Sports Marketing Jobs: Do You Have What it Takes?

sports marketing jobs

Of the nearly 6,000 jobs we have active on WorkinSports.com about 25% fall under the umbrella of sports marketing.

We get hundreds of questions per month (and I’m proud to say we respond to each and every one personally) and when the questions are about career advice, the majority are regarding sports marketing jobs.

It’s a popular career path not just because there are plentiful opportunities, but because being a sports marketer is fresh, creative and cutting edge. Sports marketers are always on the front of the creative wave, and for many that is a thrill ride worth pursuing.

But how? What skills do you need to get hired? How do you succeed and grow?

These are the questions we receive often and rather than just answer them in a vacuum, I decided to reach out to multiple sports marketing experts and ask them – what are the most important skills to get hired for sports marketing jobs?

The majority of responses honed in on these four skills that are essential for getting hired in sports marketing.

1: Task Management


Multitasking is such an overused term. The honest interpretation of multitasking is doing many things at once and in truth, who is ever really successful at that?

The word has become a catch-all for achieving multiple things, when really the term should be task management. Sports marketing jobs require strong task management, because you’ll be responsible for a wide range of duties:

  • Advertising
  • Printing
  • Promotional Items
  • Digital/Social Media
  • Community Events
  • Writing

…just to name a few.

As a sports marketer you will always be juggling multiple on-going tasks, which means organization becomes a lynch pin to success. You’ll need to be able to balance your tasks, prioritize your to-do list and remain high-level and out of the weeds when applicable.

How to Demonstrate This Skill: On an interview it’s a difficult thing to sell someone on the fact you are organized and can prioritize

sports marketing jobs empty fenway park

The big picture goal of sports marketing jobs – fill these seats.

well. The only real way to do it is to have a real-life scenario you’ve worked through ready to present. Think of a time you had multiple projects to handle at once – How did you prioritize? How did you contribute? What did you delegate? Why did the project succeed or fail?

Prepare this scenario in your head so that when you have the opportunity to sell yourself in the interview you’ll be ready.

2: Think Big Picture

The misconception of many sports marketing job seekers is that a career in sports marketing means you’ll be working in social media and tweeting fun stuff all day long. Wrong.

Social media is one aspect of sports marketing jobs, but in truth to be successful and grow in your career you’ll need a deep understanding of the business of sports, and all of the supporting departments, not just Twitter and Pinterest.

Stay focused on the big goal – for example, if you’re working for a team it really boils down to selling tickets and sponsorships (there are other people in charge of the winning). Every decision you make should be bounced off the mission question, “does this choice help our organization sell more (of whatever we sell)?”

It’s important to think about that whether you are writing a Facebook post, designing a brochure or buying radio spots.

How to Demonstrate This Skill: Understand exactly what the goal of the company you are interviewing with is (i.e. how do they make money?) and prepare various methods of how you could drive attention to that goal.

I notice many people nowadays more focused on being witty and creative, but in the end are missing the company objective.

If you can bring a variety ideas to the table, in various channels (social, email, radio, direct etc) that show creativity while also staying in line with company goals, you’ll stand out in a sea of pun-tastic applicants, more impressed with their own wit that improving the business.

Find out if you have the skills necessary for today's sports marketing jobs. #sportsbiz Click To Tweet

3: Have a Plan/Vision

Your life will be easier and your marketing will be more successful if you have a plan.  Having a plan makes time management easier, keeps everyone associated with a project on task and minimizes mistakes.how to prepare for your sports job search ebook

Being able to develop a well thought out, clearly-defined marketing plan is a skill that not many are able to execute. A well-developed plan is a living blueprint, a design for execution that can unify a team towards  a common outcome, or better yet, multiple teams.

Not only is it important to be able to put plans together, you also need to communicate both the plan and the reasoning behind it clearly to your bosses… because they aren’t just going to hand over a marketing budget and a blank checkbook.

How to Demonstrate This Skill: I’ve always appreciated people who took charge in an interview, and by take charge I don’t mean talk a lot, I mean they are assertive.

For example, I conducted an interview once and after asking a relatively simple question, the interviewee paused and asked, “do you mind if I use your wipe board to demonstrate?” This person then stood up, showed great confidence and composure, and demonstrated a concept artfully.

My suggestion, ask permission first, but don’t be afraid to stand up and outline a high level concept, like how you would approach building a marketing plan, on a wipe board.  It’ll show you’re confident, intelligent and in control – and that’s the type of person that people want to hire.

