What is Sport Management? – Forbes Advisor

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If you enjoy playing or coaching recreational sports, you may be considering a career in sports management. After all, the field is diverse and can be very lucrative. But what exactly is sports management? Keep reading to learn more about this multidisciplinary field of activity.

What is Sport Management?

Sports management refers to the management of various business functions in sports and recreation 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 does not necessarily mean enrolling in a professional sports league. Several sports and recreation organizations employ people with sports management skills, from college teams to stadiums, from sports media companies to the Paralympics.

Sports management professionals tend to hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Management positions in sports and recreation generally require at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Sports Management Degrees

Bachelor of Science in Sport Management

An undergraduate degree in sports management prepares students for entry-level positions in the industry. Some start with a four-year undergraduate program at a college or university. Others start by completing a two-year associate’s degree at a community college before moving on to a four-year university.

Expect to cover a variety of business management topics in undergraduate sports management courses. You could study brand management, event planning, facilities management, and legal aspects of sport and athletics. A BS in Sports Management allows students to work in facilities management or sporting goods sales. These entry-level positions often serve as stepping stones to more advanced career paths.

Bachelor of Business Administration in Sports Management

If you are interested in leadership positions in sports, consider pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). This degree involves a business-intensive curriculum that includes courses in management, finance, accounting, and marketing.

BBA programs typically last three to four years. Potential careers for BBA graduates include athletic director, athletic director, general manager, sports advertising sales manager, and parks and recreation manager.

MBA in Sports Management

Sports Management MBA programs hone your business management skills through the lens of the sports and leisure industry. These degrees usually last two years. Core courses include business-focused topics like finance, marketing, accounting, statistics, and operations.

Sports Management MBA programs offer a variety of industry-specific electives. These 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.

Obtaining an MBA can open the door to higher-paying jobs in major sports organizations. Sports Management MBA graduates often find jobs in professional sports leagues or sports marketing companies.

doctorate in sports management

If you are interested in academia, consider pursuing a Ph.D. in sports management. Holders of a doctorate in sports management often embark on careers as professors, researchers, urban planners and economists in the field of sports and recreation.

As a PhD in Sports Management. candidate, you will develop an original doctoral thesis. Throughout the program, you will generate research ideas, conduct relevant research, and take additional coursework. Most doctoral candidates also serve as research assistants to graduate students, providing professors with grading and instructional support.

During a doctoral program, your research might examine the intersection of sport and gender, for example. Other possible areas of research include sport and its social impact or the economics of the sports industry. Students are encouraged and expected to generate their own research ideas for original thesis development.

Sport Management Concentrations

Because sports management is a multidisciplinary field, many students pursue concentrations to deepen their expertise in a specific subtopic. If you are inclined towards a certain aspect of the industry, consider finding a program that offers a concentration in that particular area. Below are some examples of popular sports management concentrations.

sports law

Several laws impact the world of professional, amateur and recreational sport. Sports attorneys help athletes, coaches, managers and organizations navigate these laws and, where possible, avoid costly litigation.

Some of the more common areas of sports law include:

  • Contract law. This area governs contracts between athletes, coaches and their respective teams. These contracts are the 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 must be deposited for teams to retain rights and control over them. In this case, sports attorneys assist teams in filing their trademarks and enforcing terms in the event of trademark infringement.
  • Personal injury law. Athletes are prone to injury, both on and off the field. If an athlete (or other plaintiff, such as a coach or spectator) files a legal claim after an injury, personal injury lawyers step in to facilitate the claims process. Additionally, venues that host sporting events must ensure that the space is safe to avoid liability for injury. The Personal Injury Act comes into play if a fan is injured during a game due to negligent facility maintenance.

Sports media

Sports media refers to the broadcasting and reporting of sporting events, teams and sports news. Sports media jobs include print journalism, photography, television and radio reporting, sports news analysis, and program production. Major employers in sports media include MLB Network, ESPN, and NBC Sports Regional Networks.

Event management

Sports event management involves planning, coordinating, organizing and directing events for sports organizations. Organizing sporting events – from marathons to minor league baseball games – requires constant attention to detail and quick decision-making skills. Among other key responsibilities, event managers must manage budgets, negotiate with vendors, and coordinate logistics on the day of the event.

Sport Management Careers

Sports director

Average annual salary: About $61,000
Job description: Athletic directors liaise between athletes, coaches, and academic departments in schools. These professionals oversee the goals, budget, and operations of school athletic departments. They also help hire coaching staff, maintain facilities and promote sports programs.

Facilities Director

Median annual salary: $97,930
Projected job growth (2020-2030): +9%
Job description: Facility managers are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of sports facilities. They ensure the safety of everyone playing on the field, court or other playing surface. Facility managers must have a post-secondary degree in sports management and be trained in CPR and first aid.

Marketing consultant

Median annual salary: $133,380
Projected job growth (2020-2030): ten%
Job description: Sports marketing consultants use sales and marketing tactics to promote sports teams and their associated organizations. They could also promote individual top athletes. Marketing consultants may also work on a contract basis to provide valuable information to clients.

Sports Management Frequently Asked Questions

Is sports management in demand?

Given that 74% of Americans see themselves as sports fans, the sports industry enjoys a positive growth outlook. As a result, job growth rates including coaches, scouts, agents and business managers are on the rise.

What does a person with a degree in sports management do?

Holders of a sports management degree typically have a variety of career options. Some may work directly with athletes as coaches, athletic directors, or facility managers. Others take the corporate route and become marketers, lawyers, data analysts or sports journalists.

What are the highest paying jobs in sports management?

Sports marketing consultants hold one of the highest paying positions in the sports management industry. Marketing consultants earn a median annual salary of $133,380, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Is it difficult to find a job in sports management?

Yes, especially for those without the proper training or industry connections. Having a sports management degree gives you a better chance to stand out from the competition and create a lucrative career in the industry.


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