Dr. Lynn Lashbrook
President and Founder of Sports Management Worldwide
A recent global survey determined 59 percent of people in the world self-identify as sports fans. Think about that for a second — around 4 billion people around the globe watch sports on TV, buy merchandise, and purchase tickets to events, all of which results in the thriving industry we know as sports.
For many, being in the 59 percent as a fan isn’t enough; they aspire to be a little closer to the action. And even if you can’t dunk, hit a home run, or throw a 50-yard touchdown pass, there are still myriad options available to work behind the scenes in sports.
Dr. Lynn Lashbrook, President and Founder of Sports Management Worldwide, has been a trusted advisor to people of all ages and experience levels pursuing their dream of entering the multi-billion-dollar sports industry.
“The sports industry operates like almost any other business, it’s just wrapped in a much more exciting package,” Dr. Lashbrook said. “There are business-focused careers in finance, marketing, operations, human resources and sales, plus there are sports-specific opportunities in scouting, coaching, training, player management, and more. Part-time roles, event volunteers, full-time staff, you name it.”
For Dr. Lashbrook, who has been an active NFL agent for over 30 years, in addition to creating online sports business courses at Sports Management Worldwide, finding success in the sports industry starts with your attitude and approach.
Have a walk-on attitude
College athletes on scholarship have been courted and fawned over for years. They are marveled for their athletic ability and coaches fight to have them on their teams.
Walk-ons don’t have a scholarship. They aren’t given a free education. There are not guaranteed a spot on the team. They have to outwork everyone else to get anything in return. Nothing is given.
“In my 40 years in the sports industry, things have changed dramatically, but one thing stays consistent,” Dr. Lashbrook said, “success is always tied to your attitude and willingness to achieve.
“A walk on approach means you don’t take anything for granted and you work your tail off every day. That’s the attitude you need for your sports career. Are you willing to volunteer at a team event? Network with industry-relevant people? Attend conferences? Work for free? Build up your skills and your connections? Are you willing to grind and compete?
“If you aren’t willing to go this extra mile, the sports industry isn’t for you — you’re better off being a fan.”
Build the skills
When you think of sports, your mind naturally gravitates to professional teams and major events like the Super Bowl and World Series, but, in reality, there are far more opportunities in college athletics than there are in professional sports.
“You don’t have to look far for opportunities in college athletics,” Dr. Lashbrook said. “While pro teams are generally located in major metropolitan areas, college programs of all shapes and sizes are everywhere.”
There are opportunities abound in college athletics but most of these roles require you to have a master’s degree, so that needs to factor into your long-term plans.
“The good news about getting your master’s degree and starting out in college athletics is that the whole industry opens up to you after that,” Dr. Lashbrook said. “You can stay in college sports, or jump to a professional team or agency. You can really do anything!”
And that’s the attitude you need in sports — a deep desire to do anything it takes to succeed.