California is one of few states in the nation that still holds a bit of magic to it. From the beaches and bright lights of Southern California to the Bay Area’s fog and majestic Golden Gate Bridge, there remains a mystic to the most populous state in America. No other state hosts more professional teams or presents as many opportunities to sports industry professionals seeking a challenge and a sunny place to call home.
Los Angeles, the second largest city in the nation, manages to be a first-class sports town despite its lack of a professional football team. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as well as the Dodgers – both top ten in payroll last season – have the star athletes to bring fans to the ballpark. The Lakers are forever the basketball angels of Tinsletown and the Clippers’ duo of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are winning fans over in Staples Center. The National Hockey League and Major League Soccer are also well represented with the Ducks, Kings, Galaxy and Chivas USA located in or around the metropolis. The Los Angeles sports industry is much more than people building and running the city’s franchises. National media companies like Fox Sports and the NFL Network call Southern California home along with the Los Angeles Times and a handful of sports radio stations. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight Blog needs an LA-based editor. Major sports media networks are hiring software engineers, program directors and leaders of advertising. And the professional teams themselves need social media experts, customer service specialists and sales executives to support the teams that call Los Angeles home.
Oakland has a national reputation that doesn’t do its city justice. It’s forever known as the rough-and-tumble town across the bay from Northern California’s star attraction, San Francisco. But culture, diversity, affordable housing and close proximity to the ocean make it the hidden jewel of the Golden State. Its three professional teams – the Raiders, Warriors and Athletics – make it a worthy destination for sports professionals. The Warriors finally belong with the Western Conference elite and the Athletics’ General Manager, Billy Beane, creatively keeps the team in competition despite a bottom 5 payroll. Although Raider Nation continues to flounder, its owner made a wise decision to bring back head coach Dennis Allen, giving continuity to a team sorely lacking it under past leadership. The sports organizations of Oakland, California need forward-thinking, creative professionals to help its teams thrive. Stadium Operations staff is necessary to greet fans and address fans’ safety concerns at the O.co Coliseum. Do-everything promotions crew members will maintain and store game day equipment, work as mascot racers and assist in the ticket booth. Sales representatives strive to meet revenue goals so Oakland’s teams can grow their payroll. And computer savvy client service representatives assist with fan ticket procurement. Oakland isn’t the largest city in California but its ability to support three professional sports teams and shine in the shadows of San Francisco make it an underdog worth rooting for.
Sacramento is geographically northeast of San Francisco at the northern point of the Central Valley. While it is home to a singular professional sports team, the town has a need for hard workers to support a serious sports infatuation. The Sacramento Kings, who flirted with a move to Seattle in recent years, isn’t going anywhere after being purchased by Vivek Ranadive. The city’s mayor and former Phoenix Sun’s star, Kevin Johnson, worked tirelessly to make sure of that. It’s a franchise with a fanatical following, young stars and new ownership that will restore professionalism back to team operations. The capital of California is nearing half-a-million dwellers, many either politicians or business professionals, providing strong commercial and entertainment options to residents. Sports employment opportunities are rich, both in and around Sacramento. Ever heard of a Micro Listener? The Kings are looking for one to harness the power of social media, monitor trends and benchmark results of team marketing campaigns. Levy Restaurants is seeking both a Suites Manager and Concessions Manager to run Sleep Train Arena, the home of the town’s NBA team. Even the minor league team, the River Cats, need a Clubhouse Attendant and Groundskeeper to keep the team and its grounds in top shape.
San Diego is everything Los Angeles is not. The city of angels is a fast-paced, widespread metropolis; San Diego is the epitome of California cool. A slower moving city with a prominent Navy Base, cooler temperatures as well as plenty of beaches and unique neighborhoods. Its professional teams have a similar vibe. The Padres, a perennial challenger in the Nation League West, play in Petco Park and fly under the radar of most national media coverage. Its football franchise, the Chargers, call aging Qualcomm Stadium home but continue to win, making the playoffs again this past season. For the majority of us, it’s a tempting vacation spot. For the nearly 1.5 million people that call San Diego home, it’s paradise in your backyard. The sports organizations of San Diego, and their supporting businesses, are hiring people in various roles. Fox Sports San Diego needs a Director of Marketing while the Padres need a professional ball girl. The Charges are hiring a Ticket Sales Representative and GMR Marketing needs a smooth-talking Powerbar Nutrition Tech Representative. For professionals searching for beautiful surroundings and a challenging work environment, the city of San Diego has what you need.
San Jose is widely considered The Capital of Silicon Valley. The third largest city in California and the tenth largest city in the nation are home to tech giants the likes of IBM, Cisco, eBay and Adobe. Its nearly one million residences enjoy a handful of museums, a zoo, amusement parks and two professional sports franchises. The San Jose Sharks – a perennial playoff contender the NHL’s Western Conference – draw over 17,000 fans a game into the SAP Center at San Jose, filling the arena to capacity most nights. The city’s Major League Soccer team, the Earthquakes, inhabit Buck Shaw Stadium, and is a charter member a league that formed nearly twenty years ago. For sports business professionals, San Jose’s amazing cityscape, ever-growing economy and availability of sports-related jobs make it an appealing one. The Sharks seek a Director of IT while Golfsmith International is hiring field marketing representatives. The SAP Center of San Jose, home to the Sharks, needs a Control Room Technician while a major fitness club is hiring a Personal Trainer. With two professional sports teams and the San Jose Mercury News’ well regarded sports page, it’s a form of entertainment that’s top of mind for the city’s many, many dwellers.
San Francisco sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean creating spectacular views and is rich in both culture and commerce. Over 800,000 residences have come to appreciate the city’s history as well as its modern influences. One of the top tourist attractions in California has two professional sports teams – the Giants and 49ers. Its local media – the San Francisco Chronicle, KNBR (The Sports Leader), 95.7 (The Game) – has plenty to cover. The Giants have recently won two World Series titles – 2010 and 2012 – and the 49ers, with Jim Harbaugh at the helm, are 36-11 over the past three regular seasons. Though the Bay Area metropolis has much else to offer, its rabid fan base puts the sports franchises on a pedestal. There are opportunities abound across the city. CBS Interactive is hiring an Account Manager while NBC Sports is seeking a Sports Anchor. The 49ers need a Manager of Partner Services to work directly with club corporate partners. And the Giants want a Sponsorship Account Executive to identify new potential sponsors and manage client relationships. With its proximity to Silicon Valley, a booming economy and coastal shoreline, San Francisco is a destination for all sorts of sports business professionals.