If a university has athletics, it more than likely has a sports information director on staff. Acting as a liaison between the university and the media, the sports information director is responsible for much of the outbound information that comes from the athletic department.
Exactly what does a sports information director do? Sports information directors holistically promote their university’s athletic department to the community and public. In an era of 24/7 news cycles and rapid information exchange, sports information directors work at all hours to provide the most accurate and useful information. This information includes player injury updates, athletic stats, general athletic department updates and more.
An advanced degree in athletic leadership is a great place to start for those interested in this exciting field.
The Role of the Sports Information Director
Although sports information directors typically operate at the university level, some positions are found in other levels of sports, including high school. As such, the responsibilities of a sports information director tend to vary across organizations and organization types. Smaller organizations or non-collegiate entities, for example, often require less interaction with the media.
Generally, however, a sports information director handles multiple functions, including marketing, public relations, event management and athletic leadership. Read below to learn more about what a sports information director does in each of these areas.
Sports information directors hold key marketing responsibilities for their organization’s athletic department. It is common for them to write, create and share marketing collateral across a variety of channels including social media, web and broadcast. Common marketing assets include blogs, feature articles, social media posts, infographics, highlight video reels, game recaps and signage.
Beyond content creation, sports information directors also assist in managerial aspects of marketing, including monitoring and assessing paid advertising spends, coordinating photoshoots and building and maintaining a team of creative workers such as copywriters and graphic designers.
Sports information directors are responsible for the athletic department’s communication with the media and public. These responsibilities include gaining publicity for the athletes and coaching staff through radio, television and digital interviews; capitalizing on a game’s success to maximize the university’s notoriety; and providing media training for the athletes and coaching staff.
Additionally, the sports information director communicates directly with the media at post-event interviews, responding to questions regarding player or coach health and other major stories such as staff changes and win-to-loss ratios.
Sports information directors must be able to combat negative media stories about players, families of athletes and university staff. By dispelling negative rumors and news, pitching positive feature ideas and assisting in athlete and coach interviews, a sports information director can help protect the athletic department and university and shape the messaging.
Sports information directors spend the majority of their time preparing for and attending athletic events. They may assist in coordinating event staff and security, managing halftime entertainment, running the scoreboard and gathering and dispersing athletic statistics.
Sports information directors are leaders in their organization’s athletic department. As such, they are expected to provide mentorship to athletes and staff, spending one-on-one time with players to build a relationship between the athletes and the school.
What Are the Skills of a Sports Information Director?
What a sports information director does requires a variety of skills. In addition to having a strong interest in sports, an aspiring sports information director must be a great communicator, have strong interpersonal skills and be highly innovative and knowledgeable in creative applications.
Communication skills are important to sports information directors for the written and verbal aspects of their role. This includes writing articles and copy as well as speaking at public forums and postgame interviews. Having strong communication skills enables sports information directors to clearly and succinctly communicate their message without being detrimental to the school’s reputation.
Creative skills and knowledge of software such as Adobe’s creative suite help sports information directors create infographics, imagery and other design assets for publication. They must know how to adhere to their organization’s creative guidelines as well as pitch new creative solutions. Being skilled with creative software allows a director to develop new imagery on the fly and be quick in reporting athletic news and events.
Having a strong interest in sports is critical to a career as a sports information director. These professionals spend most if not all of their time at athletic events, with athletes, or discussing athletics with the media and internal staff. Having an interest in the field helps sports information directors stay engaged and motivated to create a strong presence for their organization.
What Is a Sports Information Director’s Salary?
The annual salary for a sports information director depends on the size of the organization and job location as well as the professional’s level of education and experience. According to the compensation website PayScale, the average yearly salary for athletic director positions is around $60,000. Those in the top 10% make an average of more than $101,000 annually. Sports information directors with more experience can expect to be at the higher end of the salary scale.
Discover a Rewarding Career as a Sports Information Director
With courses such as Athletic Communication and Marketing, Athletic Leadership and Administrative Decision Making, Rider University’s online Master of Arts in Athletic Leadership program is designed to strengthen core competencies that are required for a career in sports information.
Learn more about how the program can help you become a leader in this field.