Someone who makes a living dealing with unusual jobs in the sports industry is Andy Gugenheimer, head of sportyjob.com and cooperation partner of the ISPO Job Market, the job board for the sports business.
For over ten years, Gugenheimer has networked sports companies with motivated job seekers – and not just in Germany’s major cities of Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. The 49-year-old says: “Just what’s gone on with digitalization in the last few years is crazy. New sports job descriptions are shooting out of the ground like mushrooms!”
Oddities from the sports job board
Below, ISPO.com will present six interesting professions in the sports business.
It’s also not clear for many people on the job hunt what’s meant when the word “Ambassador” crops up in job boards. It sounds pretentious, but according to sports jobs broker Andy Gugenheimer it’s “a cool job and excellently suited to newcomers.”
That’s how French service provider “Jogg.in” employs over 50 ambassadors. These are full-time students or fitness instructors who organize one to three attended running events for ten to 15 participants per week, sponsored by the service provider’s customer, like ASICS.
The kicker behind this: Participants are then provided with running shoes and, during the run, the ambassador casually explains the shoes’ benefits and the spirit of the brand. So, the latest in modern marketing.
There are also ambassador jobs at Nike, although there the ambassadors are called “Ekin.” They have to be able to explain the benefits of products during communication, for example they have to be able to list all of their properties to shoppers in sports shops, backwards and forwards. Forwards: Nike. Read backwards, “Ekin” – get it?
2. Top star handler
Instead of target groups, sports aficionados can also look after a few or even individual people – but then it’s full-service. The talk in job boards is then of “top star handlers.”
Usually, they’re employed by a main sponsor so that the athletes are on their way at events with the right material. After all, athletes are paid to provide the sponsor with as much attention in the media as possible (we all know the skiers who, after hitting the target, rip off their skis and stop in front of the cameras).
“That can also be very specialized sports or events that not everyone has on their screen,” says sports job insider Gugenheimer. “For example, specialists for athlete handling at surfing events.”
But this type of handling is also increasing in the always popular sport of darts. Those interested should possess a background in marketing, events, and/or PR. And have a way sensitive sports stars.
Speaking of stars...
3. Sports product tester
Before the stars reach for their golf club or tennis racket, the sports device must first have gone through extensive tests. First with engineers who test break resistance and elasticity in the lab. But then, also by sports product testers.
They put the device (or the running shoe) to real use for as long and as hart as it gets. Similar to automotive testers who do laps with disguised prototypes in the polar circle, the sports industry does its own diligent testing: Sporting goods manufacturers like Adidas, ASICS, Nike, or Head are always placing new job offers in job boards.
A technical background – in addition to the inevitable enthusiasm for sports – is advantageous when applying to these sports jobs.
4. IT test manager / Customer behavior manager
Nerds don’t usually seek out the sweat-inducing tests in job boards – they test the sports apps for them. These “IT test managers,” or “customer behavior managers” understand user behavior and comprehend all of the steps that the customer goes through using the app: Where is it still snagging? What’s poorly explained? Which functions are coming to nothing?
Sports job broker Gugenheimer: "That’s especially a must for large communities like Runtastic!”
The user’s path through the application, the Customer Journey, must work perfectly, and therefore all functions that habitually get new updates must be habitually rechecked. IT skills, with a good shot of the heart of an athlete, are optimal for this sports job.
5. Product placement manager
A lot is heavily tested and evaluated in sports marketing, too: Product placement managers check whether viewers can remember the product casually placed in TV series and movies when planning their next purchase. The most famous example: each of the cars in the Bond films.
Sporting goods manufacturers also pay serious money so they can place their sports shirts, running shoes, or caps on movie stars, and therefore test the visibility of their products. A job for marketing people with a penchant for TV and movies. Sounds really particular, but this is a matter of a lot money and the image of the product.
6. Keyword manager
What target group searches for what terms online? Keyword managers constantly keep up an overview. Their companies’ online shops and products have to appear in the corresponding search results and incite the searcher to click on the corresponding site.
Sound easy? “In this kind of job, you’re quickly responsible for 250,000 keywords. But companies like Oakley have almost doubled their revenue with the right keyword strategy,” says sports job expert Gugenheimer.
The problem: This job – like many others – is hiding behind all kind of job designations, from CRM specialists to eShop strategy managers. That’s why applicants shouldn’t shy away from cryptic sports job descriptions, but rather take a look into what exactly is disguised behind them.
Sports job board offers around 1,000 job openings
Whenever enthusiasm for sports and special job expertise come together, there arise unusual jobs. From blog handler for the CEO of a major sports firm, to game analysis specialist in tennis or soccer, all the way up to manager for the in-house music and sound studio for ad clips.
Those who are still looking for interesting sports jobs will best find them in the ISPO JOB MARKET, the job board with sometimes over 1,000 job openings just in the sports business.
However Andy Gugenheimer, the man behind the portal, has one other tip: “Those who go through the ISPO Munich trade fair with their eyes open can also find people with odd sports jobs or companies that are specifically searching for employees in a niche field. Looking in all directions on the job hunt is always worth it!”