Ever fancy a career in pro sports? If so, now would be a perfectly dreadful time to give it a go:
For decades, the sports industry has been largely impervious to the economic cycle. Through booms and busts, leagues and tournaments expanded, stadiums were built and attendance and television viewership set records. Revenue from suite sales, naming rights and television contracts boomed.
But Martin and other graduates are finding that the industry's growth is slowing, if not reversing. Students are receiving fewer job offers this spring or are accepting internships instead of salaried positions. Many of those internships are unpaid. The worry, their professors say, is that austerity may become the norm, forcing students to scale down or abandon their ESPN-fueled dreams.
The impact of the economy doesn't surprise me. What surprises me is that there are no less than 300 schools with professional sports management programs out there turning out thousands of new graduates every year. Yes, professional sports have grown as an industry at a pretty amazing rate, but there's still a pretty small point at the top of that pyramid. What's more, there's still a pretty strong strain of legacy and networking-type hires in pro sports, meaning that getting a good job with a sports team or league probably has way more to do with who your daddy is and who your prep school lacrosse teammate was than how sharp your transcript and resume looks. Yes, that's changing somewhat, but it's not as if sports teams are holding open recruiting like law firms and software companies might.
My personal belief is that fantasy sports has convinced a lot of people that they could work in a front office. Given the large number of candidates for so few jobs, however, it seems like maybe a lot of people forgot what the true definition of "fantasy" truly is.