When most people think of sports management as a career option, they fantasize about walking out of college with their diploma and jumping into managing their favorite sports team. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that won’t happen as quickly as you think.
While it’s possible to get there eventually, it’s important to understand how vast the field of sports management really is and the long road you can take to land your dream job. Luckily, there are several routes ready for you.
Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of sports management jobs.
What You Need to Know About Sports Management Jobs
Sports Management Degree: What You Learn
When you get a degree in sports management, you learn about a variety of domains, such as marketing, law, management, and finance in the sports industry. The curriculum is structured toward teaching you how to identify, monitor, manage, and manipulate the business dynamics and applications that routinely drive sports organizations.
Coursework varies, giving students a robust knowledge of all the avenues they can take. More importantly, some programs offer support for helping students transition from the classroom to the workforce.
For example, as part of Ohio University’s BS in Sports Management, students can get involved with the Center for Sports Administration, which connects them to internships, job opportunities, and volunteer options.
For those looking to study sports management, you need to conduct research and find schools with proper accreditation. The Commission on Sports Management Accreditation (COSMA) is a specialized accrediting body whose mission is to:
“promote and recognize excellence in sports management education worldwide in colleges and universities at the baccalaureate and master’s levels.”
They maintain a list of accredited programs, so before submitting applications and committing to a program, make sure the school holds accreditation. If you’re interested in pursuing coaching, look for programs accredited by the National Committee for Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE).
If you don’t want to strictly study sports management, consider double majoring. For example, if you want to pursue the accounting side of sports business, earn a BA in accounting while you earn your sports management degree.
- Assistant Director, Facilities, Operations and Event Management
Administration/Management - West Region
- Sales Management: Box Office Representative
Sports Services - Northeast Region
- Head Woman's Soccer Coach & Director of Game Management
Administration/Management - West Region
- Graphic Designer & Animator - Championship Management Sales Executive
Sports Media - Southeast Region
How to Start Your Career in Sports Management
Hopefully, your university provides you with career coaching and services to help you find entry-level work. If they don’t, you still have plenty of options to hit the ground running.
Start looking for any hands-on experience you can find. Internships and volunteering opportunities are great for meeting people in the industry, as well as developing new skills.
One of the biggest hurdles for employers is finding talent who possess soft skills. ManpowerGroup’s 2015 Talent Shortage Survey found that employers list a lack of soft skills as a top reason for difficulty filling open jobs. Employers note enthusiasm and professionalism as the most common soft skill deficits.
So make the most of your real-world experience and feed your passion and excitement for your career. Also, start expanding your professional network by developing relationships with colleagues.
Join professional networks, as well, to meet more people. A 2015 report from Buzz Marketing Group found that 92 percent of respondents under 40 said they believe that professional organizations provide strong opportunities for networking and social capital. You can also learn about the industry and connect with mentors.
While you’re networking and gaining work experience, you should be thinking about your long-term, as well. What motivates you in the short-term, and where do you see yourself growing?
Find a field in which you want to specialize. You can pursue an MBA in Sports Management to learn how to succeed in operations or management in a sports organization.
Coaches are tasked with an interesting set of challenges — they evaluate athletic performance, inspire and motivate people to stay focused on success, and break down complex tasks and routines into sequences to help their athletes continue to improve.
Scouts are focused on finding talent. They need to research news about up-and-coming athletes, attend games and monitor their performance, communicate with coaches and teams about top prospects and recruit high-performing athletes.
In sports communication, you wear a lot of hats. Not only do you manage communication within the organization, but also you may deal with community relations and marketing initiatives.
There are so many options for professionals who are passionate about sports and who exhibit the leadership, communication, and decision-making skills needed to succeed in sports management jobs.
What sports management jobs are you pursuing?