In the world of sports media jobs, sports reporting and broadcasting through print and online media are the driving force.
Out of the many opportunities for internships and employment offered through sports media divisions, local TV networks compose a small fraction of what is available in the industry.
COVID-19 caused an international shutdown of sports as we know it. While there were no sports being played, the thirst for coverage for any sports-related topics grew to a boiling point. Now that most amateur and professional sports organizations have returned to action, sports fans are going to have a sports information overdose. The results of the sports fans getting their fix are the many sports media jobs that have now been created. Directors, producers, editors, and statisticians, are just a small portion of the critically important positions that are now available.
Roles in sports media jobs become more defined. Photographers and camera operators engage directly with the live event. Sportswriters share their insights and knowledge with the audience. TV and radio personalities offer play-by-play and other updates. Sports information directors develop media guides and calculate statistics.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in sports media, there are many exciting job opportunities available to you.
Sports Media Jobs Involve
Marketing in sports media Jobs is only unique in the fact that you would be targeting a specific group of the population, sports fans. The principles of marketing remain the same. In this role, you will be responsible for both promoting sporting events and teams, and using sporting events to promote products and any services that the company may offer.
The 4 P’s of Marketing still apply; product, price, promotion, and place. Since sports are to be thought of as a service (we watch, play, record, and follow on various devices), sports also have another set of P’s; Planning, Packaging, Positioning, and Perception.
If you get this type of work in sports media, you will be using your skills and knowledge of marketing techniques and of the sports business. Sports fans gain awareness of new sports through sports marketing. Sports marketing roles give the fans a chance to chat, tweet, message, and even meet their idols at promotional events.
Some notable jobs in this category are:
- Marketing manager
- Assistant marketing manager
- Event manager or assistant
- Marketing assistant
- Advertising assistant
- Sales manager
Sports marketing managers can expect to make a median income of $135,900 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). According to compensation software company PayScale, the average assistant marketing manager salary is well below that at $52,523.
Web design roles in sports marketing jobs involve a strong background in graphic design. The first thing that any viewer of any sports website will see, is the graphics on the main page. We are a visual society, especially in this age of social media. Headlines, photos, and soundbites generate eyes and ears. All the other elements of sports marketing, direct fans to a company’s website.
Graphics are an important part of your role in web design, but the design industry in sports is so much more. In the Web Design position, photography, videography, and production are key skills to have when applying. Knowledge of sports is also necessary. The ability to know what camera angles, and to know when to get into position to catch that game-winning moment, are only two examples of how expansive the Web design role is in sports media jobs.
Key jobs in this category include:
- Production assistant
- Graphic designer
- Video or film producer
Graphic designers made a median $52,110 in 2019, per the BLS. Photographers made a median of $36,280.
While a picture might be worth a thousand words, sometimes in sports, fans need to read what happened or what they missed the night before. There are times when the only visual for a sports fan, is what is written about the sporting event that took place. Whether sports fan is getting their information through magazines and newspapers or websites and blogs, writers are needed to put informative sports stories into words.
Exclusive quotes and access can provide an advantage over simply watching highlights on television of games or events from the previous day in sports. In situations where getting a quote or sound byte from a scrum, where you do not have the opportunity to directly ask the questions, viewers of a sports website may only have your writing to paint the perfect picture for what they missed.
Sports highlights shows are limited by time, both for advertisers, and by how many sporting events/games from the night that they can review. When technology fails, or highlights of a game may not be accessible, a well-written article, or blog posting, can generate the desired traffic to a sports site.
Unfortunately, sports media is not immune to the circumstances of the economy. Today’s world is not as interested in reading, there are times when a strong interview will get a website the attention that it seeks.
A successful writer will possess the skill of articulating to every sports fan, from the casual fan to the die-hard sports fanatic, exactly what the reader may have missed from a prior game or event.
Some of the main jobs in this category are the following:
- Online writer
- Sports writer
- Sports reporter
- Sports commentator
- Multimedia journalist
PayScale lists the average writer’s income at $49,846.
