9 Sports Careers You Might Not Have Considered

Are you an avid sports fan? Do you watch every game of every sport, know every player and their statistical ratings, watch ESPN before bed and news in the morning? If this sounds like you, then I would be bold enough to assume that you work in the sports industry, or some related field. No? Well, why not? Many of us go about watching sports games on Sunday afternoons and summer evenings, but much fewer of us ever give much consideration to actually working in the sports industry.

On the surface, most people might think, “I can’t work in the sports industry, I’m not an athlete!” While it might be true that you are likely to find many current and former athletes of various skill levels in the professional sports world, the industry itself is not run by jocks in helmets and jerseys. The NFL, NBA, and MLB (to name a few) are all business organizations that are in charge of one of the most profitable industries today. Therefore many job opportunities are available at many different levels for those who have always had a passion for sports, but never thought to pursue a career in the industry. So if this sounds like something you might be interested in looking into, here are nine job positions for you to look into for 2016.

1. Athletic Trainer

I suppose this is the most obvious place to start, but it makes for a promising career just the same. Professional sports teams around the country, not just the major players like NBA or NFL, are always looking to hire experienced and professional athletic trainers to keep their athletes in prime condition. If you are in great shape and enjoy working out, getting certified as a professional trainer would be a great career move for you.

2. Account Management

Yes, even sports teams have accountants and sales representatives, but again, you don’t have to go right for the big players to find a well-paying job in this field. Many sports-related, Nike, Adidas, and Dick’s to name a few, all operate from the retail level up, not only in pretty much every state here in the US, but also all over the world. Needless to say, if you have a degree and a little bit of experience, finding work with any of these companies shouldn’t prove too difficult for you.

3. Customer Service 

Any business that sells a product, in this case sporting events and paraphernalia, has to have a dedicated customer service department to handle customer enquiries. If you have experience working in a customer service environment, like a call center or retail environment, then consider applying for a job with a sports team in your local town.

4. Public Relations Coordinator

If you enjoy organizing and attending events between companies and the general public, then why not consider a job as a public relations coordinator or specialist? The NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL are always looking to keep up with their public image as a business by holding special events and promotions. So if this kind of work is appealing to you, check out what kind of credentials you will need, and consider applying today.

5. Management

I’m not necessarily talking about being the team manager; professional sports teams do still need managers to ensure the team remains successful and there are no performance issues from the players or coaches. But management in the sports industry is a much broader term when it comes to job hunting.

Management positions are available from many sports-related businesses. You can check out companies like Nike and Adidas for retail management positions, human resources, accounts, marketing, sales, advertising, and virtually every other department of a major corporation that requires skilled and trustworthy managers. If you have experience in your particular field, consider a management position with a sports company for your next career switch. 

6. Retail

The retail aspect of the sports industry is just as profitable (to some degree) as ticket and alcohol sales at sporting venues. Retailers like Adidas and Dick’s make huge profits from selling shoes, jerseys, equipment and sports paraphernalia to fans and athletes alike (I’m sure I don’t even have to mention how well the AirJordan series from Nike continues to do), so be sure to check out available positions with retailers in your local area, including management.

7. Journalism

Another booming industry in the world of sports is journalism. ESPN and Comcast Sports Net offer a vast variety of programs that provide commentary, analysis, and speculation as to the goings on with teams and athletes. Not to mention the major networks like ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS all provide sports coverage services and run a sports news segment on their morning and evening news programs. If you are a journalist or aspiring reporter or writer, consider a position as a sports journalist the next time you feel the urge to make a career change.

8. Sports Medicine

With the controversies surrounding athletes using steroids and sports organizations covering evidence of major medical issues related to the sport, sports medicine is another industry that is, and has been gaining a steady amount of momentum the last few years. This one does require much higher certifications, namely a degree or two in medicine or some related field, but no one ever said doctors don’t like to have fun too, right?

9. Marketing Coordinator

Just like the sports retail industry is and likely always will be booming, marketing and advertising for sports teams and organizations is another industry that is both extremely important and highly profitable. Marketing coordinators, particularly in major league sports, work with advertising specialists, public relations coordinators, and major sponsors like Budweiser and Pepsi to drive sales and improve customer retention for their respective companies or organizations, making it a challenging, demanding, and rewarding job all rolled into one. So if you have a degree in marketing, consider a job in the sports industry today.

There are nearly countless job opportunities available for a vast variety of professional positions. Many hiring organizations will have job postings available on the Careers page of their website, but you can also check out other career websites like Indeed and CareerBuilder to help you find positions with smaller sporting organizations. Another useful website to find a job in the sports industry is WorkInSports.com. Here you can find recent job postings in your local area, from major leagues like the NFL, to college leagues, and other sports-related businesses that are hiring for a variety of positions. If sports is something you are passionate about, then put your skills and education to work for an industry you wouldn’t mind getting up for in the morning.