Isn't Everything In Life About Sales?

There has been an article that keeps showing up on my LinkedIn feed titled Why Sports Management Majors Are Doomed to Fail and I have let it get a little under my skin. I was hoping that it would be promoting some little thing I've been missing within the sports industry, specifically Minor League Baseball because it was penned by one of the VP's for the New Britain Rock Cats. However, as a two time Winter Meetings attendee, I already knew that sales were important. So for our second installation of Baseball Behind the Scenes, I have a different argument on why this is such a tough industry to stick with. 

Job Seeking Journalers Extraordinaire

The article mentions Baseball Winter Meetings our author interviewed 117 candidates for three open positions. That is, in my opinion, the biggest problem facing Sports Management majors as well as those of us who have graduated and moved our lives across the country three times for jobs. You interviewed 117 candidates for three open positions. I'm willing to bet at least one of those three positions was an internship with no real room for growth. As many of you may already know, I was also at the Winter Meetings and wrote blogs about the experience for one of my heroes, Ben Hill. The lack of turnover in sports for full time positions is something like trying to get a job at a university where every teacher has tenure.

I started working in sports at the ripe age of 16 as a minimum wage ticket taker. I took every opportunity to work extra hours, dress up as the mascot for appearances, and stuck with that job until I was a sophomore in college. My college internship was with a summer wooden bat league team, so it wasn't very sales focused because we didn't sell tickets at all. I took my first full time MiLB job at the 2010 Winter Meetings/PBEO Job Fair and moved about as far away from home as possible without leaving the country. I knew that to stick with that organization I would have to pick up a sales aspect to my job and I never took issue with it.
When I realized I couldn't juggle the cost of living in California, combined with my car and student loan payments, I needed to move on. I took a job that was almost exclusively sales with the promise that I would be able to move into a more community centered role as the seasons went by. The cards didn't fall that way so I moved back to Atlanta and took my Trainee position. I worked in MLB and I wanted to go back to pulling tarp, making a few sales calls, dressing up as the mascot, and working 100 hour weeks for peanuts. 

Now, I'm in a position where I have too much experience to be entry level and not enough experience to be a manager. I'm in a position where I am all for sales in addition to the community and marketing programs. I was only selected for one interview the entire time I was in Orlando and I still haven't heard one way or the other from that team. I've interviewed for several positions since, and have been turned down for a variety of reasons that are out of my control. I'm constantly tweaking my resume hoping to make it stand out against the thousands that a team will receive from TeamWork Online and PBEO.
Maybe the Sport Management program at UGA trumps a lot of other programs, or maybe my unique road into Minor League Baseball prepared me for a sales aspect, but I was never surprised by the fact that I would have to be at least partially a sales person. So here I am, back as a minimum wage game day employee holding out hope that something will open up and I'll be a perfect match for the team. Sales is a huge part of Minor League Baseball, but it's not the only issue facing those of us trying to find a job that sticks. 

So, hey, what time do the fireworks start? Is the game next Friday going to be rained out? What do you think is the biggest hurdle for those trying to survive in the sports industry? 


  1. I work in college athletics and so I have a lot of friends who are or were in the Sports Management program and I'd bet that 100% of them fully understood that sales would be or is a part of their job. No just in Minor League Baseball, but in general. I did send a few of them the link to that article and I'm definitely interested to hear their feedback. OH, and your experience level problems? I swear this whole post sounded just like some of my friends! You are definitely not alone! And if they ever figure out the secret, I'll totally pass it along to you!!

  2. I'm a few days late, but what the heck, right?

    I tried to get into the sports industry for a while myself. Hockey was my primary goal, but I was interested in baseball as a backup plan. I wanted to work in media relations, but tried ticket sales jobs as well, especially in the minors and never got anywhere. I really do believe one of the hurdles is that employers in any industry are so picky anymore, but moreso in sports because there are SO many experienced candidates. I had good transferable skills, experience with a large sports media website and a writing portfolio, and I had phone interviews with hiring managers who told me I was talented and had great work experience. But they'd always hire someone who was stronger or more local or...just better I guess. I couldn't even break in with the local MiLB team on game days, and it felt like a failure. I'm still at my sports website job and am ready to quit, but of course because of said employer pickiness, I can't seem to get a gig anywhere! I've largely given up on teams for the time being.

    You seem to have some solid experience and could probably beat me for a job at some point, but the market is just too brutal. I'm really sorry you're going through this. I totally get where you're coming from, except unlike me, you don't seem to be fighting burnout and you have a strong desire to succeed. I hope it all works out for you eventually, and I'm always willing to chat over e-mail if you want help.

  3. I am so in love with your blog and so sad I haven't found it until now. I have so much catching up to do :) I'm still lobbying with my dad to get you a job. He stays so busy that he keeps forgetting, though I keep emailing him ... which I'm just about to do again...