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Deceptions about Working in the Sports Industry

Those who originally wanted to get involved with the businesses side of sports normally did so because of the simple fact that that they love the game. The majority of the people in the industry were at one time athletes themselves but quickly found out that there was a slim chance that they could make a living out of hitting a baseball or shooting a basketball. So now what were these individuals suppose to do whose lives constantly revolved around sports? Well I guess for them there was only one other option; it was time to join the business side of the industry.

When asking others the primary reason of why they wanted to get involved in the sports industry, the number one response is passion. People love sports and will do anything get themselves involved. Growing up, these individuals constantly were playing ball in the yard, revolved their Sunday afternoon’s around football games, or even had yelling matches with the television over blown calls by the referees. Rather than living their lives and participating in sports, it is not uncommon to see people live through sports and participating in life. For many, sports are a lifestyle, which is why many describe passion as the reason for getting involved in the sports industry.

Here’s an example of what it could be like. you graduate high school and finally enter college, and you even decide to enter into a sports management program. Life is good. You start getting into some of your course work and find most of the information fairly interesting. Learning about the history of the Olympics and getting your first taste of how to conduct a S.W.O.T. analysis makes the beginning of college seem pretty cool. Then, it is time to get involved with some more hands-on activities with the sports department at your school, and you are told you need to help out with men’s soccer games. Wow, this seems like an awesome opportunity to finally get to see your team in action. Then you arrive a few hours before the start of the game and the Director of Game Day Operations starts explaining some of the positions available for the day.

“I need someone to sit in the ticket window and monitor attendance … I need someone to stay in the locker room area and make sure the teams have access to their facilities… I need a few of you to act as ball runners … I need a few of you to stand on the far west side of facility and act as security … I need someone in parking …”

As the director goes on and on with the responsibilities for the day, it dawns on you: “wait a minute how in the world am I going to be able to watch the game when I have to be doing all of these other things?”

Newsflash, if you think getting into the sports industry will only consist of you getting free tickets for all the events while you get to sit and watch all the action with your friends and clients, well I guess you had another thing coming.

Although the atmosphere changes once you actually get out of college and into the “real” sports industry, many of the principals remain the same. Sure there are some perks included when working with a sports team or company, but the thing to remember is that in the end it is considered a business. That being said, many people enjoy working in this particular niche, and they very well should. But in the back of their minds,the most successful people in the sports industry understand that they may not be the person in the seats but rather the person responsible for putting others in them.


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7 Responses to Deceptions about Working in the Sports Industry

  1. Matthew Guercio June 25, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    Hey Matt,

    RIGHT ON!!! You couldnt have hit the nail on the head any better. I'm in charge of Game Day Operations for a college athletics department and we can't say enough to our staff that if your not interested in working behind scenes, providing services or accomodations for people, the door is right their don't let it hit you on the way. Young sports minded individuals have to know that working in sports means that you will be farther removed from the game in most capacties.

    Matt G.

  2. Los June 25, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    This is an excellent post. I have been in sports for 5 years now and I can not tell you how many times after a long day at the Stadium all you want to do is go home and sit on the couch. There have been countless times where I have gone home to watch the team that I worked for on TV.

  3. Jnolan1 June 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm #

    Great post Matt, but your next post should be about the wonders of working in Athletics. From what I have gathered in my time, people in the Sport Business are willing to help others in the Sport Business. I have received free courtside seats to an NBA game, taken tours of facilities that the regular fan may not have access to and garnered the occasional free gift from a coach or tournament. Some of those perks may be material, but I can't tell you how great I feel after a game and I see the last kid on the bench hit his first three-pointer of the year or score her first collegiate goal. Yeah the work may be draining, but in my mind the benefits outweigh the negatives any day.

  4. Swsunsets June 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

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  5. Cover Letters July 9, 2010 at 11:49 pm #

    Agree with the other commenters. There is a great belief that the sports industry is all fun. Having worked in professional sports, I know many who work in the industry and are die hard fans. The only time they ever get to see a game is replays and some away games on tv. The other component is the time commitment, ie working 9-5 PLUS match days etc and the rewards. Given the demand for roles the remuneration is often not as high as can be achieved elsewhere. That said, if you can get past these issues it is a tremendous industry to be a part of.

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