Are Sports Conferences Worth Attending? Work in Sports Podcast e22

By Brian Clapp | November 27, 2017

Our Monday QA Session Digs into the Value of Attending Sports Conferences

Hi everybody - this week on the Monday QA session I'm answering a question from Kaylah Jackson, a grad student at Northwestern studying journalism. Kaylah wants to know if attending sports conferences are worth it:Your Sports Career Questions Answered

The Question:

As always, I am really enjoying the Work in Sports Podcasts. I wanted to know if you have any insights on attending sports business conferences? I'm currently working in journalism, but not in the sports realm but aiming to get an entry level sports position within the next year. I know there are many large scale sports conferences where organizations come and speak with potential hires, but they are often quite expensive. (especially for new grads). Do you see any large takeaways from saving up for these type of events? I am hoping to network and create/grow quality relationships with sports industry professionals and debating whether or not to attend this type of event. Thanks so much and Happy Thanksgiving.

The Cliff Notes Answer (listen to the podcast for the juiciest nuggets)

There are two main benefits of conferences -- networking and learning.

BUT, it totally depends on your personality.

If you go to a conference expecting to network, you need to be an extrovert and comfortable just walking up and talking to people. I am not, so I never got the networking benefit of conferences.

That said, I always learned a lot. Great panels, insightful experts, qa sessions where you can ask experts questions.

So to answer your question about whether it is worth it or not, I think it depends on your expectations.

For me personally, if I see an great list of speakers and topics, I'm much more likely to attend and benefit, because I approach the conference as a learning experience.

If you are looking to network and get a job out of the event you may, but only if you target the right type of event. There are some conferences, the SINC conference comes to mind, that add a interviewing component to their event. They have the main conference, with great speakers, informative panels and networking events, then they also have an interview set-up where sports industry employers are actively seeking new hires, or at least willing to give informational interviews.

If you can find the right conference that meshes with your personality, expectations and can deliver on your expectations I think it is totally worth it.

Listen to the whole podcast for more details!

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