Five More Entry Level Sports Jobs with Real Growth Potential

entry level sports jobs
You don't just want a job in sports, you want a job in sports with high growth potential, right? Here are five to help you on your journey.
Two years ago we published on article focused on five entry level sports jobs that have a high ceiling, to date it’s been one of our most popular articles.

Outside of the fact it was really well written (that’s me blushing) it hit on a topic you, our audience, have a rabid appetite for – where to aim when breaking into the sports industry.

Well, it’s high time to revisit that listicle and come up with more entry level sports jobs that have a have potential for success. Considering the sports industry outpaced the national average in job growth by 150% between 2010 and 2014, we’ve got some really good starting points for sports careers to work with.

On with the show!
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Research Analyst

Before you start sending out your spreadsheets on how to calculate WAR (Wins Above Replacement for all you non-sabermetricians) this type of research analyst is on the financial/marketing side, not the scouting/“Moneyball” side.

Data-Driven Decision making is taking the industry by storm, which to be honest seems like something we should have figured out long ago. Making decisions with support from actual data is not something that should be considered revolutionary, but again the sports industry has been thriving for decades even with people making decisions based on hunches and suppositions.

Enough of my soapbox – the idea behind new age research positions is on creating analyses and reports culled from available data that influence business decisions. For example, examining large data sets for TV ratings trends, or sales results, or profitable marketing tendencies.

These are all examples of the type of research that directly correlates to profitability, which is music to an executives ears.

We often hint that sports job seekers should consider sales careers, namely because they are always in demand and they directly connect to revenue generation. That is the very definition of job security.

Same is true in research positions. (Find a bunch of research jobs by clicking here)

If a researcher is able to discover a more effective way of selling a product or marketing an event based on available data, their role and growth at a company is beyond secure.

To get hired as a research analyst you should be familiar with tools like Nielsen, Simmons, Scarborough and Custom Flow, be extremely detail oriented and comfortable presenting data in a clear and concise manner.

Oh, and you probably want to know how to analyze data.

Digital Sales

Before you get me on the seemingly valid, ‘you mentioned sales assistant in the last article’ point, I want to make it clear, digital sales are different than ticket, broadcast or radio ad sales.

There is a different language, different metrics, different expectations and a very different growth chart.

Digital sales are booming while traditional media buys are struggling due to the fact everyone has a DVR and no one sits through commercials anymore (truth is, they still do in live sports, but that’s one of the last places commercials are seen in real speed).

Alas, let’s get back to digital sales – now we’re talking about click through rates, banner ads, pageviews, conversion metrics, retargeting and much more. If you have no clue what I am talking about – learn it – it will serve you well in the era of all things online and mobile.

Sports Information Coordinatorhow to prepare for your sports job search ebook

If your dream has always been to be involved in college athletics, working your way up through the ranks of sports information may be the way to go.

This career adventure is much like being a sports reporter - you start off in a small market, or in this case at a small college athletic department, and slowly work your way up to bigger markets/bigger schools.

Sports information roles are deeply entrenched with external clients like local sports reporters in broadcast, digital and print and internal positions like athletic directors, marketing staff and sales.

The career path isn’t just limited to performing the same job at bigger schools, a sports information director has their hands in research, statistical analysis and operations – which can prepare them for career growth in athletic administration, compliance, research, athletic development and more.

If college sports are your wheelhouse, starting out in sports information may be the way to go.
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Production Coordinator

Production jobs generally refer to some form of content creation and are filled by creative types, but a production coordinator resides on the logistic side of the equation.

It’s the cliché, left brain/right brain personality type.

production coordinator jobs in sports
Live event productions like Monday Night Football require a whole team of people to pull off. A Production Coordinator helps organize objectives between multiple groups.
Writers, producers and marketers all hang out in the much cooler right brain, while the financiers, researchers and production coordinators all hang out in the stodgy left brain (I’m not doing a good job of selling this one am I? Maybe it’s because I have no left brain).

There is a great deal of work that goes on behind the scenes of every broadcast, photo shoot or sports event and it’s the production coordinators that ensure everything is set up according to plan and runs smoothly.

Game producers show up for their crew call the day of and execute on the event before them, while production coordinators work their butt off leading up to the event. They make sure the equipment is on site and where it needs to be, the freelance staff has been hired and troubleshoot anything that goes wrong (because it will).

The career ceiling is high, as success only comes to those who have strong organization skills, can manage people and budgets and can see problems arising before they become catastrophic. Develop these skills and the sky is the limit.

Assignment Editor

Assignment Editors are the point guards of every sports television newsroom, tasked with dishing out assignments to reporters and crews, coordinating incoming feeds and staying on top of breaking news events.

This is a fast-paced career step, so if you can’t think quickly and process multiple events at once, pick another career path.

Imagine this highly likely scenario for a moment – you start your morning setting up a reporter and crew to go out and cover a profile story on a local sports star volunteering at a food bank, the local power conference college announces a press conference taking place at noon but you aren’t sure if this is a big story or just a run of the mill announcement, meanwhile rumors start to surface that the coach of the professional baseball team in town was pulled over for a DUI last night.

As the assignment editor, you will be vetting the upcoming college press conference to see if it’s worthy of coverage, calling your sources at the police station to see if the coach has been booked and quite possibly calling that crew back from their original Food Bank story idea to move to one of these bigger more pressing stories.

There is always much happening at once.

If this gets the excitement flowing in your veins – consider a career on the assignment desk. Since this job shows off an ability to make strong journalistic decisions and multi-task, it is a great starting point for those who want to pursue careers as a producer or upper management.

Final Thought

In the last article we focused on five entry level sports career paths (Production Assistant, Social Media Coordinator, Marketing Coordinator, Sales Assistant and Graduate Assistant) and those are still very valid career starters.  But the sports industry is constantly evolving and as needs change, so do the best career paths.

Careers in content, analytics and social media have changed dramatically over the last five years and will continue to in the next five.

The jobs we have listed above are strong initial steps in any sports career and as trends evolve, we will too.
By Brian Clapp | April 29, 2015
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