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If you enjoy playing recreational sports or exercising, you might consider a career in sports management. After all, the field is diverse and can be very lucrative. But what exactly is sports management? Read on to learn more about this multidisciplinary business field.
What is sports management?
Sports management refers to the management of various business functions in sports and recreational organizations. Depending on their specific job title, sports management professionals may plan, direct, organize, or budget within a sports-related organization.
Getting a job in sports management doesn’t necessarily mean enrolling in a professional sports league. Several sports and recreation organizations employ people with sports management skills – from college teams to stadiums, sports media companies to the Paralympics.
Sports management professionals typically have at least a bachelor’s degree. Management positions in the sports and leisure sector usually require at least a Bachelor of Business Administration.
Sports Management Degrees
Bachelor of Science in Sports Management
A bachelor’s degree in sports management prepares students for entry-level positions in the industry. Some begin with a four-year undergraduate degree at a college or university. Others start with a two-year associate degree at a community college before moving on to a four-year university.
Expect to cover a variety of business-related topics in undergraduate sports management programs. You can study brand management, event planning, facilities management and legal aspects of sports and athletics. A BS in Sports Management equips students to work in facilities management or sporting goods sales. Such entry-level positions often serve as a springboard for further career paths.
Bachelor of Business Administration in Sports Management
If you are interested in leadership positions in esports, consider a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree. This degree includes a business-intensive curriculum with management, finance, accounting and marketing courses.
BBA programs typically last three to four years. Potential careers for BBA graduates include sports manager, athletic director, general manager, sports advertising sales manager, and parks and recreation director.
MBA in Sports Management
MBA in sports management programs sharpen your business management skills through the lens of the sports and recreation industry. These degrees typically take two years to complete. Core coursework includes business-oriented topics such as finance, marketing, accounting, statistics, and operations.
Sports management MBA programs offer a variety of industry-specific electives. This may include courses such as coaching, sports media, sports psychology and international sports relations. Many programs also include internship opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience with sports organizations.
Earning an MBA can open the door to higher-paying jobs in larger sports organizations. Sports Management MBA graduates often find jobs with professional sports leagues or sports marketing firms.
PhD in sports management
If you are interested in science, consider a Ph.D. in sports management. Sport Management PhD graduates often start careers as professors, researchers, urban developers and economists related to sport and leisure.
As a Sports Management Ph.D. As a candidate, you will develop an original doctoral thesis. Throughout the program, you will generate research ideas, conduct relevant research, and take additional coursework. Most Ph.D. Candidates also serve as research assistants for graduate students and assist professors with grading and teaching.
For example, during a PhD, your research could explore the intersection of sport and gender. Other possible research areas are sport and its social impact or the economics of the sports industry. Students are encouraged and expected to develop their own research ideas for the development of original theses.
Sports Management Concentrations
Because sports management is a multidisciplinary field, many students pursue majors to deepen their expertise in a specific sub-topic. If you’re drawn to a particular aspect of the industry, you should find a program that offers a focus on that particular area. Below are some examples of management concentrations in grassroots sport.
Several laws impact the world of professional, amateur, and recreational sports. Sports attorneys help athletes, coaches, managers and organizations navigate these laws and, when possible, avoid costly litigation.
Some of the most common areas of sports law are:
- contract law. This area regulates the contracts between athletes, coaches and their respective teams. These contracts are most common in professional sports leagues and involve millions of dollars. Sports lawyers draft these contracts and help negotiate them.
- trademark law. Sports teams are identified by their names, logos, and sometimes slogans. These assets need to be trademarked so teams can retain rights and control over them. In this case, sports attorneys help teams file their trademarks and enforce terms in case of trademark infringement.
- Personal Injury Law. Athletes are prone to injury, both on and off the pitch. When an athlete (or other claimant, such as a coach or spectator) makes a legal claim following an injury, personal injury attorneys step in to facilitate the claim process. Additionally, venues hosting sporting events must ensure the space is secure to avoid liability for personal injury. When a fan is injured at a game due to neglected facility maintenance, personal injury law comes into play.
Sports media refers to the transmission and coverage of sporting events, teams, and sports news. Sports media jobs include print journalism, photography, broadcast (TV and radio) reporting, sports information analysis, and program production. Major employers in the sports media space include the MLB Network, ESPN, and NBC Sports Regional Networks.
Sporting event management involves the planning, coordination, organization and management of events for sporting organizations. Hosting sporting events—from marathons to minor league baseball games—requires tireless attention to detail and quick decision-making. Among other things, event managers have to manage budgets, negotiate with vendors and coordinate the day’s logistics.
Career in sports management
Average annual salary: About $61,000
Job description: Athletic directors provide the link between the athletes, coaches and academic departments of the schools. These professionals oversee the goals, budget and operations of the schools athletic departments. They also assist in hiring coaching staff, maintaining facilities and promoting athletic programs.
Average annual salary: $97,930
Projected employment growth (2020-2030): +9%
Job description: The sports facility managers are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the sports facilities. They ensure the safety of all players on the field, yard or other playing surface. Facility managers should have a post-secondary degree in sports management and be trained in CPR and first aid.
Average annual salary: $133,380
Projected employment growth (2020-2030): 10%
Job description: Sports Marketing Consultants apply sales and marketing tactics to promote sports teams and the organizations associated with them. They could also sponsor individual high-profile athletes. Marketing consultants can also work on a contract basis to provide clients with valuable insights.
Frequently asked questions about sports management
Is sports management in demand?
Consider that 74% of Americans consider themselves sports fans, the sports industry is enjoying positive growth prospects. As a result, growth rates for jobs such as coaches, scouts, agents, and corporate managers are increasing.
What does a person with a sports management degree do?
Sports management graduates typically have a variety of career options. Some may work directly with athletes as coaches, athletic directors, or facilities. Others go the corporate route and become marketers, lawyers, data analysts or sports reporters.
What are the highest paying jobs in sports management?
Sports marketing consultants hold one of the highest paying positions in the sports management industry. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, marketing consultants earn a median annual salary of $133,380.
Is it hard to get a job in sports management?
Yes, especially for those who lack the proper education or industry connections. With a degree in sports management, you have a higher chance of differentiating yourself from the competition and building a lucrative career in the industry.