Where is the Sports Industry Headed? - Work In Sports Podcast

Where is the Sports Industry Going?!

Calling all up-and-coming broadcast talent – here’s your chance to make a name for yourself overnight.  

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Go to SiriusXM dot com slash MLB Fan Call for a full set of contest rules, prizing details, and more. 

Alright, let’s start the countdown…

Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, VP of Content and Engaged Learning at WorkInsports.com and this is the work in sports podcast…

Cool note to add to our new sponsor, SiriusXM, coming up on Wednesday we’re going to have on SiriusXM Manager of Sports Partnerships and Marketing Andrew Diamond -- I thought it would be super cool to change our normal format and do a little something different. 

Andrew is going to take us through his job and his role at SiriusXM in sports partnerships, through the lens of the “Fan Call of the Year” contest -- from concept brainstorming to organizing the teams necessary to make the concept real, to meeting with stakeholders, promoting and activating -- you’ll get an idea of what it’s really like to work in marketing, by seeing how an idea turns into reality. 

I’m excited about this, because I love the idea of learning about the role through the actual process of creating a sports partnership! Of course I love the idea… it was my idea! 

Tune in Wednesday for that -- and seriously, if I was even slightly interested in sports broadcasting, or just wanted to have some fun, I would be all over this “fan call of the year” contest -- you could call a half-inning of the futures game on SiriusXM MLB radio and get a trip to the all-star game in Atlanta? Super cool.

Alright on to today’s topic. 



Actually quick recap -- last weeks episode we talked about cancel vs. consequence culture -- and again we used misogyny in the sports industry as the launching point for the discussion…

If you haven’t listened to the episode you should, it’s raw and it’s honest, but I also want to follow up on two things:

1: For those of you that requested I stick to sports and stop having conversations about topics like this -- stop it. You are embarrassing yourself. Don’t listen if you don’t want to be challenged, and if you truly think subjects like misogyny and social justice don’t intersect with sports and our day to day existence -- wake up. Every sports league, team, lifestyle brand, agency and organization connected to sports is taking on these issues because they are important, and they affect all of us.  

2: I did get called out for one thing, and I’d like to say thank you for it. Kae Dube, rightfully pointed out that not all women have 2 X chromosomes.   And she is right, she knows I didn’t say it in a derogatory way so we are cool, but I should not have been as verbally clever as I was being, I should have been more clear.  Let that be a warning to all of you, sometimes leave the creative writing at home and just b clear with what you are trying to say. 

Alright -- now let’s get into today’s subject…

Alisha from Pennsylvania writes in --

“Hey Brian, long time listener of the podcast and I’ve heard you speak a few times in different panels -- your enthusiasm and energy for this industry is just awesome, thank you. Question for you -- with the world being turned upside down with coronavirus and the sports industry being different now than it was 6 months ago, can you give us an idea of where the demand is in the sports industry, how it has changed, and how you see it developing over the next year? I just want to put a plan together for myself and I think you can help m and others”

Great question Alisha -- the industry is changing due to the circumstances we are living through and all of us are required to change with it. 


You probably heard me say a few weeks back that the most important attributes for people who want to work in the sports industry right now, are flexibility, innovation, and improvisation. 

And that is still true. These are required attributes, right now and forevermore. Whoa, that sounded kind of Edgar Allen poe-ish -- right now and forevermore. 

Let’s get into the data. 

WorkInSports.com has been around for 20 years, so I can go back and see a lot of job trends and data… and pretty consistently over 20 years, sales jobs made up about 50% of the jobs in the sports industry. 

Our site is broken down into 9 categories, and Sales/BizDev is always the #1 category. For years i have been telling people -- enter the sports industry through revenue-creating jobs in sales, you won’t regret it, even if it isn’t your long term plan. 

Well, right now, and for the last 5-6 months, sales and biz dev jobs have been our 7th rated category. 

It makes sense from a logical standpoint -- no fans, no premium suites, no real sponsorships sales, no group events… what are we selling here? Normally each team in each league would have about 30-40% of their staff be part of the sales team….now there is no demand for those roles.  

That’s just a fact. 

So where are the jobs? 

The most popular categories are...drum roll, please… 

  • Retail and Lifestyle 
  • Media/Creative
  • Tech/Data

Let’s discuss what this means.

Retail and Lifestyle makes sense -- eCommerce, think Nike, Lululemon, Adidas, Puma, Under Armour -- these companies are hiring people that are connected to product marketing and eCommerce and their numbers are booming.  Product marketing and business analysis is a huge field, highly in demand.

Media/Creative - again makes sense, content is in high demand, websites, tv stations, streaming services -- people are starving for original sports content.

Tech/Data -- again makes sense, analytics is huge, business data and tech figuring out how to make more money or save more money.    These roles are in demand.

All of these categories have not been adversely affected by the coronavirus, if anything they’ve been enhanced. 

Now, let’s talk honestly about where the marketing is going and what you can do to prepare. 

1: Sales jobs will come back. The need to create revenue for an organization isn’t going away - in fact, if you are in college right now, I would focus on this area. Learn revenue optimization, learn sales techniques, learn and read books on persuasive communication. It will benefit you. By the time you graduate, we will likely be back in arenas and stadiums, and the demand for these jobs will be high, very high. 

Employers are talking to us right now about helping them hire quickly when things get back to in person. 

If you are in sales a young professional who has been out of work, furloughed, struggling -- look to online sports providers. They are active and selling. Look to esports, three are sponsorships to be sold there and online access.

And look to learn more about industry-standard skills like photoshop and salesforce. 

2: I think the big trend you will see continue is eCommerce. More will come online and stay online -- there is a huge opportunity to understand the business of online product marketing, especially with lifestyle brands. 

Companies are finally figuring out there is a lot of money to be made exclusively online. 

3: Content is still king. But only if you are versatile. You can’t just b a writer, you need to be on camera, hosting podcasts, shooting videos, and more. You have to do more. You ned to know final cut pro, after effects -- the entire adobe suite of products.

4: Paid content is also king. This is the advertising/marketing of the future. Well, it’s already here, but you just aren’t focused on it enough. You must know facebook advertising, twitter and LinkedIn paid posts. Digital advertising, microtargeting, budgeting. 

College courses should be focused on how to launch a product or campaign, create the promotional content, bid and manage social budgets, and measure returns. This is the future. If you can create the content and manage the paid accounts and measure the analytics -- you are powerful. 

5: Business analysis. I’m not usually a huge proponent of advanced degrees - they just aren’t always necessary in sports. BUT, if you can get an MBAa with sports specialization, and then pursue opportunities in business analysis -- you could really be in for huge success.

Here’s why -- Teams have ben getting smarter and more efficient with how their money is spent and optimized -- dynamic ticket pricing and analytics of sales, this was all the rage last year. Mailynh Vu from the Cleveland Indians said this was their biggest push for hiring. 

Well, now that we’ve lost a year of revenue -- what do you think will be in huge demand?

It’s all about maximizing the assets you have -- and people with a sense of business analytics will be in demand, big time. 

Alright, that should cover it for now. 

By Brian Clapp | August 31, 2020
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