Five More Entry Level Sports Jobs with Real Growth Potential

entry level sports jobs

You don’t just want a job in sports, you want a job in sports with high growth potential, right? Here are five to help you on your journey.

Two years ago we published on article focused on five entry level sports jobs that have a high ceiling, to date it’s been one of our most popular articles.

Outside of the fact it was really well written (that’s me blushing) it hit on a topic you, our audience, have a rabid appetite for – where to aim when breaking into the sports industry.

Well, it’s high time to revisit that listicle and come up with more entry level sports jobs that have a have potential for success. Considering the sports industry outpaced the national average in job growth by 150% between 2010 and 2014, we’ve got some really good starting points for sports careers to work with.

On with the show!

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

Research Analyst

Before you start sending out your spreadsheets on how to calculate WAR (Wins Above Replacement for all you non-sabermetricians) this type of research analyst is on the financial/marketing side, not the scouting/“Moneyball” side.

Data-Driven Decision making is taking the industry by storm, which to be honest seems like something we should have figured out long ago. Making decisions with support from actual data is not something that should be considered revolutionary, but again the sports industry has been thriving for decades even with people making decisions based on hunches and suppositions.

Enough of my soapbox – the idea behind new age research positions is on creating analyses and reports culled from available data that influence business decisions. For example, examining large data sets for TV ratings trends, or sales results, or profitable marketing tendencies.

These are all examples of the type of research that directly correlates to profitability, which is music to an executives ears.

We often hint that sports job seekers should consider sales careers, namely because they are always in demand and they directly connect to revenue generation. That is the very definition of job security.

Same is true in research positions. (Find a bunch of research jobs by clicking here)

If a researcher is able to discover a more effective way of selling a product or marketing an event based on available data, their role and growth at a company is beyond secure.

To get hired as a research analyst you should be familiar with tools like Nielsen, Simmons, Scarborough and Custom Flow, be extremely detail oriented and comfortable presenting data in a clear and concise manner.

Oh, and you probably want to know how to analyze data.

Digital Sales

Before you get me on the seemingly valid, ‘you mentioned sales assistant in the last article’ point, I want to make it clear, digital sales are different than ticket, broadcast or radio ad sales.

There is a different language, different metrics, different expectations and a very different growth chart.

Digital sales are booming while traditional media buys are struggling due to the fact everyone has a DVR and no one sits through commercials anymore (truth is, they still do in live sports, but that’s one of the last places commercials are seen in real speed).

Alas, let’s get back to digital sales – now we’re talking about click through rates, banner ads, pageviews, conversion metrics, retargeting and much more. If you have no clue what I am talking about – learn it – it will serve you well in the era of all things online and mobile.

Sports Information Coordinatorhow to prepare for your sports job search ebook

If your dream has always been to be involved in college athletics, working your way up through the ranks of sports information may be the way to go.

This career adventure is much like being a sports reporter – you start off in a small market, or in this case at a small college athletic department, and slowly work your way up to bigger markets/bigger schools.

Sports information roles are deeply entrenched with external clients like local sports reporters in broadcast, digital and print and internal positions like athletic directors, marketing staff and sales.

The career path isn’t just limited to performing the same job at bigger schools, a sports information director has their hands in research, statistical analysis and operations – which can prepare them for career growth in athletic administration, compliance, research, athletic development and more.

If college sports are your wheelhouse, starting out in sports information may be the way to go.

Jobs in research and digital sales are 2 entry level sports jobs w high potential, see the rest: Click To Tweet

Production Coordinator

Production jobs generally refer to some form of content creation and are filled by creative types, but a production coordinator resides on the logistic side of the equation.

It’s the cliché, left brain/right brain personality type.

production coordinator jobs in sports

Live event productions like Monday Night Football require a whole team of people to pull off. A Production Coordinator helps organize objectives between multiple groups.

