Job Profile: Sports Revenue Management

Although working in the world of sports seems to be all about fun and games, sports clubs still need to keep a close eye on their bottom line to remain profitable. Since it’s predicted that the global sports market will reap a total revenue of $145.34 billion in 2015, sports organizations are looking to cash in every spare dollar available to capitalize their growth potential. Of course, this is making the specialization of sports revenue management burning hot in the industry today. Revenue managers are quickly becoming corporate executives to perform various finance-related tasks that help sports organizations develop the most effective strategies for boosting profit. Whether they’re working for major sports teams in the NFL and NBA or for private sport consulting firms and fan merchandising companies, sports revenue managers keep track of the dollar signs to help achieve optimal monetary gains.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 358,920 sales and revenue managers currently employed across the United States earn an average annual salary of $126,040, which can be equivalent to a mean hourly wage of $60.60. In particular, revenue managers working in the spectator sports industry report slightly lower income with an annual mean wage of $112,010.

Beginning Salary

When just getting started in a job for sports revenue management, individuals can expect to land in the bottom tenth percentile of earnings with a yearly salary of around $53,620. However, with added experience and more senior-level responsibilities, sports revenue managers have the ability to quickly raise their salary potential to bring home upwards of $160,520 each year.

Key Responsibilities

Sports revenue managers are given the responsibility of analyzing key market trends in the entertainment industry to provide important figures for their organization’s annual budget. Most sports revenue managers help drive their sports club’s business plan by making sure ticket prices and merchandise costs are right on target to draw in maximum revenue. Sports revenue management duties can include tracking price patterns, monitoring the sales of competitors, initiating promotions to generate more revenue, forecasting future revenue performance, and finding effective yield management strategies. Sports revenue managers often will act as liaisons connecting the sales and marketing teams with the general manager and other execs.

Necessary Skills

In order to be successful, sports revenue managers need to possess strong business acumen with a keen awareness of current sales trends. Sports revenue managers must have good written and oral communication skills to effectively convey their forecasts and strategies for boosting revenue growth. Interpersonal skills are also helpful for sports revenue managers to motivate and manage the rest of the sales team. Since statistical analysis software is often used to calculate and forecast an organization’s bottom line, computer literacy with technical skills is another must. Sports revenue managers should also be team players, have good organizational abilities, and demonstrate a solid understanding of yield management.

Degree and Education Requirements

Before jumping into the lucrative field of sports revenue management, you’ll need to pay your dues by earning at least a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited post-secondary school. Most aspiring sports revenue managers will earn an undergraduate degree in business administration, sports management, finance, accounting, marketing, management, or economics. Regardless of your chosen major, it’s essential that you take courses specifically related to sales, marketing, finance, and revenue management in the sports industry because it can vary from other industries. Many revenue managers will boost their professional capacity by returning to graduate school for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a specialized Master of Science in Sports Management.

Pros and Cons of the Position

Individuals who work in sports revenue management have the ability to play a critical role in helping sports-related organizations thrive in a multi-billion dollar industry. As a result, sports revenue managers are usually paid handsomely with a high six-figure salary, bonuses, and solid benefits. Sports revenue managers also interact daily with senior sports executives, including the general manager, to provide their pricing recommendations and revenue forecasts. On the flip side, sports revenue management is typically an office job where you’ll be behind the scenes on the sales side of sports. Little time will actually be spent in the stadium. Sports revenue managers often work longer than a 40-hour week to fit their tight budgeting deadlines. Some may find that sports revenue management is also stressful because making wrong decisions can literally cost organizations millions in lost revenue.

Getting Started

While you’re earning an appropriate degree, the best way to get started in sports revenue management is to simply start jumping in. The sports industry is very competitive, so take every opportunity available to build your resume with relevant work experience. You can start by volunteering to handle the books for a sports team, working in a sports revenue management internship, or finding a part-time job to manage sports sales. Visit your university’s career services center to find the types of experiences offered in your area. If possible, attend professional conferences like the NASSM Conference or the SINC Conference to form networking connections. It may also be advantageous to pursue the Certified Sport Event Executive (CSEE) credential from the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC), which will include training specifically in sales, marketing, and revenue generation.

Future Outlook

Like most other areas of sports business, competition is rather heated in sports revenue management because there are a limited number of positions available. That being said, there’s a need for sports organizations to hire qualified revenue managers who can focus on generating more revenue, making profitable sales strategies, and increasing competitiveness. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of revenue managers and other sales managers will grow about as fast as average at eight percent, thus creating around 29,800 new jobs before 2022 across all industries. Since only a small percentage will be in the sports industry, it’s best for aspiring sports revenue managers to market their experience well and consider relocating for international sports management positions.

Overall, having a good bottom line is critical for all sports organizations looking to win both games and profit in today’s competitive industry. That’s why sports revenue management is an important specialty area for making certain organizations are receiving the maximum revenue available per sale and per seat at the game. If you choose to work as a sports revenue manager, you’ll have the unique opportunity to help sports clubs thrive off the field.

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