Someone recently asked me if people truly understand the jobs and related deliverables in the sports industry. My reply was no. For most, they have a huge gap in their understanding.
For example, if someone were to tell you they work in the marketing department of an FMCG conglomerate or in sales for an insurance company you’d have a fair idea of what that job involves. It’s different for sports. There are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about working in this industry. I’m here to dispel some of them.
Myth 1: MY PASSION QUALIFIES ME FOR A JOB IN SPORTS
I’m a passionate sports fan—I know all the teams, the stats, and don’t miss a single game. That’s why I am most suited for a job in sports.
Reality: Passion is only part of the story - it will serve you well. By itself, it does not qualify you for a job in sports. There are two other critical elements - Proficiency and personality, that are equally important. If the Sporjo personality test finds that you are suited to a career in analytics and have an affinity for number crunching, there are multiple ways to channel your passion into a profession. You could work with broadcasters to mine interesting statistics for various matches, playing with the data sets depending on players, formats, opponents. Alternatively, you could create infographics and content for certain marketing agencies.
Myth 2: I AM AN ATHLETE AND CAN GET A JOB IN SPORTS EASILY
I have played all my life at school, college and state levels. I know what it takes.
Reality: Also partially correct. If you are organized and the Sporjo test shows attributes for match operations, you could make your dream come true. Match operations is a relatively unknown field in sports. These jobs require employees to ensure smooth functioning on the game day. The role could be from a federation who appoints match referees or commissioners or a league where you run the game and report to the match commissioner. You need to know the rules of the sport like the back of your hand—things like procedures to follow in case of a thunderstorm or electricity blackout, or when to stop a game if there is an altercation between teams or in the stands.
Myth 3: GLAMOUR AND SPORTS GO HAND IN HAND
Being in a frontline role like an athlete manager will mean I get to mingle with celebrities and VIPs.
Reality: Jerry Maguire is just a movie :). Chances are you may not get to meet the player you represent for more than a week a year. But your job continues 24x7x365. You’ve got to ensure your client is in the news for the right reasons and look for new revenue streams, including finding new brands that match the player’s personalities so you can sell endorsement deals. There’s also athlete servicing that takes place—things like ensuring brand products are properly received and coordinating shoots with sponsors and the media. If the athlete is from a sport that doesn’t have strong federation backing, you might also have to oversee his or her training, fitness regime and the nitty-gritties of participating in various tournaments.
Myth 4: AN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS DEGREE QUALIFIES ME FOR A ROLE EASILY
I have studied from the best sports management school outside India. I can walk into any sports organization.
Reality: Probably not. You may get exposure to the best in the industry through your degree but there are a few things still lacking. You have worked really hard on your passion and gone a step further by adding sports to your education. Great. Now, you need to build your proficiency, and that can be done by first determining which sports vertical to get into, based on your personality—the Sporjo test can help with that. It could be sales and marketing which are great for outgoing individuals or operations for those who are highly organized.
Myth 5: THE SPORTS INDUSTRY HIRES ITS OWN. IT'S INSULAR.
I work in another industry and I love sports, but I don’t think I will ever be able to work in sports.
Reality: Not at all. About 8-10 years ago, there was a lack of awareness about two things when it came to sports jobs off the field. The first is that such jobs actually exist and the second is what these jobs entail. On a scale of 0-100 where 0 is no awareness and 100 is fully aware, prior to 2013 we were at about 5-6, now we’re at about 30. With leagues and sporting federations having more visibility, people are slightly more familiar with the variety of roles available, but still nowhere near as much as we in the industry would like them to be. The growing sports ecosystem means there’s bound to be a sporting job for you somewhere. We, at Sporjo, are here to help you make sense of these permutations and combinations and find the perfect role for your skills and background.
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