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Jobs in sports


RobRoberts

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I don'tknow if anyone in here works in the sports industry, but I have been looking fora while.  I even once went kinda far in an interview with the Tampa Bay Lightning.  

So I've always been interested in making my passion for sports into a career.  Yesterday I get a call from a place called "Game Face Inc."  They offer a class out in Utah to train people to work in the sports industry, and supposedly even bring in teams for interviews.

My question is, does anyone know if this company is for real?  They charge about $2500 for the classes, not including lodging for two weeks and transportation.  Is this a legitimate way to get a job?  Could anyone in here give me better advice on getting a job in sports?

Thanks everyone.

Rob

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I have no idea about that GameFace company, but I figured I'd share my story on how I went from fan -> employee

I just finished training for my second season with the Toronto Blue Jays, last season I worked at a Sales booth representing the owner of the club, this season I will be an usher.  I also spent last Summer working on the Game Day Crew of the now defunct Toronto Phantoms of the AFL, and I was also the scoreboard operator of the minor league baseball team Oshawa Dodgers.

All of those jobs came from answering an advertisement on the Toronto Blue Jays website, where they regulairly post job opportunities available.

I sent in my resume applying to be a groundskeeper, and received a letter in the mail 2 weeks later asking me to come down for an interview.  The interview was about 5-minutes long, and I told them what they wanted to hear.  I received a phone call a week later inviting me down for a second interview, I thought I did a great job, but they didn't select me.

I kept in contact with the man who interviewed me and eventually he offered me another position with the team, selling cell phones for the owner of the club, I accepted the job knowing that just getting my foot in the door would set me up for other opportunities.

It certainley did.

Within 2 months I was offered a job with the Phantoms, and also got that job with the Oshawa Dodgers.  I was also offered a position with the Toronto Argonauts, but declined, as I already had 4 jobs.

And now, after the owner of the Blue Jays decided they did not want to employee the same staff at their booth, my boss liked the work I did so much, that he pulled some strings to make me an usher.

Story summed up....  take any job available, even if it's not what you're after, because you'll learn that KNOWING people is the best asset on your resume, and when other teams see that you have a long list of contacts within professional sports teams, they'll definately take a look at you before Joe Schmoe.

Thank you and good night

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Chris is right on, and so was your contact with the Avs, Rob.  Those seminars are nothing but money making tools for the promoters and nothing more.  There are literally hundreds of thousands of sports fans in the 18-25 demographic looking for jobs in the sports industry.  Face it, most of us on this board have at one time or another thought about how great it would be to work in the world of sports, especially for a favorite team.  We are far from alone.  Like jobs in any other field, personal contact, perseverence, flexibility and a healthy sense of reality are your best tools.  

I think Chris's story is pretty common.  When you have an opportunity to work with a team you work where they put you, develop the reputation as being a can-do guy and then very carefully attempt to trade on that reputation as you make more contacts.

I know a number of people who have worked for the Blues and the Cardinals and also the OKC Blazers of the CHL and they have all said that the one thing that teams look out for are good organizational-based workers (I am trying so hard not to use the term "team players" but that's what I mean).  If they are fans and/or knowledgeable of the sport, that's good, however what these teams tend to avoid like the plague are the "superfans" who are going to be more distracted by the fact that they are working for a sports team and less likely to do their jobs well.  

My best advice is to call the teams in which you're interested and find someone who will talk to you about job opportunities.  Another route is to check out the teams' websites, game programs and stadium signage to see who the teams' major advertisers are.  A lot of the huge corporations have sports marketing departments.  People who work in those departments might be able to hook you up with team insiders.  They also might be able to point you to jobs within their own companies which would also give you access to those teams or provide you with a sports-related career opportunity.  

The bottom line is to make personal contacts but not develop the reputation as being annoying.  Good luck!

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The best way, and usually the only way, is to start small, just get your foot in the door.  I started at the Mariners Team Store in a mall 2 years ago, and I just applied for a college summer internship.  It is really compeptitve, so I don't know if it will go anywhere, but I have made a couple contacts within the merchandising department in the front office.  Every little bit helps.  I really don't think that the classes will do much, other than get a contact or two.  The kinds of jobs we are all interested in probably don't need to go to some small seminar to find people, they have more than enough applicants.  Minor League Baseball does have a job fair every year in conjunction with the MLB winter meetings.  My brother went a couple years ago and got a job with the Clinton Lumberkings.  It paid crap and he worked like hell, but it was the experience that was most valuable.
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Here's my story from fan -> employee

The now defunct XFL's San Francisco Demons made my junior college, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA their home.  I was a fan and I knew a friend who knew the backup QB Pat Barnes.  One day I asked the Equipment Manager David Doud if there was a way I could help.  He said sure, gave me a sweatshirt and I was officially named Assistant Equipment Manager.  I would set up the field for practice and later they let me have full access to work at home games.  

I would fill up game balls, set up lockers, warm up quarterbacks, chat with players.  They let me be a fan at the games, although I did do some work as well don't get me wrong.  I would get the tees and since both benches were on the same sideline at Pac Bell Park, I would trash talk with the opposing QB when I'm on the field.  It worked 2 of 3 times.  