4: Writing Skills

The lost art.

“Writing is important for anyone in the workforce,” says Texas Stars Director of Marketing Lauren Hindman. “In sports marketing jobs specifically, I use my writing skills for everything from social media posts, e-newsletters and website stories to flyers and brochures. I also can serve as an extra set of editing eyes for our public relations department.”

I can’t stress this enough, the ability to write and articulate thoughts succinctly is the crux of sports marketing jobs. Without writing skills you aren’t a marketer or a communicator, you are just a talker and talkers work on used car lots, not professional sports organizations.

How to Demonstrate This Skill: Have writing samples ready to produce. Short-form, long-form, articles, brochures, promo copy, you name it. If you don’t have writing samples you better get some. (We have a guest author program if you want to practice)

Final Thought

Enthusiasm, flexibility and playing nice are all great attributes, but as I’ve said 1,000 times hiring managers hire based on skills and then move down the line to cultural fit. Focus on what you can do to make a company better and you’ll always give yourself a chance to get hired.

Prepare for these scenarios to play out in your next sports marketing interview and you’ll stand a really good chance!

Summary
Sports Marketing Jobs: Do You Have What it Takes?
Article Name
Sports Marketing Jobs: Do You Have What it Takes?
Description
To get hired for sports marketing jobs requires certain specific skills - do you have what it takes?
Author
Publisher Name
WorkinSports.com
Publisher Logo
email
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. Adewale sangobiyi says:

    Typo on the forth paragraph second line. How “do” … Thank you

  2. Unfortunately opportunities are not that bountiful, it seems to be high level or bust.A guy starting off new fresh and hungry, can’t get a chance.

    • Marc – you sound frustrated, which I understand and appreciate. But trust me, the opportunities are out there, heck we post hundreds of them daily. I don’t know your situation, but I would implore you to do more research into finding out what specific skills employers are looking for and then make sure you have the skill. For example, I got hired right out of college by CNN/Sports Illustrated because I had non-linear editing skills and they needed non-linear editors. When I was a News Director at Fox Sports Northwest I hired people that had the tangible skills I needed to complete tasks, and then trained them on the business/management side of things. Skills and proof of ability (i.e. portfolio) are the things that get you in the door! Keep working at it and keep your head up! – Brian

  3. Andrés Escoto says:

    Hi, come from Mexico, but i found this post very interesting, let me give you a briefing of who am i and what did i do to take my sports marketer career to the next level:

    Sincé i ended school in 07, my popular career path was sports marketing, unfortunately in 2007 the industry was very poor here, but i just keep up in my mind this mantra: I CAN, I WILL, I MUST.

    I was volunteer (unpaid position) looking for sponsors for my college’s athletics department, i made few deals with low-budget companies. 1 year later i had a job as a TV sales executive, and 2 years later became my first chance with the first mexican sports marketing agency, as a business developer i was responsable to increase the level of sales and business mix from our clients.

    Finally, in 2012 i received an invitation via linkedin from the CEO & Founder of Actio Sports Management, she was interested in hiring me as business manager to Actio’s regional office in America.

    My advice to all upcoming sports marketers, DON’T GIVE UP. THERE’S NO ELEVATOR TO SUCCESS, YOU NEED TO TAKE THE STAIRS.

    My goal is to get a job as Marketing/Business Manager in the sports industry of USA or UK.

    • Andres – thanks for sharing your story – it’s an inspiration to many! – Brian (I’m going to chant “I Can I Will I Must” next time I’m out for a jog and feel like quitting!)

    • Jessica Oslund says:

      Hello,
      I just recently changed my major to marketing. However it will be an associates degree in Marketing. My question is do I have a chance at getting into the sports marketing profession?

      • Hard question to answer since I don’t know enough about you, your major requirements, your internships/job experience etc. I’ll say this, aim low at the start, just try to get in the door of the industry. When you start proving yourself and doing good work, your degree and all the rest of the peripheral stuff stops mattering — your work results become your proof of performance. Just get in the door and get things started. -Brian

  4. Wow, I had no idea that being a sports marketing specialist took so much effort and skill! you never really think about jobs like this, especially if you’re not in the sports industry. It really makes you appreciate the people who do this, especially since it looks like such hard work!

