Maybe you never made the team. Maybe you’re the biggest fan alive. Or maybe you played with the best of them in college—but a pro career just wasn’t in the cards. Just because you’re not on the court doesn’t mean you can’t work in the field—the field of basketball, that is.
With the sports industry projected to climb to $73.9 billion dollars by 2019, and the introduction of new digital jobs into the workforce, the outlook looks good for hoop heads.
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, eJobXchange found 10 jobs for basketball fans who want to work their dream job.
What you’d do: A referee’s main job is to officiate the game as fairly as possible. Often, officials at lower levels of play (junior high, high school) supplement this job with another line of work.
What you’d need: As a ref, you’ll need a deep understanding of the rules of the game, as well as the patience of saint. Have you seen how much basketball players complain? In all seriousness, depending on the level of play, officials must pass an exam demonstrating they know the rules. For high school, referees are required to register with the state or the local agency that governs athletics.
What it pays: $24,870 per year
What you’d do: The best coaches bring out the full potential in their players, create a team-first environment and teach invaluable leadership lessons. For junior high school and high school leagues, basketball coaches often lead team practice at least three times per week, with games interspersed throughout the season. At the college level, the commitment is often much greater, with college Division I teams playing 40 games or more per season and practicing almost every day.
What you’d need: Coaches are passionate, dedicated individuals who know exactly how much to push their players. High school and college coaches typically have a bachelor’s degree and experience playing the sport they’re coaching.
What it pays: $31,000 per year
What you’d do: Remember, “Havlicek stole the ball!”? Any true basketball fan knows this famous call by announcer Johnny Most from the NBA’s 1965 Eastern Conference Finals. Basketball broadcasters call the game accurately, using heaps of enthusiasm to keep the viewers’ and/or listeners’ interest. Sometimes, they witness a historic moment—and might even become part of it.
What you’d need: Broadcasters must be familiar with each team and each player and the rules of the game, plus have a knowledge of the equipment. Most broadcasters have a degree in journalism or communications.
What it pays: $30,080 per year
What you’d do: Crunch the numbers! Statisticians and data scientists work with large data sets to draw out trends and make them easy to understand. In this case, statisticians are the ones feeding insights to announcers, managers, and upper-level management of basketball teams.
What you’d need: Most teams looking for statisticians are either professional, semi-pro or Division I colleges, therefor they’re looking for the best: statisticians with master’s degrees and a deep understanding of analytics, data modeling software, and problem-solving skills. (Think of Peter Brand’s character in the 2011 film Moneyball, who was a Yale economics graduate.)
What it pays: $80,110 per year
What you’d do: Basketball is an increasingly global sport, thanks to the efforts of the NBA, FIBA and other global leagues. With expansion comes communication challenges from a team and organization level. Translators work with players and personnel to make sure everyone’s on the same page, including outreach to and interaction with media.
What you’d need: Obviously, you’ll need to be fluent in a foreign language, but you’ll also need to be patient and conscious of cultural differences.
What it pays: $44,190 per year
What you’d do: On top of avoiding out-of-control basketball players as they dive into the stands, videographers operate cameras to get unique coverage, edit film and present the best possible digital package to the audience.
What you’d need: Both camera operators and video editors need highly technical knowledge of the equipment and software they’re using. Typically, students interested in videography as a career will study film or communications in college.
What it pays: $55,740 per year
What you’d do: Believe it or not, basketball teams need information technology (IT) managers. Most industries are now full of digital, internet-wired jobs, and basketball is no exception. IT managers make sure computer systems across an organization (in this case, a college or franchise) are running smoothly, safely and in the most effective ways that support the organization’s goals.
What you’d need: Most IT managers need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer or information science, and many higher level positions require a master’s degree.
What it pays: $131,600 per year
Social media manager
What you’d do: Tweet, update, hashtag, post, reply and more. Being a social media manager for a basketball team means engaging your audience, promoting your team and building a following. Managing social often entails creating short-term and long-term strategies across multiple channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more.
What you’d need: Key skills are communication, creativity and a knowledge of a variety of social media platforms. In terms of education, most social specialists have a background in PR, marketing or communications.
What it pays: $56,770 per year
What you’d do: Trainers work one-on-one and in groups getting players ready for competition. This includes strength and mobility training, stretching and building personalized routines.
What you’d need: Most athletic trainers start with a bachelor’s degree and an accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. Trainers for pro teams typically have master’s degrees. Since you’d be working with players who are often in pain, a sense of compassion and interpersonal skills are crucial to the job.
What it pays: $44,670 per year