Roger Goodell wasn’t always a powerful NFL executive. He didn’t go from an Ivy League classroom straight into his Park Avenue corner office. And he didn’t always gross more than $40 million per year. Believe it or not Goodell, back in 1982, was a low-paid NFL administrative intern. His smarts, work ethic and leadership skills elevated him up the NFL’s corporate ladder with the title of commissioner as the capstone to an astonishing career. Goodell’s willingness to take a risk on what could have easily been a short-term internship says much about the benefits of so-called temporary jobs in sports.
Some people look down on seasonal jobs and post-collegiate internships. The positions often lack benefits, pay poorly and seemingly hold minimal long-term growth potential. Why accept a job that has no clear career path and might place you years behind your colleagues in the quest for career domination? Because sometimes grabbing a Chance card, Monopoly-style, is the fastest way to build houses, hotels and own every railroad on the board. Dozens of temporary jobs and internships exist in the world of sports, and sports business. Many of them will help you achieve your career goals much faster than you’d expect.
One of the toughest jobs to get in sports is that of team broadcaster. There aren’t many professional broadcaster positions to begin with and it’s not often that one of them comes available. And then, without experience and some name recognition, your resume is lost in the crowd of applicants. That’s exactly why a sports broadcasting internship can help you get on the playing field. Do you have sample broadcasting material for an application? Does your college classroom experience help you qualify? Make a case for why you’re the right intern and then soak it all in. Travel with the team, learn the broadcasting experience from A-to-Z and get advice from true professionals in the industry. Your resume will fill up with wildly interesting experiences and you’ll be better prepared to step behind a microphone of your own one day.
Gameday Ticket Sales
New generation sports fans believe the days of in-stadium ticket sales are just about over. Online buying along with print-at-home or scan-with-phone stadium entry has eliminated ticket window lines as well as the need for a large ticket operations team. But scoring a seasonal job in ticket operations might jump start a career in a field that is being redefined as we speak. The next evolution of event tickets—in sports, music, theater and other live entertainment—is hard to predict. That means a part-time position for a smart innovator could easily transform into a full-fledged role. Organizations collect overwhelming amounts of data on fan buying trends, secondary markets and ticket channel sales. And while all of this information is stored it isn’t always used to tell the true ticket-buying story. Someone with that mindset, along with a complimentary skillset, can fill a valuable role with a team.
On game day, a sporting event looks like a well-oiled piece of handcrafted machinery. Cameras click on-and-off at precisely the right moments, replays are cued up instantly and scores and statistics overlay the action without distracting from the game at hand. Live sporting events are televised thousands of times per year and, despite how it might seem, getting the video production right is hard. There are few opportunities to gain hands on experience in the field, which makes a video production internship even more valuable. You’ll assist a video coordinator, organize and maintain video recordings for the team, record practices and cut tape for players and coaches to study. You’ll also develop the experiences necessary for teams to consider hiring you on full-time. Take time to network with others in your field and pay attention to the amazing work happening all around you.
Social Media Marketing
The sports universe is a stream of Twitter feeds, Instagram pictures, Facebook posts and behind-the-scenes moments shared on Vine and Snapchat. Professional and amateur teams’ marketing departments compete with one another to be the most social, viral and humorous of the crowd. Smart franchises can automate email marketing as well as fan-targeted advertising but it’s nearly impossible to simulate humanized social media marketing. Organizations need marketers to help their social media feeds come alive. If you built a resume that includes some marketing or public relations experiences you likely qualify for one of these positions. To be fair, social media marketing interns and entry-level professionals aren’t highly paid or overly praised. But you’re provided a platform—often times a very visible one—to make a name for yourself within the department. Creativity, humor, wit and timing can quickly transform your part-time job into a promotion complete with a full-time position, decent pay and benefits.