Colleges Sports Business

Get Yourself A Sports Business Job

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 was probably on-point:

Visit 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:

  1. There are availabilities for sports business jobs to young, qualified, and ambitious candidates.
  2. Entry level pay at those jobs will be below what may be necessary for you to live comfortably.
  3. 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 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.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

3 replies on “Get Yourself A Sports Business Job”

Although I do not necessary have an educational background in sports. I am a professional counselor and believe that my services would be positive for professional atheletes. My background is as follows:
Dr. Darius Norton Cooper, NCC, LPC

Founder and Director of Reality and Resolution Professional Counseling Services, Inc. with Ph.D. in Human Services specializing in Professional Counseling. His dissertation, titled Treatment Success: An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Therapeutic Community in One Hospitalization Setting, was considered one of the first major studies to examine the therapeutic community in a short-term setting.

In addition, Dr. Cooper is a Board State Licensed Professional Counselor for the State of Georgia and a Nationally Certified Counselor with degrees in Sociology, Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Counseling Studies. He is currently a professor at American InterContinental University and Kaplan University lecturing on various human behavior subjects and has over 20 years of experience with a focus on mental health, personality, and behavioral issues in Adult and Juvenile Corrections, Probation, Pre-Trial Services, Mental Health Community programs, and Psychiatric Hospitals. He has extensive experience in conducting individual, couples, family, and group counseling, specifically on addiction and anger management.

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[…] Getting yourself a sports business job is quite a challenge in itself, but what if you are not complacent with just breaking into the industry?  You want to be an executive of a major sports franchise and will do whatever it takes to get that coveted job.  Your best shot at landing the executive position is to be related by blood or marriage to a major stakeholder in the ownership group, but what if you are not so fortunate?  Bill King of SportsBusinessJournal looked at the breakdown by percentage of ways that people are able to become executives: Those who worked their way up at a franchise (36 percent) […]

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