What should I major in? Is law school necessary? What books should I read on the subject? What classes should I take? How do I break into the industry? Those are some of the questions I get asked as a sports agent. There is no easy answer to these questions, but there is one thing I always suggest to anyone asking me questions about my career–do an internship.
That’s how I got my start in the sports industry–through an internship.
Years ago, I was selected from an applicant pool of 280 candidates—one of seventeen—for an internship with Career Sports and Entertainment (CS&E), a marketing and representation agency in Atlanta, GA.
Working in the Client Services division fulfilled my wish to learn everything about a being a sports agent. Each day I searched about 30 different major newspapers and extracted brief summaries of articles that either contained information about one of CS&E’s clients or was about something that impacted the sports world. I would focus on Major League Baseball, NBA, PGA Tour, Nationwide Tour, NCAA Basketball, and NCAA Football. I sent the briefings to the entire company so everyone would know all the news. I also updated the company’s “stats sheet” for each of the fifty players we represented. And I worked on a charity golf tournament, the 5th Annual “On Course for Kids Charity Pro-Am,” helping to secure items for the silent auction.
I discovered that interning for a major company didn’t have to mean being the coffee boy. I actually did some of the same work as the entry-level employees in my division. As I got further into my internship,I was given more independence. And after only three weeks as an intern, the Senior Vice President of Client Services made sure to tell me I was one of the best interns CS&E had ever hired and that she loved my professionalism.
It was an amazing experience for someone looking to enter the entertainment, PR, marketing or sports agency world.
Jack Bechta of National Football Post agrees that an internship is the best way to break into working in sports. He provides a list of seven steps for students hoping to get an internship in the sports world.
- Find the right contact.
- Separate yourself from the pack.
- Be persistent.
- Be value added.
- Be virtual.
- Bring something tangible to the table.
- Create a job description for yourself.
At my current company, Dynasty, we have an internship program. Based on how our own intern selection process works, I agree with many of these points that Bechta makes. Reflecting on and acting on these seven points can help a potential intern stand out. During internship interviews, I always ask an applicant what makes them special. “Why you?’
Persistence is another tactic that has worked for interns in the past. I will never forget one particular intern who really wanted to work for us. He was so persistent, and because of that persistence I knew he would do a great job as an intern. He bled our company colors before he even had the internship. I had to have him.