Sports Management Career Path

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Sports Management Career Path

Sports management is a degree program that prepares students to work in the world of sports. This is not an easy path for everyone because it requires many personal qualities and specific skills.

If you’re passionate about sports and want to turn your love into a career, consider a career in sports management. This field offers many opportunities to work in a variety of roles with professional or amateur teams. Here’s a look at what you need to know to get started on the path to a sports management career.

1. What Is Sports Management?

Generally, sports management is the study of all aspects of running a sporting organization. This includes everything from organizing competitions, to managing the people within the organization, to influencing strategies that will increase profitability or enhance public relations. Sports managers are usually employed by an organization directly related to professional (or amateur) athletics (such as colleges, universities, and amateur recreational organizations) in a role that requires them to perform both managerial and tactical functions. They must be able to contribute to all aspects of running a sporting organization.

It is the broadest term, as it includes patronage systems, e.g., which can also refer to art history or musical management. The “manager” in sports management is usually used in reference to an individual at the top of a professional sports organization that controls and oversees all decisions involving the company.

Sports management is an interdisciplinary study focusing on both non-profit and for-profit business areas. The history of this academic discipline began with Dr. Carl Rupp’s establishment of the first college degree in sport management at Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, in the early 1970s. Today an increasing number of universities from around the world are offering undergraduate programs in sports management.

2. What Is the Job of a Sports Manager?

Managing a sports team can require many responsibilities, from administrative tasks such as filing and applying for permits to managing players’ salaries. In some cases, managers need to plan event schedules or negotiate contracts with players. Other times, they create marketing plans or coaching plans in order to enhance their team’s performance.

Sports managers must be able to handle the pressure that comes with their jobs. Not only do they have to deal with high-profile players and staff, but their decisions directly affect the success of the team or organization as a whole. They also need excellent communication skills since communication is key in persuading players and staff members to follow certain strategies.

3. How to Become a Sports Manager?

Sports Management is a degree program that prepares students to work in the world of sports. This is not an easy path for everyone because it requires many personal qualities and specific skills.

In the United States, a typical path to sports management positions involves obtaining a bachelor’s degree in sports management or a related field. Although many colleges and universities offer programs in this subject, each one may have different requirements for admission.

Many programs require students to complete general education courses and some sort of internship before they can graduate. Not all university and college graduates enter the sports industry immediately after graduation. Some go on to get master’s degrees or other advanced degrees before finding work in the field.

3. How Much Does a Sports Manager Earn?

The median salary of managers, directors, and officials in all industries was $45,830 in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with the top 10 percent earning more than $89,950. The BLS reports an average salary of $70,910 for sports managers.

The median annual salary of a sports manager was $45,830 in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those in the top 10 percent earned more than $89,950. The average annual salary of a sports manager was $70,910.

A sports manager is a professional who manages the team to get success in any sports events; Organizing Championships and Tournaments are some of the main responsibilities for a Sports Manager. The decisions made by a sports manager can affect the whole team’s performance, so it is a difficult job, the salary you will be paid according to your skills and hard labor.

4. What Skills Do I Need to Become a Sports Manager?

Sports managers need the following personal qualities:

  • Commitment and passion- you will be working with young people, so you need to show commitment and passion for motivating them.
  • Decisiveness- You will make decisions that affect players’ careers, e.g., transferring them between teams or firing them, so you need the courage to do this.
  • Attention to detail- as a sports manager, you have to keep records of everything that happens around the team, so you need to be accurate.
  • Patience- players need your support, encouragement, and advice; it takes time for them to develop their talent and skills.
  • Good communication skills- players need to follow your instructions well. You must be able to communicate well with them, give clear instructions and elicit feedback from them.
  • Self-motivation- you will not get someone else motivating the team for you, so you must motivate yourself to keep working towards your goal.
  • Teamwork- since sports teams are usually made up of several different people, you need to be a good team player in order to get the best out of your team members.
  • Creativity- when you plan and organize, you need to do so in a creative way so that it excites and motivates your players.
  • Leadership skills- since you will be the main person in charge of the team, you need to be a good leader and inspire others to follow your lead.
  • You will work with young people, so your ability to relate to them is very important for this job. You must be able to motivate them to provide guidance and support while making sure the team is working together.

5. What Is the Job Outlook for Sports Management?

Job opportunities for sports managers are expected to be good. Sports organizations need more people to organize games, championships, and tournaments. However, it is also difficult to land jobs with these organizations; you must have the proper credentials, experience, and expertise.

Sports-related companies, such as equipment suppliers, sportswear manufacturers, and event management organizations, will also provide many new jobs. Positions in the sports industry will be available in a variety of settings, including colleges and universities, professional organizations, the government, and private corporations.

