Sports Management Careers

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Updated on May 17, 2023
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With a degree in sports management, you can qualify for a long list of behind-the-scenes careers in the exciting world of athletics. Many coaches, trainers, facilities managers, sports marketing and business professionals, and player agents hold academic backgrounds in this dynamic field. This guide includes detailed information about various sports management careers and how college functions as a key path to entry into this arena.

Why Pursue a Career in Sports Management?

Sports management is a broad field that includes professionals with many different skill sets. Some work directly with athletes, while others focus on the administrative, marketing, and operational aspects of amateur and professional sports. The aptitudes and abilities of sports management professionals vary by discipline, but they invariably include a passion for the world of athletics and a thorough understanding of the commercial factors that make the sports industry unique.

Beyond love of the game, successful sports management professionals need unwavering dedication and a strong commitment to teamwork. The industry also attracts people driven to win: players might get all the glory, but they represent only a fraction of the organization-wide effort needed to capture championships and build legacies.

Featured Programs in Sports Management

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Sports Management Career Outlook

Careers in sports management tend to be highly competitive -- especially in the glamorous and high-profile world of major professional team sports. Even so, the industry always has a place for capable, hard-working, results-oriented professionals.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts increasing opportunity in this field, projecting that the demand for coaches and scouts will increase by 11% between 2018 and 2028. Career paths in advertising and marketing -- jobs often related to sports management -- are also projected to experience above-average levels of growth over the next several years.

In terms of earnings, the following salary table summarizes average salaries for a few popular careers that students can pursue with a sports management degree.

Median Annual Salary for Sports Management Careers
Job Title Entry-Level (0-12 months) Early Career (1-4 Years) Midcareer (5-9 Years) Experienced (10-19 Years)
Athletic Director $50,070 $51,880 $61,070 $71,910
Athletic Coach $32,190 $38,970 $44,520 $48,870
Operations Manager $50,820 $56,920 $64,840 $72,120
Source: PayScale

Skills Gained With a Sports Management Degree

Sports management programs develop valuable hard and soft skills that students will draw on time and again in their future careers. Specifics depend on your area of interest; for instance, sports agents require different knowledge and expertise than facilities managers or sports marketers.

Even so, practically all sports management degrees focus on developing a core set of adaptable and versatile proficiencies. A few of these are described below.

Communication Skills

Careers in sports management depend on effective, well-developed communication skills. At the professional level, sports organizations break down into many different departments, and cross-department communication often needs to be brief, efficient, and precise. People throughout the organization have major demands on their time and must balance many priorities, and strong communicators make everyone's jobs easier.

Decision-Making Skills

At the coaching, organizational, and executive levels, sports management professionals must constantly make difficult decisions. A strong ability to analyze statistical data while still accounting for the human elements that drive athletic performance and the business side of the industry can take you a long way in the sports world.

Analytical Mindset

Digital technologies have brought about changes in the ways professional organizations track and evaluate their player personnel, prospects, and business strategies. Data analytics now represent a major piece of the sports management landscape, and a high level of data literacy can significantly boost your career prospects.

Strong Ethics

Many sports management careers require professionals to make nuanced ethical and moral decisions. Having a strong and principled ethical framework in place can help you cultivate a favorable reputation, especially if you aspire to become a sports agent or work in organizational management.

Systematic Thinking

No matter what branch of sports management you work in, you will function as part of a larger system. Sports organizations consist of many interconnected and constantly moving parts, and you will need to be highly organized and agile as you respond to changing needs.

Sports Management Career Paths

The field of sports management includes many different career paths. Some jobs can be pursued with degrees in more generalized areas, like business administration and marketing, while others require an academic background specifically in sports management. The following list summarizes five popular career paths related to this field.

Player Agent

Player agents are high-profile professionals who negotiate contracts and sponsorship deals for their clients. Many successful agents have backgrounds in contract law or entered the profession after careers as athletes or sports executives. Sports management programs increasingly shape their curricula to reflect the specialized knowledge and negotiating expertise agents need to find success.

