Swing for the Fences in The Top 10 Cities for Sports Jobs

The wide world of professional sports is obsessed with statistics. If you’re a seasoned sports professional interested in becoming a free agent on the job market, or if you’re a desk jockey who’s always dreamed of getting traded to the Sports industry, here are a few stats you may be interested in:

  • The professional Sports industry in North America generated a total revenue of $69.3 billion in 2017.
  • Gross revenues are expected to grow more than 10% by 2020, totaling $76.5 billion.
  • Growing 5% annually in 2017, there were 36,000+ health and fitness clubs in the U.S. generating a total annual revenue of $25.8 billion.
  • 36% of millennials reported signing up for a gym membership in 2017.
  • The number of Sports and Recreation jobs posted to ZipRecruiter.com increased more than 100% year-over-year in June.
  • There are currently more than two job openings for every applicant on ZipRecruiter.com in the Sports and Recreation industry across the U.S.

With enough job opportunity to make anyone feel like a first-round draft pick, landing a job in the Sports industry today should be a slam dunk. But unless you’re LeBron, it’s unlikely recruiters are knocking down your door offering eight-figure contracts. So we put together our list of the top 10 Sports and Recreation job markets in the U.S. in case you need a little coaching on the best places to look.

Using the ZipRecruiter Best Jobs Market Index, we looked at the top 50 metros in the U.S. by population and ranked them based on a weighted average that includes the amount of Sports industry job opportunity, cost of living, availability of public transit, walkability, and public health.

Just for fun, we also included the highest-paid athlete in each ranking metro, in case you’re curious about where your salary would top-out.

The Top 10 Sports and Recreation Job Markets

1. Minneapolis-St.Paul, MN

  • Sports Job Opportunity Index: 14.1
  • Highest-Paid Athlete: Minnesota Vikings, Kirk Cousins—$24M

2. Boston, MA

  • Sports Job Opportunity: 12.1
  • Highest-Paid Athlete: The Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving—$20M

3. San Francisco/Oakland, CA

  • Sports Job Opportunity: 16.9
  • Highest-Paid Athlete: The Golden State Warriors, Steph Curry—$37.4M

4. St. Louis, MO

  • Sports Job Opportunity: 4.1
  • Highest-Paid Athlete: The St. Louis Cardinals, Yadier Molina—$20M

5. Pittsburgh, PA

  • Sports Job Opportunity: 7.9
  • Highest-Paid Athlete: Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger—$23.2M

6. Washington D.C.

  • Sports Job Opportunity: 3.1
  • Highest-Paid Athlete: The Washington Wizards, Otto Porter—$26M

7. San Jose, CA

  • Sports Job Opportunity: 14.5
  • Highest-Paid Athlete: San Jose Sharks, Brent Burns—$10M

8. Denver, CO

  • Sports Job Opportunity: 5.5
  • Highest-Paid Athlete: Denver Broncos, Von Miller—$35.1M

9. New York, NY

  • Sports Job Opportunity: 7.2
  • Highest-Paid Athlete: New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton—$25M

10. Portland, OR

  • Sports Job Opportunity: 4.3
  • Highest-Paid Athlete: Portland Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard—$27.9M

The Twin Cities tops our list for good reason. Between the Twins (MLB), the Vikings (NFL), the Timberwolves (NBA), and the Minnesota WIld (NHL), Minneapolis-St. Paul is one of just 13 metros in the U.S. to have a team in all four major sports leagues. Plus, the opportunity level there is absolutely striking, with more than 14 sports jobs available for every applicant.

As is the case with all of the cities in our lineup, it’s not just the major franchises and stadiums scouting for athletically-minded talent. Jobs are available in a variety of positions from coaching to training to marketing, from afterschool programs to the big leagues.

The Sports and Recreation industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Based on our research, there’s an astounding number of available sports jobs in some of America’s greatest cities. If you’re interested in this field, it’s time to get to work. To paraphrase The Babe, Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from swinging.

Written by

Jeffery Marino is a Los Angeles-based writer who previously covered emerging job market trends using proprietary ZipRecruiter data.

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