Of course the big suprise was when the players and coaches treated me to a road trip in Los Angeles for the last game of the regular season.  LA Coliseum stinks!  No, literally the best time of my life.  I met the entire McMahon family, and met Tommy Maddox, nice guy.  After the rough loss, Demons QB Mike Pawlawski let me go to dinner with his family, and had a great time.  Backup QB Pat Barnes also grabbed the phone from me to talk to my mom to tell her that the team is checking on me to make sure I'm not partying!  LOL  

All in all we were a close bunch, and if I can find a player that has the team picture (I was in it behind Mike Pawlawski) I want a copy!  It was tough when we all got a call to come to headquarters to hear about the folding of the league.  McMahon knew it wouldn't last and decided to buy WCW and ECW rather than keeping his football venture alive.  It was an experience I'll never forget and now i have that on my resume.  I'm trying to talk to the San Jose Sharks and hoping I can help next season.  

My advice: give the teams a call and ask to speak to Human Resources or Public Relations.  If you know where the team practices, speak to someone that looks like they're a part of the team and that they're not busy.  That's how I got my job! GOOD LUCK!

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One of the hardest parts, and I have always realized this, is the lack of minor league teams in the Long Island area.

I can only think of the LI Ducks and Brooklyn Cyclones.  The Cyclones are quite a ride as well.

I tried getting an internship in college with the Albany River Rats and Adirondack Redwings.  The Wings were a tiny operation, and the Rats decided to go with a football "star" at my school over me.  Yup, that's right, a "star."  I think he plays in Greece now or something.

I just wanted that confirmation that "Game Face" was a load of BS.  At this point, it'll probably be my best bet just to stay in finance.

Poor, poor me.

RLR

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even tho i am only 15, i would like to have a job in sports, start off small. yes, RobRoberts is correct by saying there is littly minor leagues here. but i know someone that works for the NY Islanders as a goal judge "upstairs". I also played hockey with his son, so i am hoping 5 years down the line i can poke my nose at sum jobs, but like i said im 15  :D

BTW Rob, my kberg jv hockey team is playing chami in the hockey finals!!! and also the Varsity team made it to the finals. so eat this.. firebrd4.GIF:D

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I'm not sure if it counts, because it only lasted for six days, but during the World Junior Hockey Champions this past December, I worked for Team Belarus, even if I volunteered for it. Fetching them Gatorade, distributing and collecting the pucks for practise and warm-up, collecting their stinky laundry after each practise and game, fetching their jerseys before the games, making sure they are on the ice with 1:30 left in the intermission, finding them an electrical outlet for their skate sharpener when the outlet short circuited, plus I got to watch each game for free from the zamboni entrance (beats paying $25 to see them) and stand there as they walk back and forth to their dressing room, giving them high fives as they went back. (And I got to do this with Team USA the one game they faced each other).

It was great and I'd do it all again in a second.

--Roger "Time?" Clemente.

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Rob, so far it looks like you've got some good advice here.

I don't think it's worth $2500 to go to Utah for a seminar. You can probably learn just as much on the Internet (after all, this is a logo board and you're already being steered in a better direction -- and just how many pro teams are there in Utah? One NBA team?) or by networking with other people. I think the most important things are meeting people, continuing to gain experience where you can, and patience.

I actually came very close to landing a job with a company that owns an NBA and NHL club recently. But it took some work on my part to get in the door -- and I have 10 years experience. It was the first time I actually interviewed with a team, and I'd say I've floated my resume to no less than 10 teams over the past couple of years -- all for jobs that I was qualified or OVER-qualified for.

I may not come away with the job (technically it's still "up in the air"), but I think I made a good impression and some good contacts and it might pay off down the road. That could be one or two YEARS down the road, though...

The job I have now is not with a team, but it is with a major sports company. I applied two years before I got the job. The first time I was interviewed by phone and there seemed to be interest, but the distance was a factor. The next time I saw an opening I made myself available in person (in other words, I bought the plane tickets to go there). You see, these teams might pay top dollar to athletes, but they're still cheap when it comes to the help (as are many companies these days). They'll take anything you can give them, and since there's a lot of competition, you might have to level the playing field, especially if you're from out of town. So that might mean you won't get moving costs covered or a salary that's as good as you hoped (or a company to fly you in for an interview). But if you get your foot in the door it might help you show them your worth and you could move up in the company, or use the experience to get a job for another team. And if not, maybe it's just satisfying enough to be working for a sports team (at least for a while).

Internships might be helpful if you can swing it cost-wise. Rams head coach Mike Martz's first NFL job was a volunteer position, and he worked his way up on various teams in various roles. The key has to be to network, gain experience and prove your worth. It can't be about making money right away. If you're talented and valuable to them once you're in, they'll either pay to keep you around or someone else will pay to have you work for them.

So it might take some sacrifice -- and I don't mean the $2500 for a seminar. Hold on to that money -- you can use it in better ways (like paying the bills if you take an unpaid internship). And it definitely takes patience. Like I said, there's a lot of competition for these jobs. A lot of it's being in the right place at the right time. So good luck.

What is it exactly you're trying to do -- graphic design?

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Hey, thanks everyone.

CubsFan, I agree with most all of what you say.  I've done a lot of that.

I'd be more interested in marketing, player or fan relations, and/or finance.  I've got a few years of finance under my belt, but I'd prefer to do it in a field I was more interested in.  See:

"Mr. Dolan, I'm sorry, but there is no way we can sign EVERY NHL player in the NHL.  We are not the Yankees you know."

Rob :angry:

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