For university students in sport management programs, working in sports is often the end goal, and internships have become the most common curricular component for achieving this end. Sport management students bring to these internships various backgrounds and active fan attachments with sports that structure their work experiences and create certain conditions of exploitation. We thus conducted interviews with current and soon-to-be interns to understand their subjective perceptions and experiences of working in sports as fans. Drawing upon Lauren Berlant’s concept of cruel optimism as well as neo-Marxist theories of affective labor, we reveal the structuring contradictions of interns’ work in the contemporary sports industry.
- political economy