Victoria Kline Continues Family UT Legacy as a Volunteer 40 Under 40
For Victoria Kline (‘10), being told she was on the 2023 Volunteer 40 Under 40 wasn’t just about her, it was about her family and their legacy at University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
“I cried immediately. This is a family thing, with my grandfather and my parents having gone to UT. My father passed away unexpectedly when I was a junior at Tennessee, and we buried him wearing his Tennessee dad hat because he loved it so much and he was proud because I went to the school he loved so much,” she said. “I grew up a Tennessee sports fan and then got to go to school there, and it always meant so much to me and my family. This award is not about me, it’s about so many people.”
Despite growing up in Florida, Kline always knew that UT was the only school for her, even if she didn’t know what she wanted to actually do once she got there. She went in as an exploratory student and has a vivid recollection of sitting in the dorms flipping through a book of majors offered at UT when a friend said to her, “Did you know sports journalism is a major? You love sports.” Kline does love sports and that moment was the beginning of what would lead to a career she loves.
Today, Kline is the director of club marketing for Major League Baseball (MLB), where she manages branding and marketing to facilitate the growth of baseball worldwide. Her path to MLB started with various sports stepping stones, beginning as a media intern for Tennessee athletics.
“Working with the Lady Vols basketball program under Coach Pat Summit is a personal and professional highlight. It gave me the opportunity to see what working for a team is like and give me a different viewpoint on the business of sports; it also really launched me into my next internship. Tennessee laid the foundation for my career in sports,” she said.
While she began her education in sports journalism, after completing a practicum with the Knoxville’s WATE Channel 6’s sports department, Kline quickly realized she enjoyed working on the team side of sports more than as a journalist, thus instigating her internship with UT Athletics.
After graduating, Kline took her athletics experience at UT to a year-long community relations internship for the National Football League, working to grow the Atlanta Falcons community outreach brand. From there, began working for the Atlanta Braves and developing their initial foray into social media and digital marketing.
“That’s where things got interesting for me; when I was in school, digital marketing and social media for sports really were at ground level. Teams and brands were still figuring that out as they went. I was the first-ever digital marketing intern for the Braves and I helped launch some of their social platforms and that was a learn-as-I-went process for me,” Kline said.
She stayed with the Braves for eight years, and throughout that time she dug into her Volunteer spirit and she always makes sure to share her time and knowledge with students at the College of Communication and Information. She set up visits for students in Atlanta when she was with the Braves, and she always takes any opportunities she can to guest speak for a class and share her experience as a sports business professional.
“I think I was always very aware in my career path how important networking was and how I would not have gotten from one step to the next without some help, and that very much started with people at the university. So from very early on in my career, I made it a point to do what I could to give back to the students,” she said. “Any way I can help and connect with students to help the way people helped me, I always take that opportunity. The more Tennessee Volunteers we put out into the world, the better off we are.”
Kline has been with MLB for one year now and is enjoying the new task of not just promoting one team, but 30 teams. Her experience with the Braves gave her a perspective on how each team’s audience is unique, and they all have different business goals they want to achieve, so there’s a lot of creative problem solving and marketing that she tackles daily.
Since she’s working with all of the teams, Kline keeps any personal bias quiet, except for one: “I pour all of my fandom into Tennessee. I for sure grew up in a Tennessee household and grew up going to football and basketball games. I remember my first cheerleading uniform being gifted to me when I was little and now my 3-year-old daughter wears it, so it’s definitely a generational tradition.”