Beyond the Field of Your Dreams: Careers in the Sports Industry Abound

Thursday, July 11, 2013

For those who have a strong interest in sports, the news is good. Beyond the privileged few who wear jerseys with numbers on their backs as pro athletes, the business of sports offers many opportunities in a wide variety of occupations and organizations according to John Lord, Ph.D., professor of sports marketing.

The domestic sports industry is huge and growing, totaling around $470 billion annually, according to Plunkett Research, a trend that has led to a greater number of career choices and outlets for students set on entering the field, Lord notes.

“The sports industry is very broad; it is very complex, and there are many different pieces of it,” says Lord. “Beyond the teams, the leagues, and the events, there are all sorts of different industries. You have sports facility operations, sports media—not just radio and television, but also the plethora of digital and social media options available—sporting goods, merchandise and licensing, agents and agencies, hospitality management, health and fitness clubs, and a huge number of companies that attempt to build their brands via sports sponsorships. All of these segments, and more, comprise the industry and offer opportunities to talented and passionate individuals who seek a sports career.”

In the sports industry, everything starts with selling and revenue generation. From ticket sales to suite sales to sponsorship sales the industry needs people who know how to “put butts in seats” and eyeballs in front of both traditional and non-traditional media. Companies using sports sponsorships to enhance their business need people who have the experience and skill set to manage these relationships. The challenge to the industry of finding the right people with the right skill-set as well as the right make-up was the main factor that led Lord to create a sports marketing major at Saint Joseph's University, which was launched in the fall of 2011.

As the largest business in the sports industry, careers in sports marketing and sales continue to grow. More than ever before, teams and leagues are hiring brand managers, marketing analysts, sales associates, communication and public relations assistants, web managers, and advertising and promotions managers to attract more fans in hopes of turning a larger profit. If the trend of expansion continues in the sports industry, job options will continue to open, making Lord’s sports marketing major a valuable and relevant study area for students.

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