How to Pick Your Entry Level Sports Job

entry level sports jobs

For your entry level sports job, should you start with a big company like NBC Sports, or just take any job you can get?

Amid the post-graduation chaos, at some point, quite possibly while embarking on your 10th keg stand, the reality sets in that you need to get a job.

Ah yes, the journey of college is complete, the wonderful time when meals are prepared for you, a secure living space is provided and sleeping through class is an option without consequences.

It was fun while it lasted, but you’re a big girl now and it’s time for the next phase. And if you are at all confused by this phase, let me break it down for you: no one makes you meals, the apartment you’ll be able to afford has about five too few locks for the neighborhood it is in and sleeping in will cost you your career.

Excited yet?

Well, you should be, because all that real-world experience will make you a stronger, better person and employee. In a cliché world – its sink or swim, and most of you look like good swimmers.

But enough of the pep talk, you probably are wondering what strategy you should employ for becoming employed, right? Well, you have choices – some of which are better than others.

Don’t Worry About Title, Just Get in With the Right Company

CNNMoney just published a report on the “World’s Top Employers For New Grads” and even though I’m well past graduation, I am still a dork, so I ate it up.

While tech and finance companies like Google and PwC dominated the top ten, one sports company found its way onto the list: Adidas.

Why did Adidas stand out against the landscape of places to start your sports career? Simple: opportunity and mentoring.

“The company is big on making sure young talent have the chance to work in different parts of the business, in what it calls its ‘talent carousel’. Here’s how it works: Employees rotate through different offices globally or in different functions within the company for about two years, and they are given a lot of mentoring and advice in the process.”

Find Sports Jobs at Adidas

Large corporations provide opportunities to grow, expand and advance that smaller organizations just can’t.

Take NBC Sports for example, another large multi-national corporation, they offer a Sports Production Associates Program that, like Adidas, allows new hires to go through a rotation of roles to figure out their strengths and career desires:

The Sports Production Associates Program is a 17-month program designed for recent college graduates with prior experience in television production, editing, or sports journalism, who have a desire to work in sports production. The ideal candidate will be well-rounded, dedicated, and passionate about Sports digital and/or broadcasting. This program will provide an opportunity to learn on the job, and determine an area of focus within Production. There will be three rotations in the following areas: Studio/Remote Production, Features and Documentaries, and Digital Production. Proactively learn the roles of other departments and how they interact with Production – Sales, Marketing, Social Media, Programming, Communications, etc.

Find Sports Jobs at NBC Sports

Getting in with the right company for your entry level sports job opens up doors you never knew existed, exposing you to roles and providing training that can push your sports career down the right path.

So is it worth it to focus intently on large corporations, or…

Just Get Your Foot in Anywhere

Option #2 sounds more desperate, but in fact it’s a strategy that has worked time and time again. Don’t be too picky, just get hired and worry about the rest later.

There are quite literally thousands of employers in the sports industry, and if you only focus on the biggest 20-30 you are leaving a great deal of opportunity on the table. Also, what do you do if you get passed over by Adidas, NBC Sports and your favorite NFL team? Start over? Panic? Move back in with Mom and Dad?

While I believe strongly in starting your career at a big company when that opportunity presents itself, I also don’t think you can be choosy, you have to be open to what presents itself.

Remember, you have the power.

If a small college in North Dakota hires you to run their media relations department, you can start making a name for yourself and dominate the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference or you can wallow and complain that you should be at NBC Sports.

The aggressive person that learns all they can and leverages that into their next role wins, while the complainer hits a career dead end early on.

Just getting your foot in the door may force you to build your way up and take a little longer to get to your dream job, but it can also give you something big business can’t. The ability to get by and get creative without big budgets.

Learning how to achieve without a blank check is something that your dream company will love. So the choice is yours, focus on powerhouse companies or just take what you can get, either way, bring the right attitude or your dream of a sports career could end prematurely.


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 &

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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  1. Cody Carter says

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post as well as many others you have written. I re-posted this article on LinkedIn.

  2. Carl L Collins says

    I would like to get into the sports industry. Is my age going to be a deterrent.

    • It’s about skills Carl – if you have them, employers will want them! – Brian

    • I’m sorry, but I’ll have to disagree. Because if that is actually the case, then I’ve somehow been lucky enough to only apply to employers who DON’T want them, since I’m the only person who can’t get an entry-level job.

      Also your sports production associates link doesn’t work. It just sends you to a random job.

    • Hey Bily good to hear from you – thanks for the heads up on the link, I have fixed it, not sure what went wrong there but it’s all good now. Still holding out hope you get a great gig Billy! – Brian

  3. Jonathan Pearlstein says

    Hi there Brian,

    I am not a new college graduate yet a seas one veteran so to speak in the world of Digital Media and production. Yet my desire has always been to work in sports. Entry level positions might not support the financial needs for my family. What advice can you offer for leads to positons higher in the sports business bracket. I appreciate your time.

    Thank you,

  4. I am very interested to work in sports, but not in the capacity that are normally mentioned on this site or the emails that are sent out. Psychology, more specifically Sports Psych is my field of interest. Do the rules change for getting into industry from this point of view?

    Thank you.

    • Melissa, My theory would be there are less opportunities and therefore greater competition exists. If it were me, I’d research who the major sports psychologists are out there who work with teams, leagues, conferences etc. and then find out of there are opportunities to intern or work underneath them. My alternate idea, would be to contact smaller college athletic programs and see if they need help – maybe you can begin your practice in that manner and work your way up to bigger clients. – Best of luck, Brian