Competition is fierce in the sports industry. Even if your power plays are at an upper-level corporate meeting or during contract negotiation, rather than on the playing field, you still need to be at the top of your game. Careers in sports management—whether it’s as an athletic director, account manager, business development lead, financial manager, public relations specialist or personnel management—are highly lucrative and in great demand.1 According to Research and Markets, the global sports market is forecast to reach $599.9 billion by 2025 and $826.0 billion by 2030.2 In North America alone, that figure is expected to be $83.1 billion by 2023.3
Sports as a whole is an exciting, evolving, and universally appealing business. This article will give you important pointers for how to get a job in sports, or how to propel the one you have to greater heights. Keep reading to discover the four most important tips for landing the sports job of your dreams.
Find Your Place in the World of Sports
With sports networks expanding, the rise of new technology such as data analytics, and growing interest in competitive sports and personal fitness, there are many exciting opportunities and entries into how to get a job in sports.4 You could use your sales and marketing knowledge to help a team maintain a large fanbase. As an athletic director, your organizational skills would help to keep an entire athletic department running smoothly. Those with financial savvy could help a sports company balance its book and boost its business. Or, you could produce sports programming for a major network or act as a public relations director for a national team or major sports personality.1
What these diverse roles all have in common is that they require in-depth knowledge of sports, a wide range of technical and interpersonal skills, and above all, passion. Here, we’ve included more detail for our four key tips to success.4
1. Write Down Your Goals & Explore Your Options
Start by having a clear vision of your ideal sports career. Do some research to learn about the different opportunities that may be open to you. Consider your passions, skills, and abilities. Do you want to advise or coach athletes? Would you like to be involved in sports management or sports marketing? Are you good with figures and analyzing data? Are you a “people person”?
Once you have a list of your skills and abilities, write down your career goals and what you need to achieve them. Think about key issues like education and experience required, salary potential, and whether you want to (or don’t want to) relocate or frequently travel. 4 These considerations will help you to narrow the list down to a few sports careers that are the right fit for you, personally and professionally.
2. Learn About the Industry
As you're researching how to get a job in sports, know that it’s not enough to be a big sports fan; you need to understand the commitment and passion that drives the players, teams, and sports organizations. This is just as important as understanding the business from a practical standpoint. If you have a deep appreciation of the pursuit of excellence, team spirit, and camaraderie, you’ll be able to successfully work with and be respected by others in the field. 4
Listen to sports-related podcasts. Read authoritative blogs on ESPN, Bleacher Report, and Sports Illustrated. Watch sports networks, and thoroughly educate yourself about the industry. Take note of important changes and trends, such as the role that digital media and artificial intelligence (AI) will play in the future.4,5 Knowledge is power, and those that you interview with will expect you to be up to date.
3. Get Busy Networking
You’ve probably heard the old saying, “it’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” When it comes to sports careers, it’s both. Networking is extremely important. First, reach out to everyone in your circle—friends, relatives, classmates, professors, business associates—to let them know of your interests. Spruce up your resume and LinkedIn profile, and engage with others in the sports realm.
Consider joining groups and attending sports conferences. You may want to pursue a sports-related internship in your area of interest. Once there, ask a lot of questions to maximize your learning. Try to meet important, influential people who can help you get where you want to go.
Although it can sometimes be difficult when you’re starting out or looking to pivot, remember to be confident and sell yourself so that people remember you. In doing all of this, you will improve your chances of connecting with that one VIP who hooks you up with the ultimate gig. If you’re committed to the search and singularly focused on why, when, and how to get a job in sports, you will draw people and opportunities to you like a magnet.
4. Gain the Experience You Need
Many sports positions, especially high-level ones, require a degree or certification. Some examples of these are fitness manager, sports marketing coordinator, business development manager, public relations manager, marketing manager, contract negotiator, facilities manager, sports event coordinator, and athletic director.6 Even if a degree isn’t explicitly required, having a master’s degree in sports management will give you the edge and help you to stand out from your competition. It isn’t just the degree that matters, but the courses you’ve taken and your current knowledge of the industry that you bring to the table.
In addition to education, having prior experience listed on your resume, through entry-level positions and sports internships, will show a prospective employer that you mean business and are willing to work hard to achieve your career goals. Taking these important steps will help you develop a clear path to the professional career in sports to which you aspire.
Be a Serious Contender in Sports Management
If you want to know more about how to get a job in sports or take your sports career to a new level, an online Master’s in Sports Management from the University of Kansas is the smartest move you can make. As a globally recognized sports powerhouse with a distinguished history, we can help you to hone your skills and make the critical connections you need to reach the pinnacle of your sports management career.
Our online curriculum, which aligns with exacting standards of the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM), and the opportunity to gain real-world experience, will prepare you to take on the most challenging roles in sports management.
Browse the rest of the KU Sport Management Blog to learn about many important topics related to the University of Kansas online master’s in sport management program, like the commercialization of youth sports. We also have a program brochure if you’d like more information as well.
1. Retrieved on March 9, 2022, from jobsinsports.com/blog/2018/07/02/the-ultimate-list-of-careers-in-sports-management/
2. Retrieved on March 9, 2022, from yahoo.com/now/global-sports-market-opportunities-strategies-080800261.html
3. Retrieved on March 9, 2022, from statista.com/statistics/214960/revenue-of-the-north-american-sports-market/
4. Retrieved on March 9, 2022, from jobsinsports.com/blog/2019/12/23/how-to-get-a-job-in-sports-4-essential-tips-for-career-success/
5. Retrieved on March 9, 2022, from greenfly.com/blog/thought-leadership/social_media_trends_sports_2022/
6. Retrieved on March 9, 2022, from indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/sports-management-jobs