The Importance Of Sports College Students Attending Conferences


So many sports major students contact me and ask how to get a foot in the door with teams, marketing agencies, etc.  Building relationships is key.  Internships are key.  But nothing beats attending sports conferences where you can build those relationships firsthand and hear from professionals as to opportunities, suggestions, and career paths.

The surprising thing to me is, why do many colleges actually discourage students from attending? Why do they not incorporate conferences into their curriculum?  Why, when they won’t provide for the students to go, do they refuse to let the students go even if they pay for it themselves?

As educators, our goal should be to provide students with as many opportunities for success as we can. One area is preparing them for conferences…how to meet people, build relationships, interview, be prepared, etc.  Think about it….we are turning out thousands of sports marketing students every year, and yet there are only a finite number of positions available.  What will make your students stand out? The fact that they attended all the classes or the fact that they started building relationships, learning about opportunities, talked with experts in their field, and started preparing for their future?

On the flip side, students selecting a college should ask these important questions.  How do you help prepare me for a future position? How do you help me get in front of people? How do you help me learn more about the industry and areas in which I could work? How prepared am I both in education and relationship building am I by my senior year?

There are some colleges out there that are stellar in this approach, taking students to amazing opportunities, encouraging them to attend on their own, and these are students that are getting the positions they had wanted.  If you are graduating students with a low placement in sports rate, perhaps it’s time to reconsider how we are preparing them.  Junior year and Senior year, if not all 4, students should be attending conferences and building relationships.  Let’s start getting our students noticed.  Give them the opportunity to learn, grow, and build their future in sports.

Kathy Burrows, Sold Out Seating

4 thoughts on “The Importance Of Sports College Students Attending Conferences

  1. great insights however how do we get to the students and get them to come? Is the total cost (registration, travel, housing, expenses) of attending a barrier?


    1. Thanks for the question Maureen. There are few and far between conferences that make options for students. The Sports Sales Boot Camp at ALSD Conference makes it a one day affordable option. The newest one, SEA Sports Marketing Conference and Career Fair Oct 15 and 16 is beyond affordable and a great opportunity to mingle for 2 days with sports sales and marketing leaders as well as major companies. Conferences could have so many more attendees if they figured out more manageable and affordable ways to host.
      As to getting to the students, most universities have a sports management organization which is one way to get to the students. Others include the college department of sports management itself, listing on sites students scour for internships, etc. I have built numerous relationships with profs across the country and let them know when opportunities arise for their students. I am happy to mention any that students can attend on my blog. There are enough students out there now…I am challenging one of you to create an app for student opportunities! That way we can all go to a single location and be able to add opportunities as they arise.
      Anyone else have ideas, please share!


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