After the Final Whistle: Skills for the Sports Industry

SA contributing writer: Kris Magargal, Program Coordinator

Like many of you, I grew up with sports in my life. In fact, they were practically the background of my entire life. From an early age, I fell in love with competitive atmospheres and camaraderie; learning how to transfer aggression positively might have been my saving grace. Once my playing days were over it felt like a natural progression to pursue a career in the sports industry as a long-term professional goal. My biggest hurdle was figuring out how and what I wanted to do once I got my opportunity. 

The reality of working in the sports industry is that there are thousands of opportunities at varying levels. The key component to breaking into any industry is being able to develop the skills necessary to do that job well. I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who is the Associate Athletic Director of a New England area college. He and I discussed different skills that are desirable to athletic departments and professional franchises. He honed in on communication and sales experience as being highly appreciated. “In each of those professions, you’re constantly asked to adapt and think quickly to find a solution. You’re also asked frequently to sell a message that shows what the brand you represent is about.” He and I both agree that these two skills are acquired by getting out of our comfort zones and not being afraid to fail. “There is a lot of value in failing, failing has taught me way more than being successful right away would have.” Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and think of your career in terms of the skills that YOU need in order to progress to where you want to be. 

Remember that there are no entitlements or guarantees in the sports industry. Nothing will come easy if you choose to pursue this field as a career but, a person that is willing to work hard with integrity cannot be defeated. As Michael Jordan once said, “Some people want it to happen, some people wish it to happen, others make it happen.”