So You Want A Career In Sports?

So you want to begin a career in sports? Well, don’t think you can just take a webinar or a two-week course and have the absolute answer to your dreams and wishes. There are no short cuts to succeeding in the sports business and getting your dream gig. Sure, if your uncle has a friend who owns a team, that could help you skip the line, but that’s not a guarantee that you will be running a team in the future.  The sports business is no different than any other business. Unless daddy is buying a team, you have to work hard and earn it to turn a long-term successful career into a reality.

You need to go into the process with a full understanding of the pitfalls, drawbacks and uncertainties that come with your dream job in sports. You should absolutely think through your decision to enter the field and what will most likely transpire if you embark on that path. The business of sports can be a tough, thankless career, so think twice before you jump in. That being said, it can also be very rewarding; so, if you are hell-bent on that direction, then hold on tight – it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

So, from someone who jumped in with both feet, here is some advice and my beliefs on the best steps to take if you believe a career in sports is the right fit for you (and I’ll give it to you for free).

1)   Get an internship at a team, venue or sports agency. Do this in your junior year and again in your senior year (preferably at different types of organizations). To get an internship, do not just send a resume and expect a call back – it will not happen that way. Go to career fairs; find commonality between you and the person hiring; engage with them on multiple levels and be relentless. Get that internship and get your foot in the door. If you are fortunate enough to have connections and can network yourself into a position, do so, but do not take that good fortune for granted.

2)   Once you are in an organization, work your ass off and show your supervisors that you mean business. Some say that it’s luck and a numbers game, but I believe once you are in an organization, it is your opportunity to make it what you will. If you own the responsibilities you are given, hustle and make an impression that you are dedicated, then you will make it hard for the organization not to hire you. Even if you do not get a gig, the impression you leave will be lasting, and opportunities will unfold at a later time.

3)   Don’t worry about what you’re getting paid and what perks you are receiving. A job in sports is very different from being a fan of the game. You cannot think of yourself first. You have to think of what you are being charged with, first and foremost. If you think getting a job with a team means you will be having lunch with the players, you are seriously delusional and missing the point.

Entry-level sports jobs do not pay well, are not glamorous, and will cause you to work weekends. You are sacrificing a ton for this type of career, so do not take the opportunity lightly. Do not get caught up in the concept that you are working for a team or in sports. Put your head down, work hard, and be the best employee you can be. Oh, by the way, this same advice probably makes sense for many industries. Good luck and go get em’.


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  1. Great blog post Lou, agree with all of it. I worked for college and professional sports teams for 12 years before starting my own company, a few things I would add…

    1) Don’t be afraid to take a job with a team even if it is unrelated to the industry you want to work in. I’ve seen dozens of employees at several MLB teams go from working in the team store to the call center to full-time in the business office (one ended up a VP before I left). They kept working at their vocation, but worked with the team in addition to get their foot in the door.
    2) Work for nothing. I spent a summer during college interning for the Tampa Bay Rays in their inaugural season. I worked 90 hours a week and didn’t make a dime, but it lead to a full-time management position with another MLB team immediately upon graduation.
    3) You mentioned it a little in your blog, but the hours are horrendous. 80-90 hour work weeks are the norm (and worn by most as a badge of honor). It is not only nights and weekends, but depending on the sport, Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, wedding days, etc.

    A few good sites for sports jobs in my profession (video production and corporate marketing):

  2. My experience backs up what Lou describes in this post. I started as a virtually unpaid intern for a Triple A baseball team. Worked 60 hours a week. From there, I became PR director of a Single A team and worked even harder. We won the league and I got one of those awesome rings. My third year, I graduated to the majors and got a job with the New York Yankees in their media relations department. That’s when the hard work really started. The results:

    I met more Hall of Famers than I can remember, spent every home game in the press box and became the assistant to the Traveling Secretary during the playoffs (1996) – yes, I was the real life George Costanza. The season ended with me hugging a champagne-soaked Tino Martinez in the clubhouse as we celebrated the World Series win.

    Working in sports is very hard, with little pay. But if you put your head down and do the work, there are some great rewards.

    1. Lou Imbriano says:


      Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. Having concrete examples like yours helps punctuate the principals of getting a job in sports (and in most industries). I appreciate your time.

      My best,

  3. Paul McCaffrey says:


    Great post. You are on target with the practical experience.

    Internship, volunteering, co-op experience and getting out of your comfort zone of home. Go out of state, like Brandon said, keep your head down, do your job and soak it all in. Workers distinguish themselves with their supervisors – stay in touch with them – develop them as colleagues and you will be referred – it is a small business and everyone talks.

    1. Lou Imbriano says:

      Thank you Paul.

      It’s really not brain surgery, but it does take a certain discipline and work. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      My best,

  4. Chris Swan says:

    Great post, Lou. Sorry I missed it the first time through – proving the TV adage that it is not a repeat if you never saw it before. However, you forgot to include the most sage advice I ever saw you write; not only fetch the coffee, but be the best damn coffee runner that boss has ever seen.

    1. Lou Imbriano says:

      Yes Chris ~ Always be the best coffee fetcher possible. Have an entire post dedicated to that concept. Thanks for your note.

      Hope all is well,

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