Getting qualified in sports management can help you get a successful career in the world of sport, even though you might not be athletic. But you do need two things: the first is a passion for most sports, and the second is a degree in sports management.
There are various challenging and lucrative sports management jobs available, and many career paths to choose from. Professional sporting teams employ many staff members, in various roles, e.g., as athletics directors, recruiters, marketers and publicists, which include aspects of sports management. This page looks at some of them briefly, helps you to find out more about sport management study and to locate suitable university degree programs.
What do you study in a sports management degree?
These degrees prepare students in sports management and athletic, health and fitness administration in a variety of settings including gyms, fitness clubs, spas, corporate fitness, high school and collegiate athletics, and many others. The content of the program you take will depend on the particular track you wish to pursue – whether in training/coaching, event management, marketing or public relations.
When you graduate in sports management, you can start a coaching career by working as a high school or college coach. As you build up your résumé, you can then better opportunities such as that of an Athletics Director. Again, you can work in a high school or college environment, or seek employment with a professional sporting association. The main components of this job are management and marketing. Similarly, there is the opportunity to work as an Events Manager. This work involves organizing tickets, supervising staff, coordinating schedules, marketing, and advertising.
Many professional sports teams employ Recruiters or Scouts. Their job is to hunt down new players for the team. Sometimes, this may include poaching players from opposing teams. For this job, excellent negotiating and business skills are necessary, plus the ability to build relationships and trust. You may be involved in discussing the terms and conditions of the new player’s contract.
Marketing is one of the most important areas of sports, and its primary focus is on making money. In this environment, you work with manufacturers, advertisers, designers, and writers to create an exciting marketing strategy for your team. Other tasks include maintaining the team’s website, contacting companies for sponsorship, and making deals with advertisers to promote their products at events.
Another option to pursue is public relations – similar to marketing, yet not as aggressive. The basic duties are to liaise with the media, organize TV and radio interviews for the players, and planning contests or concerts during half-time at games. Once you have gained experience, a future prospect is to become a player’s personal agent. This involves negotiating contracts, securing sponsorship deals, and generally acting on behalf of your player in many spheres.
What are the career prospects for graduates?
In the USA, the future is very bright for anyone with a sports management qualification. Up to the year 2018, the Bureau of Labor predicts that job employment opportunities will keep pace with other professional occupations. Many jobs will become vacant due to the increasing number of baby-boomers about to retire. It is difficult to give an average sports management salary because it comprises so many diverse occupations. Nevertheless, the earning potential is excellent, especially with a masters in sports management.
With a doctorate in sport and exercise psychology it is possible to obtain faculty positions at universities and community colleges. In the US, an Assistant Professor would earn about US$54,000, an Associate Professor about US$67,000, and a full Professor would earn about US$85,000.
List of schools and programs