Last Updated on January 21, 2022
Sport Management Careers
One exciting way to continue in the world of sports and athletics is pursuing a career in Sports Management.
For former athletes and people who have lived a life inspired by sports, pursuing a career in sports management could be an excellent way to set yourself up for success in the massive sports industry. One exciting way to prepare yourself for a wide variety of positions in the world of sports and athletics by pursuing a career in sports management.
Skills Necessary for Success in Sport Management
Breaking into Sport Management
Sport Management by the Numbers
For the vast majority of people, the chances of playing a sport professionally are slim to none. Aside from athletes, organizations need proper management to ensure that all the logistics and off-the-field matters are handled swiftly and professionally. As Jerry Krause (Chicago Bulls GM from 1985-2003) once famously said…
““Players and coaches don’t win championships; organizations win championships.”
While this may be controversial to some, it is true that without an organization, there would be no championship.
Athletic organizations of all levels (community, collegiate, professional, etc) need managers for all aspects of the system. People who have grown up close to sports their whole lives will find that sports management prepares them naturally for a career in sports management, and the upside potential is better than many industries out there. Add to that the fact that your office environment revolves around sports and competing for championships, and you might well be on your way to a career of your dreams.
Business Develop Manager
Public Relations Manager
Sales Representative / Sales Manager
Youth Sports Coordinator
Another point to consider is that every sports organization larger than a certain size needs staff and people that operate in every business. Any business needs an accountant, a finance manager, salespeople, managers, as well as other administrators.
If you are changing careers, it’s very likely that you can take your prior experience, couple it with a sports management degree or certification, and then land your dream job working for your favorite sports team!
When one does a deep dive into the realm of athletics and sports, they’ll soon realize how much there is to it. To coordinate a large scale event or tournament requires ability to manage logistics, manage staff, coordinate with players and teams, and their accompanying staff, not to mention the need to market and promote the event. If you have ever gone to any sporting event and had a good time it was the result of a large group effort to bring together so many facets of the operation and experience and to do so seamlessly. It requires sacrifice and dedication…just think of that poor person inside the mascot suit in 90 degree heat!
Skills Necessary to Succeed in the World of Sport Management:
- On a personal and structural level, it is important for you to be organized. Whether it is organizing a marathon, little league tournament, or an entire sports season, being organized is not only helpful, but a necessity.
- Time Management
- This goes hand in hand with organization. Everybody has 24 hours in one day, but not everyone uses those hours wisely. Like in most sports, the clock is unforgiving and 10 or 15 minutes squandered can really make a big difference in making a deadline or managing a situation.
- Excellent Communication Skills
- An individual that has climbed the ranks in any organization likely has superb written and spoken communication. Entering into this field, you will be communicating with coworkers, spectators, sponsors, partners, and supervisors in one way or another. Many successful executives recommend Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” It is worth a read to pick up some tips and tricks, and habits to establish to improve your own communication.
- Most people who succeed in this field do so because they bring fresh and novel ideas to the table. It is a common struggle for most sports organizations to remain profitable in the off-season. Who hasn’t heard of a wacky event going on at their local minor league baseball stadium? While some of these ideas may flop, there is a need to try in order to keep the business in the black.
- It is necessary for a manager or executive in a sports organization to not only wear many hats, but also have a solid background of different aspects of the business. They must keep the finger on the pulse of what their fans are looking for, while also maintaining a solid sense of the backend business. They must do this while also managing, empowering, and supporting their subordinates so that their collective vision of success can come to fruition.
How to Break into Sport Management
- Education or Experience. If you already have a degree in Sports Management, or Business Management with a focus on Sports Management, then you can skip ahead. Otherwise, step one is to get a degree. This is a very competitive field and most organizations can afford to be selective with their applicants. Fortunately, the field is growing and there are also a growing number of options for degrees. When choosing a program, consider the location of that program and if that is in the same area you would one day like to work in. This will be helpful for future networking. If you are thinking about an online program, consider if the program has internship resources, or has a system in place that can set you up with some real world experience. If you already have a Bachelor’s Degree in another field, it may be worth considering a Master Degree to really focus on the specialization that will make you stand out among other applicants.
- Networking. This is crucial and you can start today! While you are in school or whenever you have time, work on building your network. Using tools like LinkedIn can be very helpful, or attending conferences, volunteering at charity events where you prospective employee is a sponsor, or even emailing executives at organizations you are interested in is a solid use of your time.
- Internships. These can be hard to get (see our internship guide for more information) but incredibly worthwhile not only for your resume, but for your own personal development and career. The responsibilities and tasks of the internship vary greatly from organization to organization, however many of the more established programs have detailed internship postings which outline what interning for them may look like. If you do not get an internship at a larger organization, it is very likely that smaller organizations would love to have your help. Consider volunteering with them. You may be learning just as much, if not more.
- From here it is all about landing that first job. Continue to network and gain experience, while improving and updating your resume. With enough hard work, applications, and hand shakes, you will land the job that you have been dreaming of and it will all be worth it!
Sport Management by the numbers…
According to Glassdoor.com the Average Base Pay for someone in the Sports Management Field is $69,239/year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a top executive’s average wage was $155,910/yr, the majority of managers were close or above $100,000/yr. Also included in the report was the average wage of a sales representative– $47,930. This of course is on the lower end, but a successful salesperson can quickly climb the ladder of any organization.
In the Performing Arts, Spectator Sports, and Related Industries, there are an estimated 497,000 jobs. [source] This is also a growing industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, It is projected that “employment of coaches and scouts is projected to grow 26% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.”
Sport Management Degrees FAQs
A degree in sport management is a good start, but that is not the only thing you need to do! A big part of getting a job with a major sports team is to network. All of the major sports leagues and almost all of the leagues will sponsor networking events and career days where prospective employees can learn about job opportunities. Also, it is important to use your own personal network, as well as online resources like LinkedIn.
Not necessarily. There are many people who work in sports that have a different degree. For example, someone in the marketing department of a major league baseball team may have a marketing degree. However, sport management is generally a very good choice for folks who are looking to be versatile and valuable to a sports organization.