Negotiating Like a Boss - Work In Sports Podcast

Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp VP of Content and Engaged Learning at Work in and this is the Work in Sports podcast…

Well, I could surely get used to back to back NFL triple headers - I kept trying to get out of my house and doing other things, but the games just kept drawing me back in. 

And then it’s 8:15 on Saturday night and I’ve got Brady and Gronk to watch?  And then it’s 8:15 on Sunday night and I’ve got Steelers Brown to watch? 

I mean the good news is, I could turn off the Steelers-Browns after the first quarter, sorry Steelers fans, and get off my ass. 

What a weekend. 


work in sports podcast with brian clapp


For those of you who haven’t listened to last weeks interview with Matt resnick, I suggest you go back and listen. For 5 years Matt was the People Acquisition Director for Madison Square Garden, [Knicks, Rangers, MSG Network, MSG] and knows his stuff when it coms to getting hired in sports. 

We shared a ton of tactical advice, plus some strategic thinking and planning that can really make the difference for your career.  Go listen

Coming up this week - Nigel Eccles. Name sound familiar? Well, it should. Nigel is the co-founder of FanDuel. Yes, that FanDuel. The one he sold for 450 million, and has a current valuation of ...wait for it… 11.2 billion dollars. 

Spoiler -- I did not ask Nigel why he didn’t wait a few more years to sell FanDuel and make an extra couple billion. I’m figuring that could be a sore spot for him. 

But we did talk a ton about leadership, creativing, establishing a culture, the growth of tech and his new start up -- Flick, a sports focused chat app which looks super cool. 

Tune into that on Wednesday. 

One last note -- Because i want to brag a little. As we start the spring semester for college students across the globe, I am proud to announce our sports career game plan is now bing used in the curriculum of over 30 sports management programs. University of Florida, Grand Canyon, Ball State, Graceland, Dean, Findlay, East Carolina, -- and many more -- sorry if i didn’t mention your school, I’m going off the top of my head here. 

Our course is on professional development for the sports industry, and if you are a college professor listening and I’ve piqued your interest, email me. If you are a student, talk to your professors and have them email me. If you are just an interested person, we can sell it to you direct.


Ok, enough of me talking -- well, that’s not true, I’ve got a lot more talking to do, enough of me pitching… let’s get to the stat line…


Here we go, three stats to give you an update on the overall health of sports employment…

Stat #1

16,705 active sports jobs on the leading job board for th sports industry -- that is an increase of 8% over last week.,..that’s a big jump, and I told you it was coming. January is always huge for new jobs.

Stat #2 

We added 3,005 active new jobs in the last week. That is a jump of… wait for it… 215% week over week. Like i said, here come the jobs. First week on January, 915 jobs added, this week, 3,005.

Stat #3

That means we added an average of 429 new jobs every day of the week last week. That is worth checking in on. We’re back baby!

Ok, second part of the Stat Line… jobs!

Job #1

Public Relations Coordinator for the NWSL -  

The NWSL office is growing to meet the demands of the changing global landscape of professional women's soccer. We are looking for individuals who desire to make an impact on the future of sport in the United States. 

Coordinator role, looking for 2 years of experience, which can include relevant internships. Great gig to learn and have on your resume. And it’s in Chicago, and I like chicago.

Job #2

Lead Writer Consumer Direct Creaative Studio at Nike -- look this isn’t entry level, you are going to need some real experience for this. But imagine for a second, As our Lead Writer for the Global Jordan Brand Consumer Direct Creative Studio, you will help define and drive the implementation of our Brand voice. For jordan Brand. That sounds awesome.

 Job #3

NBA & College Basketball Content Creator at NBC Sports -- The PEP NBA Content Creator will be responsible for providing original content regarding the key NBA news and events of the day as well as selected columns.

Dream job. 

You love basketball? Can you write? Have you written? This is why I tell people to starrt blogs about what they are passionate about… this could be you! Your blog would be proof of concept for a job like this!

Get after it…

That’s the stat line.


Ok today’s question from Nathan in Virginia…

“Hi Brian, I’ve got good news! I was laid off in July of last year due to covid contraction, but I’ve been listening to the podcast, trying to enhance my skills, and staying as positive as i can. I’ve just lined up two interv iews for this week and I’m super pumped! Thank you for all you do!”

