Historically, it was rare to gain employment in key sports industry positions without having first played the game. Upon retirement, some players joined the media, entered coaching or accepted a front office position. They learned their new trade from mentors, not by earning a degree or working their way up from the bottom. Recent years have more-and-more non athletes filling these core roles. Successful bloggers, ivy-league business school graduates and unpaid interns eventually work their way into top levels of sports organizations. But do players’ insights, from their days on the field, still give them a head start on the competition?

Athletes have connections in sports that can’t be rivaled. The biggest advantage athletes have when entering the business side of sports is the network they’ve built along the way. Respected athletes have an expansive social circle of players, management, media outlets and coaches to utilize in their career transition. This group of friends and acquaintances prove valuable when looking for an “in” to high profile jobs in the competitive sports landscape. Those who weren’t professional athletes must be prepared to start from the bottom and build up a network slowly as they navigate their team’s org chart. Former athletes may retire and accept positions with major TV networks or as top-level assistant coaches while others must take entry-level positions until they prove their worth. Athletes have an amazing advantage that should be leveraged to its fullest.

Athletes must overcome the learning curve. Most former athletes transition into sports business with a far different set of expectations than people entering the industry out of school. Retired professional athletes are accustomed to being recruited and given preferential treatment largely because of their natural ability. These career athletes have yet to face the learning curve that comes with starting a new job. They must develop a new skill set and learn on-the-fly, not an easy task for someone solely focused on playing sports from a very young age. While playing, athletes rely on in-game instincts and some, mistakenly, use this same method of decision making off-the-court. Being successful in their post-playing career requires more than just snap judgment however. Attention to detail, critical film study and hours of research go into everything. Even the instincts of the best player in the world won’t translate into smart business decisions unless it’s coupled with the right amount of research and effort. The initial transition years can be difficult but taking opportunities to learn from those above and below you will help overcome that learning curve and establish your second career.

Athletes have the work ethic and guts to succeed. It’s rare to find a lazy, unmotivated person on a professional sports team. The path to the pros is a combination of endless work outs, practices and games along with an undying faith in long term success. For an ex-player to become a truly successful media member, front office executive or coach, they must attack it with the same focus and rigor that brought them to the pros. The grind of getting up early every morning to run or take extra batting practice is easily applied to the business side of the industry. But instead of those extra swings or running sessions, the time is spent reading scouting reports, talking to players and analysts or learning the history of the game. Those who reach the sports pinnacle did so while accepting the immense risk that goes along with it. The percentage of high school and collegiate athletes that go on to play professional sports is minuscule. But they’re willing to put most everything else on hold – family, education, travel – until they either reach their goal or fail trying. Most athletes have a high risk tolerance giving them the ability to take chances and focus on making the right decisions for the team, not for their own career. Former athletes can succeed in the fast-paced, high risk sports industry because of the effort they’ll put in and the chances they’ll take to become successful.  

18 Comments

  1. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

  2. Really appreciate you sharing this article post.Thanks Again.

  3. Thanks for the useful information and it was handsomely written, once again thanks for the share!

    Thanks

    Ammu

  4. Thanks for sharing. , What motivated you to call this blog “Former Athletes in Sports Business”, not that the title does not go with the content, I am just wondering.

  5. ChiCityWriter

    I titled it ‘Former Athletes in Sports Business’ because it closely matches the article’s content. Athletes have a leg up in getting into the business side of sports. But they’re only successful if they work as hard off the field as they did on the field.

  6. Great post – I agree that the athletes make connections and create a strong network while they are athletes that cannot compare – it’s one of their main advantages.

  7. dissertationmojo

    Thanks for the informative writing.

  8. pdasegment.com

    Im no expert, but I believe you just made an excellent point. You certainly fully understand what youre speaking about, and I can truly get behind that.

  9. Derwick Associates

    You have a really constructive blog. I have been here reading for an hour. Thank you for sharing this useful information and I will let my friends know as well

  10. Sometimes it is very hard to find good content on this topic. But your blog is my way to desired information, my problem is solved now. Thanks for posting something worth reading.

  11. This post truly made my day. You can’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks.

  12. Thanks for the informative writing.

  13. Claudia Tereza

    Some athletes are doing business in sports field. I think after retirement it’s a great choice that these athletes are associate in this relevant field.

  14. Actually Sports Business is a profitable channel so Former Athletes will get involved. good work keep it up.

  15. Stewart Fitch

    A group of world-class athletes and officials, headlined by a world boxing champion, offered a class of MBA students at Rutgers Business School.

  16. yes it is the right time for them to earn money by sports. good to see.

  17. well the biggest advantage athletes have when entering the business side of sports is the network they’ve built along the way.

  18. Mark Beasley

    what a wonderful post. Thank you.

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