Watching sports is an American past time, but sometimes you do not think of what goes on behind the scenes. Professional athletics is huge business, and some teams operate with hundreds of millions of dollars. For the high level jobs, it takes knowing the right people and having connections, but there are ways to get your foot in the door and start networking. It’s a competitive industry, so you’ll need to hone your credentials. With the right tools and a hard work ethic, you could be working in the job of your dreams. Or, at the very least, enjoying being part of the game you love.
Establishing a career in athletics.
Unless you have relevant experience at another organization, immediately landing a high level position within a sports organization is a distant reality. You need to get your foot in the door with an internship or land one of the many entry-level positions available. Group sales for tickets and events is a great place to start. It will help if you have experience, and you need to be confident that your customer service skills, charisma, and effort are on point. If you don’t perform at a high level early in your career, you’ll need to move on and find another position. Sports owners expect results, and if you can’t make the sales and fill seats then you are out of the job. However, if you do make it through and have some early success, a major league sports organization will remunerate you with a six figure salary.
You could also consider a job in the finance department of your favorite team. They need help with payroll, and hire interns to help manage the overflow of work. Typically you need a bachelor’s degree, but if you have experience that is not always the case. However, these are competitive jobs, so usually the person with the best credentials will land the position.
Communications departments are another place to look. They hire public relations representatives who communicate with the players and media, and connect with nonprofits to promote awareness for various causes at sporting venues. If this sounds interesting to you, get your bachelors in marketing, public relations, communications, or business. You can work part time and take an internship. You will have the opportunity to attend every game, which makes it an attractive career option if sports interest you. Interacting with players is also a huge plus; just don’t ask for autographs while you are on the clock!
Broadcasting is another great option, because the opportunities are plentiful. They hire editors, camera crew, networking teams, and TV hosts. Getting an internship in this department can pay big dividends, because the opportunities available are amazing. You could become an on the field sports reporter, a television anchor, or even a TV/Radio broadcaster. Most people who work in high level positions in the sports industry got their experience as an intern.
When you are starting out, be forewarned that you will either be working for free, or slightly above minimum wage. It won’t be glamorous. You won’t have a great view of the playing field. But if you play your cards right and continue to climb the ladder after your internship or entry level gig, you could cement yourself as a permanent fixture in the front office of your favorite team.