Does sitting around watching sports with your new friends, eating hot dogs and drinking beer in an office with a ping pong table and bean bags sound like your dream job? Well, that’s exactly what you shouldn’t expect in your future fantasy career. Just go ahead and prepare yourself now that there will be some actual work involved in your next fantasy sports job.
Yes, a fantasy sports job could be a sweet gig with great coworkers (and maybe a ping pong table) but I urge you to approach the industry with the same sense of gravity as you would any other. A lot of people would like to have a job in this industry. Actually, a lot of people would just like to have a job at all.
The main thing to keep in mind is this is a super competitive industry and everyone is in it to win. Big partnerships are being formed with billion-dollar sports franchises, investors are backing sites with millions of dollars in funding (and closely watching their investments) and there’s a general sense that every task needs to be done by yesterday.
That’s the “bad” news. The good news is that there are openings in the industry all across the country with hopeful startups led by hungry entrepreneurs. The industry is growing and money is flowing. Best of all, it all relates to sports in some fashion or other. I took a look at a few job listings just this morning and saw job openings for coders, marketers, freelance writers, software engineers and entry-level data entry specialists among others.
If you dream of making a big change and taking the leap into an emerging industry, now’s the time to do it. So how do you get a job in fantasy sports? You go and get it. The jobs are out there.
1. Where to Find the Jobs
You can check Monster.com and search for “fantasy sports” but I prefer to visit the sources of these jobs. Visit any fantasy sports website and look for a “careers” link on the front page. You should find a link on most pages.
Fantasy sites themselves aren’t the only people with job openings. There are also jobs with sports data feed companies (these are the people who supply your favorite fantasy sites with up-to-date stats), fantasy news sites and other auxiliary groups such as software providers.
You can also sometimes score writing jobs with websites just like the one you’re reading right now. There are a lot of general strategy/review websites that publish new content every day. Sometimes, they need new writers. Most writers for websites are hired on a freelance basis.
Here are 10 places to begin your search. I scrounged these all up in less than 15 minutes and most of these links have at least one specific job opening. All you have to do is look and you’ll find job openings for a whole variety of positions and experience levels.
Job Openings in: Sales, accounting, marketing, HR, software development and internships
Location: San Francisco, CA and Northbrook, IL
Jobs page: http://www.stats.com/careers.asp
The appropriately-named Stats.com is a big collector and provider of sports stats for both real-world consumption and fantasy sports sites. They are partnered with the NBA and assist in visual depictions of stats and work with sports leagues to collect, analyze and display a whole suite of statistics.
Stats.com also works in the fantasy industry as a software provider and feeder of stats to established fantasy sites. They have job openings in everything from marketing to raw data collection.
Sports Data LLC
Job Openings in: Sales, marketing, writing, data entry and software development
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Jobs page: http://www.sportsdatallc.com/careers/
Sports Data is another big sports data provider for both real world clients and fantasy sites. They provide their services to the likes of Google, Bleacher Report and the Pac-12. They provide medical and dental coverage, paid holidays, on-site gym and “more TVs than Costco” tuned to sports.
SimplyHired.com and Monster.com
Location: All over the place
I’m not a big fan of big job listings sites like these but they do serve a purpose. All you have to do is run a search for anything related to fantasy sports and you’ll find openings. If you can find the name of the employer in the job posting, check out the actual website first and see if they have a place to submit applications directly rather than submitting your application through a third-party jobs website.
Job Openings: Just internships for college students now
Location: East Coast and West Coast
Jobs Page: http://www.rotoworld.com/about/jobs.aspx
RotoWorld is owned by NBC Universal and is currently advertising internships for college students. The jobs page at RotoWorld will redirect you to a page on NBC Universal with a long list of all internships available at NBC. It’s a bit of a pain to sort through but you’ll find what you need eventually.
Job Openings: Software Engineer and Android Engineer
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Jobs Page: http://sports.yahoo.com/jobs/
Yahoo has all kinds of opening for sports in general, but there are two positions in particular for fantasy sports. Both of these jobs involve software development with the goal being to improve Yahoo’s fantasy sports software infrastructure, develop new games and more.
