Video: An Entry Level Sports Job That Can Take You Far

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Production assistant jobs in sports broadcasting are the starting point for a career in sports broadcasting – but how do you get them? what can you expect? what is the goal?

WorkinSports.com Director of Content Brian Clapp, a 13-year veteran of sports broadcasting, explains a little more about what production assistant jobs are really like, and he should know…he was one, and he’s hired many!



Video Transcript “What Production Assistant Jobs Are Really Like”

Brian Clapp, Director of Content, WorkinSports.com:

I’m going to spend a little time today talking about an entry level sports job that has a very high ceiling and it comes from the world of sports broadcasting.

production assistant jobs in sports jobs

As a sports Production Assistant, a newsroom like this could be your office

If you have this dream of working for ESPN, Comcast SportsNet or a network like Fox Sports One chances are your career is going to start out as a production assistant (PA).

Production assistant jobs require a wide variety of skills, there isn’t one set thing that you do every day there are a lot of various expectations, and it changes often.

To get hired for production assistant jobs you need to:

  • Have done multiple internships, hopefully at a local TV station sports department and maybe a regional sports network so you get both types of experiences.
  • You need to know non-linear editing so you can jump into an edit bay and cut highlights, vo’s and soundbites
  • Helps if you know a little bit of camera work which will make you a much more versatile employee
  • And you also have to have a vast knowledge of sports

Chances are if you are applying for production assistant jobs, before you get hired you will be put through a sports quiz. When I first got hired as a production assistant at CNN/Sports Illustrated I had to go through a sports quiz, I had to nail it to even get to the next phase of the interview. The sports quiz is kind of the gateway; if you can’t do well on that, you don’t even make it to the real interview.

The cool thing about being a production assistant is that every day is a little bit different, one night you might be cutting the highlights for the lead story on that night’s program, the next day you might be researching to build a full screen graphic for a show, you also might be doing les glamorous tasks like running teleprompter.

The point is, this is an entry level sports job, where you get your foot in the door, work you butt off and you prove that you’ve got what it takes.

At this point you are really just proving to hiring managers and executives that you are willing to learn, you can take on challenges and you put your all into each task whether it is the most glamorous job or the least glamorous.

From there you start moving your way up the chain.

I was a production assistant for about 9 months to a year and was promoted to Associate Producer, then on to show/line producer, to coordinating producer to executive producer to news director…it’s really like the sky is the limit in the production world, but it all starts with production assistant jobs.

So get that job, work your butt off and watch your career grow from there.

What do you think would be the best part of having a production assistant job? Tell us in the comments!

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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. Mike Obluck says:

    I am very interested in learning about this and would like to speak to someone. I am currently in school finishing my degree in Business Management. I am on the Deans list currently and have been in sports my whole life. Right now I have my own business as a personal chef to NBA players. I have been doing this for the last 12 years but always wanted to be a part of a sports network. I look forward to hearing back from you and have a great day.

    Mike Obluck

    • Mike – thanks for writing in, if you need further clarification on anything I said – or just have an unanswered question – feel free to ask away, I respond personally to every question! You can also conduct a search for TV production assistant jobs by following this link: http://www.workinsports.com/usrjobresults.asp?q=production+assistant
      Good luck, let me know if you have questions – Brian

      • Yes sir. Big fan first of all! I am a 100% disabled vet that just retired. I played everything as far as sports. I really want to get into the sports world now that i can do what i love and the schooling is paid for. I am only 33. So my question is living here in Oklahoma City what would be my best route to go school wise and under study? Thanks in advance sir

  2. Brain my daughter just had a heart breaking experience with ESPN. She did poorly on the phone sports questions she was so nervous but was determined to make up ground when she was flown into Bristol. She thought she did great (a former college classmate who works at ESPN met her to prepare) BUT she got the email she didn’t move on in the process. She said she would have rather did phone interviews like her friend (who works at ESPN) than to fly in getting the “executive” treatment just to be disappointed. I tried to tell my daughter, because I have HR experience, to even get to Bristol was a HUGE deal because thousands apply for “few” positions!!! She works for sports radio and wonders if that hurt her since studio experience was college (2yrs ago) but other candidates didn’t even have jobs and got called in for interviews!!! Can you give advice to my baby???

  3. Oh Brian she is a VERY accomplished former Buckeye athlete and also wonders if that might not be hurting her when she has worked so hard to build sports media credentials!!!!

