How to Enter the Sports Management Industry
Sports management is a competitive industry with big players and big dollars driving it. It’s a cut-throat business that requires a high level of professionalism and a lot of devotion. If you haven’t seen Jerry Maguire, you should.
In fairness, not all sports agents are like Maguire or his nemesis, Bob Sugar. But the movie does paint a pretty realistic portrayal of the sports management industry, and a love for sports is only one of its facets. You need the right education, skills, and experience to get your foot in the door.
If you’re confident that the sports biz is your calling, breaking in requires a dedicated effort…and a useful five-step plan that we’ve outlined below.
Step #1: Get the Right Degree.
The right education can mean the difference between moving ahead and standing still. Many schools now offer degree programs in sports management. You can earn a bachelor’s or a master’s degree from a number of recognized colleges and universities. These programs are specifically designed to prepare graduates for management positions at all levels, from entry to executive. Courses focus on the business aspects of sport in culture, facility management, sport ethics, sport marketing, sport law, and sport finance.
Step #2: Secure an Internship.
An internship can lead directly to a job so do everything in your power to secure a placement. Some schools offer internship programs at local agencies or organizations. If your school provides such services, take full advantage. If left to your own devices, don’t panic. Talk to your teachers, search online, and call sports management firms in your area to inquire about possible openings.
Step #3: Shadow a Professional.
Even if you have an internship, shadowing a few different sports management professionals throughout a workday (or work week if you can swing it) is great exposure to the business. You’ll experience a day in the life of a sports manager, and what better way to find out if this industry is your calling!
Step #4: Learn the Business.
Sports management courses, an internship, and Jerry Maguire are not the only sources of information available to you. Check out books at your local library to maximize your learning. Read as much as you can about leadership, business, marketing, sports culture—any related topic that will increase your industry knowledge.
Step #5: Utilize Social Media.
This is a tricky one. Don’t harass people in the business with your Facebook posts and Twitter feeds about Monday night football, but do enhance your online profile by posting relevant job experience, links to your sports blog, and other pertinent information. A professional profile on LinkedIn can do wonders in helping you stand out!
Time is Now!
Sports management professionals are in good demand right now so if you’re thinking about entering this industry, why wait? Check out degree programs, talk to an admissions counselor, and shadow a professional as soon as possible. Put your competitive nature to the test and grow in ways you never thought possible.