  5. Joey Belden says:

    Brian Clapp,

    Let me start by saying I respect and appreciate the time you take to respond to all of these comments with integrity and honesty. I have been involved in sports my entire life. I love all sports. My uncle is a head coach at the collegiate level. My mother and aunt were ranked nationally in tenis. I have achieved state championships, and was also a point guard in the movie Glory Road. I am not trying to be boastful, but informative because my resume only shows my work ethic and scholastic achievements. I would love a career change to be involved in the world of which I love with all my heart. I unfortunately had a bad accident while playing basketball, and broke my leg in five places while shattering my shin. I can no longer play the games I love at a competitive level, but i would want to be a part of this world, whether it be sharing my story or being involved in all the greatness that are sports. I would love your feedback and advice on how to get my career moving in that direction.

    Thank you so much for your time and consideration,

    Joey Belden

    • Joey – I’ll admit reading your comment made me a little nervous – usually when someone starts out saying nice things there is a really big BUT in there when they then start tearing me and my opinions to shreds. You didn’t do that, so I thank you. That’s quite the story you have there and I’m terribly sorry to hear about your leg injury derailing your career. As a victim of more than a few major knee injuries, I empathize. I’m in the middle of writing an article so my brain is a big pre-occupied but I will circle back to this comment and try to give you a good answer as soon as I can… best – Brian

  6. Great article Brian, Thanks for sharing!

    Very little people realise what it really takes to have a job role such as this! Having a goal or vision is so important in marketing as you must always have a end target of what you would like to achieve.

  7. Erin Engel says:

    If I do not have a college degree, and my only related experience is radio, how much of a chance do I have in getting a job in this field? Thank you.

    • It could be tough Erin – you need to get some marketing/business knowledge prior to getting hired. You’d be competing for job openings against people with knowledge and experience… – Brian

      • Erin Engel says:

        I don’t have a piece of paper saying I know how to advertise and run a business, but I do own and run a business, and I do my own advertising. They are probably looking for degrees though, correct?

        • Not necessarily, if your resume is packed with experience your degree is less important. I’ve worked at CNN and Fox Sports during my career, no one cares where I went to college or what my GPA was, I have the experience to show I can do the job. – Brian

  8. Hello, i am considering going into Sports Business starting next school year. I understand the qualities that are necessary to get a good job in this field, but what are some company names that i could get into after schooling?

  9. My goal is to go to college and then become a marketing manager for a sports team. What classes and degree would you recommend me taking in college to make this happen?

    • Nik – I’d major in sales & marketing, or business administration – and then minor in sports management to get some targeted classes on the sports industry. Have a focus on internships – try to intern with a big pro team, and then try to intern with a minor league team. YOu’ll have a nice balance on your resume. If you have time, intern with an sports advertising agency too – then you’d have marketing experience from both sides of the equation. – Best of luck, Brian

  10. Reginald claude says:

    hey, im a freshman in highschool and iam wondering what colleges would you think would be better for me to attend to pursuit a sports marketing career.

  11. Hi Brian. Great article indeed! Looking at sport marketing as an advanced project rather than unrelated actions is important part of the whole process.
    Some might think that being active is enough, but then there is so much more.
    I am following few sport personalities and their marketing adventures and one that is really interesting to me is Connor McGregor – he is building whole brand on social media rather than just communicating with fans.

  12. Are internships in the sports marketing career difficult to find and get?

    • They don’t have to be – there are many agencies, professional leagues, teams and organizations that are involved in marketing, most if not all have internship programs. They’ll be competitive, but what isn’t? – Brian

  13. Brianna Smith says:

    I recently just changed my major to sports management and I plan on going into sports marketing. Do you have any advice for me?

  14. Kaitlyn Odom says:

    Hi! So I just found this article and I’ve recently become very interested in sports marketing. I start college next fall and I have decided to major in this field of work. My only problem is that none of the colleges around me specifically have a sports marketing major, just sports management and I do not wish to travel too far away from home for college. My questions for you is could I just do a marketing degree and still go into sports marketing? Or do you recommend me just doing a sports management degree, if so what is the difference in this degree and a sports marketing degree?

    • I’d do a marketing degree and then volunteer in the athletic department and do internships related to sports — that is your best mix to gain experience in sports marketing if the colleges near you don’t offer a specific program! – Brian

  15. Billy Donaven says:

    Hey, what’s the guest author writing program link?

  16. I’m currently in sports management and the marketing aspect is starting to interest me. I am wondering what the best way to get a job for marketing manager is after I graduate. How easy is it to apply and get started?

Speak Your Mind

*

fb_ol_standout