6. Where Does Sports Manager Work?

Sports managers can work in a wide variety of settings, depending on the area of expertise. Many sports managers train and coach teams, serving as staff for professional teams or directly working with athletes who compete at the college, Olympic and international levels.

Most sports managers work in the sports industry, which is a great place for people who love their sport. They can find jobs with different levels of education and experience, so it is good if you are still studying or just graduated from your university program. As well as working directly for professional teams, they may also work for colleges, universities, equipment suppliers, sportswear manufacturers, and event management organizations.

Sports manager work opportunities will be available in a variety of settings, including colleges and universities, professional organizations, the government, and private corporations.

7. What Does a Typical Day Look Like for a Research Assistant?

A research assistant usually does the following:

Collect data- they will go out into the community to conduct interviews, questionnaires, and observations.

Organize and analyze data- they must summarize the results of their study for a report. They may also graph or chart the information to make it easier for other people to understand.

Working with graduate students- research assistants work closely with graduate students and faculty members to help with many aspects of research.

Writing- they may occasionally be asked to write reports, articles, or papers based on their findings.

8. What Are the Top Recruiting Companies for a Sports Manager?

The main recruiting companies for a sports manager are:

  • Adecco – the world’s leading provider of temporary staffing solutions. It is the world’s largest recruiter for contract and temporary workers.
  • Manpower – their primary market is small to medium-sized companies where they provide permanent, temporary, and contract employment services.
  • Robert Half International – specializes in professional staffing across accounting and finance, technology, legal, creative and administrative fields.
  • Kelly Services – this company provides contract and temporary job placement services in a number of fields.
  • Hays Plc – this is a leading international provider of specialist recruitment solutions in the areas of accounting and finance, construction, I.T. and industrial, legal and professional, oil and energy, real estate, and secretarial. They also provide permanent job search services through their network of local branches throughout the U.K. and overseas.

9. Best Colleges to Study Sports Management

Here are some of the best colleges to study sports management:

  • Emporia State University – this is a mid-sized public university in central Kansas. It offers an undergraduate program in sports administration, with courses including risk management in college athletics, event management and facilities operations, sponsorship opportunities for professional athletes, and equipment purchasing.
  • Indiana State University – this is a mid-sized public university in the Midwest U.S. It offers both a bachelor’s and master’s degree program in sports management, which will prepare students for careers as professional sports administrators and managers.
  • James Madison University – this is a small public university in Virginia with an undergraduate major in sports and event management and a minor in sports administration.
  • Arizona State University – this is a large public university in the southwestern U.S. with an undergraduate program in sports management. It includes courses on the business of sport, financial accounting for sport, marketing for sport managers, and operations management in collegiate athletics.
  • University of California Los Angeles – this is a world-renowned research university with a highly ranked program in sports management at the graduate level.
  • The University of Texas – this is a large public university in central Texas with an undergraduate major and minor in sport management, covering topics such as coaching philosophies, sports marketing, and social issues in sport.
  • Ohio State University – this is a world-renowned research university with a highly ranked program in sports management at the graduate level.
  • Ohio University – this is a mid-sized public university in central Ohio, with an undergraduate major and minor options for students intending to work within sports administration. Its courses include social issues in sport, contemporary issues in women’s sports, and human resource management.
  • The University of North Carolina – this is an elite public research university, with both a graduate program and undergraduate major in sports administration. The courses they offer include sports marketing, legal issues in college athletics, and the selling of tickets.

10. Online Courses to Study Sports Management

There are also plenty of online courses to study sports management, for example:

Sports Management: Strategy and Performance by Udemy

This course provides you with the necessary skills to excel in this industry, including how to become a leader, market your product and work with athletes in the business of sports. It covers topics such as legal issues in professional sports, marketing, sales management in global sport, event operations, and sponsorship.

Apply Now

Sports Leadership and Management by Udemy

In this course, you will learn how to manage teams and athletes, as well as develop career opportunities. You’ll also look at marketing services for contemporary sports issues in coaching and sports facility management.

Apply Now

Professional Certificate in Sports Business Management by Edx

This program will provide you with the skills to thrive in this industry through courses such as financial accounting for sports organizations, marketing sports events, coaching strategies, and facility management.

Apply Now

Sports Performance Analytics Specialization by Coursera

This program is ideal for those who wish to become sports analysts or managers. You will learn about data visualization, mathematics for sport, statistics in business, and competitive dynamics.

Apply Now 


So, what’s the best way to get started in a sports management career? The most important step is to gain experience—volunteer or intern with local teams, leagues, and organizations. Get involved in everything you can—from marketing and public relations to operations and event planning. Take every opportunity to learn new skills and develop your network. As you progress in your career, continually seek out new opportunities to learn and grow. And remember, stay passionate about sports!

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.

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