This is the time of year when I receive a number of questions from law students about careers in the sports industry. Although there’s no right answer, or one single path to working in and around sports, getting an internship is a great start.
Why an internship?
A couple of years ago, I posted Dan Canavan’s interview with Bob Crawford, voice of the AHL team formerly known as the Hartford Wolfpack, now the Connecticut Whale. Mr. Crawford provides excellent advice for job seekers:
DC: As ctsportslaw.com has continued to reach new readers, we routinely receive emails seeking advice on how to start a career in the sports industry. Do you have any advice for those looking to break into the industry?
BC: The most common and effective path these days is through internship programs. There are fewer jobs in the sports industry as compared to other fields, which makes it very difficult to get a foot in the door. Internship programs give students a chance to meet and work for people in the industry, which is always important to starting any career. And once you get into an organization on any level, you need to work hard, prove that you can be an asset, and showcase a specific skill set that brings value to the group.
How to Get an Internship
The sports industry is highly competitive. Accordingly, securing an internship is not an easy task. Jack Bechta, and NFL player agent and contributor to the National Football Post, wrote an excellent 7-step plan to landing an internship:
The problem is that there are too many people chasing too few internships, so it’s tough to get your foot in the door. Like many agents, I get several unsolicited inquiries per week about the possibility of interning at JB Sports. NFL teams, and other pro sports teams, receive hundreds per month. However, I only use about two interns per year, and they’re usually selected a year in advance.
What if I am unable to land an internship?
If you can’t immediately land a job in sports or entertainment law, obtain basic legal skills elsewhere, and be ready to transfer those skills to the sports or entertainment industry when the opportunity arises. Also, in a tough job market and a tougher area of law to break into, networking is crucial.