On May 25, I looked into job availability in the sports world and found that my previous beliefs had been contradicted; qualified candidates have more than enough opportunity to break into the business of sports. My disclaimer, though, was important to read: just because there are a bunch of new sports business jobs being created does not mean that it is getting any easier to break through the barriers in becoming a sports agent. Also, a comment left by Insidetheleague.com was probably on-point:
Visit sportsjobs.com and read it regularly for a month, and this is what you’ll find: copious commission sales jobs, a handful of sponsorship jobs at mid-level colleges, and bundles and bundles of unpaid internships with teams of every stripe.
The jobs that are out there either don’t pay or are really just sales positions not a lot different from selling shoes or boat motors or securities. They aren’t sexy.
So it seems like the current landscape for a college graduate looking for a job is this:
- There are availabilities for sports business jobs to young, qualified, and ambitious candidates.
- Entry level pay at those jobs will be below what may be necessary for you to live comfortably.
- You cannot be picky when it comes to breaking in. You may not get a job with a sports agency or basketball team, but may get offered a low level position doing marketing with a company that focuses on a sport like soccer.
A recent article by Brian Kladko at Bloomberg.com seems to agree with the above sentiments, but adds some additional information to help guide students or future students that are looking to break into the industry. Apparently, obtaining a sports management/administration degree from one of the over 229 schools that offer such a program is often the wrong move if you are looking to gain a job in this field out of college. Theo Epstein did not major in sports management, and Mark Cuban believes that you are doing yourself a huge disservice if you decide to limit yourself to studying in a sports-oriented major. Mark is quoted in Bloomberg as saying,
“While we won’t dismiss a potential hire because they graduated with a sports management degree, it hurts more than helps…I would rather hire someone with more diverse skills.”
Nobody tells it quite how it is like Mark Cuban. What he says may not be pretty, but at least you know you are getting the truth (or at least his version of it). Mark has a solid point, though, which is one that I have said time and time again. There is no reason to limit yourself to focusing on one particular subject. In fact, a more well-rounded candidate is always preferable to somebody who is only proficient in one area (actually, if you are an accountant, I retract that statement). Go to school and take business courses, finance, political science, and mass communications (my favorite!).
The one exception is if you go to a school that has a rich history of successful alumni who graduated from its sports management program. Ohio University is a great example. Harvard…not so much. Do your homework and make the right decision in choosing your school and your courses. This field is too competitive to be making any false steps.