Sports is the nation’s 11th largest industry but not unlike the media, entertainment, advertising and fashion is one where career development, internship experience and networking must be thoroughly pursued in order to get a job.
The network of the Center for Sports Business & Research including via its Advisory Board, other alumni and contacts help students develop their skills, abilities and connections. Classroom experiences, projects and internships help students decide if they have the passion, commitment, work ethic and diligence to work in one of the world’s most competitive industries.
Having been a good high school athlete, loving to attend games and consuming sports information on-line and on TV make good fans and sports customers, but do not always result in someone who wants to or should work in the industry. Taking classes and working on projects, hearing from and meeting guest speakers and taking advantage of career counseling and internship opportunities is how sports business professionals strongly advice the Center help Penn State students decide if they want to work in the business.
Penn State’s significant athletic assets include one of the nation’s largest athletic villages within walking distance of the Smeal College of Business. This gives s students opportunities to begin their internship experiences early and coincidental with being enrolled in classes. The Center has developed internship connections including the Penn State Sports Marketing Associates program which works with 26 Intercollegiate Sports, the Nittany Lion and Lady Lion basketball teams and Penn State Sports Properties, a division of Learfield Sports. Select and highly-competitive internship opportunities also are available with the football operation. Typically about 40 students are selected for on-campus sports internships annually and can continue to gain such experiences during subsequent on-campus semesters.
Career counseling and networking resources help students seek interviews for off-campus sports internships and permanent jobs with sports teams and leagues, media organizations and sports-related companies, including in the Mid-Atlantic region which has the world’s greater concentration of professional sports teams, league offices, sports media companies, sports agencies along with companies which maintain sports advertising, sponsorship and endorsement operations.
Another professional development path given the growing size and professionalism of the industry, is to leverage a functional business major and sports concentration and internships into a job in one of the industries whose business models include sports advertising, sponsorships and endorsements, such as automotive, consumer electronics, financial services, food and beverages, telecommunications and others which have sports marketing departments and divisions and/or use outside agencies to support these sports-related strategies and tactics.