How to Convince Your Parents You Are Serious About a Career in Sports

To all the students out there trying to convince their parents that a career in sports isn’t a cop out and they should support you in your quest…this one’s for you.  

To all the parents, I was your child and I’m here to explain how you can help them be the best version of themselves. Don’t fight it, instead, realize how lucky you are.

We’ll explain.

sports careers for huge sports fans

If watching sports is your passion, maybe it’s time to get serious about making it a career.

If there is one thing that consistently amazes me, it’s the amount of parents we receive inquiries from wondering how they can help their son or daughter pursue a career in sports.

It goes something like this:

“My son (or daughter) is lazy, he/she doesn’t take an interest in math, writing, reading or anything really…unless it’s related to sports. He/She reads Sports Illustrated. He/She calculates ERA and WAR. He/She will write game commentaries on social media – but that’s it. What do I do?”

This email could have easily been sent by my mother back in the 1990’s, well, except the social media part, we barely had cable.

First things first to you parents out there: don’t panic.

How to Convince Your Parents You Are Serious About a Career in Sports #sportsbiz Click To Tweet

Working in sports is a real career which pays real money, takes real skills and forces real discipline. If you want your child to be happy doing something they love, consider yourself amongst the lucky ones, they’ve already identified that thing they love.

Think about it a second – how many people do you know that wander through their careers unmotivated, lacking purpose or passion, just going through the motions of collecting a paycheck, getting over hump day and living for their weekend?

How many people dread Mondays as if they were a weekly root canal appointment?

You may be frustrated now, seeing as your student seems pissed off A Catcher in the Rye isn’t about Yadier, Bengie and Jose Molina, but trust me their intricate knowledge of sports shows they have more rattling around in that brain than you may think:

  • Jobs in sports-related industries have increased by 12.6 percent between 2010 and 2014, while the overall national job market grew by 5.5 percent
  • The average earnings in these combined sports-related industries ($78,455) are significantly higher than the national average ($57,947)
  • Sports jobs spur the local economy: 100 new jobs in Sports Teams and Clubs in Pittsburgh can lead to $46.2 million new earnings across the city and 422 additional jobs outside of the industry in areas such as construction, health care, sales, food preparation and maintenance

Don’t push them to be an accountant at the local widget factory or run the human resources department of a business they could care less about – help guide them down a path they are all too ready to attack with vigor.

Approach this the right way and you just might gain some cred by talking to them about their future working in sports. Think of these lines you could toss out while folding their laundry:

“Hey did you know that almost all professional sports teams have employees who analyze statistics to give them a competitive advantage on the field…”

“You know how Dad works in sales, did you know you can work in sales for a sports team?”

“Could you imagine working in the sports media and sitting in the press box watching games play out and then writing about them?”

These conversations start from a much better place than, “why haven’t you done your math homework yet?!” or “you’ll never get a real job if all you think about is sports!”

Starting a Real Career in Sports

sports fans sports careers

Sorry crazy sports people – being a fan and having indepth knowledge of trivia is not how you get hired in the sports industry

Let me make this abundantly clear to anyone reading – students and parents alike – being a big fan is not enough to make it in the sports industry.

Students, it is your burden to learn the skills sports employers need.

Parents, don’t allow your kid to say they are studying by watching the Twins-Mariners game in extra innings at 1am. Don’t be that easily fooled.

So let’s talk through some of the options and where they may lead.

If You Like Math…

Consider sports careers in:

  • Sports Analytics and Statistics – more degree programs are being designed and more employment opportunities opening. This is an emerging field where demand currently outweighs supply.
  • Finance – Sports teams and organizations are huge revenue centers with vast amounts of money flowing in and out. From talent acquisition and contracts to merchandising and dynamic ticket pricing, finance plays a huge role in the success of a franchise or business.
  • Operations – Team operations require a wide array of talents from marketing and promotions to budgets and event management.

If You Like Relationship Building…

Consider sports careers in:

  • Sales and Sponsorship – Sales, in any discipline, are about building confidence and trust with the person who may be purchasing. If this is your comfort zone, consider sales jobs. You have a plethora of options – ticket sales, media sales, sponsorship sales – you name it.
  • Event Management – Conferences, charitable events, community organizations, award shows – all need event managers to organize the process.
  • Community Relations – All teams involve their athletes in the community, working in this field requires you to be a point person between the athletes
  • Coaching and Scouting – seems odd that this would be under relationship building, but truth be told that is what coaching is about. Motivating, building, teaching, inspiring – that’s relationship building at it’s core.

