Sports Jobs Q&A: Working in Sports Information

jobs in sports information

A job in Sports Information will require an attention to statistical detail for the big and small sports programs on campus

The question comes in via LinkedIn most often.

“Hi Brian, I love sports, I’ve been playing since I was 5…do you have any advice for what I should do for a sports job?”

I can’t sugarcoat it – I hate this question.

I don’t like being at a loss for words, or devoid of an opinion, because usually I have some semblance of intelligent thought I can provide…but in this instance, with this question, more often than not, I can’t.

Fear paralyzes me.

All I see myself doing is suggesting a sports career path – without really knowing the person, their skills, their wants, their desires – being dead wrong and leaving them thinking I’m some sort of moron.

Asking this important of a question to someone that doesn’t know you sets you both up to fail…and yet it happens daily, which means I feel nauseous daily. (Sometimes I ignore them and hope they disappear, but since they don’t and I’m kind of a glutton for punishment, I answer every…damn…time)

Alas, today was different, an answer was clear, so I felt compelled to write about it.

Tiffany emailed me (via our LinkedIn Sports Career Group) and asked a variation of the question I hate. But instead of nausea starting to percolate from in the inner recesses of my large intestine, an idea came to mind.

It was clear, it was obvious, and heck even if I’m dead wrong about this one there is no chance I’ll be a moron. So here goes, an official answer to the question I hate…well, at least this time.

The Q:

Hi Brian, I read all of your articles and feel I have learned so much from you, even though I don’t know you I feel like you have become a trusted adviser of sorts.

I have a question I’m hoping you can help me with – I love the statistical angle of sports, but I also have a social side to me so I don’t envision being in a room crunching numbers and inputting spreadsheets all day.

I don’t necessarily see myself in the front office of a team, or as a scout, does anything else come to mind for you that would use my social skills and my statistical comfort?

Tiffany S, Branson, Missouri

The A:

Tiffany, thanks so much for the kind words, we put a lot of effort into the content we create so knowing that it is helpful means a great deal.

I get these kinds of questions often where someone says, ‘here are my basic skills and goals – what do you think I should do with them?’ Usually, they make me cringe because I don’t know the people well enough to give them career or life advice.

Thankfully in this case, an idea popped in my head immediately which makes the whole thing easier: Sports Information. (Find all of our jobs in sports information right here)

Let’s go through this step-by-step.

I think you are astute to realize your strengths and weaknesses. Understanding that you like sports statistics while also knowing you weren’t meant for a front office or locked in a room processing data, puts you ahead of the game.

You have to know who you are, before you can know what to do in your career. (Damn, I like that, I may make that into a holiday card or something…or at least a click to tweet)

You have to know who you are, before you can know what to do in your career #sportsbiz Click To Tweet

Moving on… I believe a career in Sports Information could be the perfect blend of your skills and desires. Here’s what it encompasses:

A: Sports Statistics – One of the main roles of the Sports Information Department of any College or University is to disseminate statistical information to the local and national media. Their hope is to get additional knowledge about their program out in the media for coverage and publicity. (You like sports statistics – check!)

B: Social – Jobs in Sports Information requires attendance at sports events on campus and on the road – so by its very nature it’s broken the cubicle barrier and allows you to be out and about amongst the people. (You like people – check!)

C: Intellectual and Challenging – At most small schools the Sports Information department multi-tasks, also handling aspects of sports marketing, social media, media relations – some will even ask you to host local radio or TV shows. Even at large schools there is a wide range of skills you will be forced to call upon in order to thrive in the role. (You have skills (I think) – check!)

D: Relation Building – Good Sports Information Directors do more than just collect data, they interact with teams and build trusted relationships with coaches, managers and trainers – they are part of the in crowd. Outside the building they are also trying to craft the same relationships with local reporters, bloggers and writers.  (You want to be social – check!)

Finding out if you are a match for a career in Sports Information #sportsbiz Click To Tweet

Final Thought

I 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 Information could be your ticket to career satisfaction.

If you have any other thoughts for Tiffany, or a question for an upcoming Sports Jobs Q&A – fire away in the comments!
photo credit: IMG_2829 via photopin (license)

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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. Hi Brian, I’m already following you for quite a bit, and I think it’s the right time to ask you a question now!

    First of all, I would like to state that I’m foreign and that English is only my third language, so I do already apologize for some spelling mistakes!

