Interns in Professional Sport: An Investigation of Gender Parity on the Job

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Jacquelyn Cuneen Bowling Green State University

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M. Joy Sidwell Bowling Green State University

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Internships permit sport management students to link classroom learning to the professional environment. Since internships provide students with opportunities to learn on-the-job and test their skills in the marketplace, the experiences should be uniformly beneficial to all students regardless of gender. This study was conducted to describe internship work conditions (i.e., opportunities to perform in essential marketplace functions) for male and female sport management interns assigned to ‘Big Four’ professional sport organizations. Participants were 74 sport industry professionals who supervised a total of 103 interns over a one-year period. A X2 Test of Independence found that male and female interns working in professional sport had comparable opportunities to perform and learn on the job. Differences in opportunity, hiring practices, and on-the-job benefits emerged primarily as a function of job specialization (e.g., operations, marketing, venue management), league/association, or gender of the internship supervisor rather than gender of the interns.

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