Whether you’re a freshman or a senior studying at a small liberal arts college or a large research university, if you want to work in sports business, you need to get heavily involved in the industry.
It is never too early or too late to gain practical experience that will help you connect with decision makers who can provide valuable mentorship and career advice.
Don’t miss out on must-know steps to breaking into a sports career. Break into sports early and give yourself a huge step above your competition.
5 Ways to Get Involved in Sports Business During College
Before most students even land their first internship in sports business, they volunteer to get their foot in the door. This was my personal experience. While I had an immediate family member who worked in sports—my grandmother (yes, you read that right) worked for the Kansas City Royals for 26 seasons—I’ve still had to work hard to get to where I am today. The summer after my freshman year in college, I called up the Cleveland Indians and inquired about a summer internship. I was told that they had already hired for the intern positions but that I could volunteer on a game-day basis. That’s exactly what I did. For a handful of games, I volunteered in the media relations department and completed just about every task that you think of an intern doing, and I wasn’t even a full-time intern! The point I am trying to make is this: everyone has to start somewhere. Personally, I am thankful for that summer of copying thousands upon thousands of pages of game notes, rosters, scorecards, and press releases. It taught me to truly appreciate the full-time opportunities that would later come with other organizations.
This is the most obvious way to gain industry experience. Job board sites like TeamWork Online and Work In Sports offer internship listings in various departments within sports organizations across the country. In fact, this is how I applied for a couple of the internships I’ve had. Of course, one internship position receives dozens of applicants, so it is helpful for you to stand out from the pack. Having a personal contact within the organization or a fantastic cover letter detailing your unique set of experiences will get you the interview over another applicant.
3. Join a Sports Business Club
If you attend a school that offers a degree in sport management, there is likely an existing sport business club that meets regularly. If your school, like mine, does not have such an organization, START ONE! Spread the word about your group and invite anyone interested in a career in sports to come to your meetings. Having a group of like-minded individuals helping each other on their respective journeys in sports creates a powerful network that will last beyond your college days. If your meetings are not well-attended at first, don’t get discouraged! Keep getting the word out, become an officially recognized student organization, develop a fantastic brand, and try to draw great guest speakers for your meetings.
4. Write About Sports
There are so many ways for you to write about sports: start a blog, report for your student newspaper’s sports page, or even write for Sports Networker! No matter what area of the industry you want to work in, solid writing skills are always a must. Why not take the time to really develop your writing now as a college student?
5. Attend Sports Business Conferences
Want to meet and learn from the best minds in sports? Why not attend a conference and network with people already working in the industry as well as students like yourself? For example, the upcoming 2013 Sports Industry Networking and Career Conference will be held at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., from February 8-9, 2013. The keynote speakers for the conference will be DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA); and Mark Lerner, Vice Chairman and Principal Owner of the Washington Nationals. In addition, Bloomberg Sports will be sponsoring a SINC Conference Sports Shark Tank where entrepreneurially minded individuals will have the opportunity to present their ideas in front of a panel of sports industry executives and venture capitalists. Think attending might be a little too expensive? Check around campus for resources (such as your department chair) that can help cover costs of attendance. Emphasize that you’ll be learning and gaining valuable contacts in the industry you wish to enter. With a little hustle, there is no reason you can’t get some or all of your costs covered. I hope to see you there!
Did I miss anything? What are you doing to get involved in sports business? I’d love to hear your ideas! Comment below and send us a tweet @SportsNetworker