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How to Get a Job in Sports

two sports managers talking at a sports hall

The sports industry is expansive and exciting, offering several opportunities for those with a passion and interest in getting a job in sports. For many, pursuing a career in sports or sports-related industries is a lifelong goal that fulfills their personal and professional interests. 

Due to its massive popularity, working in the sports industry is a very competitive market and job opportunities depend entirely on your experience and credentials. Whether you’re starting from scratch or you’ve already had a job or internship in sports, the path to getting your dream job in sports can be daunting.

How to Get a Job in Sports: 

  • Have a relevant undergraduate degree

  • Pursue a Master’s in Sport Management

  • Seek out hands-on experiences in the industry

  • Live in a robust sports market

  • Complete one or more internships in sports

  • Develop a deep network in the industry

Our experts have provided thorough tips and strategies to ensure you’re on the right path. Confirm you’re on the right route with our comprehensive checklist of how to get a job in sports.

Undergraduate Degrees for a Career in Sports

A business, communications, public relations, or other related undergraduate degree is your initial springboard into the sports industry. These fields of study provide you with a basic understanding of how business roles typically function, equipping you with the skills that employers are looking for. You'll gain insight into business practices, learn to communicate effectively, and understand most facets of business at a basic level, all crucial for a career in sports.

However, to truly stand out and become a trusted industry expert, you should consider a master’s in sports management. This specialized degree program explores the complexities of the sports industry, enhancing your opportunities for more senior roles. For many, simply holding a bachelor’s degree is not enough to break into a very competitive job market in sports business. Getting a master’s in sport management (MSSM) is a clear indicator to organizations that you have the formal training necessary to be successful in sports management.

Your Path to a Job in Sport Management–Pursue a Master’s in Sport Management

The Power of Hands-on Experiences 

The benefits of hands-on experiences are twofold. In-person experiences like job shadowing, case studies, or even community volunteering can provide real-world scenarios where you can apply your learned theories, allowing for meaningful skill development. 

For example, working part-time at a sports facility could give you insight into venue management. Volunteering at a sports event can offer you a glimpse into logistics and event planning. Even these entry-level experiences can significantly enhance your understanding of multifaceted operations that occur behind the scenes in sports. At the undergraduate level, you can seek out these opportunities locally in your community. In a graduate-level sport business program, there are often strong ties to the sports community to help connect you to these hands-on experiences. 

Here comes the other benefit. Those hands-on experiences introduce you to the people and organizations that contribute to your network in sports business. More on this later. 

Living in a Primary Sports Market

A sports market encompasses professional sports teams, sports media outlets, sports facilities, related corporate organizations, and more. When you live in an area with deep athletic ties, you're more likely to have opportunities to attend sports events, join local sports clubs, interact with sports professionals, or even work in local sports venues. Each of these activities can provide a first-hand perspective of the industry dynamics that you can leverage in your pursuit of a job in sports.

Dallas Sports Market  

Pursuing a sport business job in Dallas, Texas, presents a promising opportunity for future professionals. Why? Because Dallas is recognized as the #1 city in the US for sports business. The sports market in Dallas presents a range of career prospects thanks to the long list of professional sports organizations that call Dallas home. 

It's not only about the teams—Dallas is also home to dozens of sports agencies, media firms, and marketing companies. Here, you can immerse yourself in a city that thrives on sports. You can use this vibrant, dynamic environment to propel yourself forward in your career, learning from and contributing to the sports business right in the heart of the action.

Making the Case for Dallas, Texas:
Why Dallas is the Best Location for Sports Jobs

Sport Business Internships

Internships can run the gamut from working with professional sports teams to roles in sports agencies, sports media companies, or sports marketing firms. The scope of learning varies with each internship. Interning at a sports media company might offer experience in content creation, analytics, and broadcast programming. An internship with a professional sports team could expose you to team management, athlete relations, and event planning.

In just 2022 alone, graduate students in sport management at SMU were able to find internships with the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Mavericks, the Dallas Stars, the Dallas Wings, Envy Gaming, the NFL, the Texas Rangers, BSN Sports, and more. 

Engaging in an internship while getting your MSSM, or as a culminating capstone experience, sets you apart in the competitive employment landscape. It offers tangible proof of your hands-on experience in sports management and underscores your dedication to getting a job in sports. As we said before, these internship connections are built into the foundation of a robust MSSM program. . 

Leveraging Your Network to Get a Job in Sports

Networking is a powerful tool in any industry, and sports are no exception. Connections can lead to opportunities, and in an industry as competitive as sports, every opportunity counts.

Be proactive when building your network—attend sports events and industry gatherings, and maintain relationships with your peers, instructors, and other industry professionals. Embrace every interaction as a learning opportunity and potential stepping stone towards your next big career move. Not only do these connections offer tangible leads, but they also broaden your understanding of the industry, encouraging continuous personal growth.

Master’s in Sport Management (MSSM) 

A Master’s in Sports Management lifts your credentials to the next level. This degree not only provides specialized knowledge in sports-related subjects such as sports marketing, ethics in sports, and sports law, but it also opens doors to a variety of career paths within the sports industry.

Imagine stepping into a senior management role in a sports organization, charting the course of a sports team's future, or guiding the marketing efforts for major sports events. Getting a master’s in sports management brings these possibilities within reach compared to having only a bachelor’s degree on your resume. 

Courses in a graduate sport management program are designed to go beyond the typical business or MBA curriculum, setting you apart from the rest of the sport-industry hopefuls. Sample classes could include Sport Sponsorship, Sport Data & Analytics, Sport Marketing Strategies, Financial Management in Sports, Sport Event Management, or Legal and Ethical Issues in Sport Management, to name a few. 

Getting an MSSM is the most direct route to getting a job in sports. Your credentials, experience, and depth of knowledge match what sports organizations are looking for in a candidate. If you want to enter the sports industry with confidence and ease, getting a master’s in sport management is your next step.

Getting a Job in Sports with SMU

With a Master's in Sports Management from SMU, you can do more than just dream about a career in sports—you can live it. Equipped with a clear play-by-play of how to find your ideal career in sports, an MSSM is the key that unlocks your route. 

Think of our advice as a checklist: have a relevant undergraduate degree; get hands-on experience in a primary sports market; and develop your sports network. When you pursue your MSSM at SMU, the checklist is built into our program. You won’t be left wondering how to get a job in sports—you’ll have all the tools you need to do it with ease. You’ll graduate with the knowledge and resume needed to excel in sports in Dallas and beyond.

Learn more about an MSSM and how to get a job in sports with our downloadable guide:

Sport Management eBook Cover
Your Path to a Job in Sport Management–Pursue a Master’s in Sport Management



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