Job Profile: Advertising Manager

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Creating buzz for an upcoming sporting event is essential for sports teams to fill empty stadium seats with screaming fans who’ve paid a pretty penny for their tickets. That’s precisely where the advertising managers come in. In the sports arena, advertising managers have the duty of planning campaigns that generate public interest in an event or particular merchandise item. Advertising managers can work in advertising agencies, in media firms, or directly for sports-related organizations that advertise heavily. Some advertising managers will specialize in a certain advertising area, such as radio, television, print, or digital media. Advertising managers play an important role in putting together attention-grabbing programs that keep fans excited, boost athletes’ images, and make sports clubs more profitable.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 29,340 advertising and promotions managers currently employed in America earn an average annual salary of $114,700, which is equated to a mean hourly wage of $55.15. In particular, advertising managers working in the spectator sports industry bring home a mean salary of $100,860 each year. Sports advertising managers working directly for wired telecommunications carriers earn the most at a whopping $171,040.

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Beginning Salary

When just starting out in the sports business, advertising managers can expect to land in the bottom tenth percentile of profession earnings with a yearly salary around $45,060. However, it’s important to remember that advertising managers can be promoted quickly to make upwards of $148,300 annually with more years of experience.

Key Responsibilities

Advertising managers in sports have the primary responsibility of overseeing the creation of an effective promotional campaign that will spark interest among fans. On a typical day, sports advertising managers can be found planning their advertising approach, negotiating media contracts, evaluating website layouts, sketching plans for an advertisement, conducting market research studies, presenting ideas for market opportunities to general managers, and creating pricing strategies for sports merchandise. Advertising managers will also have a leadership role in hiring and supervising other advertising staff. Most advertising managers will meet with the sports-related organization’s executives to discuss budgeting and media goals.

Necessary Skills

Successful advertising managers in the fast-paced sports world must be skilled communicators with the interpersonal skills to effectively lead persuasive campaigns with other managers. Good organizational abilities are important for sports advertising managers to keep a tight budget, maintain good meeting records, and manage time for meeting deadlines. Advertising managers should possess quick decision-making skills to choose advertising strategies put forth by staff and make tweaks whenever needed. Having analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills are essential for determining the most promising promotional trends in the current sports industry. Advertising managers working with sports teams must also be creative in generating imaginative ideas that draw in fans and potentially investors too.

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Degree and Education Requirements

Before you can leap into the cutthroat sports advertising world, you’ll need to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited post-secondary institution. Most aspiring advertising managers will select an undergraduate major in advertising, communications, marketing, journalism, or a related field. Choosing a degree in sports management is smart to specifically learn about the latest trends in sports marketing for better promotional campaigns. It’s best you fill up on electives for market research, marketing, consumer behavior, visual arts, and even computer science to maximize online traffic. Returning to graduate school for a master’s degree in advertising, sports management, or business administration may also streamline the promotion process to upper-level positions.

Pros and Cons of the Position

Working as a sports advertising manager can be a dream come true for those wishing to figure out the right mix of promotions to satisfy sports fans, but there are rewards and challenges. On the positive side, advertising managers earn a handsome six-figure salary that has virtually no upper limit in the sports industry. Advertising managers work in a comfortable office environment, meet with sports big-wigs regularly, and have leadership responsibilities. Advertising managers also use their innate creativity to complete fun promotional projects like billboards, radio ads, TV commercials, and websites for their sports team. On the negative side, sports advertising managers will face heated competition for coveted jobs in this exciting industry. Advertising managers should be prepared for long hours above the typical 40-hour week, especially when faced with a deadline. Many advertising managers also report being stressed and pressured to make their sports clients more money.

Getting Started

While earning an appropriate sports-based education, you’ll need to start building your advertising resume with relevant work experience. Both advertising agencies and sports teams will only hire candidates with time spent in the industry. The simple solution is to head to your school’s career services department and apply for advertising internships. Given the seniority of the position, advertising managers will then need to build up from entry-level positions with promotions. Many will work as advertising specialists, purchasing agents, buyers, sales representatives, or public relations specialists before advancement. If possible, participate in a management training program at your agency or organization to accelerate the path. Continuing education in brand management, marketing, interactive media, promotions, creative strategy, and related areas is also important for continued success.

Future Outlook

It’s believed that the sports industry in North America alone will grow to more than $70.7 before 2018, which will create a large need for sports organizations to outpace their competitors with good advertising campaigns. As sports teams look to maintain and expand their fan bases, advertising managers will be hired to plan, direct, and coordinate these promotions. Due to the growing popularity of social media and the Internet, sports advertising managers will particularly be important in managing digital campaigns. That said, according to the BLS, employment of advertising managers is expected to grow slower than average at seven percent, thus creating around 2,400 new jobs before 2022. Sports advertising managers can score against this heated competition by obtaining a master’s degree, gaining extensive experience, and specializing in digital media.

Overall, advertising managers who work in the sports industry have the hefty task of creating promotional campaigns that draw in more ticket and merchandise sales. Sports advertising managers can work for advertising firms, media outlets, newspaper publishers, specialized design services, broadcasting companies, and directly for their sports franchise. If you choose to become an advertising manager, you’ll have the opportunity to blend your creativity and passion for sports into a successful career producing eye-catching promotions that work.

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