After reading several articles about young people, especially college grads, attempting to break into the sports or entertainment industry, I have come to the conclusion that it may be more beneficial to pursue a degree in anything but Sport.
In addition, through a conversation with a notable Athletic Director, I posed the question: Where are all our Sports Management grads go going to go? Each year thousands (more like tens of thousands) of students walk the stage with a Sport Management Degree – yet the number of available jobs are declining. That said, sports management degrees give students valuable experience in multiple different aspects of the sporting industry.
According to The New York Times, nearly all of the big pro leagues are dumping jobs and looking to shore out the bottom-line during the current economic cycle; add to the fact that it is nearly impossible to find steady employment on the client representation/management side, especially as someone with limited experience.
While some sport(s) management programs offer an emphasis on core business principles, many do not. According to several studies, many sport(s) management departments prefer to be entirely separate from business programs.
To me, this robs students of the most important aspect of the industry – Business. Even at the University of Florida, with a ‘top-notch program,’ the offering of business related courses within the department is very limited (maybe two legitimate business courses).
So why limit yourself to one path? Even if the sports or entertainment industry was flourishing, the chance of you switching careers (or burnout) more than five times in your lifetime is relatively high.
It is my belief that you have to be highly marketable and as ‘well rounded’ as possible in order to compete as an agent or even as a manager on the other side of the coin.
So before you graduate or enroll for the summer or fall, look into marketing, management, finance, advertising, public relations, entrepreneurship courses, or even take some online MBA classes – these will prepare you well for an internship or an entry-level job in sports or entertainment.
If you’re a freshman or sophomore (actually any level of school), think about pursuing internships in areas outside of sports such as finance, public relations, or marketing – these will enable you to jump right into real tasks when you find the right sports opportunity.
Also, if you think writing is ‘left at the door’ of the sports world, think again – the more effective and ‘well-written’ you are, the greater chance of advancement. As an employee, you’re selling yourself each and every day – writing well will show that you can convey the needed message or write the most effective proposal for business opportunities.
As an intern at Dynasty Athlete Representation, LLC, I have written as much or more than I ever have in school or with any other venture (including start-ups with Business Plans).
Nearly everything I have learned through undergraduate business school – has prepared me to effectively construct marketing plans, prospect analyses, and a variety of reports for both superiors and business partners.
While none of these are prerequisites (or a supplement) for a successful career or internship experience, it definitely helps, because a sports agency is a business.