A life completely without sport – can you imagine that? No? What is an attitude to life for you personally is also reflected in the professional framework of the sports industry. Sport, as well as its related fields of health & wellness and outdoor, are among the world’s continuously growing industries.

(Online) Marketing is now considered an essential part of each company, from small start-ups to large corporations. This is mainly due to the further development of the online infrastructure and a trend towards the use of digital channels. In the post-epidemic era, not only large companies but also many small businesses have shifted their focus to online communication: In addition to sales through stationary shops (retail), more and more companies are offering their products via e-commerce, through their own online shops or other online sales platforms, and are using the reach of the internet for their communication.

To cut a long story short, a career in sports marketing is a good idea, because

  • the sports industry is a continuously growing industry
  • Sport Marketing jobs are among the most frequently offered vacancies on Sportyjob and other career platforms
  • Sport Marketing offers many options for your professional development
  • Sport marketing is an exciting professional field, as it is constantly evolving and poses new challenges to marketing professionals.
  • Sport marketing expertise is also applicable outside the industry and therefore expands your potential employer market to other industries as well. 
  • Sport Marketing offers you the chance of a career change, even without a marketing degree, if you acquire the necessary skills. 

This naturally brings us to the follow-up question: How do I start a career in sports marketing?

Studying Sports Marketing – yes or no?

As a large segment of the marketing industry, sports marketing has now become a popular direct degree programme in Europe. Contrary to this, marketing is one of the areas where a particular degree does not play such a big role for recruiters. In concrete terms, this means that you do not have to study marketing to work in marketing.

On the one hand, this is due to the fact that there are many related degree programmes that partially touch on marketing, such as communication sciences, economics or sports management. On the other hand, many degree programmes cover the necessary skills or practical know-how that you need for a sports job in marketing. These are, for example, writing skills or dealing with (audiovisual) media – things that you learn in many programmes.

So why study (sports) marketing at all? 

Gaining professional experience

The main advantage of studying marketing is the practical experience you gain alongside your education. Working student positions or even compulsory internships are mainly filled by students, preferably from a related field. Sports colleges and universities have the advantage that they are closely networking with companies in the industry. This means that students from the respective universities are often given preference when it comes to filling vacancies. 

The work experience that an internship and part-time job in a sports company gives you is also what gives young professionals a huge competitive advantage. Furthermore, the internship offers you the chance to make contacts that can help you get an interview after graduation. 

Prove your perseverance

No matter what you study, any degree shows that you are willing to invest time and effort to achieve a goal. It shows a potential employer that you are disciplined and don’t falter in your resolutions. This makes it an important part of your CV to show character strengths, so called soft skills.

Hands-on mentality: Learn practical marketing skills on your own or via (free) online courses to improve career opportunities.

What is the best way to a career in sports marketing without a marketing degree?

Online courses & certificates

An effective way to gain online marketing skills alongside an existing job or degree is through online certificates. Many IT companies and marketing software providers offer courses that familiarise you with the use of their programmes. This way you gain practical experience in the use of e.g. Google Adwords, Hubspot, and co. This will give you tangible knowledge that you will need for a job in sports marketing. 

Start your own project

Learning by doing may sound worn out, but it is still a true component for gaining qualifications. Especially in IT, e-commerce and online marketing, autodidacts, i.e. people who teach themselves, are widespread, as almost everyone in the modern world has the possible means (read: hardware and software) to try things out for themselves.

Build your own website and test how content and technique affect search engine rankings. In SEO, where the slgorithms of search engines are constantly changing, agencies and experienced SEO managers use this way in practice to develop new methods to improve their clients’ rankings. 

Create social media channels, develop a strategy and create content. If you create a successful channel or some of your posts go viral, this is a potential reference in your application. 

Content creation, be it textual or audiovisual, is not an innate talent, but something you learn and improve with constant practice. The more you write, photograph, film and design, the better you get at it. 

Online blogs and guides can help you establish the basic rules you need as a foundation for your expertise – the rest will develop with regular practice. 

If the path seems too rocky for you, you can also take (free) lectures and online courses on the topic of online marketing. You can find some platforms that we can recommend here. 

(Part-time) jobs in your desired sports field

We also don’t want to ignore the role of the company or industry – after all, we are talking about a career specifically in sports. Even if you have acquired enough knowledge to be qualified for a marketing position, it does not mean that it is in the sports industry. 

Many companies are looking for staff who are already familiar with the industry. So it is worthwhile if you have worked in a sports company already, no matter in which role. On the one hand, this offers opportunities for promotion within the company or a change of department, as positions are often filled internally, and on the other hand, the experience is also credited positively by other employers from the world of sport and opens doors for you in the sports world. 

Conclusion

The great thing about sports marketing is that you can learn a lot of knowledge and experience on your own or take it from other fields. So you don’t have to follow one specific path to start your career. Study Sport Marketing and get an insight into all areas. Or if you want to learn your own way, choose a career focus, e.g. event marketing, SEO or social media, and acquire the necessary skills yourself. Many paths lead to the same goal – one of them is sure to suit you!

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