Sports Industry Hiring Trends in 2021 - Work In Sports Podcast

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

Let’s see if I remember how to do this… it feels like I haven’t pushed out a new episode in a while, yes, I took a break, a little vacation, my first and only one of 2020. That means, I totally 100% disconnected...which means, there is a ton of work to do today.

You ever notice that? Vacation is awesome, but the work just piles up, and then when you get back… it’s rough. Today so far, rough. 

But enough about me -- who’s ready to start 2021?! I’m feeling pretty pumped, even if a bit overwhelmed right at this moment. 

Let’s start this out right with our first stat line of 2021! This is important, this will give us baseline data for the as we continue talking throughout the year we can observe the trends as they relate to right now at this moment. Kind of cool.

Let’s get into it.



For those of you new to the podcast, welcome! Every Monday I provide a snapshot of the data behind sports employment. We’re, the number one job board for the sports industry, and we’ve been doing this for 20 years, so we have tons of current data and historical trends. 

So let’s get started…

Datapoint #1: 15,473 active sports jobs right now on -- that number is down about 7% from our last stat line, and don’t worry that is to be expected. Between Christmas and New Year, employers aren’t really posting jobs, so it is no surprise that number is down a little. 

The rebound, starts now.

Data Point #2 - We’ve added 954 jobs in the last week -- that is WAY down, down 58% from the previous week...but again, I’ve already explained why. We need to go one step deeper…

This brings us to data point #3…

954 jobs added last week, divided by 7 days would be an average of 136 jobs per day. BUT, let’s add some recency to the trend line. 278 jobs added today, and I’m recording this at around noon eastern time. 

This is when things pick up, activity starts going through the roof, and it is the most important time for you to be on top of the job action.

 OK, part 2 of the Stat Line -- for all you new listeners -- I also provide three cool jobs that are fresh on the job board, just to give you a little taste of what’s out there. I guess it is misleading to make this part of the stat line since it’s totally subjective, but this is where I want to put it, so I do.

Job #1… Director of Fan Experience At Stanford University --  this position will oversee a team whose ultimate charge is to create a compelling in-venue experience for our student-athletes and fans alike. This team will design, program, and direct events that satisfy the evolving preferences of fans, create long-lasting memories, and persuade the community to continue to attend. 

I find so many of the people I get to know in sports, love the live-action, the pace, the creativity, the engagement with fans -- this job is ideal if you have that spirit and experience.  And, if you have kids, maybe you get a discounted tuition to Stanford!  Talk about benefits. 

Job #2...Marketing Associate at Burton Snowboards -- Ok, so this is a short term temporary remote role...which may not sound ideal, but hear me out. Burton is looking for an individual to assist us in keeping in touch with our community through social media. In this role, you will be primarily focused on social community coordination. 

This is a chance to prove yourself, gain experience, and get the proverbial foot in the door of an amazing sports connected company. Especially if you have a thing for winter sports. Start to picture a role like this developing into a full-time gig in Vermont, one of my favorite states in the US, and Burlington is a super cool city. I know it’s temp remote to start, but it could turn into something great...and if nothing else is a little cash in the pocket, experience on the resume, and networking in the biz.

Job #3 ... Integrated Marketing Manager at Fanduel. This is a great gig, but I’m bringing it up for another reason… yes, to brag. 

Right before Christmas, I got a call from a PR company saying the co-founder of Fanduel, Nigel Eccles, would like to be a guest on your podcast. Now, when respected people reach out to be a guest, that is always amazing...but the co-founder of a multi-billion dollar sports entity… now that’s cool. So, I interviewed Nigel, and it was awesome. That will air next week. His job as an integrated marketing manager is super cool...but really I just wanted to promote the upcoming interview and feel cool for a moment.

And that is the stat line…

Let’s jump into today’s question!

Thanks to Kendra from Alabama for submitting this one… 

“Hey Brian, I’m a new listener to the podcast and I’m amazed, I truly am. There are other people out there trying to charge good money for the type of information and interviews you and provide for free, and frankly, your’s is better AND free. Thank you so much.

[Note to all the new listeners, I’m more likely to read your question if there is flattery involved]

Back to Kendra’s question

“I’ve heard a lot of people pontificating that 2021 will be vastly different for job seekers, but then they speak in vague terms about what that means. What do you think, will 2021 be a different job-seeking experience in the sports industry, and if so, how?”

Well, that’s a biggie Kendra!

  • Hiring practices adopted for 2020 - will be here to stay. -- Virtual interviews, zoom interviews, AI, filtering tech, matching tech. 
  • Remote work is here to stay -- I’ve been working remotely for 7 years. 
  • The competition will be fierce
  • Diversity, Inclusion and Equity will continue to have more meaning and impact
  • The gig economy temp, freelance, contract work -- will grow.
  • Certain sectors will grow rapidly in sports -- sales jobs will pick up, but jobs in data, tech-based innovation especially as it connects to fan experience, revenue optimization -- these roles will grow, because they are the direction we are headed
By Brian Clapp | January 04, 2021
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