For nearly 15 years I have been blessed to work as a lawyer in professional sports. From 2000 through 2010, I was a labor attorney for the Major League Baseball Players Association. In November 2010, I started my own consulting practice where I continue to work in sports in various capacities. In addition to working on contract issues and other matters for some of the top agents and players in Major League Baseball, I have also assisted the National Hockey League Players’ Association in grievance arbitration and salary arbitration and have worked on a number of high profile sports-related projects. I count myself fortunate for all of the opportunities and experiences that have and continue to come my way. Now, I’d like to help you and others fulfill their dream of building a career in sports.
In my fifth and final installment of this series we discuss Tip #5…
Tip #5: Get Plugged In
If you want to get into the sports industry make the rounds. Develop contacts by joining sports groups and associations. Attend panel discussions, awards ceremonies, trade shows and other events. In addition to paying attention to the scores and highlights, read the sports business pages. Look for trends and new developments. Keep an eye on who’s coming into and who’s leaving key positions. Listen out for recurring problems. These are often opportunities for those with bright ideas – like you! Keep abreast of emerging technologies and their application to the sports industry.
In addition read, read, read. No matter your sport of choice, there are likely several key publications that you should read regularly. One of my favorites is Sports Business Journal, which covers the business of sports from every meaningful angle. I believe SBJ is a must-read publication for anyone seriously interested in working in sports.
The bottom line is this: you must make an effort to get plugged in in a way that is consistent with your career goals. This does not mean that you should carpet-bomb your resume in your sports sector of choice. It does mean that you should strategically and intelligently keep track of the movers and shakers, the emerging issues and trends, and the ever-expanding challenges and opportunities in the sports world. This will aid you tremendously in your job search and help you advance in your career once you do break into the industry.
The tips I’ve shared over the last five weeks are not exhaustive, by any means, but hopefully they will provide you with ideas and the incentive to get going TODAY. If you have a particular question on your mind that goes beyond the topics covered here, feel free to contact me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me @JeffFannell.