Effective sports management ensures that athletic teams and organizations run smoothly day to day while making sure that the team or athlete is where they need to be at a given time. Sports managers may be employed directly by an individual, a team, a sports facility or an organization that represents a conglomerate of athletic franchises and facilities. The basic functions of the sports manager include human resources-related tasks, business-management functions, general management, and marketing and promotions activities.
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Breaking Down the Functions of the Sports Manager
Sports management jobs may be desk-bound or road warrior-worthy, depending on the specific assignment. Athletic managers who specialize in hiring, firing and retaining sports talents may find themselves behind a desk most of the time. Personnel management issues are typically handled at the home office, so these managers may not be required to travel with the team at all times. On the other hand, those who take charge of athletes’ training, promotions and marketing may have to be with the team during their out-of-town commitments. Sports marketing pros may have to travel a lot to represent professional and college teams or athletes.
Managers who function as overall manager for an individual athlete may have to go wherever their client goes, pulling double duty as a personal assistant and security person. High profile clients will require more of the sports manager’s time, especially during the sports season. Sports managers do not typically take charge of contract negotiations as this is a function of the sports agent.
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Preparing for a Career in Sports Management
People who end up in sports management jobs have a clear interest in athletics from an early age. They may have been involved in competitive sports at different points in their lives and in different positions. Sports managers are typically required to complete a four-year degree in sports science, sports management or business management. Licensing requirements will vary by state.
Most successful sports managers are athletes, former athletes, and sports boosters in different ways. An affinity for the sport leads to an in-depth understanding of the needs of players and their teams. Like the athletes and teams they support, sports managers rarely stay in one place for the duration of their career. They move where their assignments take them, which is often the case for team management whose job stability is based on the success of the team.
Job Growth in the Field of Sports Management
Sports management is a highly competitive field. It is the natural progression of an athlete’s career after having spent time in the field as a player or in administrative support. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in this sector is expected to improve by 4.1 percent, which is much lower compared to expected growth of managerial jobs in other sectors. Insiders say that job satisfaction is high for sports management professionals in spite of the high-pressure lifestyle.
Sports management jobs involve travel with some assignments being more travel-intensive than others. However, there are some support jobs for those that may not be up to the constant traveling lifestyle or who may need the downtime after the hectic pace of playing competitive sports. Sports management is a diverse field according to Livestrong.com, and job opportunities abound for those who are passionate about sports and have prepared for a career in this field by accumulating experience and earning the relevant degrees and credentials.