    After talking with two organizations, I’ve got the possibility to do an internship with two organizations. My question is, which one of the two should I choose?
    The first one is with a leading sports team in our national professional soccer league. They asked me which kind of internship I wanted to do. I explained him I wanted to do something fan experience, fan relations oriented. After that they said to me that they were thinking of a more scouting related internship, based on statistics. The fan relations internship would maybe be possible but he had to discuss it with the other members of the board.
    They would contact me at the end of my exams (1st of June) with the decision if an internship would be possible and which of the two internships it would be.
    The fan experience internship would be amazing for me, because I really pursue a job like that. The more scouting related internship still interest me, but I certainly prefer the other one.

    The other internship is for a leading (the biggest) sport events company in our country, which would also be interesting because I have an event organization related background. I definitely think that my chances over there are way bigger to get a real job over there after my internship (they employ +-80 people). They contacted me afterwards and they said me I could start immediately after my exams (2 June).

    What is, according to you, the best possibility in this case?
    Note that I only receive answer from the first organization when the internship for the second organization would start? (I still can try to get response from them a little earlier)

    Wait for the first company (that maybe will offer me the internship I’ve dreamed of) and take that risk that I would lose a certain internship with also an interesting company that has a bigger chance to give me job opportunities afterwards or should I just go for the second one?

    I would like to thank you a lot for your help!

    Cheers

    J

    • Joachim – The decision is yours, but I’ll give you my thoughts. I’d take the certain internship that has a clear path to employment. You said they are the biggest sports events company in your country – having them on your resume is powerful, and getting a job out of college is even more powerful! Waiting on the unknown seems like an unnecessary risk to me – you can always circle back to your dream job with the soccer team later in your career…ut if you hold out and wait for them now you could miss out on both opportunities. – Best of luck, Brian

      • Thanks a lot Brian, really appreciate your help!

        In the end I had to choose between both of them and I took the internship with the sports events company!

        Cheers

        J

  2. Dean Campbell says:

    Hi Bryan,
    I am currently a senior in high school and am looking to major in sports administration this coming fall. I have looked at all of your ideas about going into sales and that appears to be the best option to further my career. I want to eventually work in the front office for a NBA team, and I have looked into many of the career paths of GMs and a lot of them started as a scout and not in sales. Does working in sales help you more for becoming a leader in sales or can it also get you moved into the player personnel positions?
    Thanks,
    Dean Campbell

    • Dean, Sales is a great way to work in the sports industry, but if your ultimate goal is to be in player personnel not sure sales will help you that much. Sales can lead to executive level business positions, but scouting and evaluating…maybe not. In my study on GM’s and front office folks of this current era, I was amazed how many were economics majors which gave them statistical analysis skills relevant to player personnel AND a background in business to help run an operation. Just a thought – Brian

  3. Brian,

    I would like to start off by saying thank you for the post. I look for inspirational stuff like this everyday while searching the web.

    My name is Brandon Wright and I am entering my senior year at the University of West Georgia. I am majoring in mass communications with a focus in digital media/telecommunications and a minor in marketing. I, like all the others, have a huge interest in sports and would love to pursue this field.

    Coming into college I wanted to be the next star of sports center. I wanted to be an anchor on ESPN, the next household name, all the good stuff. However, throughout my college years, my desire has changed. I guess you could say reality sort of set in.

    I created a sports blog in August of 2015 and have been writing on it ever since. I started the blog just as a way to get my thoughts out on the web, but it has turned into something far greater. I began covering my school’s football team each week on my site and this opened me up to other opportunities including writing for and working alongside Sam Crenshaw, assisting ESPN 3 with two UWG games, working a Division 1 bowl game radio broadcast, and many other opportunities.

    I also recently have accepted an internship with a local radio station, Gradick Communications. I have been covering local high school teams for their site as well as assisting them across multiple social media accounts. Gradick Sports is a verified Twitter account that represents the radio station. I have been helping with that as well as Facebook and Instagram.

    My personal site has over 4,500 views in just it’s first year and my goal is to get to 10,000 by the time I graduate (May ’17). With everything that has happened to me in this past year, my desire has shifted to the writing side of sports. I love to cover and write about games and events. I have also recently began taking my own pictures at these games/events and that has grown into a huge hobby of mine. I would love for you to check out my site at Bwrightsports.com and let me know what you think.

    As an experienced sports writer and editor, as well as a seasoned sports digital media guru, do you have any advice for an aspiring sports media professional like myself? I would love to hear anything you have to offer.

    Thank you very much for your time,

    Brandon Wright

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