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Job Profile: Sporting Event Planner/Coordinator

Sporting events play a huge part in generating income not only for the sports organization, but also for local restaurants, hotels, taverns, and airports near the event. Attending a sporting event can be extremely fun, but there’s plenty of hard work behind the scenes that must be done first. That’s where sporting event planners and coordinators come into the picture. Sporting event coordinators have the hefty task of planning every detail that goes into preparing the team and facility for game day. From college soccer games and professional tennis matches to the Super Bowl and the Olympics, sporting event planners work at every level to prepare for these exciting events. Coordinators have the mission of making sure the sporting event goes off without a hitch to keep spectators and television audiences engaged.

Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 77,940 event planners currently working in the United States earn an average annual salary of $50,910, which is equivalent to a mean hourly wage of $24.48. In particular, event coordinators who use their expertise in the spectator sports industry to plan sporting events bring home a mean wage of $39,920 each year.

Beginning Salary

When first starting out in the sports event management field, coordinators will likely fall into the bottom tenth percentile of earnings with a yearly salary around $19,520. While this may seem low, it’s important to know that sporting event planners with years of experience and leadership roles in big games often go on to make more than $71,750 annually.

Key Responsibilities

Sporting event coordinators work under the pressure and responsibility of arranging every detail involved in preparing for an event. Event planners coordinate with teams of varying sizes to guarantee that every aspect of the sporting event is under control. Coordinators are involved in preparing lodging for the team, purchasing transportation, distributing team news to the media, creating emergency contingency plans, maintaining the security of spectators and players, inspecting the facility, marketing ticket sales, setting concession items, and delegating preparation tasks to other workers. Sporting event coordinators must plan carefully to keep venues operating efficiently and minimize wasted expenses.

Necessary Skills

In order to be successful as a sporting event planner, you must possess superior interpersonal skills for constantly communicating preparation instructions and motivating workers to stick to a tight schedule. Sporting events are complex with many moving parts that can malfunction at any given time, so organizational skills are essential. Event planners must have solid critical thinking and problem-solving skills to devise creative solutions whenever emergency strikes. Being detail-oriented, a team player, and equipped with leadership traits is important. Sporting event coordinators should have stellar negotiation skills for settling on beneficial contractors and getting the best prices for clients. In the fast-paced environment of sports business, sporting event planners must also have composure to stay calm when under pressure.

Degree and Education Requirements

Before you can leap into a dynamic sports event management career, you’ll likely need to have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year higher learning institution. Many aspiring sporting event planners major in sports management or athletic administration to focus their skill sets in the spectator sports industry. However, event planners can create a successful niche in sports with a degree in marketing, public relations, communications, business administration, and more. Take courses related to sports promotion, sports operations, facility management, business law, and sports leadership for best career preparation though. Earning a master’s degree in sports management or a related field can also help develop a thriving independent consulting business.

Pros and Cons of the Position

As with any other career, working as a sporting event coordinator comes with its fair share of rewards and challenges that must be weighed. Firstly, individuals who have a passion for sports without great athletic ability can develop a career in sports event management to get right in on the action. Being a sporting event planner is a great fit for the extroverted because the job requires interacting with others nearly 100 percent of the time. It’s also possible for event planners to start their own consulting business for the highest level of flexibility. On the flip side, coordinators deal with the stress of playing a big role in whether a sporting event sinks or swims. Sporting events typically are during irregular evening and weekend hours, which means this isn’t a traditional 9-to-5 job. Sporting event coordinators have a low starting salary while working long hours and facing tight deadlines.

Getting Started

Students who are earning their degree should get started building their resume with valuable experiences in sports event management right away. Taking on internships, part-time work, and even volunteer learning with their school’s athletic team will be beneficial. Having a degree doesn’t guarantee a job, so aspiring sporting event coordinators need to receive hands-on practical experience in arranging events. Going the extra mile to ask professors about seminars related to event management and network with other event planners will pay off. You can even attend the International Sports Event Management Conference to form a professional network in the industry. Although it’s not required, earning the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential from the Convention Industry Council can be worth the investment to show your competence in coordinating large events too.

Future Outlook

Based on a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of event planners across all industries is expected to grow dramatically by 33 percent, thus creating 31,300 new jobs before 2022. Job opportunities in event management tend to fluctuate with the economy, so our nation’s continued growth after the recent recession will improve prospects. Since spectator sports are a major U.S. industry that generate 485 billion each year in revenue, there likely will continue to be large sporting events that draw in thousands of fans. That being said, competition for sporting event planning jobs will likely remain heated, especially in a sport’s off-season. The most positive job outlook is available for sporting event coordinators with a good education, solid experience, professional credentials, and excellent time management skills.

Overall, sports event management is a unique niche that blends the excitement of sports with the hard work of business and strategic planning. Sporting event planners manage every little piece of the puzzle that goes into preparing a facility for a big game or match. If you decide to become a sporting event coordinator, you can turn your sports hobby into a successful career making sport-related organizations as profitable as possible.

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