Professional sports marketing is definitely not a career for the faint-hearted. It requires several key skills and yes, even certain personality traits. There are few occupations which require discussing and getting excited about sports. Having a passion for your sport of choice is of course crucial, but being able to cover any sport with the same enthusiasm, drive and professionalism is what differentiates a good sports marketer from a great one.
Let’s start with the basics. Personality is what makes one individual different from another and relates to individual differences in the way people think, feel and behave. Similar to attitudes, personalities are often learned and can be influenced by the environment, but also have a genetic foundation. So what are some of the key personality traits of a great sports marketer?
This trait describes how comfortable an individual is about developing social relationships. An extraverted individual is perceived as sociable, open, energetic and good at building social relationships, which is crucial for someone looking to work in the sports industry. The world of sports is a world full of egos, and it’s important to know how to handle difficult situations in the most efficient ways. Extroversion makes a person assertive, outgoing, sociable and comfortable. It is argued that a high level of extroversion leads to positive emotions such as liveliness, happiness, optimism, activity and high level of energy. As a result extroverted people are also more likely to handle difficult situations and seek solutions with other people, whether they be colleagues, clients or partners.
This trait defines how good an individual is at cooperating with others. A highly agreeable individual is usually perceived as cooperative, trusting, good-natured and caring, with the ability to provide emotional support to others. Research in the recreation context (Barnett, 2013) has shown that individuals with personalities high in agreeableness are more likely to achieve satisfaction from their recreation engagement. Agreeableness in an individual also indicates a good work ethic.
When you work in the sports industry, you’ll be surrounded by people who are used to giving one hundred percent all the time. Having the ability to keep up and cooperate with your peers is important to gain and keep their respect. If you’re not willing to give it your all and cooperate with your team, then maybe the sports industry isn’t for you.
This trait relates to an individual’s reliability and capacity for behavioural and cognitive control. A highly conscientious individual is generally perceived as reliable, responsible, dependable and well-organized. Highly conscientious individuals are also more likely to adhere to social norms, and less likely to be engaged in risky, unhealthy or less acceptable social behaviour. Accountability and conscientiousness go hand-in-hand in the sports industry. It’s important to take responsibility for the success of your team – and it’s just as important to take responsibility for their failures. Your ability to stand up and take credit for what you have accomplished (and what’s your fault) is one of the best qualities that any marketer can have, and a necessity in the sports industry.
This trait refers to an individual’s ability to cope with stress. Individuals with high emotional stability are usually described as calm, enthusiastic and self-confident, while individuals with low emotional stability are usually nervous, anxious and insecure. In the context of sports, research has indicated that individuals that are low in emotional stability are less likely to experience pleasure from activities that provide opportunities for social interaction and derive less enjoyment from sport participation (Barnett, 2013).
Openness to Experience
Open individuals are often perceived as those who are creative, curious and willing to try new things and pursue new experiences. In contrast, most closed individuals have a preference for simplicity and for traditional experiences. In terms of sports and leisure behaviour, individuals who are open to new experiences are generally more willing to seek opportunities for exploring, learning and improving their personal skills and abilities. They are usually ready to try new activities, particularly those that are social, challenging, active and novel (Barnett, 2013).
A career in sports management isn’t for everyone, but it might be for you. If you have the qualities listed above and are willing to put your degree to work, you might find that it’s exactly what you are looking for. If you have a passion for sports and a desire to succeed, make sure to look into careers in sports marketing.