body during practice for kids.
It takes a lot to be successful in sports, but Cooper makes it happen and still finds time to serve others.
“It all starts for me at the church with my relationship with Jesus,” Cooper says. “That’s how I’ve been able to do well professionally. Every day is not easy working in sports, especially sports sales … I think my involvement in the community in my personal life definitely connects and overflows and helps me in my professional life.
“The same way I want to see people grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ is the same way that I want the Swarm or sports to have a positive aspect on their wellbeing.”
As busy and generous as Cooper is with her time, she does take some free time for herself. When she does, make sure to look courtside during any Atlanta Hawks home games. You may just see “Courtside Coop” cheering on the hometown Hawks.
Favorite part of working for the Swarm: Visiting clients during seat visits on gameday.
Favorite thing to do in ATL: It’s hard to narrow it down to one thing. I’m all about food and great laughter. Grabbing a bite to eat at BarTaco or American Deli, taking a walk at Ponce City Market or Atlantic Station with my friends, showing off my skills at Top Golf or Main Event, or cruising around the city enjoying the scenery.
First Season Ticket Holder to come to mind: Meco Favors
Best Swarm memory: I love receiving feedback from fans about their Swarm experience, whether it’s face-to-face, via phone call or email. Whether fans are telling me how their kid never played lacrosse until attending a Swarm game or how a fan has experienced personal difficulties and the swarm staff and games help them cope, hearing different stories reminds me of why I do what I do. It reminds me of the importance of sports.
Favorite sports team: Atlanta Hawks
Season Tickets for the Swarm’s 2018-19 season are On Sale Now! Join The Hive by reserving your membership today by calling 844-4-GASWARM.