Modern professional and college athletics are among the most data-driven fields out there, and a sports information director plays a key role in gathering and distributing this information. While statisticians and analytics experts deal with the details of collecting and curating data, information directors focus on applying this information in a useful way. They typically work on behalf of a specific organization as part of their public relations or marketing department.
Internal Documentation and Information Management
Information directors often supervise initiatives and processes within their department or organization. They work with team members to develop strategies to quantify essential information then organize and apply it according to the organization’s goals. Responsibilities vary depending on position and employer, but many directors spend a lot of time tracking player and team performance throughout the year. They also work with individuals throughout the organization, including team members and coaches, as they compile information.
Public Relations and Media Outreach
Sports information directors are essentially public relations professionals who focus on deriving and supplying relevant information for the purpose of media relations. Directors typically oversee the development of internal and external media, including online portals for fan engagement. They also work directly with journalists and other media influencers to facilitate coverage of their team or league. Supplying detailed press releases, updated statistics and other information encourage additional attention from the media.
Working as a Sports Information Director
While all information directors fill a strategic and managerial role, specific responsibilities vary greatly depending on the specific position and organization. Some directors work for schools or leagues that have numerous sports teams. These professionals have to track and organize a wide range of data and manage multiple outreach campaigns centered around the league or school’s brand. Other experts in sports information management pursue careers with national professional teams as part of their public relations department. Virtually all positions involve frequent communications with consumers and the media.
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Education and Career Preparation
While a strong interest and background in sports are preferred for senior positions, sports information directors primarily apply marketing, public relations and networking skills in their job. This means that marketing and media relations professionals can transfer from other industries with some relevant education or experience. Individuals interested in the field often consider a degree in sports information and media. Some programs also allow for specialization of a public relations or communications degree to prepare students to work in the sports industry. Students and current professionals can also learn more about career and development opportunities through established organizations, like the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Virtually all industries have become more data-oriented over the last few decades, and this trend is likely to continue alongside improvements in information technology. Modern teams and organizations enjoy an unparalleled level of access to data ranging from team statistics to consumer purchasing habits. This means that the role of sports information director is indispensable to most sports organizations and will likely remain that way in the years ahead.