Sports today are fueled by analytics and statistics. Numbers have to be factual, and corners cannot be cut. Research as a member of Sports Media involves analyzing, crunching, and then making the numbers make sense to all those fans who read an article, post, or log on to a sports website.
Writing an exclusive story, or getting access for a quote, means that you have to do your homework. Reading numbers is only part of the role of sports media.
Online betting on sporting events is a billion-dollar industry internationally. Fans and members of the sports media rely on accurate research of which injuries, tendencies, and roster decisions may or may not have happened to an athlete or team, in order to place their wagers or report on a game or event before it takes place.
Important roles in sports research include:
- Sports analyst
- Sports information specialist.
The average salary for a sports information director is $37,296, according to PayScale.
Blogs, social media, and other online sources connect with fans. Through these channels, brands and teams can post sports content such as athlete-driven media.
Sports fans are starved and are craving content. Fans now can watch events and games from home, at work, while travelling, or consume other games while attending a live sporting event. Once viewers of a sports website get beyond the graphics, they will want to see what a website has to offer for their insatiable sports appetite.
Media has the power to influence how a game is viewed or listened to. Sports media journalists, content producers, and providers give viewers exposure to a particular sport, athlete, or local event that would not ordinarily get the coverage it needs or deserves.
Online gambling and betting were previously mentioned and rely heavily on media content. Media content that other sites may not display or have access to such as odds based on injury reports, will bring audiences to a site over others because of originality.
Key positions in this category are the following:
- Media representative
- Creative content assistant
- Sports media relations assistant
- Director of media relations
- Social media coordinator or director
- TV or radio broadcaster
Information and perspectives on athletes, sports topics, and sporting matchups are brought to the public by sports editors, through carefully selected text and images.
Editing in sports media jobs involves an innate ability to give the consumer (Sports Fans), brief, concise, and exact information. Proper use of grammar and punctuation is far too often ignored. How many times have you as a reader of a posting, been turned off by grammar mistakes and punctuation violations that could have been eliminated with proper editing? That is your responsibility no matter what sports content you are presented with. Your editing will be the final product of what viewers will see. Editors will ultimately bear the brunt of criticism for a bad article, poorly-written article, or content on a sports website, that does not move the needle as far as interest goes for a target audience.
Censorship is the nastiest word in the Sports Media industry. Not a journalist on the planet wants their original thoughts, photos, or words, to be altered in any way, however, editing the content may be necessary to stay in business. Journalists may be presenting sensitive material, or use shocking words to portray their points of view. The bottom line of the company is to attract and keep viewers, and this cannot be accomplished if anyone is offended or turned away from a website, simply because the material was overlooked or missed. How something is said or written, is just as important as what is said or written.
Top sports editing roles include the following:
- Digital editor or producer
- Online editor
- Sports editor
Video and film editors are listed in combination with camera operators by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports median pay for that group as $59,810.
How To Get There: The Value Of Sports Internships Towards Getting A Sports Media Job
In order to land a job in sports media, a degree in communications or journalism is a wise investment.
Prospective college students should include schools that have connections with internship providers when selecting their college programs.
Practice makes perfect. Many of the most successful professionals in the sports media industry began their careers as a part of an excellent internship program. Internships create the perfect environment for prospects to network and develop connections with other professionals/
Students, or those looking to transition out of their current career into another, should apply the following methods as key strategies for breaking into the industry:
- Interests and pay —You may discover that you already know which jobs match your skills and interests while researching the various categories. Potential income or salary may also be of special interest.
- Networking — National conferences offer a neutral, unassuming place to meet industry professionals while developing credibility.
- Look up athletic associations and sports agencies – Join an Athletic agency or association because they have excellent access to potential connections for you.
- Experience, experience, experience — The more you volunteer and the more internships on your resume can only be valuable for your future while you wait for a paid position.