If You Like Creating Content…


Consider sports careers in:

  • Reporter – picture yourself in the press box writing game recaps, analysis segments and live tweeting. It’s awesome, I’ve done it.
  • Graphic Designer – Visual content continues to grow. Have Photoshop skills = will pay your bills on time.
  • Advertising – written and visual content combine to form…advertising! Are you the witty one liner type? The convincing call-to-action type? The ‘take notice’ idea type?
  • Digital Producer – Content is growing online faster than anywhere else – video production, social media, written word – all are happening at breakneck speed online.
  • Media or Public Relations – The conduit between athletes and the media. Press releases, schedule management, outbound communication. All part of the deal.

If You Like Being Active Yourself…

Consider sports careers in:

  • Athletic Training – If you can watch replays of a knee injury and envision yourself being the one to run out on the field to help, go for it. I can’t.
  • Physical Therapist – rehab and rehabilitation continues to grow as the pressure mounts for athletes of all ages to recover and compete.
  • Kinesiology – The study of human movement. As individuals train and compete, they look for an edge, often this is it.

Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive, it’s a launching point for further discussion. Parents want to know what to do with their sports fanatic kid and sports fanatic kids want to know how to turn what they love into a career.

This is a start.

The over-arching message is clear, don’t fear what your child shows a passion for, instead learn to lean into it.

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.

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Comments

  1. Karthik Sundaram says:

    Hello Brian,

    I’m Karthik Sundaram, a sports enthusiast, a sports lover. Though, I follow many sports, I play cricket at a certain level. To tell you about myself in a sentence, ‘I’m someone who always falls upon things that I love, later than I should have’. Be it, my understanding of Sports Management or to the current episode of Sports Analytics, I guess I’m always at the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m currently pursuing Masters in Business/Data Analytics from Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. I’m desperately trying to amend things and pursue something that I always have dreamt of, something that would make me happy. I would really appreciate if you could address my following queries:

    *I would like to know if I can translate the business analytics knowledge into what sports analytics demands off me.
    *If yes, could you please help me understand how I could go about this transition?

    For someone from India, I have always lacked the necessary guidance and the backing when it comes to sports. I believe the guidance that you may provide could go a long way in shaping my career.

    Best Regards,

    Karthik Sundaram

    • Karthik thanks for reading. Sports are a business so the analytics you are learning could help you work for the operations of a team from a business standpoint. But, sports analytics are focused on player evaluation and team performance, I doubt there are many commonalities between the two types of analysis. That said, data mining techniques can cross over, so I’m sure there are techniques you are learning that would help you begin the understand the world of sports analytics, but further training in scouting and team management would be necessary.

      Hope this help – Brian

    • WHAT DO YOU NEED HELP WITH BRIAN

  2. Lou lewandowski says:

    How do I get a job in the sports field? I want to be a sports announcer (broadcaster) for baseball

  3. Hi, Brian,

    Really good subject. I’m speaking to students at a university later this week in a one night seminar about how I (and the other speakers) got started in our sports related jobs. This was a really good article to read before my talk. Thanks!

    Brett

  4. I have been in athletics all of my life. I was in the young woman of the year and everyone else wanted to be a doctor and lawyer while I wanted to be a coach and teach students to be student athletes and that is what I accomplished. I achieved 6A coach of the year after playing on a dual scholarship in college in two sports and played 5 in high school. I met my husband coaching travel volleyball and from there, I still do private coaching and also have ran a diner and catering business for the last 13 years. In the past year, I became a case manager working with handicapped adults mentally and physically. My work ethic is amazing and I am a motivator and can multi task. I am about to start a new job in which is a promotion YET I am always interested in working in sports and although I am 43 years old, my parents are still a huge part of my life and know that this is my dream!!!!

  5. hi.please..help me study and work in sports am finacial unstable.i love sports very much more than anything else in my life.please i will repay u back after i get job.please i beg u.i will be waiting for your positive feedback .thanks

    • Zakayo I wish you the best, but we don’t give out loans to help people pursue their dreams of working in sports. I truly hope you are able to find what you are looking for. Best, Brian

  6. l truly love soccer and one day a want to be a professional soccer player

  7. Lov Patel says:

    Hi Brian,

    I read your profile and you have some great experience in sports media. I just want some help from you. I know that there are lots of careers to pursue in sports industry but how to know which one is of my interest? I have recently given my GRE, about few days back and will be starting to apply for MS for some universities (like rutgers, ohio). I have read about different courses also that are being taught like global sports business in rutgers univ, sports management in ohio univ and some more. But i am confused whether to opt kinesiology or sports business/management? And also in sports business/management, i found many of the careers interesting like sports media, analytics and finance. But i don’t in detail about them because here in india this careers are vey less likely to pursue and i want to know everything about it so that i will be clear of the choices to make. So if you can please help me out here, it will be really grateful. Thanks in advance.

    Lov Patel (lovpatelms@gmail.com)

    • Lov, it’s hard for me to tell someone what they should do with their life/career… but I’d say follow the path you are most passionate about and let the rest fall into place! -Brian

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