There are a lot of people who have the dream and desire to work in sports. However, the picture they have in their mind might not match up to the actual experience.
Below I have outlined 10 Things You Should Know About Working in Sports.
NETWORKING IS KEY
I am sure that you have heard the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know?”
This is true these days in just about any business and I have said it myself in numerous previous blogs.
To put a spin on it for the sports world however, the key can be who knows you rather than who you know.
The key to getting your first sports job is networking. Get your name out there and in front of the decision makers who have the ability to hire you.
In addition, going to networking functions is always a great idea and Sports Management Conferences allow you to network face to face with:
- Directors Of Player Personnel
- Executive Scouts
- Former Professional Athletes
- General Managers
- Head Coaches
- Sports Agents
- Sports Writers
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
In order to be successful in the sports industry, you have to be able to soak up as much information as you possibly can.
A good start is to request informational interviews with the team or league that you would like to work and learn as much as possible about the positions in which you are most interested.
Position yourself as the best candidate for a position by knowing everything you possibly can about it and put yourself ahead of all the other candidates in an extremely competitive job market.
Information can be a very powerful thing and always remember that knowledge is power.
BE A SALESPERSON
Whether or not you are into sales, working in sports you are always selling even if you don’t work in the sales department.
Even though you might work in marketing, public relations or events, in one way or another you are always selling something.
In marketing or public relations, you are selling a player or a team. If you are working in events, you are always selling the value of attending a game or event at your team’s stadium or arena.
And then of course, regardless of your position, in reality, whether you are selling them directly or indirectly, you are always trying to sell tickets.
BE WILLING TO DO MANY THINGS
In the sports industry, especially for newcomers to the business, you must be prepared to do what ever it takes to get ahead and do many different duties.
Especially in minor league sports where one day you might be picking up a new player at the airport and the next day you are throwing on the mascot costume and frolicking around the ball park.
To some degree, all sports organizations will require you to do this to some extent even though it is more prevalent in minor league sports because staffs are limited.
In the sports industry where competition is everywhere, creativity is extremely important.
Every year, especially in the minor leagues, teams gain exposure and sell tickets because of the crazy off-the-wall promotions.
However, major league teams are not limited either. For example, the Milwaukee Brewers have the sausage races at every home game.
Long time baseball great Bill Veeck was great at being creative and was considered a maverick of the game.
Veeck always took a unique approach to promotions including:
- Introduced The Electronic Scoreboard
- Put Names On The Back Of The Jerseys
- Put Pin-Stripes On The Jersey’s
- Putting 3’7″ Eddie Gaedel Into The Batters Box
- Signed The AL’s First Black Player In Larry Doby
- Introduced The First Exploding Scoreboard After A Home Run
- Planted The Wrigley Field Ivy on the outfield walls
Veeck always said “Give your all. Go for broke.”
So if you are the type of person that enjoys coming up with creative solutions to problems and thinking outside-the-box, you will enjoy a career in the sports industry.
DON’T EXPECT TO WATCH THE GAMES
If you want to get into the sports industry because you think you will get to watch all of the games, think again.
One of the biggest misconceptions about the sports industry is that employees have the opportunity to watch all of the games. This is absolutely not true.
In baseball, for example, you might get the opportunity to watch an inning or two while you are doing business around the stadium but you will never get the chance to sit down, relax and watch the game.
Because the game might be your biggest opportunity to meet with clients, actually watching the game is something you will almost never get a chance to do.
REPRESENT THE TEAM
If you work for a professional sports franchise, regardless of your position, the single most important responsibility you have as an employee is to represent the team and provide excellent customer service at all times.
Be willing to help any and all customers that need your help regardless of whether it is in your job description or not.
After all, the smallest interactions with a customer can leave the greatest impact and their overall enjoyment.
If a customer asks you for help and you can’t help them, then find someone who can help them.
BE PASSIONATE ABOUT SPORTS
There are millions of people in today’s world that love sports but only a small percentage of those people work in the sports industry.
In order to stay in the sports industry, you have to be passionate about sports and really love what you do on a daily basis.
If you are interested in working a traditional 9-to-5 job then the sports industry is definitely not a good career choice for you as you will be required to work evenings, weekends and holidays.
CLIMBING THE LADDER
Employees have tremendous growth potential in the sports industry if you work hard and tirelessly, you can build the relationships necessary to be successful.
Sports employees will usually start at the bottom of the ladder with the opportunity to work their way up.
It is not uncommon for sports employees to move up the ladder quickly and have the opportunity to move from one position up to a more senior position in the span of a few seasons.
The fastest growth potential positions include:
- Public Relations
MAKE IT FUN
Although sports are a business and a great career choice, if you love sports and what you do, it is also a fun business if you let it. If you give it a chance, Sports is a one of a kind industry and can be an extremely fun career.
You get to meet a lot of great people and can gain valuable experience by working in the sports industry.
All in all, if you love every aspect of the sports world and would like a career in sports management, the opportunities are out there, you just have to go for it.
Just remember to have fun while you do it.