Sports is full of surprises. Surprises also come with opportunities. For example, wouldn’t it be a surprise if LeBron James signed with the Miami Heat during free agency? Even though this is exactly what Pat Riley is hoping for, it also provides an opportunity for Dwayne Wade. Not only will he be playing with a fellow Team USA teammate, but it allows Wade to reach for his second championship and LeBron can finally get the golden ring. This is the loosest comparison but as you can see, surprises can bring opportunities. Here are just a couple of ideas where opportunities can come from.

1. Get to know your players
By getting to know your players, you tap into their sphere of influence. It is said that the average person knows 200 people. What are the chances that your players know the next team sponsor or can get you in front of someone influential?

2. Acquaint yourself with your staff
The staff you hired probably had previous sports experience. Take the opportunity to get to know your staff and their contacts at their previous places of employment. It is likely that they or their contact can get you in front of who you need to see.

3. Talk with your customers
If your customers truly enjoy your sport and your games, they are more than willing to help with whatever you need. Talk with your customers and don’t be afraid to ask. If you don’t ask, you will never know.

Surprises happen when you least expect them and sometimes they can turn out to be the greatest opportunities. Embrace those moments and be prepared for when they come, Pat Riley is.