Entry Level Sports Jobs with Real Growth Potential

entry level sports jobs production assistant

Beginning your career as a production assistant at a sports network will require lots of random sports knowledge (Photo Courtesy: ESPN MediaZone)

Just because you can name all the mascots of the Sun Belt conference (Quick: What is North Texas’ mascot?) doesn’t mean you are destined for a successful career in sports.

But who can blame you for wanting a sports job? It’s far superior to working in a cube for some nondescript business, plus there is actually a chance you will get paid to watch sports or participate in live events! Score!

Sports is a huge industry, with various career paths, so we’ve decided to break it down into five entry level sports jobs that can actually start your journey in the right direction.

*Oh and North Texas is the Mean Green of course.

(Editors note: after reading this article, check out our version 2.0 – 5 more entry level sports jobs with real growth potential)

Entry Level Sports Jobs with Real Growth Potential #sportsbiz Click To Tweet

Production Assistant – Sports Network

Sports Television is in its golden era with new networks popping up around the country like weeds in the garden.how to prepare for your sports job search ebook

Large nationals like NBC Sports Network and Fox Sports 1, conference specific versions like the Pac-12 network and SEC, regional networks, team specific and even more opportunities broadcasting content online.

The best entry point into this world is as a Production Assistant (also could be called a Broadcast Associate or Production Associate). General assignments will include logging live games, editing highlights, writing shot sheets, researching and writing.

Skills needed: Non-linear editing (Avid, Final Cut Pro), Sports knowledge (expect to take a sports quiz during your interview), production techniques (lighting, camerawork etc), strong writing and research skills.

Possible Career Path:  

sports media and journalism

Social Media Coordinator

It doesn’t matter if you want to work for a team, a network, an event or a sports manufacturing company, they all have a social media presence.

entry level sports jobs social media coordinator

Example of the work performed by social media coordinator at the University of Michigan.

When social media first began as a popular way to engage with an audience, businesses assigned this task to their existing marketing departments. As social grew in popularity, and industries started to realize the true value, more and more have carved out a specific social media department.

A social media coordinator is a great entry level sports job especially if you are interested in a public or media relations career, since you will have to communicate well and continually polish your writing.

Skills Needed: Social Media knowledge and experience (Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn at minimum), writing and editorial, on top of emerging technologies, online marketing, video editing experience (Final Cut Pro, Avid) will help.

Places to Look for Opportunities:  College Athletic Departments, Professional Teams, Sports Networks, Athletic Apparel companies.

Sales Assistant

Bart Foley, ROOT Sports Northwest VP/General Sales Manager believes working in sales is the perfect entry point to a career in sports, “It’s actually not that difficult to get into television or radio ad sales.  Most college graduates are gravitating toward other fields like technology and thus, it’s never been easier to get started.”

The benefits of working in sales are vast – you’ll learn persistence, self-discipline, how to negotiate and communicate, all skills that will enhance your career no matter what field your pursue.

Responsibilities: Many clerical duties to start, including order processing, monitoring accounts, filing, correspondence.

Also look for: Sales Coordinator, Sales Representative, Account Manager, Sales Associate, Account Coordinator.

sports sales jobsMarketing Coordinator

A high ceiling entry level sports job which will be involved in brand development, advertising, marketing initiatives, research and promotions.

The great part about beginning in marketing is that it you career can develop in so many different directions. Work for a collegiate athletic department coordinating marketing and media, shift to internet marketing for online sports properties, work for live event productions…the possibilities are many.

Skills Needed: Business and marketing undergraduate studies, Sports Management background is helpful, familiar with market research techniques, ability to project manage with moderate supervision.

Also look for: Marketing Specialist, Public Relations Assistant, Advertising Associate, Promotions Assistant

Graduate Assistant – Coaching

Even if you were a walk-on place kicker, the twelfth man on the hoops bench or the third string softball catcher, don’t waste the experience you gained by being part of a intercollegiate team, instead stay within your passion and look into coaching.

entry level sports job graduate assistant

Now he’s a 4-time National Champion, but in 1972-74 Nick Saban was a graduate assistant at Kent State

The entry level step for a coaching career is as a graduate assistant. Which just as it sounds usually mandates that you are pursuing a graduate degree, while helping out with the athletic department.

If you don’t have the skills to play at the collegiate level, you can still get into coaching. While an undergrad, sign up to be a student-manager, equipment assistant or statistician, this will give you entry into the minds of the coaches and some background in athletics and sports management.

