What Does It Take to Work in the Sports Industry? A Conversation with Georgetown’s Joe Briggs

It’s common for children to look at their sports heroes and want to grow up to be just like them. While only an elite few will go on to become professional athletes, there are still many other options for a career in the field of sports.

Joe Briggs—a faculty member for the Georgetown University Master’s in Sports Industry Management, and Public Policy Counsel for the NFL Players Association —says an advanced degree provides a faster route to assuring a long and successful career in the industry.

“It’s very difficult to get a job in the sports industry,” Briggs says. “If you are fortunate enough to get a job working in the industry, it’s something you have to take seriously. You’ll want to continuously refine your skills.”

Inside the Business of Sports

Briggs has been refining those skills ever since his days as a scholarship athlete at Texas Christian University. Today, he serves as Public Policy Counsel for the National Football League’s Players Association and says that both opportunity and competition to work in the sports industry are growing.

“The business aspect of sports is really important, because it has grown by leaps and bounds,” Briggs says. “Players are getting salaries that many people thought they’d never see on a paycheck. Just as in any enterprise with money attached to it, it’s important to have an understanding of how the business works, and understand the cash flow and management of people.”

And, he says, new roles are continuously being created as the sports industry grows and evolves.

“At the entry level, there are a number of positions, such as logistics and event planning,” Briggs says. “For example, the NFLPA recently hired a director of wellness who will monitor players as well as stay on top of innovations in the health field. As the sports world continues to grow, we’re going to see more and more positions being created.”

Even corporate America holds some opportunity for those who want to work in sports.

“One of the more interesting ways to work in sports is in a corporate environment that advertises through sports,” he says. “It may open doors to do even more work in a sports environment.”

Building a Network

In order to take advantage of those burgeoning opportunities, it’s important for students to map out not only what they’d like to do, but also how they’re going to get there.

“Because these industries are so competitive, you really have to find a way to separate yourself,” Briggs says.

While some people will choose to refine their skills through on-the-job experience, Briggs says that enrolling in a great graduate program has value that goes beyond the degree and can fast-track your plans. The Georgetown University online Master’s in Sports Industry Management is one way that sports lovers can put their passion for athletics to work, and Briggs points out that the advantages go beyond what is offered by the education itself.    

“You can’t discount the value of the network you build through a good graduate program,” he says. “Having classmates and professors you can reach out to is extremely valuable. It gives you access to the people who can help you unlock the door and help you find what is best for you.”

Speak with an admissions representative at (855) 725-7622 to learn more about Joe Briggs and his career path in the sports industry, as well as the Georgetown online Master’s in Sports Industry Management program.