Job Openings in: Marketing, software engineering, tv sports talent and production, business analysis and one permanent opening for “I want to work here but am not sure in which role”
Locations: NYC and Boston
Jobs Page: http://careers.draftkings.com/
DraftKings is the second-largest fantasy sports site on the internet. They are growing quickly and could very well overtake FanDuel at some point. This would be a great job to get as DraftKings is one of the biggest names in the industry and will rely on you to help them expand and evolve. Follow them @DraftKingsjobs on Twitter for extra brownie points.
Job Openings in: Nothing specific
Jobs page: https://www.draftday.com/jobs/
DraftDay accepts applications year-round even when they don’t have a specific job to fill. This is probably the least-promising link on this page but hey – it’s still a place to submit a resume and an application. It never hurts to get your name in front of additional eyes. You never know what will come up later.
Job Opening: Senior JS Engineer
Location: Austin, TX (relocation offered)
Jobs page: https://www.victiv.com/about
Victiv.com is a promising fantasy site with a heavy emphasis on statistics and constant improvement. They have the most advanced statistical analysis tools for customers as well as a culture of stats-based development.
Job Openings in: business analysis, retention analysis, product operations and software engineering
Locations: NYC and Edinburgh, Scotland
Jobs page: https://www.fanduel.com/careers
FanDuel.com is arguably the most prestigious place to work in the fantasy industry. This is the largest and most successful fantasy sports site of them all. FanDuel is partnered with the NFL teams, NHL teams and the NBA itself. The site is still growing and that means there will be opportunities for you to grow along with it.
2. How to Get the Job You Want
Get involved. It’s essential that you familiarize yourself with fantasy sports as a player. Even if the only thing you want to do is check code all day, it will help immensely to understand what it’s like to interact with a fantasy website. Every last dollar flowing around in the industry somehow relates to the end user signing up, depositing and participating in real money leagues. You need to fully understand how that works, what it’s like to play, what works, what’s annoying and so on.
Join a couple forums, follow the big DFS names on Twitter and build contacts the old-fashioned way: by talking to people. Every worthwhile job I’ve ever landed came from knowing someone who knew someone. The fantasy industry is tech-friendly and you’d be surprised at who you can meet just by hanging out on the internet.
Ask for the job. Pretty obvious, right? Your dream job isn’t going to find you; you’re going to find it. Check out those links above and let someone know you want a job. Have a resume ready and pass that along whenever you ask about a job opening.
Show that you truly love fantasy sports. A lot of today’s job openings are found at quickly-growing fantasy sites that are still run by their original founders. I can guarantee you that these people want to see passion just as much as any other quality. Passionate employees are worth their weight in gold to young startups.
In fact, you can sometimes even find jobs at places that don’t have obvious openings if you present yourself well and build those human relationships. Just because a fantasy website doesn’t have a specific opening doesn’t mean they wouldn’t hire you. The more you look like you know what you’re doing, the more a fantasy site will want to lock you down and keep you from taking your skills over to the competition.
3. What to do if You Can’t Find a Job
Make your own job. Start a website like we did or start posting articles on a free WordPress blog. If you can land a couple of freelance gigs, save copies of all your work and link to them on Twitter. The best way to land a job is to prove you have something to add.
If you’re capable of writing about fantasy sports or you have the budget to start your own website and hire writers, you may not even need a job. There’s money to be made just in promoting fantasy sites and building up your own fan base. If going it alone doesn’t end up being profitable, at least you have a visible record of your work. Not only does that showcase your work, but it also shows that you have the grit and true love of the game that future employers like to see.
I can tell you first hand that this does work. Back in the day, I started my own poker strategy website and posted lots of in-depth articles. I connected with people, was active in strategy discussion forums and eventually made contacts that led to freelance writing jobs and partnership opportunities. This is a more long term approach, but it most definitely works.
Good things happen if you just get out there and put in work. You’ll either create your own job or be noticed by someone who decides that you’re too good to just be out there writing for the highest bidder. In the end, it all comes down to knocking on doors and showing you have something to add.