Skills Needed: Experience with the specific sport, either as a former player or as a manager. Excellent communication and listening skills, ability to work long hours, knowledge of video editing software would be very beneficial.

Responsibilities: Run practices and drills, edit practice and game video using programs like XOS Digital and possibly assist with advance scouting.

This is just the start, we have numerous entry level sports jobs on WorkinSports.com – if you have questions on how to get started, add them to the comments – we are always listening!

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About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the sports media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently, Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, do it.

And if you want to know where our privacy policy is before you submit your comments below, it's right here.

Comments

  1. I would like to work in the sports area.

    • Well you’ve come to the right place Dakarai! We have thousands of sports jobs on our site and advice for how to get your career started on our blog. Please continue looking around and don’t hesitate to ask specific questions, we like to help out! – Brian

      • Hello Mr clapp. ,
        I know you wrote this blog almost a year ago but I am very very interested in the sports industry. I have a business degree in Org management and I am looking for a way to enter the sports world. Please email me regarding this interest further. I would like to speak with you and pick your brain.
        Thank you

      • Mark Lyman says:

        Hello Mr. Clapp,

        My name is Mark Lyman I have a Bachelors degree in Sports and Recreation Management I start in January for my Master degree in Business Management, I really want to get into a career in the sporting industry I live in the Atlanta area and was wondering if you have any advice of how to get my foot in the door? I just turned 40 and am in the middle of changing my life plan I am a Veteran of the U.S Navy with a lot of leadership experience.
        Thank you

        • Hey Mark – (Thank you for your service!) we have over 170 articles chock full of advice on breaking into the sports industry on our blog… it’s our best advice and it’s all there for free. That said, I think you have to narrow down what it is you want to do in sports (at least if you want advice) I.E. if you say your goal is to work in sales, or marketing, or broadcasting or operations etc…now I can help give you some advice. See what I mean? – Brian

          • Craig Silver says:

            Mr. Clapp,
            My name is Craig Silver. I will be getting my Bachelors Degree in Sports Management this May 2015. I am very interested in getting into the Sport Industry field and I feel I have a lot of knowledge in it to back me up,. If you can get me started with a career please let me know. I am from the Queens NYC area.
            Best Regards,
            Craig

          • Craig – check out our job board (workinsports.com) that is our main service to help you find a job! Also, we have hundreds of articles like this one with advice for various sports careers, so keep reading. – Brian

  2. Eric Carter says:

    I am a 40 year old teacher, high school football coach, and family man who just graduated last year with my Masters in recreation and sports science. I would like to get out of the classroom and work full time in sports, but I am not having any luck so far. Any recommendations or tips for how I could make this happen?

    • Eric thanks for inquiring, congratulations on getting your Masters – you’re in an elite club and have knowledge that is useful in the workforce. Before I say too much, can you tell me more about what kind of job you’d like to have? i.e. When you decided to get your Masters, what did you have in mind that it would lead to?

      – Brian

      • Eric Carter says:

        Brian,
        When I decided to get my masters, I was hoping that it would lead to something in player operations or team management. My masters was geared heavily toward coaching education and sports management, and ideally, I would like to coach, scout, or do something relating to football operations.

        • Good stuff Eric – couple of thoughts: Start with small colleges and build your way up – 1: Use our site to do some research into what college programs are looking for from people they hire for player ops or team management. Read job descriptions, find out your strengths and weaknesses as they apply to the field. Tailor your resume to hit on your abilities in these areas and have reasons/explanations ready to address any shortcomings you may have, but also have a plan in mind to overcome them. 2: Look into sports information, media relations, athletic administration. Once you can get an opportunity like that, you can also assist the football team in scouting or coaching – small college programs are always looking for help from someone with your background. 3: Even if you don’t have a job at the school, look to volunteer part-time in coaching or scouting for a small college program, as I mentioned they are always looking for help. Now is the time, they are out of season going through prep, during season they’ll be too busy to even think about you. 4: If you are volunteering and become a recognizable face, you’ll have the opportunity to network with the administration – ask them about how to break in, even if they don’t have opportunities they may know of others at surrounding schools. And seriously, continue to look at jobs on our site, we are constantly scouring for everything under the sun! Please keep me updated and ask away if you have more questions!

  3. Luis Sanchez says:

    A great article, Mr. Clapp.