That was email #1 from Nathan. Fast forward to yesterday - 

“Brian I have an update and a question, I utilized all your interviewing tips, I was confident, mad eye contact, research a ton, had follow up questions and I viewed the other person as an ally not a threat. I did better than I’ve ever done, so much so that I got not one, but two job offers last last week. So, what do i do now?”

Nathan I love the trust you put in me to decide your fate, but I’m not taking that bait, I’m not going to tell you which job to take… but I will help your evaluate and negotiate so you can know which is best for you.

The reason I won’t decide for you, is because what sounds awesome to me may sound like hell to you -- this is a very personal choice. BUT, you have some leverage in the decision making, with two job offers you aren’t desperate so let’s negotiate a little shall we?

Now, this isn’t high school. You can’t just come right out and say “this other gal or guy is interested in me” in hopes that’ll make your true desire jelly and come your way.

Nope, that crap doesn’t work on this level. If you try to say “well, i have another offer I’m considering” that won’t make them jealous enough to up their offer, they may just say good luck!

My advice is - you have to be armed with data and research. No one is going to just give you more money or more benefits, you need to ask for them, and back it up with research.

#1 Know your worth - what are people in your area that do this job get paid? Payscale and Glassdoor are good for research, but so is asking others you know in the industry. If you have a contact in partnership activation, tell them you are doing research for a job offer, and would love a rough idea of their yearly salary. Do some cost of living calculations and comparisons to where you live vs. where you live and you can pretty quickly deduce what you are worth.

Does the offer match up? You may find out yes, this is a great offer… if so don’t press your luck, take it!  If it stinks, now you have some context for the offer!

#2 Give yourself some room -- 

If you go to a payscale or a glassdoor, and get a payrange - like 45-60,000 -- start at the high end and be specific. Say $59,000. This does two things, one it gives you some wiggle room as they negotiate. If you start at 53 and they get you down to 49, that’ snot as good as starting at 59 and coming down to 55.

Also, by using a slightly odd number like $59,500 - there iss a psychological assumption you’ve done your research. 60k sounds like your just throwing out numbers, 59,500 sounds lik research in action. 

This is no joke - it’s proven by researchers at columbia business school. for real.

#3 Don’t do a range. 

Have a specific number, a range, like saying between 45-50k is an admission of being willing to take something on the low end. Immediately a recruiter/hiring manager will seize on this and offer you something near your low end. If you say a specific number, its more powerful.

#4  I have always feared asking for too much. Don’t fear this.

Unless you are way out of line, and haven’t done good research, asking for what you are worth, plus ...isn’t going to scare someone off. If they like you enough to offer you a job, the worst they will do is counter, the best they will do is come up closer to where you want. 

Really, as long as you are being reasonable, and aggressive but not stupid, you aren’t going to remove yourself from play. 

#5 Prioritize your requests

Everyone has different needs. Establish your priorities in advance, and be ready to explain and use them. 

You may feel salary is most important to you, followed by location, and then vacation time and signing bonus. You can come out and ask them what their priorities are, and look for mutually acceptable trade offs. Negotiation isn’t about winning, it’s about balance of needs and wants. 

#6 Don’t mention personal needs

Please don’t mention your rent has gone up, your mom is in the hospital, your dog needs a hip replacement -- those are not reasons for an employer to pay you more. They are paying you based on your worth -- stick to your market value and research

#7 Don’t make threats 

Keep the conversation positive, if you win the negotiation but have been a real jerk in the process, remember you are going to be working with this person afterwards and that can be awkward. Keep it friendly and positive, be firm in your worth, but understanding and a bit flxible in areas you don’t prioritize as high.

#8 Remember what you want, think big and long term. 

Look, at the end of the day negotiation is important, but if you have one job that lines you up in a career you really want, and gives you incredible future potential, don’t throw that out because you didn’t get everything you want. 

Personally, I’ve negotiated at times, got a little bit more, but realizd that was it, that’s all there was, I wasn’t going to win this outright. I had to evaluate the long term projection of the role and whether it was worth it to say, OK. I can think of three times I eventually walked away, and two times that I was willing to take the offer. 

Sometimes you gotta walk. Nothing wrong with that either. 

Nathan I hope this helps you evaluate the roles a little better! Good luck. 

By Brian Clapp | January 11, 2021
Sign In or Register to access all articles and insider tips for help in your job search.

Search for Sports Jobs