The professional and collegiate sports industry in America is a combined financial behemoth that employs many people. If you want a sports-related career, there are plenty of options at your disposal.
Besides becoming an athlete, there are various ways to work for pro and college teams and organizations. Jobs that support the sports industry provide mental and physical health support, social media content, and marketing support, among many other things. Many of these jobs are growing, too.
There are also sports- and athletics-related careers that aren’t tied to pro teams and organizations. If you love sports and fitness, you could become a personal trainer, a physical therapist, a manager at a fitness center, or a nutritionist.
The bottom line is sports careers are big in the U.S., and it’s an exciting field. The National Football League is by far the most prominent sports league in America, and its financial revenues are staggering. The combined value of all 32 NFL teams is about $91 billion, according to a 2019 estimate by Forbes.
Here are three sports-related careers you could pursue:
1. Production Assistant
A great sports entry-level job is working as a production assistant (PA) for one of the many sports TV networks. PA jobs aren’t very glamorous, and you’ll have to work hard, but it’s a great way to break into the world of sports TV and broadcasting.
As a PA, typical duties involve cutting and editing highlights for shows, researching facts and statistics for graphics, or even running a teleprompter. People who work in the field say each shift is different and fast-paced, so you’ll have to be energetic and versatile.
Most people land PA jobs after having done internships at local or regional sports TV networks. Usually, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and have studied broadcast journalism, or something related to TV or film in college.
Once you work as a PA, you can move up in the ranks of the sports broadcasting field, if you’re ambitious. Many people who become an executive producer or news director of sports networks got their start working as PAs.
Many pro leagues have their own networks now, and even collegiate conferences have started their own networks. There should be no shortage of PA jobs in the future.
2. Graduate Assistant in Coaching
Do you have dreams of coaching in college or the pros? Want to be the next Andy Reid or Bill Belichick? If so, then becoming a graduate assistant (GA) in coaching is the best place to start.
Working as a GA is intense – it requires long hours, all while keeping up with graduate studies. But for the love of the game, it may be worth it.
GAs are the jack-of-all-trades for college teams (especially football teams), and they do everything from help run practice to break down game film. If you land a GA position, you’ll receive free tuition, but probably work up to 100 hours per week. It’s grueling work, but you’ll be entrenched in the coaching world, make valuable connections, and launch a career in sports coaching.
Even if you didn’t play sports in college, you could still land a GA position. Smaller colleges and universities sometimes hire GAs who didn’t play at the college level, though Division 1 schools are less likely to do so.
3. Event Planner
Organizing sporting events requires a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes, and event planners are the ones who plan all the details. Event planning is an excellent career, and if you’re a sports fanatic, pursuing this career track in the world of athletics should be right up your alley.
Event planners in the sports world do things like book hotels and flights for the team, maintain security at the games, monitor concession stand sales, and keep stadiums and venues operating efficiently. To succeed in this career, you must have stellar interpersonal skills and be great at communication, organization, and problem-solving. The job will require you to think fast and come up with creative solutions to problems, so it’s exciting but comes with a good deal of stress.
Many event planners in sports have bachelor’s degrees and study sports management or athletic administration in college. Getting started as a sports event planner usually entails taking on internships, part-time work, or even volunteering for one of your school’s athletic teams.
Sports event planning is a competitive field, but if you build up a solid resume and gain experience, you can land a great job. Spectator sports generate billions of dollars annually in the U.S. and require hordes of planners to pull off carefully detailed events. If you play your cards right, you could pursue a great career and have a front-row seat at your favorite games.