    I am a recent grad of Becker College trying to find my way into sports business. If I had been asked a year ago, coaching was the answer to my goals. In the last few months of this year, my senior year, an instructor of mine who has worked in sport marketing for over 20 years has swayed my thoughts. A Bachelor’s in Sport Management is my degree, but what Ms. Elizabeth Spellacy spoke about her experience in the industry to me was incredible. Now I find myself wanting some sort of administrative role or on the other hand, a marketing role in a company. Help! Thanks.

    • Luis glad you enjoyed the article – I just posted another article this morning that might be up your alley – one of the most rapidly growing jobs in sports is in social media, which combines skills related to marketing, journalism, public relations and sports management. We are on pace to post over 1900 jobs related to social media in sports this year alone! Chec out the article, SM could be a great entry point for you and then you can work your way up the administrative career path. Just a thought. Keep checking our site we are always posting great new job opportunities, and please don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have them…I answer every one personally. – Brian

  4. Hello, I’m a AAU basketball. I’m in my 11 season. We just became non profit. I love coaching, training, and just seeing kids grow. However I do not have a degree. I’m taking an online course in Personal Training from NSAM
    I want to specialize in youth exercise, and basketball training. Any advice on where to start in that field.

  5. I’m 34 and was laid off a year ago. I am currently pursuing my marketing degree. I always had an interest in working in sports doing marketing, but I just don’t know where to start. I don’t want to continue working at jobs that I have no passion for. I decided to register with the site just see what type of jobs are out there that are entry level, but I don’t know if I have any of the skills necessary. Any advice as to how I can get started in sports?

  6. Thanks for this article. I just recently graduated from a 4 year university with my degree in sport management and a business minor. I’m so confused as to what I want to do as a career and I am having a hard time finding ideas. I love sports and kids. I originally wanted to work with a sports team on the community relations side but was told that was extremely hard to get in to. Any ideas/advice about what direction I should move in? Also I love writing and marketing. I’m just all over this place with my career path and what I really want to do.

  7. Hey Brian I liked the article I was wondering how do you get your foot in the door as being a coach? I’m young I’m 18 never really had the chance to show my athletic ability so one thing I would like to do is coach. How would I start? Any classes I should take in college or anything like that?? Thanks!

    • Frankie, thanks for writing in. I have a couple different theories on coaching – 1: Coaching is about X’s and O’s but it’s also about personality and management, for classes I would stress psychology and various management classes. Things like time management, organizational psychology etc. Also, look into statistics and analytics classes – as a coach being able to diagnose other teams strengths, weaknesses and patterns via statistical analysis, is incredibly important. 2: I’m not sure what sport you are looking for, but find volunteer opportunities and start building your coaching resume – local high schools are always looking for help, there is a lot you can learn at that level. Try to find opportunities at your university and eventually become a graduate assistant. These are stepping stones into higher opportunities. Hope this helps… best of luck Frankie, stay in touch! – Brian

  8. Morgan Milsop says:

    Hey Brian, great piece. I am a 08′ graduate of Michigan State University which a Bachelors in Kinesiology with concentration in Sports Business and Athletic Administration degree. I recently just moved back to the East Lansing area to pursue a career in sports. I’m looking to get my foot in the door any possible way I can. My ultimate dream job is to be part of the on field professional or collegiate sports team. Having been an athlete my whole life I miss the thrill and enjoyment of being part of a team, and finding any ways possible to help the team to become one of the top competitive teams in the country every year. What advice can you give me of helping me to get my foot in the door to a sports career? What is the best route to pursuing my dream job? Thanks!!

    • Morgan – now more than ever employers are hiring based on how you can answer this question: ‘how do you make us better?’ – it’s all about tangible skills, so ask yourself what can I do and what do employers need. My suggestion, and it’s kind of boring I’ll admit, is to conduct searches for jobs you think you would be interested in, don’t worry about location, just focus on ‘would I want this job’? Start reading through job descriptions and take notes, find out what employers want and then match it up with what you have. You may find out you have the right skills, or you may find a weak point in your experience you need to enhance. Rather than just applying blindly to jobs, take a focused approach, find out what skills you need to have and get them. Applying to jobs you aren’t really qualified for can be depressing. It’s all about filling a need. Hope that helps – go spartans! – Brian

  9. Lashun Watkins says:

    Brian,

    This was a great article and for someone like myself with little professional experience, it does give me some type of hope. I have a four year degree in Sports and Health Sciences and have been trying to get into the coaching or scouting field. I have applied for numerous internships along with graduate assistant programs, but all have rejected me. What would you tell someone like me who knows basketball and football well, but cannot seem to catch a break into either field? I am taking video editing classes now to better market myself. I am definitely someone that does not mind starting at the bottom at all.

