Sports Public Relations: Uncovering the Hidden Job Market

Chris McKinney
Sports PR jobs seem like they’re hidden, but they’re really not.  You just have to know where to look.

Most people can’t find Sports PR jobs because they have blinders on.  They get so focused on working for their favorite team, they can’t see the big picture.  That’s understandable because of all the excitement surrounding the team create and the media attention superstar athletes generate.

Team Jobs = Only Six Percent of Market

According to Sports Careers founder, Mark Tudi, “Team jobs make up only six percent of the jobs within the entire industry.”  That means there’s another 94 percent of sports jobs out there that you should know about.  That’s what we’ll cover today.

Opportunities Within Each Sector

To uncover the hidden job market in Sports PR, we need to look at the various business sectors that make up the sports industry.  To simplify it, I’ve divided the sports industry into eight basic business sectors below.

  • Teams/Leagues/Governing Bodies
  • Corporate Sponsors
  • Sports Agencies
  • Sports Media
  • Sports Apparel
  • Sporting Goods
  • Stadiums/Live Events
  • Health/Fitness

Thousands of companies make up each of those sectors.  Here’s the good news: 99 percent of those companies have a PR department, or hire an outside agency.  Companies within the Corporate Sponsor sector, like Coca-Cola for example, employ PR experts to help garner as much attention as they possibly can in order to maximize those expensive sponsorships.

Sports Media companies, such as ESPN and Fox Sports, also have PR departments.  They’re constantly promoting new programming.  Same with Sports Apparel companies like Nike and Sporting Goods companies like Spalding.

Every company, every brand, every organization in the sports industry has a unique story to tell.  And it’s the PR department that helps make that happen.

The Biggest Opportunities

Once you discover the wide-range of companies that exist within the sports industry, you’ll have an easier time uncovering the Sports PR opportunities.

As for the biggest Sports PR opportunities happening in 2011, they can be found in two areas:

1) Social Media Coordinator

2) Sports PR & Marketing Agencies

If you’re bent on working for your favorite team, I suggest you position yourself as a social media expert.  Darren Rovell, CNBC Sports Business Reporter (@Darren Rovell) says, “I think that the social media coordinator is the best job that will open up on sports teams.”

Looking beyond the teams, the sector with the most opportunities would be Sports PR & Marketing Agencies.  Media fragmentation has caused sports properties to partner with agencies that specialize in highly-targeted audiences.

To find these agencies, look for my book entitled, “America’s Top 200 Sports PR & Marketing Firms: Job Leads, Key Contacts and Hiring Managers.” (Fall 2011).  I’ll send you an email alert when the book is released, just sign up for my newsletter here: 

Chris McKinney is the president of SPORTS LAUNCH, a nationwide career development company dedicated to helping college students and career-changers launch sports careers.

2 thoughts on “Sports Public Relations: Uncovering the Hidden Job Market

  1. Hello, I am Student at Southeast Missouri State University and I am interested in a career in sports. I know it is a competitive field but just how competitive is it and once you land a job what is the job security is like?

    Thank you!

    1. As romantic as sports PR sounds, this might be the most competitive segment of our profession, mainly due to the fact that sports organization have lean staffs. Job turnover at the entry level is higher than other areas of the profession due to work schedules that run far more than a typical agency or corporate staffer. Don’t go into sports PR just because you love sports; know that the demands are often 24/7. You might want to check out agencies that work with brands that support sports. Here, you’ll find a broader range of opportunities and not get locked into a grind that sometimes comes with a single sports organization.

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