Job Profile: Competition Coordinator

Sports is about more than just fun and games. Athletes love to put their talent and strength to the test in vying against other competitors for a prize. Competitions are held worldwide every year in virtually every sport from basketball and tennis to martial arts and soccer. Attending a sporting competition is exhilarating for sports fans, but most don’t realize the hard work behind the scenes to pull off these head-to-head matchups. That’s where competition coordinators come into the scene. Competition coordinators play a major role in arranging every little detail that goes into making local, national, or international competitions successful. From event planning to registration management and budget analysis, competition coordinators wear many hats to make certain competitions go off without a hitch in crowning a victorious champion.

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According to the mega jobs search engine Simply Hired, the average yearly salary for competition coordinators employed in the United States is currently $48,000. This could be converted into a mean hourly wage around $24. Competition coordinators who work in youth sports make considerably less at $30,518, but those on university campuses earn significantly more on average at $64,428 each year.

Beginning Salary

When just starting out as a competition coordinator, you’ll likely fall into the bottom tenth percentile of earnings with an income under $33,778. That being said, it’s important to remember that competition coordinators with more experience can eventually earn more than $56,762 or advance into executive director positions that bring in over $100,000 annually.

Key Responsibilities

Competition coordinators are given the primary responsibility of coordinating all aspects that go into preparing for a sporting competition. Competition coordinators make certain that the policies, procedures, and objectives of their sports organization are followed in creating a high-quality competition. On a typical day, competition coordinators could be involved in sanctioning new competitions, meeting with coaches, filing registration paperwork, presenting a competition budget, devising a competition timeline, maintaining computerized records, setting qualifications for teams/players, establishing competition rules, and assisting in site selection. Most competition coordinators take on a chairperson role in recruiting, training, and managing temporary or volunteer staff hired for competition-related tasks too.

Necessary Skills

In order to be successful, competition coordinators need to fine-tune their interpersonal skills to consistently communicate with everyone involved in pulling off a sporting competition. Since competitions usually have a tight schedule, coordinators should be able to work well under pressure. Being detail-oriented with good organizational skills is a must for competition coordinators to stick with the planned event timeline. Sometimes the least expected happens, which means competition coordinators must have good problem-solving skills. Negotiation skills are helpful for coordinators to strike good deals on competition site selections. Competition coordinators should also be natural leaders, team players, and fast thinkers.

Degree and Education Requirements

Jumping into the dynamic career of competition coordinator won’t happen overnight. You’ll likely first need to invest in at least a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited higher education institution. Competition coordinators typically major in sports management, sports business, athletic administration, or a related field. It’s also possible to become a competition coordinator with a degree in business, public relations, communications, facility management, physical education, or recreation management. Having a working knowledge of sports is essential, so fill up your electives with sports-related courses. Attending graduate school for a master’s degree in sports management may be helpful for executive positions or starting a consulting firm.

Pros and Cons of the Position

Becoming a competition coordinator will provide its fair share of rewards and challenges that you should be aware of beforehand. On the positive side, competition coordinators are able to use their passion for sports to get involved in the action without needing athletic talent. It’s a fast-paced, dynamic job for extroverted professionals who thrive when interacting with others most of the time. Competition coordinators receive a decent salary, usually have benefits, are given leadership power, and can potentially become self-employed. On the other hand, there’s a great amount of stress that goes into coordinating sporting competitions. Competition coordinators face tight deadlines that require long hours. Competition coordinators also must attend their competitions, which are held at irregular times nights, weekends, and holidays.

Getting Started

While earning an appropriate education, it’s critical that you start building an impressive resume with valuable work experience in sports management. Take every opportunity to complete an internship, work part-time, or even volunteer. Aspiring competition coordinators often gain real-world experience with their university’s athletic department. A degree won’t guarantee a job, so make certain you’re marketing your know-how in conducting sports competitions. Sticking to one niche is common, but working with a variety of sports usually pays off big in expanding your career possibilities. Most competition coordinators need to have at least two years of experience in recreational programming or sports management to qualify. Some employers will prefer to hire competition coordinators with coaching experience. Becoming a member of the NIRSA Foundation can help you network with sports organizations also.

Future Outlook

Sports is a major American industry that produces a profit over $485 billion annually, so there’s no need to worry about sports going out of style. Large sporting competitions draw in millions of screaming fans every year. As our nation’s economy continues to recover, there’s expected to be more funding available for people to attend and/or participate in competitions. According to the BLS, employment of event coordinators across all sectors will grow rapidly by 33 percent over the upcoming decade. While this is very positive, competition for competition coordinator positions is ironically very heated. Competition coordinators can vie for jobs in youth sports clubs, campus recreation, university athletics, community centers, professional sports teams, national sporting agencies, world sports clubs, or non-profit charity organizations.

Overall, competition coordinators work in a unique niche of the sports management industry to carry out their duty of planning for and promoting sporting competitions. Whether they coordinate competitions for children or supreme professional athletes, these highly trained professionals bring their A game in putting every piece of the puzzle together. It’s their mission to create a successful competition that falls within budget while still engaging players and fans. If you make the decision to become a competition coordinator, you’ll have the chance to turn your passion for sports into a rewarding career administering events in an efficient, effective manner.

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