    • Lashun – great move to take video editing classes, if you hadn’t said that I was going to mention it. Starting in the video department for a team is a good way to break in and build yourself up (see Spoelstra, Eric). I’d say start small college or minor leagues, they may not pay much but its a foot in the door. Keep us updated, I want to know how your search goes. – Brian

  10. Wow, great timing for this article. I’m a senior graduating with a BA in Public Relations. I’ve been working as a student assistant with the Texas State SID office, (so naturally I can name all of the Sun Belt Conference mascots) and am searching for an entry-level job in sports. Thanks for the read!

    • Sarah- great to hear this was helpful to you – that is pretty funny that you are actually at Texas State! If I were you I would absolutely look into media relations with a minor league baseball team, small college, NBADL, AHL team – see a theme here? Minor leagues are a great great place to start out and learn so much about the business side of sports, you will wear many hats and your public relations acumen will really help. Next thing you know you’ll be at a pro team! – Best of luck, let us know if we can help – Brian

  11. Patrick Barkley says:

    Great Article. Very helpful as I am getting ready to graduate this June and pursue a career in sports marketing / social media but am also considering going for my Master’s Degree first.

    • Patrick – good stuff glad to know the article helped you – I’m all for masters degrees, but try to know what you want as your goal before you do it. Sometimes a Masters isn’t necessary for some sports careers, which demand experience over classroom work so just weigh that as your make your choices. Let us know if we can help – Brian

  12. Janet Lynn Harmon says:

    This is really neat Mr. Clapp!

    As a daughter of a Oklahoma HOF football coach and sister to a former college stand out and coach, i have been linked to networks in Ok spprts for somewhat 2 decades. I have worked in broadcast for nearly ten yrs in sales and on air as a producer and traffic reporter, but on air it was the mid 90s.
    However, I cant claim a college degree sir. I started working when I turned 18. Ive been selling since my first insurance job at 17. I wprked for the Sooner Sports Network and their sports publication in 2008. I loved it! But the magazine did struggle during the recession and people weren’t buying print advertising so I eventually switched gears. Ive alwaus went to the OK coaches clinics every summer and am in some way generally connected to people just cause my family is small state geros in a sense. I would love to take my game to the next level, because at one time I did great things for a lot of sports programs. Example,
    I was a team supervisor at Athletic World Advertising here in Oklahoma and I sold advertising marketing to B2B nationwide on behalf of several small colleges Arkansas Razorbacks was my big acct, and as well lots of winning tradition HS programs across the nation. I still hold the title for a million dollar sale I.made to UPS for all my specific programs divided appropriately! I did great things for some great athletes. But my resume is a hodge ppodge of different companies. I was in staffing, construction, sports, even companies like Office Max and Interstate Batteries for a stint. And my resume may not look like anything but generalized for a sports position. Do you have any pointers on my resume and with my experience in sports sir, some of my former jobs are not from 2004 to current. If that makes sense. I have Tony Casillas as a referenxe and some OU, OSU refs as well. But they say never give up on your dreams and I wanna take myself to the next level and i feel like in Oklahoma the only option is Okc Thunder and I would like to possibly move anywhere for the right opportunity!
    Nobody can sell, close deals, create wunnibg marketing plans and motivate winning sales teams like me and I dont want to stop trying just because Ive turned 40. Id love your professional advice if youd be so kind.

    Sincerely,
    Janet Lynn Harmon
    Business Development Mktg Manager

  13. Janet Lynn Harmon says:

    Sorry, excuse my typos this morning!
    Make it a WINNING day Mr. Clapp. 🙂

  14. Jake Letman says:

    Hi!

    My desire is to become a sports broadcaster on a DI collegiate level and then ultimately for a professional sports team. I have a bachelors in communications and an associates in business. I’ve been sports broadcasting DII men’s and women’s basketball at Montana State University Billings for the past four seasons (Go Yellowjackets). Currently I am also working as a sports reporter/anchor/production assistant at KTVQ news station in Billings, MT. I feel that I have a plethora of experience and skills to offer, but can’t seem to find an avenue to my dream job. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Also, feel free to google me anyone reading this if you’d like to see my work. Thanks!

