If you are a mere mortal but you have as your career goal to hob-knob with big name athletes–as well as the money and egos that go with them–the sports management business might be for you. The question that often surfaces quickly in the discussion over qualifications is “Will a business administration degree help me to a sports management career?
First, the Bad News
Perhaps a line from Alice in Wonderland would set the scene for you. In a conversation between the Cheshire Cat and Alice, as Alice asks for directions, the cat tells Alice that since she doesn’t have any particular destination in mind, that any path will take her there. Such a direction applies to sports management as well.
Although there have been sports managers and agents for some time, as a distinct profession sports management doesn’t really have much of a history. In the past, sports managers were normally friends and associates of athletes who asked them to help with the business aspect of their work. Unfortunately, that was before the days of sports superstars and their multi-million dollar contracts.
To allow the sports managers of the past to be responsible for all the business matters that pertain to today’s athletes would find them seriously out of water and unable to cope. Today there are not only salary and bonus matters to negotiate, but endorsements and other perks that can even dwarf what some athletes are paid for their work. For these matters it requires managers of considerable experience and education to truly represent their clients well.
Now for the Good News
If you think that all of this is designed to squelch your ambitions towards a sports management career you would be wrong. On the contrary, the sports management career is wide open, and the severe shortage of formal education programs designed for those who want such a career enables those with enough ambition to get right in.
Interestingly enough, due to the broad range of skills necessary for a good sports manager to possess the downside is that not too many managers possess all of them. After all, a good sports manager engages the fields of law, management, accounting, taxation, publicity, and much more. As a result, although there are those who call and function as sports managers, in reality, sports management is actually a collection of skills that calls on the skills of a large number of people. And if you have a degree in business administration, you have every chance to take your spin on that wheel.
There are those who have knocked on enough doors to score big in the sports management business on their first try, but more often then not, successful sports managers are those who have an eye for talent and have followed their clients even before they hit the big time.