Sports Jobs Q&A – Starting a Career in Research and Analytics

sports jobs in research and analytics

When someone asks a question about working in sports research and analytics, I see an excuse to post a picture from Moneyball!

We’ve made it a priority to respond to each and every one of your questions about sports careers – whether it’s through our LinkedIn group, comments on the blog, emails into our customer support, Twitter…any way you send, we’ll receive and respond.

We spend so much time responding to individuals that we thought, why not publish some of these questions and answers about sports jobs for everyone to benefit from?

This weeks question comes from Ryan Mirch a recent Georgetown graduate, curious about jobs in research and sports analytics:

The Q:

I was hoping I could gain further insight on how I should approach looking for sports jobs within analytics/market research/research side of the industry.  I have been utilizing your website for the past few months, and the few job offerings I find within this field requires several years of experience. I just finished up my Masters in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University, and I want to compliment my education and experiences within sports with my quantitative-based education of Finance and Economics from undergrad. I have a lot of experience within qualitative research, but I want to gain experience on the quantitative/analytical side of things.

I was just curious if Workinsports.com had any insights on how I can get my foot in the analytical field of sports, or if there are any companies that focus on this that you could point me in the right direction.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated in this manner at your convenience.

Thank you,

Ryan Mirch

The A:

Brian Clapp, Director of Content for WorkinSports.com: 

Ryan, I have a couple of ideas for you as your pursue sports jobs post-graduation. (Congrats on getting your Masters by the way)

First off, I think it’s important to think of your career in stages, so if your ideal sports job is in analytics and research, maybe your first step, to get your foot in the door, is in the operations department for a pro or minor league team. Baseball has embraced analytics more than any other sport, and not just for advanced statistics, also for financial models and contract structures.

I think your strengths would be perfectly suited for a role within baseball ops for a pro or minor league team – it may not start out specifically in analytics, but as your employers see your strengths in research and analysis they will look to use you in different methods.

sports jobs in research and analytics

Teams like the Chicago Cubs rely heavily on research and analytics for high-level decision making, which is championed by President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein

I would also encourage you to look into certain teams in the NBA like the Celtics, Rockets and even teams like the Lightning in the NHL, they are known to rely on analytics for high-level decision making. To start check into the NBADL and the AHL too – minor leagues are a great place to start because you’ll have a chance to do just about everything and build your personal portfolio.

Truth is, more and more teams are embracing analytics—but the jobs don’t always say “director of research” in the title – sometimes you have to dig through a lot of job descriptions to find out a certain role starts you on the right career path to your ultimate goal.

Second idea – sports networks hire a great deal of researchers to help with on air statistics, but also to prepare play-by-play and color announcers, so that is worth checking into.

The other benefit of working at a sports network is being around former GMs with incredibly valuable contacts. If you were to work at ESPN and rub elbows with Jim Bowden and Bill Polian, you might be able to leverage your good work into an opportunity in the league.

Sports Jobs Q&A - Starting a Career in Research and Analytics #sportsbiz Click To Tweet

I’ve heard of other research companies like SBRnet and SIRC (I think SIRC is in Canada) but I can’t vouch for their business or hiring practices.

Here are a couple of searches I’ve set up for you that might help you look at your search for sports jobs a little differently.

  • Keyword search based on the term ‘operations’. This one gets a little muddier since that term gets thrown around a lot. BUT, our new search tool lets you filter in more detail, by clicking on pro sports & college sports on the left sidebar – start with this and then refine to your liking: http://www.workinsports.com/usrjobresults.asp?q=operations

I hope this presents some alternative ideas for you.

If you have other ideas for Ryan, put them in the comments below. And if you have a question you’d like us to answer for next weeks Sports Jobs Q&A you can add it to the comments as well!

We respond to everyone, but we’ll highlight the best in our weekly column.

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. William Young says:

    How does a up and coming local sports broadcaster in Lansing Mi break into sports broadcasting on a global level with out being a ex player or ex coach/please advise

    • William – As a former news director at a regional sports network in a top 10 market, I’m uniquely qualified to answer this question. You definitely don’t have to be a former coach or player to make it big in sports broadcasting, unless you want to be an analyst or color commentator, then you need the credibility or having played or coached. If you want to be an anchor, reporter, or play by play voice, it’s just a matter of working your way up the market ladder. Sports broadcasting careers grow in steps, and the goal each job change is to cut the market in half. For example, if you are in Lansing right now that’s a top 120 market, your goal should be to break into a top 60 market. Or you can go the regional/national route. I’ll have you know working somewhere like ESPNnews or smaller regionals is great for your resume but pays less than a top 25 market job. It all depends what your goals are. If you want to discuss this more keep asking specific questions and I’ll be glad to answer. – Brian

  2. Hello,
    I am the art director for Athletic Business Magazine. We are doing an article on continuing education in Sports Administration.
    Because you have you finger on the pulse of this topic, could you tell me the top “in demand” jobs in the Sports Administration field?

    I really appreciate you help,

    Best,
    Nicole Bell

  3. Tristan Baker says:

    This is a really basic question with probably an obvious answer but I’ve searched the Internet over and over and still don’t have an answer. My goal is to become a sports content researcher and I would like to know what I should major and minor in for college. I just graduated high school and I’m starting college in the fall.

    Thank you,
    Tristan

    • Tristan – so just to be clear, you want to be the researcher behind the writer? Or a researcher for on-air sports broadcasts? If you want to work doing research in written editorial, get a journalism major and take some electives in research processes. If you want to work in the TV side, again a journalism degree makes sense, but you’re going to want to take some electives in television production so you can be more versatile on staff. If this didn’t answer your question, clarify your career goals and I’ll help you out. Brian

      • Tristan Baker says:

        Thank you for your reply. I’m planning on majoring in business but I still want to work in the sports world. What would be the best jobs to look into? I’m sorry that this is a vague question but I honestly have no clue which direction to go. All I know is that I have a passion for the business side of things and I absolutely love everything about sports. -Tristan

Trackbacks

  1. […] After watching if you think this advice would be useful for the people in your network, please share through social media! And if you have comments or questions, add them below, we will answer every inquiry – and may even feature it in our weekly sports jobs Q&A column. […]

  2. […] you could mention how early in your college career you read the book Moneyball, believed the future was in sports analytics so decided to take additional classes in […]

  3. […] you could mention how early in your college career you read the book Moneyball, believed the future was in sports analytics so decided to take additional classes in […]

  4. […] Oh, and you probably want to know how to analyze data. […]

  5. […] think I’ve nailed it with this one – if you want a career in sports statistics or analytics but without the nerd alert going on all around you (I kid! I’m a sports nerd too!) Sports […]

Speak Your Mind

*

fb_ol_standout