Sports management is a field that focuses on the business attributes of sports, and many in this industry have obtained a sports management degree. Individuals working in this industry are concerned with the planning, organizing, managing, and budgeting aspects of a department or organization whose main purpose is related to sports or physical activities. Sports management professionals handle the behind the scenes features, such as finance, marketing, leadership, facility management, and event management. Sports management is applied in nearly all types of levels of sports, including municipal recreation, private organizations, social organizations, government athletic activities, amateur sport, college-level athletics, and professional sports.

Sports Management Degree

Individuals who are interested in working in the sports industry and focusing on the business features that support the operation of sporting activities should pursue a degree in sports management. These degrees provide students with a solid understanding of sports and business and management and how these aspects work together. Students receive instruction directly related to business topics in sports, and most programs include meaningful practical experiences related to managing sports organizations and/or sporting events. Some degree programs enable students to specialize in a certain area of the sports industry, such as sports tourism, golf management, sports communications and media, sports marketing, or sports facility management.

Resource: Top 15 Best Online Sports Management Degree Programs

Benefits of a Degree in Sports Management

Sports management degrees provide individuals with an array of benefits, such as the ability to work with a wide range of people who share a common passion for sports, and becoming a vital part of a sports organization. The field also provides unforgettable experiences, and it is not limited to one specific geographic area since sports are prevalent in all locations. Students in sports management programs complete courses that focus on the business aspects of sports, information about sports, and intercollegiate and professional sports. They also learn about sport ethics, sport marketing, sport law, sport finance, and management of sport facilities. Sports management programs are offered at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree levels. The bachelor’s degree programs prepare students for entry-level careers in sports management and help graduates get their foot in the door. Master’s degree programs provide a more in-depth understanding of the field, and graduates are prepared to pursue upper-level positions and advance in their current careers. Doctoral programs enable students to become experts in the field to pursue professional opportunities, such as positions in research or academia.

Schools Offering Sports Management Degrees

A variety of accredited institutions offer degrees in sports management. Among those that are generally well-regarded are programs at Georgetown University, the University of Massachusetts, and Bowling Green State University. Georgetown University offers a master’s degree in sports industry management, and the program includes practical instruction by leaders in the industry, internships, and other customized learning options. The University of Massachusetts offers a bachelor’s degree program that focuses on three levels of sports management sports agencies, amateur sports, and professional sports. Bowling Green State University has one of the biggest sports management programs in the U.S. Students are required to choose a minor in international business, marketing, entrepreneurship, journalism, or general business.

Sports Management Careers

The increasing growth in the sports industry in the U.S. has sparked a demand for sports management professionals. In fact, sports-related businesses are ranked in the top 15 industries in the country. Career opportunities for graduates of sports management programs vary from working for a local non-profit organization to pursuing positions with professional sports teams. For more information, see our article on Sports Management Careers and Jobs. Five popular types of careers include:

Sports Marketer

Handles the process of buying or selling individual athletes, teams, sponsors, or brands in the sports field. Sports marketers create awareness and advertisements for clients to promote them and make them look desirable. They use a wide range of mediums to get the word out about their clients, such as public relations, television interviews, public events, endorsement deals, and social networking. Sports marketers work with their clients to determine the needs to implement campaigns in the most effective way possible. They often conduct surveys to identify the best markets to promote their clients. The average salary for sports marketers is around $76,000 per year.

Sport Scout

Responsible for assessing both amateur and professional athletes for skill and talent in a certain sport. Sport scouts commonly work for academic institutions that have amateur teams as well as professional sports organizations. They look for talent by consulting with high school or college coaches, reading local newspapers, and watching the performance of players to evaluate skills. Many sport scouts meet with players and families to get a better understanding of the player’s personality and background. After watching players, sports scouts report information back to organizations to provide an analysis of prospective value to the team. The average salary for sport scouts is around $44,000 per year.

Sports Facilities Manager

Run the overall operations of sports facilities, from small gyms to large football stadiums. Sports facilities managers manage the daily operations and organize maintenance and other activities needed for effective function. They maintain the quality and safety of playing surfaces, and implement specific procedures to ensure all participants of sports activities are safe. They prepare yearly budgets and estimate the costs of operating the facilities. They also keep track of equipment and delegate maintenance and repair tasks. Many sports facilities managers are also responsible for making sure an effective security system is in place. The median yearly salary for sports facilities managers is around $80,000.

Sports Manager

Direct the overall organization and scheduling for sports organizations and individual athletes. Sports managers act as intermediaries between players and teams, and present a good public image for clients. They focus on the business and organization aspects of sports to enable clients to concentrate on the game and trying their best to win. They make sure their clients are getting adequate attention and training to promote peak performance. They work for a wide variety of entities, including amateur and professional sports leagues, academic institutions, sports marketing companies, and sporting goods organizations. The median annual salary for sports managers is around $56,000.

Athletic Director

Provides leadership in all types of sports organizations from high schools to professional college sports teams. They oversee all aspects of an athletic program, including facility management, budgets, and hiring coaches and other staff members. They provide direction and work with staff to create schedules for practices and in some cases games and tournaments. They allocate funding for equipment, maintenance of facilities, travel, and salaries of staff members. Athletic directors also work with leagues and conferences to schedule other activities. The median annual salary for athletic directors is around $101,000.