From archery’s high-fidelity precision to yachting’s wonders, sport forms an immutable part of the American psyche. With a sprinkling of major sporting events throughout the year – think the Superbowl, the World Series, or even March Madness, there’s almost certain to be a sport out there that will intrigue and engage even the most ardent naysayers.
What if you want to take that passion to the next level, but aren’t quite sure why you’d want to? A sports journalism masters opens doorways to new opportunities – from insider access to being involved in a constantly changing industry, this industry offers great potential for those who want to explore emerging and evolving fields.
Let’s explore seven key reasons why taking the next step in sports journalism may be just the career break you’re after.
1. Pursue A Career Passion
Who wants to pursue a career they hate? Recent studies have shown that in today’s job market, employees are experiencing job unhappiness rates that are at historic highs.
In Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace survey, a whopping 50 percent of Americans reported feeling stressed daily – and somewhat troublingly, 22% of workers identified as sad.
Nobody should have to go to work worried or sad. Work should be an uplifting, exciting, and motivating experience – in fact, historical research has found that feeling ongoing feelings of sadness at work can lead to negative effects such as potentially unsafe behaviors, missed deadlines, or absenteeism.
If you’re experiencing these feelings at work, perhaps it’s time for a change to a career that you’re much more passionate and enthusiastic about.
2. A Constantly Changing Profession
Did you know that the fastest-growing sport in the US is pickleball? Believe it or not, it’s true – growing from an estimated 5 million players in 2021 to a now 36.5 million players in 2023, this rapidly growing sport has changed the game for sports lovers.
Sports are rapidly evolving. New trends are constantly cycling – dancing, for example, may trend some years, fall out of favor, then trend again – while some sports are constant, such as the public’s fascination with American football and the spectacle of the Superbowl.
Sports are constantly evolving and changing – from hula-hooping to high jump, you can be sure that there will always be something different to report on every single day. Who knows what the next new sporting trend might be?
3. Insider Access: The Power of The Press Pass
Becoming a sports journalist opens up opportunities for a range of insider access – from press conferences to team selection, awards ceremonies to traveling parties, you’ll have the opportunity to experience events that are traditionally not open to the broader sporting community.
Sporting events can sometimes be incredibly expensive – it’s often cited that tickets to the Superbowl can cost as much as tens of thousands of dollars – for many, spending as much as five months of the median American salary is simply unaffordable.
Fortunately, being a sports journalist means that you can enjoy the power of the press pass – access to an event, such as a sporting match or press conference, so you can come in and provide coverage in the news.
You may even be lucky enough to attend tickets where the public has extreme difficulty in acquiring tickets. The media often has a dedicated space to record and capture commentary, and sometimes they’ll also engage in pre- and post-match press conferences.
The press pass can be an incredibly powerful asset – and it’s only acquirable for those who work in the media.
4. Opportunities Beyond The Newsroom
Completing a degree in sports journalism doesn’t mean that you have to pursue a career in covering sports. On the contrary – a sports journalism degree provides you with a powerful footing in understanding how the media works and how you can use your voice to produce a story.
Many sporting teams heavily invest in their internal press teams, who use coverage of the club to promote signing up for memberships and attending games, both home and away.
If you don’t want to pursue a career in journalism, and much prefer something else, plenty of organizations are always looking for professionals who can communicate with a wider audience.
From public relations to the press pack, there’s no doubt that no matter where you end up, there will be a role in which you can put your sports journalism skills to good use.
5. Help Shape The History of Sports
The press pass can wield immense power within clubs – shaping the perception of sports and how we consume them. Media plays an enormous role in the perception of sporting heroes and villains – from the triumphs of Michael Phelps to the downfall of Lance Armstrong, the hungry sporting public wants to know about all of it, good and bad.
As a sports journalist, you have the power to bring out the best in sports – to highlight those that try to do the best for their communities, and that make a positive difference in the world. Conversely, you can highlight controversies in sports, in the hopes that sporting administrators will move for positive change in their sports.
Recent coverage by The Indianapolis Star of the controversies surrounding now-disgraced, former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar has highlighted just how important it is for the media to be brave and bold when reporting, as it brings important issues to light.
6. Making A Difference In Sports Media
Becoming a sports journalist can help you make a difference in sports media. While there’s no doubt that the industry is changing at present, with less of a focus on scores and more of a focus on substance, pursuing a career in sports media allows you to put your voice forward to shape the sports media industry for the betterment of all that consume it.
Journalists like Tom Withers from the Associated Press and Jeff Darlington at ESPN not only shape how we see the sporting world – but define what it means to us as an audience.
Becoming a sports journalist means that you can add your voice to the tens of thousands of sports journalists who work worldwide – and perhaps you too can make a difference in sports media.
7. Your Work Has A Global Audience
Finally, sports journalism is a powerful platform with a global audience. Major sporting events such as the Superbowl are watched by more than a billion people worldwide – and the demand for media coverage is immense.
The recent Cricket World Cup final that was held in India is expected to have an audience that surpasses that of the 2019 edition, which was watched by a whopping 2.6 billion people throughout the tournament.
From special access to a constantly changing industry, sports journalism is a constantly evolving, highly popular, and desirable industry to work in.
Even if you choose not to work in the media, there are plenty of opportunities to use your skills in communications roles – highlighting just how valuable a new sports journalism role could be for your resume. Maybe it’s time for a new role.