Many of us have dreamed of sinking that game winning basket at the Boston Garden or hitting a walk off home run at Yankee Stadium. But if like me you are not one of the talented few physically gifted enough to earn a living in professional sports then you must consider other ways to pursue your passion for sport.
Check out some of the options worth considering in the field of sports management, marketing and communication and tips for grooming your background while in college or high school so you can enter the field.
Sports Career Options
There are many niches within the field to consider depending on your skills and interests. For folks with strong writing skills and a nose for a good story consider sports information at a college or sports journalism for a website (think ESPN), magazine, newspaper, TV or radio station. Communications and publicity staff also work for sports teams, individual athletes, leagues, athletic venues and corporate sponsors.
Those with a strong voice, confident presence and in depth sports knowledge might consider working as an announcer for a team or media outlet. Those with a knack for staging productions might explore behind the camera positions as a producer for sports programs.
Those with a keen sense for marketing and promotion, event management and organizational skills as well as a creative flair should consider sports marketing, event planning, promotion and advertising. Employers include sports marketing firms, advertising agencies, teams, leagues, athletic venues and sponsorship divisions of corporate marketing departments.
Individuals with assertive personalities, persuasive abilities, strong verbal skills, a competitive nature and the ability to bounce back from rejection might consider being an advertising salesperson for a sports oriented television or radio station, magazine, newspaper, website or a sports venue.
Sports agents also draw upon a similar skill set. Sporting goods sales people at the retail and manufacturer level use persuasive and customer service skills to promote sport merchandise to individuals, teams and retail establishments.
A broad range of other jobs exist for those with numerical skills, financial ability, technology expertise and administrative ability including statistician, accountant, financial analyst, retail store manager, human resources, information technologist, and web designer. The sports media, teams, leagues and sport oriented corporations are the chief employers of people in these fields.
So now that we've identified some of the options, here are some tips for high school or college students to lay the groundwork for a sports management, communications or marketing career:
1. Sign on for a position with your school's newspaper, radio or television station and write or produce stories and content about your school's teams and athletes.
2. Develop a concept for a sports talk show at your school's radio or television station.
3. Take on a position announcing or producing broadcasts of athletic contests at your school.
4. Approach the sports information director at your college and ask if there are ways you can support their efforts to track, monitor and report on sporting events and the accomplishments of your college's athletes and teams. If you are mathematically oriented ask to work on stats. If you are technically or artistically oriented consider helping with the sports oriented aspects of the website.
5. Speak to the athletic director and/or coaches at your school and discuss ways you could help promote sporting events and increase attendance.
6. For those interested in sales consider advertising positions with your college newspaper, yearbook or magazine.
7. Consider interning during the semester or summer for local newspapers, radio or television stations. Contact the sports editor or sports director for communications positions or the advertising director or marketing manager for sales/marketing positions.
8. Consider a sports team internship. Virtually all sports organizations like teams, leagues, or sports venues utilize interns heavily. Contact promotion and marketing directors, general managers and public relations officers with minor league teams in sports of interest in your area as well as sport venues and league offices.
9. Take as many marketing courses as possible and participate in marketing competitions if you are interested in promotion, advertising, or public relations.
10. Complete writing intensive coursework to help build a portfolio of writing pieces if you would like to focus on reporting or content development jobs.
11. Approach local sports marketing firms and agencies and inquire about internships.
12. Contact your college career office and ask for the names of contacts in the sports industry. Approach them for informational interviews. If you hit it off nicely ask if you could shadow them during a school break. Ask them for suggestions about jobs and internships.
If you follow some of these suggestions and make the most of your high school and college years, you will move closer to developing an exciting career in sports.
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