College bound high school seniors eager to work in the sports industry have big dreams. Running their own team, representing professional athletes, hosting SportsCenter - the sports jobs of their imagination are closer than ever before.
While high school provided an all-encompassing education, with more chemistry and history than sports event management theory, college will zero in on a students true intentions and career goals.
This moment of finishing high school and focusing on their journey into the world of sports, has dangled before these students for years, and now it is a reality.
The overwhelming excitement about graduation and beginning the new journey are the heartbeat of high school seniors.
Off the Front Line
Throughout childhood, high school seniors interested in the sports industry have been on the front line in sports. They have participated in team or individual sports, attended sports events, cheered for favorite players or teams or just kept up with sports news and events.
Now their goal is to transition from the front line to go "behind the scenes" to reap the benefits of this highly competitive, exciting and lucrative industry.
It's one thing to sneak out of your bedroom to watch your favorite team play late at night, and quote another to learn the intricacies of the sports industry and the skills needed to thrive in a sports work environment.
The enormous appeal of the glamour highlighted on television and in the media has helped to increase the popularity of programs in the sports industry.
The main sports attraction by students in America are the four major leagues: the National Football League (NFL); National Basketball Association (NBA);the National Hockey League (NHL); and Major League Baseball (MLB), but around the world the global sports machine is dominated by these sports and Soccer, Rugby and Cricket.
With an annual global revenue of over $150 billion
, there is little wonder why high school seniors are vying for careers in the sports industry.
Knowing how to prepare yourself is critical. Have dreams, but be realistic.
Talent is abundant in this industry, and competition is steep in every aspect of the business. Stay focused and remain confident. There are no clear-cut steps to advancement as found in many traditional careers.
Becoming knowledgeable about the multifaceted industry will be an asset as you follow your dream. Becoming successful requires you to have not only intellect, determination, and experience, but also patience, passion and persistence.
Remember, the sports industry is more than entertainment, it's big business, meaning you can't go wrong with a strong education in business administration, marketing, finance and other economic principles.
Life is filled with adversity, and the sports industry is no different.
In 1994, New York Jets head coach Pete Carroll was the youngest head coach in the NFL and everything was looking up for his career. He had worked hard to reach this milestone in his life, and he deftly balanced the seriousness of the NFL with a laid back style his players embraced.
Unfortunately, he was fired after one season
He was distraught. However, that daunting experience did not discourage him. His passion, patience, hard work and persistence made the difference.
Today, Pete Carroll is the head coach for the Seattle Seahawks, a Super Bowl champion and a three-time National Champion as head coach at USC.
His defeat with the Jets didn't cripple him, it pushed him.
Choosing a school for the sports industry can be overwhelming. Sports management programs have surged in popularity across the country. The increase in competition among program majors has soared along with communications majors, lawyers, and business majors who are also competing for positions within the industry.
The competition is broad and diverse, so you need to find your niche and dive deep into it.
The multi-faceted industry opens the door to options and opportunities. Having an end goal would be smart. Among some of the more popular career paths in the industry are Sales, Analytics, Public Relations, Management, Business Development, Consulting, Finance, and Graphic Design.
Research your areas of interest for networking and internships. Start as early as your freshman year gaining tactical experience in the sports industry realm you seek to pursue.
If you want a career in the sports media, work at the school newspaper, TV station and radio station. If you want to work in sports marketing, investigate marketing firms near your campus and offer to intern. If you want to work with a team, look into the minor league franchises in your area since they are always looking for help!
The opportunities to gain experience are out there -- go get them.
Not every 4-year college program is a fit for everyone, therefore, a local community college
is a viable option to expand your horizons. Include these factors as you research colleges and prepare your own rubric to determine which may be the best fit for you:
o Proximity to major cities
o Areas near sports arenas
o Distance from home
o Size of school
o Level of competition at the school
o Flexibility within degree program
o Program reputation
o Compare costs of programs
o Anticipated travel costs
o Resources and materials
Every simple step taken and every accomplishment achieved toward the goal of working in the sports industry makes a significant difference. With a sincere passion for the industry, you will find these tasks preparing you for the industry to be more of a delight rather than work experience:
- Identify charities supported by your area of interest
- Communicate with like-minded people
- Volunteer to assist coaches and sports staff
- Attend networking events
- Attend sports conferences
- Seek internships
High school seniors, take charge of your college journey into the sports industry. Stay focused, remain confident, and keep doors of opportunity open as you venture into this multi-faceted industry. Congratulations and best of luck!