While many people gravitate toward sports due to passion, there’s a lot of money in the sports industry as well. Leagues grow because people with deep pockets buy franchises and fuel the popularity of the sport. Millions are spent by consumers every year on team merchandise, game tickets, and concessions. Players make up to tens of millions. Every city wants the glamor of hosting the Super Bowl or other high-profile championships.
There is certainly a need for financial savvy and skills within the sports industry. If you have expertise in managing money, you could find that sports finance jobs offer a perfect blend of passion and security.
How Do I Get a Job in Sports Finance?
Here is a general model for landing finance jobs in sports, after which we will look at expectations for these positions and individual types of roles:
- Get educated.
See below for specific educational advice to land sports finance jobs.
- Make connections.
Networking is fundamental to developing a successful sports career, according to Steinberg. Internships can help with connections, as can general networking sites such as LinkedIn. The most powerful online networking opportunity for finance jobs in the sports industry is a national network of sports career professionals.
- Get an internship.
To eventually land finance jobs in professional sports, it will help enormously to work an internship – whether it leads to a full-time position at the same organization or can be leveraged to interest other teams.
- Work your way up.
The sports industry is very competitive, so you will usually need to start with an entry-level role and get promoted from within.
- Sports Media Summer Internship
Sports Internship - Southeast Region
- Sports Facility Supervisor
Administration/Management - Southeast Region
- Sports Marketing Intern
Sports Internship - Northeast Region
- Sr. Associate Director of Olympic Sports Performance
Administration/Management - Central Region
What Kind of Education is Required?
The general rule for sports finance jobs is to get a degree (see the section on agents below). Those who work in accounting, whether in sports or elsewhere, usually need a bachelor’s and sometimes need a master’s, per the BLS. Any degrees you get should be in related fields, such as business administration or in accounting itself.
Beyond finance, business, and sports management, consider psychology courses. Long-time agent Leigh Steinberg, basis for the lead character in the film Jerry Maguire, promoted psychology classes in Forbes. He said studying the reasons and ways people behave can give you a useful toolset in many sports jobs.
What Should I Expect from a Job in Sports Finance?
It can be very tough to land finance jobs in the sports industry, but it can be a great hybrid route for those who love sports and are drawn to finance. You should have strong communication and organizational skills if you want to work in this field. You should also have incredible attention to detail.
Finance is expected to grow, per the BLS, as is sports itself. You could get a position at a college or pro sports team. Or, you could also work directly for athletes (as with agents).
While you can make quite a bit of money in sports finance jobs, you should also be prepared for the drawbacks. Some of these positions will be seasonal, and many will involve substantial travel.
What Types of Sports Jobs are Available in Finance?
Four core types of sports finance jobs are the following:
- Sports agents
If you are a sports agent, you will make a living from a percentage of your clients’ earnings. In turn, you negotiate contracts and advertising deals on behalf of the athletes who entrust you to represent them. There are specific requirements for each of the professional leagues. It can be helpful both from a knowledge perspective and a client trust perspective to have a business or finance degree, but those are not mandatory.
- Accounting department positions
Many finance jobs in sports are in the accounting department. The accounting staff is responsible for watching over accounts payable, sales, and purchasing. Your role is to help maintain the profitability and financial soundness of the franchise.
- Investment banking roles
Some investment banks provide the sports industry with financial services. These sports finance firms hire associates, analysts, and managers. You may handle the restructuring of team loans, manage the financing for construction, or provide merger and acquisitions consulting to franchises.
- Sports Finance Executive Jobs
Managing finances is critical, and it is ultimately the responsibility of franchise executives. The executives and their support team are tasked with building and tracking financial strategies for the short-term and long-term. They watch sales figures, negotiate contracts, and sign off on purchases.
How Much Do Sports Finance Jobs Pay?
Those in top paying sports finance jobs in professional sports make six figures at $117,500 per year. However, while you work your way up in the industry, you will make far less: $38,000 (25th percentile) to $78,500 (75th percentile).
Your Network for Sports Finance Jobs
Do you dream of a job in sports finance? As indicated above, connections are a must. At JobsInSports.com, publish your profile on our network of 14,000+ sports industry professionals. Join today.