Writers, producers and marketers all hang out in the much cooler right brain, while the financiers, researchers and production coordinators all hang out in the stodgy left brain (I’m not doing a good job of selling this one am I? Maybe it’s because I have no left brain).

There is a great deal of work that goes on behind the scenes of every broadcast, photo shoot or sports event and it’s the production coordinators that ensure everything is set up according to plan and runs smoothly.

Game producers show up for their crew call the day of and execute on the event before them, while production coordinators work their butt off leading up to the event. They make sure the equipment is on site and where it needs to be, the freelance staff has been hired and troubleshoot anything that goes wrong (because it will).

The career ceiling is high, as success only comes to those who have strong organization skills, can manage people and budgets and can see problems arising before they become catastrophic. Develop these skills and the sky is the limit.

Assignment Editor

Assignment Editors are the point guards of every sports television newsroom, tasked with dishing out assignments to reporters and crews, coordinating incoming feeds and staying on top of breaking news events.

This is a fast-paced career step, so if you can’t think quickly and process multiple events at once, pick another career path.

Imagine this highly likely scenario for a moment – you start your morning setting up a reporter and crew to go out and cover a profile story on a local sports star volunteering at a food bank, the local power conference college announces a press conference taking place at noon but you aren’t sure if this is a big story or just a run of the mill announcement, meanwhile rumors start to surface that the coach of the professional baseball team in town was pulled over for a DUI last night.

As the assignment editor, you will be vetting the upcoming college press conference to see if it’s worthy of coverage, calling your sources at the police station to see if the coach has been booked and quite possibly calling that crew back from their original Food Bank story idea to move to one of these bigger more pressing stories.

There is always much happening at once.

If this gets the excitement flowing in your veins – consider a career on the assignment desk. Since this job shows off an ability to make strong journalistic decisions and multi-task, it is a great starting point for those who want to pursue careers as a producer or upper management.

Final Thought

In the last article we focused on five entry level sports career paths (Production Assistant, Social Media Coordinator, Marketing Coordinator, Sales Assistant and Graduate Assistant) and those are still very valid career starters.  But the sports industry is constantly evolving and as needs change, so do the best career paths.

Careers in content, analytics and social media have changed dramatically over the last five years and will continue to in the next five.

The jobs we have listed above are strong initial steps in any sports career and as trends evolve, we will too.

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. Hello,

    My name is Joseph P. McGrath Jr. I am still in search of a full time opportunity. I also was laid off on Tuesday April 28, 2015 as a Ticket Representative of New Era Tickets. They took our jobs and sent them to the Philippines after 3 years of working for the company. I will still be working as a Charity Raffle Seller for the Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Soul, and Philadelphia 76ers but will be on a strict budget and live in low income housing. If you or any your colleagues have contacts within any of the teams I am currently working for if you are able to place a good word in for me I would appreciate it. I would like to begin the next step in to a full time opportunity within what I have been doing.

    Joseph P. McGrath Jr

    • Joseph – I’m terrible sorry to hear about you being laid off – especially that your job was shipped the Phillipines – that is a crime. I mean it, all these big businesses that send their business overseas are deplorable to me – we need to support our country and our people even at the risk of lower profit margins.

      Jon Angelos from the Baltimore Orioles had this incredible response to the ongoing riots in Baltimore and it is very fitting to this discussion – he said, “”My greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle-class and working-class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.”

      Reading it again gives me chills. Joseph – we’ll see what we can do to help. Brian

      • Hello Brian,

        It has been a year since my post and still not where I want to be. I am still struggling financially, working with the Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Soul as a Charity Raffle Seller, Philadelphia Eagles as a Merchandise Associate, and had to apply at Kohl’s as an early fright unloader. All the opportunities are part time and want to begin my career in Sports. Do you know of any team’s contacts that you are able to speak to further about opportunities in Community Relations, Customer Service, and Merchandise?

