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SOLA KADALI'S EA SPORTS JOURNEY Blup

SOLA KASALI’S EA SPORTS JOURNEY

SOLA KADALI'S EA SPORTS JOURNEY Blup

// INTRO:

Meet Sola, a dynamic force at Electronic Arts, steering football partnerships across Northern Europe with the EA SPORTS FC teamsports partnerships with a particular focus on football. With a career that began unexpectedly through an internship, Sola’s journey is a testament to following one’s passion, leading to impactful work in an industry where gaming meets real-world sports. In our conversation, we explore Sola’s career milestones, challenges, and the creative drive behind their success in the competitive world of sports partnerships.

Dines: Can you share the moment you decided to pursue a career in sports partnership and what inspired you to take this path?

Sola: Initially, my entry into sports partnership was serendipitous, thanks to an internship at Electronic Arts (EA) during my university’s industry placement year, focusing on retail marketing. My passion was really for football and entertainment, not necessarily gaming., steered my career. Familiarity with franchises such as The Sims, Need for Speed and FIFA, played by family, and a belief in following one’s passions, led me to where I am now. Progressing through various roles at EA, from global trade marketing to global marketing content and now partnerships, I’ve always been drawn to football. My current role involves daily interactions with major football organisations, allowing me to merge my passion with my profession.

SOLA KADALI'S EA SPORTS JOURNEY Blup

Dines: What were the biggest challenges you faced in your journey from university to EA Sports and how did you overcome them?

Sola: The competitive nature of the industry and the struggle to stand out in the saturated entertainment sector were significant challenges. EA SPORTSports, positioned at the intersection of gaming and football, competes for attention in a realm flooded with diverse entertainment options. Differentiating our content amid this noise and staying relevant against other brands and entertainment forms has been continuousbeen a continuous but we’ve been able to excel as a leading brand through challenge, addressed through innovation and adaptability.

Dines: Looking back at your career so far, could you tell us about a pivotal moment or achievement that reinforced your passion for your work?

Sola: Two projects in 2021 stood out. One was commemorating Kiyan Prince, a young footballer who was tragically killed, by bringing his potential future to life in our game. This project won an award at Cannes and highlighted our ability to use gaming as a platform for meaningful narratives. The other project focused on highlighting the lack of South Asian representation in English football, creating awareness and fostering inclusivity through the game. These projects were not only fulfilling but also affirmed the impact and reach of our work in the football community.

Dines: What key skills do you believe were central to your success in building strategic partnerships and negotiating in the sports industry?

Sola: Relationship-building and adaptability have been key. Throughout my career, I’ve worked with various partners, developing the ability to navigate different goals and foster strong collaborations. Building confidence, especially in public speaking, and continuously learning and adapting to new roles and challenges have been crucial. Embracing various opportunities within EA has allowed me to understand the business comprehensively and contribute effectively.

Dines: What drives you every day, especially in leading impactful campaigns and managing relationships?

Sola: The dynamic and creative environment at EA SPORTSports, the opportunity to bring innovative ideas to life, and the impact of our work on the global community are my main motivators. The collaborative spirit within the teams and with our partners, all striving to enhance the football experience, fuels my daily motivation. Witnessing how small ideas can evolve into global campaigns that reach millions is truly inspiring.

SOLA KADALI'S EA SPORTS JOURNEY Blup

Dines: For students aspiring to enter the sports marketing world, what advice would you give them to stand out and succeed?

Sola: Embrace every opportunity, learn and excel in your current role, and be open to growth even if it’s not your ultimate goal. Staying informed about industry trends and understanding the broader entertainment landscape is crucial. Knowledge of what’s happening outside your immediate environment can provide unique insights and make you stand out in the field.

Dines: Can you share a time when things didn’t go as planned, and how did you turn the experience around into a learning opportunity?

Sola: There have been numerous instances where projects didn’t materialise due to various unforeseen challenges. Learning from these experiences, understanding the obstacles, and finding ways to navigate them in the future have been essential. Every campaign, successful or not, offers lessons that contribute to growth and improvement.

Dines: What or who has been your biggest inspiration in your career, and how has it influenced your approach to work and leadership?

Sola: My siblings have been my greatest source of inspiration, providing support and wisdom. Professionally, my first manager, Victoria, played a crucial role in my development, teaching me invaluable lessons about the industry, which have shaped my approach to management and collaboration.

Dines: What’s next for you, and what are you looking forward to?

Sola: After a significant year of rebranding to EA SPORTSports FC, the challenge now is to maintain and exceed fan expectations. Last year we launched I’m involved in EA SPORTSports FC Futures, focusing on community and grassroots football projects, which is particularly exciting as it’s foundational to what we are as a business – growing the love of football. Its  aligns with my passion for making a meaningful impact has seen amazing successes already across the world, and I’m excited to continue building such an important legacy.in amazing through football.

Dines: For those interested in learning more about you, where can they find you?

Sola: I’m active on LinkedIn, and always open to connecting; where I share insights and engage with the broader professional community. Shola’s Linkedin

SOLA KADALI'S EA SPORTS JOURNEY Blup