    • Deb – I’m moved by your passion to help your daughter, as en expert yourself in HR you know that “the process” can be cold and heartless at times and without much feedback. It’s almost like when someone breaks up with you and you are left wondering ‘wait, what just happened, I thought we were great together?’ but you never get an answer. I feel your daughters pain, but remind her this is just a small step in the journey.
      I’ve worked in the sports broadcast media for much of my adult life (and have many many friends and former colleagues at ESPN) and can tell you there isn’t always a great answer for why or why not. I actually just wrote an article preparing people for the sports quiz as part of the interview process…it can be tricky and nerves can get the best of you. If they flew her in, they were serious, and she should take that as a win….BUT, something went wrong so she needs to be analytical about how it all went and what she might have done or said wrong. Usually, flying someone in is the final checkpoint just to make the final determination they are a cultural fit or will suit the needs of the business. With that said, I was flown cross country for a high level job once, walked out being told by the VP of HR it was my job, that everyone loved me… and then never really heard back. Like I said cold and heartless at times, but not getting that job was actually the best thing that has happened to me. So chin up.
      Here are a few more articles/resources on our blog that may be helpful to your daughter – stay in touch, let me know how her journey goes. – Brian
      http://www.workinsports.com/blog/job-interview-tips-for-sports-careers/
      http://www.workinsports.com/blog/get-jobs-in-sports-when-internships-networking-arent-working/
      http://www.workinsports.com/blog/the-art-of-the-informational-interview/

      • Thank you for your very eloquent comments/advice Brian. Funny how her “supporters (references etc.” seem to be taking the ESPN rejection VERY hard which is sweet!!! Don’t worry Brian I will keep her in the “sports” game because I know how it feels to work a job I hate and never pursue that passion (wished I had followed my brother to Mizzou and got my journalism degree!!!). I wrote a local TV sports journalist and told him my brother remembered his unusual last name from college (worked in a pizza shop together)!!! hahaha Again thank you Brian and you haven’t heard the last of my baby Letecia Wright……WE will keep in touch (and follow your blog) about her journey!!! She sent RecruiterStacy (ESPN) a thank you because it was following her twitter posts that got her to ESPN in the first place!!!

        • We’re really living in the golden era for sports media & broadcasting – when I first came up in the business (1996) there were very few options – now it seems like there are new networks launching constantly (FS1, NBCSN etc), team based networks (Lakers, Dodgers, Texas etc), conferences (Pac-12, Big Ten etc), and that’s not even talking about online opportunities! She will find her lane (which as a track star should be second nature to her)

  4. Hi

    I’m in a continuing education program near philadephia, and I’m finding it very challenging to get an internship with the local networks in and around the city. I have had an audition for QVC and did an internship for sports along with a talk show at a local college. I have 15 years in sales and advertising, but I’m now looking to start a new career after being home with our children. I’m not much of a sports person but di admire the dedication of athletes and coaches as my family is heavily into sports. I likes the sports internship more than I thought, but found it to be energizing. It seemed I needed to go there with my own set of ahoulder pads though and that part I did not like I’m for manners and respect. I’m hoping you can give me some suggestions of where I can find internships or a beginning postion to applt for. Please see my work on Youtube but do not share my you tube account information

    Thanks Again linda

  5. Tirae Stevens says:

    Hello Mr. Clapp,
    I am a graduate student at Armstrong State University studying professional communication and leadership. I came to this site trying to get ideas of what sports career I want to pursue. I have a job as a camera operator for the sporting events on campus; I work one of the cameras that captures the events that we stream online. I didn’t think this job would have much effect on me until this past weekend. I was on the camera that caught the home run of one of my best friends on our softball team- her first collegiate home run. From that point I felt like this was something I would want to really invest time and effort in because it gave me that joy and pride of being able to not only catch that moment but share it with everyone that was watching online. You really hit the nail on the head for me when it comes to wanting to work for ESPN. I think my ultimate goal with this path would be to work for ESPN and be able to cover major events like the US Open in tennis and the Final Four in college basketball. I’m hoping you would be able to give me some advice about how to further propel myself in this path, since you have a strong background in it. I would really appreciate the help.

  6. How do I even begin looking for such a job?

  7. Great post! Thanks for the share.

Trackbacks

  1. […] I was a production assistant, I also could have gone through a site like WorkinSports.com, found news director positions and […]

  2. […] you are much more likely to be offered a job that is a combination of the two: an entry-level position with a minor league or niche property. The key point is that the sports industry is much deeper and […]

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