The Harsh Advice You Need to Hear About Working in Sports


The goal of our WorkinSports blog is to help our audience any way we can – sometimes that requires us to give you a bit of a wake-up call. This video is one of those times.

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Video Transcript: “The Harsh Advice You Need to Hear About Working in Sports”

Brian Clapp, Director of Content: 

I hate to burst the bubble of every sports fan out there – but most jobs in the sports industry are not just for sports fans. People email me daily saying “I know everything about sports, quiz me I know it all! How should I get a job in the sports industry?”

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working in sports rays throwback jersey

The Tampa Bay Rays just came out with a throwback jersey that will make them lots of money. Why do I bring this up? Listen to the video and find out

What I tell them is, go get some skills because just having knowledge of sports doesn’t really qualify you for anything.

People think just because they have intricate sports knowledge and can tell you who the 1973 AL MVP was, that that means they are going to be hired by ESPN and get on the air debating with Skip Bayless. I’m sorry but it doesn’t work that way – jobs at ESPN require great technical knowledge, writing for sports blogs means you have to be a strong writer, not just knowledgeable, if you want to work for a team you need to know sales, marketing, analytics – you have to add value.

If you want to work in sports there are tangible skills you need to learn – but here is the biggest thing, most of the jobs in sports are in sales and marketing – on the business side of sports. There aren’t nearly as many jobs working in sports specifically for a team or network so my suggestion is to start out where the biggest opportunities are.

The Tampa Bay Rays just came out with a throwback jersey. Since they have only been around for about 15-20 years it doesn’t make all that much sense to have a throwback jersey. BUT, a genius in the marketing department thought this is a way to make more money and sell more jerseys. They came up with an idea and executed on it and now they are going to sell them like hotcakes which leads to revenue.

What is the point? That decision had nothing to do with being a sports fan. It had to do with business knowledge, marketing knowledge, those are the things that will help you get a job in sports.

So learn business, learn sales, learn tangible skills – focus on more than just being a sports fan and then you can begin working in sports.

Just being a sports fan doesn’t qualify you for anything.

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.

And if you want to know where our privacy policy is before you submit your comments below, it's right here.


  1. I’ve worked in pro sports for 25 years, primarily at two sports leagues in video production. I can say for sure that it is exponentially harder right now to launch a sports career (in content production) than when I started.

    I left the NHL as EP in 2009 and I had a stack of resumes in my drawer 6″ thick…it was ready to go if one of my employees thought they were underpaid or couldn’t cut it.

    Simple supply and demand game. I had 100 applicants for every job open. It’s probably worse now. If a resume or an interviewee didn’t grab me in the first minute they were done…

    • Darryl, as a long time veteran of the sports industry myself I don’t disagree with your macro point regarding pro sports content production. I would add though – there are many more opportunities out there than when you and I first started in the business considering all of the online avenues of content production that sure as heck didn’t exist when I started in 1996. Back then our only options were local tv, espn, fox, cnn a pro league or college athletic department (or newspaper). Now there are many more regional networks – Big10, Pac12, Dodgers, YES, SEC, Longhorn etc – and that’s not even taking into account online opportunities. To your point – if you are talented you find work even with the higher competition. – Brian

    • Samantha says

      What types of jobs exist in the sports industry that allow you to travel with a team? I assume that there are roles such as coordinators, managers, physical therapist, etc. that travel along with teams or players. Could you provide any info on those types of positions?


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