It's a great time to be a sports fan. From the Winter Olympics to NCAA basketball to international soccer you can catch a sporting event nearly all the time at a live game or on a 24-hour TV or radio sports station.
This could make it exceptionally hard to tear yourself away from your TV and go to work ... unless you're lucky enough to work in sports. But since most of us weren't born with the athletic ability to make it as an athlete, there are some jobs that allow regular folks to satisfy their sports cravings and still bring in a regular paycheck. Here is a sampling:
Sportscasters make sure viewers at home feel like they are right in on the action. They're right there at the games and press conferences, interviewing sports personalities and smelling the sweat in the locker room. They cover games and sporting events -- reporting, writing articles and delivering sports news to their readers and viewers. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reporters brought in a median annual salary of about $32,000 in 2004.
If you can spot good talent a mile away ... maybe you're suited to be a scout. Scouts are the intelligence agents of the athletic world, sniffing out talented athletes for the teams they represent. If you want this job, be prepared for long stretches of time away from your family as you travel to find talent. According to the BLS, scouts earned a medial salary of about $26,000 in 2004, but college and professional scouts can earn far more.
Sports managers handle the behind-the-scenes aspect of a team, including the roster and budgets, and deal with the media. Sports managers must be experts on their sports and have very thick skin -- when a star player leaves or a team has a losing season, the sports managers are often the target of fans' wrath. According to the Princeton Review, sports managers earn an average salary of $44,000 after 10 to 15 years in the business.
Hate that call? Think you could do better? Join the club. One of the hardest parts of being a referee or umpire is dealing with the stress caused by those who disagree with your split-second judgments. Training requirements vary greatly by the sport and level of the teams -- from just a few training sessions to intelligence tests for the NFL. According to the BLS, referees, umpires and other sports officials earned a median annual salary of nearly $26,000 in 2004.
What does advertising have to do with sports? A whole lot, when you consider that a 30-second slot in the Super Bowl costs upwards of $2 million. Advertising executives help their clients entertain, inform and entice potential customers. They brainstorm, pitch and execute ad campaigns to help their clients get the most for their advertising dollars. According to the BLS, advertising managers earned a median salary of nearly $67,000 in 2004.
Being an agent can be a dream job for a sports lover with negotiation savvy. Agents help talented athletes to get signed with sports teams for the best possible salary. Agents must be able to come up with creative compromises and good deals for their clients. They often work on commission, so getting their athlete a good salary is crucial to agents' own paychecks. According to the BLS, agents earned a median salary of about $55,000 in 2004.
Think you're so well-versed in a sport that you could lead a team to victory? Coaches get athletes ready for competition by leading drills, practices and instructing them on proper form and technique to ensure they're in tip-top shape. And coaching offers a multitude of opportunities from Little League to professional teams. According to the BLS, coaches earn a median annual salary of about $26,000, although college and professional coaches' paychecks are much higher.
If you have a great voice, quick wit and a solid handle on the game, you could be cut out for a career as an announcer. Announcers give commentary and provide information to spectators at sporting events and viewers at home. Announcers are likely to start out in small markets with low pay, but those who rise to the top of their field can see bigger paychecks and fame. According to the BLS, announcers earned median salaries of around $22,000 in 2004.
Writers, sometimes known as "bookies," take bets on sporting events. They scan tickets and calculate and distribute winnings. Writers must have a high school diploma or equivalent, and most receive on-the-job training. Since they're dealing directly with the public, customer service skills are a must. According to the BLS, gaming and sportsbook writers earned a median salary of about $19,000 in 2004.
Sports fans have to eat (and drink), and as a vendor, it's your job to make sure they're satisfied. Vendors lug cases of beers, hot dogs and other snacks through the crowds selling their wares to fans. A Slate.com article estimates full-time vendors can take home more than $40,000 a year.