        • Joe, I’ve been hoping the best for you, I can tell you are a hard worker who really wants to make his way in the industry. I’m sorry Joe I don’t have any specific contacts with those teams… Best of luck, Brian

  2. Stewart Juengel says:

    I want a job.

  3. Kenny Bristow says:

    Brian,

    I am the sports editor and lone sports writer for a weekly newspaper in a small town in the mountain west. Our newspaper has no internet presence. The publishers made the choice years ago to keep the news they were reporting solely in the printed pagers. Therefore, we have no website.
    Over the past few years a good number of my features and game reports–mostly prep, have been republished on a larger newspaper’s website with my permission. This has been greatly received and I have built some decent readership doing this. I have also trained myself on the fine art of blogging and have contributed to pro sports blogs–mainly MLB in the past few years. Needless to say, I am a sports fan of all types and levels and love to write about sports and sports related topics.
    I’m not a young man, but I’m nowhere near being over the hill. I do not have a degree in journalism or communications, but have spent a lifetime educating myself on how to be a good writer. I want to move into a larger arena with my sports work and want to make sure I’m keeping up with the changes you mentioned in your article.
    Do you believe my experience qualifies me for any of the positions you referred to and how would I go about seeking a position like one of these?

    Thank you in advance for your reply.

    Kenny Bristow

    • Kenny – Tell your employers they are idiots (ok, don’t actually do that) they are throwing away money by not having a website and I’m sorry, they are losing credibility daily. Forgetting about them – good for you for learning blogging, you should start your own blog and publish your articles on it…it will become your virtual portfolio. As for can you do these jobs – I don’t see why not. All these jobs are on our website, just follow the links of start searching for yourself! Best of luck – Brian

  4. Corrie McPherson says:

    Hello,
    I wanted to comment and say that I find this information very fascinating. I eat, sleep and breathe sports all day long. I am a female trying to break into a world mostly dominated by men. I’ve worked in crisis, mental health and substance abuse careers, the Department of Corrections and now I teach 10th grade. Any help you can provide in the job market of Academic Compliance at the NCAA level is greatly appreciated. I have worked for 13 years and still make less money than someone who does not work at all. Have I mentioned a license in counseling and a Masters Degree? It is very sad! I want to do what I am passionate about and what I love! I want to creatively work to create some type of solitude amongst young athletes and their futures. My problem, I have no idea where to begin. I love the website workinsports.com because it’s where I have found my motivation to do something I love and be able to pay my bills too. Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated. Some guidance and direction on what to do next!

    Sincerely,
    Corrie McPherson, M.Ed., CAP

    • Corrie – on the left sidebar of our search pages there is a place to enter a keyword put in “compliance” – it comes back with many results. Now, tha word is common in job descriptions so not all will be a match, but just doing a quick scan I saw some opportunities that may interest you! – Best of luck, Brian

  5. Matthew s says:

    I’m 26 year old looking to get back into school for broadcasting and journalism. I do my own weekly sport podcast but was wondering how does someone like me get an opportunity to show case what I know about sports in a related sport field when everyone wants a college degree now?

    • Matthew – that’s a good question. It’s not about what you know about sports, anyone who wants to work in the biz knows sports – it’s abotu what skills you have and do they match with employers needs. Study job descriptions and figure out what employers want and get those skills! – Brian

  6. Victoria Harley says:

    Hello,

    I love this article (and the previous related one), this is just what I was looking for! I would love to be an Event Coordinator for a sports team, dreaming of the NFL but as long as it is with sports I can be a happy camper. I recently graduated with a BS in Recreation and Parks Management with a Business Minor and have no clue where to go next. I was looking for a map of sorts to help me figure it out and this article is a gold mine. I was wanting to know a little more on which path I should take for Event Coordinating and any insight your could provide is very welcome! I would like to work in the Greensboro area, it is where I graduated and played volleyball 🙂

    Thanks a ton!
    Vicky

    P.S. I am also on LinkedIn if you want to take a look at what is on my Resume!

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