  15. Parker Chrisman says:

    Brian,
    I enjoyed the article. It is reassuring to hear that there are so many different jobs and opportunities within the sports industry. I am close to starting Grad school to get a dual Masters in Sports Administration and Sports Coaching. I truly would love to be a college scout for a pro football team. Do you have any advice on how to get into this specific field without having the undergrad experience of working with a college team? Hope to hear back from you. Thanks.
    -Parker

  16. Anthony paquette says:

    I have my B.A. and would love to get my foot in the door some place. Have been looking but with no real luck. I am a hard working person who just needs a shot. whether it’s in the coaching bracket or in sports media I just really want a shot. Put myself through school working in a resturant and am a little older (early 30’s) than your normal recent graduate. With that said again I was just wondering if you could just help me out and point me in the right dicrection. I really need this! Thank you for your time.

    Sincerly,
    Anthony Paquette

  17. Robin North says:

    Hey Brian, I’ve been trying to get my foot in the door with a sports agency. I played ball at Sam Houston State University for a couple years but did not finish my degree as of yet. Where should I start?

    • Check out our friends at Sports Management Worldwide – they have courses to teach you to become and agency, job placement and they are an agency themselves representing many pros! – Brian

  18. Abhilasha Jain says:

    Hello,

    Firstly I really appreciate for this platform.
    I am Abhilasha Jain from India, a Registered Dietitian and Specialized Performance Sports Nutritionist. I would always love to exceed my interest and passion towards nutrition in Sports. I been working in this fielse since 6 years as Clinical and Registered Dietitian and Sports nutritionist in India. I want to explore my learning and experience overseas. Can it be considered.
    Thanks

  19. Hello. I would like to thank you for making this post. I am about to graduate from college with a degree in Mathematics. I am looking to get a job that uses my math skills as a sports statisticians. Do you have any tips for me like where to apply? What types of companies to look at? Or any skills you think I should have? Thanks again

  20. Hey Brian,
    I am on my last year of college for sports management degree. I am interested in sports operations. What should I look into for internships? Thank you for your time.

    Nick B.

    • Depends what you mean by sports operations – some people think of operations as facility management, i.e. General Manager of the Rose Garden in Portland could be an example of sports operations. To others it means operating the day-to-day business of a team, from budgets to hiring staff, to public relations and more… which are you driving towards? Brian

  21. Hello. I would like to thank you for making this post. I am about to graduate from college with a degree in Mathematics. I am looking to get a job that uses my math skills as a sports statisticians. Do you have any tips for me like where to apply? What types of companies to look at? Or any skills you think I should have? Thanks again

  22. Prashanth Sukumar says:

    :Hello I am currently pursing my a career as a NBA scout. What would you recommend me to do? I appreciate for your time and effort in helping on my career. Kindest regards – Prashanth.

  23. Lov Patel says:

    Hi Brian,

    Currently i am an engineer working in a company in a job post that i don’t want to make my future in. For past few months i have been reading about MS in sports management and i have already given my GRE and TOEFL. I have great passion for sports. It is the only thing in my life in which i have the best knowledge specially in lawn tennis. I have been playing and following this sport since i was 12 yrs old. Even today also i follow all the tournaments, grand slams, read the latest blog about the things going on in tennis, technology and all that, and also i have the understanding of the game since i have played it on national level for 6-7 years. When i read about the MS programs in sports management, i thought about making my career in a field which i have love and passionate about. When i used to talk to my brother (we used to play together) regarding sports (specially tennis), he used to tell me that i have got a brain for these things and should pursue career along the same lines. I wanted to know whether doing MS in sports management will truly help me in achieving my dream. If yes, then what are the job prospects related to my passion and dream. Please enlighten as i really need some guidance and help here.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Lov Patel

    • Lov – think about what you want to do in Tennis…do you want to work in operations for a major event or tournament, work in sales, marketing, data analyst…if you answered yes than an MS in sports management can help. But if you want to work in other facets of the sport, more directly related to the competition on the field than probably not. It depends on what you want. If it’s the business side of your sports than yes, go for it!

  24. Raeven Wilkerson says:

    Hi Brian,

    I am a recent college graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management. I am having a difficult time starting my career in the sports industry.

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