how to become a sports marketing manager

Before we consider how to become a sports marketing manager, we will look at the nature of the position, along with the knowledge and skills that are particularly helpful for this role.

A sports marketing manager has an important part to play in driving the success of an organization, generating more revenue, building sponsorships, and connecting with new fans. To these ends, the marketing manager oversees the development and delivery of marketing campaigns in concert with other staff and parties.

An example project that a marketing manager might undertake incorporates: 

  • brand ambassadorships, 
  • in-game advertising, and 
  • merchandise through publicity, branding, advertising, product placement, or direct marketing. 

The brand ambassadorship role is seen in the NASCAR driver, who is a spokesperson for a product via a TV ad. In-game advertising is evident in a baseball stadium, with banners for different brands lining the walls.

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Is Becoming A Sports Marketing Manager Right For You?

By considering the knowledge and skills that make for a great sports marketing manager, you can better determine if it is a good fit for you. 

A great sports marketing manager will have the following:

  • Energy 
  • Self-assurance
  • Good organizational skills
  • Critical thinking capability
  • Ability to handle the needs of diverse parties 
  • Strong communications aptitude
  • Negotiation skills
  • Excellent social perception
  • A forward-looking perspective and a drive to change approaches rapidly if there is revenue loss  
  • Affinity for sports
  • Great knowledge of the applicable sport
  • Knowledge of the various markets for the brand
  • Ability to deftly communicate marketing plans in engaging ways 
  • Creativity.

If the criteria for these top sports marketing jobs sound like they fit your strengths, you can make a high income and have a satisfying, invigorating, and challenging management career as a sports marketer. 

How To Become A Sports Marketing Manager

Your education will help you accrue skills in traditional and online marketing, along with building other knowledge to foster your success in sports marketing management. 
sports marketing degree jobs
If you are eager to start your career right after college, it can, unfortunately, be difficult to get your first job in the field. One of the easiest ways to take your first step into a sports marketing management career is an internship. Internships can help recent graduates get stronger at promotions, social media, and writing while experiencing the world of sports marketing, according to industry veterans.  

When it comes to paid work in sports, you are well-prepared with a bachelor’s degree — typically in business, communications, advertising, marketing, or public relations. The degree will be enough to land you many entry-level sports marketing jobs. You can eventually become a manager by starting out in a lower sports marketer role, such as a marketing representative, public relations assistant, event coordinator, or account coordinator. As in any field, the experience can help open up further opportunities as they become available. Master’s degrees in sports management can also be a strong way to show expertise in the field.

You are probably best poised for a career as an executive in sports marketing management, though, if you have a traditional MBA. When hiring senior executives, leadership in college and pro sports prefer a standard MBA to other degrees, per a poll of 400 sports executives by Turnkey Intelligence. 

Favorability for various degrees was as follows:

  • Traditional MBA: 41%
  • Law degree: 19%
  • Sports MBA: 17%
  • Undergraduate business degree: 18%
  • No response: 6%.

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What is the expected pay?

Now that you know how to become a sports marketing manager, you might be interested in what you can earn in these sports jobs. Marketing managers made a median annual wage of $136,850 in May 2019 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). It is one of the highest-paying jobs in sports.

How is the job market developing?

Even if you know how to become a sports marketing manager, the job climate can have a substantial impact on your career. As brands and teams are trying to grow their market share, it is crucial for them to have strong marketing, promotions, and advertising campaigns. For that reason, the hiring of sports marketing managers has been rising across a broad spectrum, including at businesses that work with professional sports teams, as well as at the teams themselves. Between 2018 and 2028, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasted an 8 percent rise in marketing, promotions, and advertising management jobs. Among all occupations, that projection is a faster-than-average expected growth rate. 

While the sports market may be well-positioned for expansion, there is still often intense competition for individual jobs because turnover rates are so low. 

Wanting To Work In Sports As A Marketing Manager?

Launching a career as a sports marketing manager may require getting additional education, starting in a lower position, or getting an internship. The market can be challenging due to the low turnover of sports marketing jobs. However, the effort to get a great sports marketing position can be well worth it in terms of high job satisfaction and great earning potential. If you are looking for jobs in sports, we have the most up-to-date job and internship boards in the industry.