John Tull of Gator Sports Properties has traveled all over the nation pursuing his business career in sports. Right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, his ventures landed him in the heart of Gainesville where he now serves the Florida Gators as a marketing executive, working with businesses across the state for advertising opportunities.
Tull grew up in South Bend, Indiana. His enthusiasm for sports started at six-years-old when he would go to sports games with his dad. His brother also played football for Notre Dame as a second-team guard. Following in his brother’s footsteps, Tull played high school football and later went on to play at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.
Tull majored in history because his dad was a history professor and he grew up in an academic household. He initially wanted to go into coaching because his brother went on to coach football and teach at a local high school in Ohio. When he interned at an athletic department during college, that’s when the door of opportunities opened up for a career in sports management.
“I got a one-month internship at Notre Dame in their athletic department and that’s when it clicked with me that I actually wanted to be the guy that worked in the business of sports.”
After completing the internship, Tull earned a Master’s in Sports Management at Indiana University Bloomington. For 20 years, he traveled the country operating minor league baseball teams and hockey teams.
“As the president or CEO of a team, you’re in charge of new stadium projects, the promotions, the marketing; hosting TV and radio shows, selling them, and producing them.”
In 2008, Tull started his college sports career working for Learfield IMG College as a promoter for Penn State. As a promoter, Tull was able to expand his experience in sports marketing. He worked on sports sales, sports promotions, and entertainment. Seeing everyone coming together was the most fulfilling part of the job for him.
“That’s the cool thing about sports is it brings people together from all walks of life.”
Throughout his career, Tull has dealt with crisis management situations that have taught him to be optimistic with his clients and prospects. He’s learned to approach situations with an open mind. His college football coach, Nick Moroses, played a huge influence on his outlook on life.
“If someone wants to partner with you, you have to show them all the enthusiasm in the world that you have to be an extension of their brand.”
When Tull was looking to relocate, the recruiter said that there was a job opening in Orlando and Gainesville. Tull immediately jumped on the opportunity to move to Gainesville and be a part of the Gator community. As soon as he moved down to the Gator Nation, he immersed himself into the community during this year, including becoming a member of the Chamber of Commerce.
“Gainesville is awesome, it’s huge. There’s so much cool stuff going, aside from the Gators. There seems to be so many opportunities around here.”