Public Relations Manager

Public relations is a critically important aspect of professional sports -- especially in the social media age. Sports PR professionals leverage their deep knowledge of marketing and promotional platforms to help organizations and athletes build and maintain positive public images, which can greatly enhance their profitability and profile.

Event Coordinator

Sporting event coordinators work behind the scenes to identify and secure venues and facilities and create schedules and budgets. In some cases, they also help manage crowds and arrange security and transportation for athletes and their entourages.


The digital age has expanded upon traditional approaches to statistical tracking, giving rise to entire departments built around the advanced analysis of statistical data. If you love sports stats and have a knack for numbers, combining sports management training with a statistics-oriented mathematics degree can qualify you for this field.

Facilities Manager

Facilities managers represent a mainstay of the pro sports landscape. These professionals play a critical role in preparing stadiums and arenas to host games and events, ensuring that facilities meet league standards and remain safe and secure for spectators.

How to Start Your Career in Sports Management

Identifying a clear objective is an important first step in building a career in sports management. The field encompasses a myriad of different jobs, many of which draw on dramatically different skill sets. Thus, you must focus your schooling and career preparation on building the proficiencies and aptitudes you will need in your chosen path.

In some cases, an associate degree will suffice as a supplement to more intensive and job-specific training. For example, if you want to be a sports statistician, complementing a bachelor's in mathematics with an associate in sports management can boost your resume. Other paths, including roles in facility management and player development, are more accessible to candidates with a bachelor's or graduate degree in sports management.

Associate Degree in Sports Management

An associate degree in sports management provides a general introduction to topics like sports marketing and finance, organizational administration, promotions and public relations, legal issues, and risk management. Some programs take an alternate focus by combining sports science with business training.

These two-year degrees can open doors to some entry-level positions, but they also offer complementary value. If you hold credentials in an area such as marketing or business administration, an associate degree in sports management can teach you how to apply your existing knowledge to the unique and fast-paced world of sports.

What Can You Do With an Associate in Sports Management?

Customer Service Representative

These professionals, referred to as guest relations associates in the sports industry, serve as front-line workers. They work to ensure attendees have a safe and enjoyable experience. They also play an important role in advancing the public relations agendas of amateur and professional sporting organizations.

Median Salary: $38,780

Event Coordinator

Game day and event coordinators fill vital administrative, logistical, and operational support roles. They assist with a wide variety of duties related to scheduling, facility preparation and security, vendor and concession management, and overseeing media and personnel access to event venues.

Median Salary: $41,730

Account Representative

Account representatives hold sales positions. In the sports industry, they work to promote games and events. They also sell tickets to individual, group, and corporate buyers. As they advance in their careers, account representatives may become involved in monetizing other aspects of the guest experience.

Median Salary: $45,770

Source: PayScale

Bachelor's Degree in Sports Management

At the bachelor's level, sports management programs move beyond generalities and offer learners the opportunity to concentrate their studies in specific areas of interest. For example, bachelor's programs in sports management may offer specializations in coaching, exercise science, or player representation. These concentrations build off core requirements that cover the essentials of sports marketing, sports administration, ethics in sports, and key principles of human resource management in sports organizations.

Generally, a specialized bachelor's degree functions as the minimum credential needed to gain entry into sports management careers with growth potential. A bachelor's also provides an excellent academic foundation for sports-focused MBA programs and other graduate-level degrees.

What Can You Do With a Bachelor's in Sports Management?

Promotions Manager

Sports promotions managers play leading roles in the marketing and public relations departments of sports organizations. They help franchises and athletes build branded public images and champion initiatives that strengthen links between teams and the communities they represent.

Median Salary: $51,050

Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainers apply their comprehensive knowledge of exercise science to prevent and treat injuries to players during games and events. They also play active roles in designing and implementing conditioning programs and protocols. Some organizations may require their trainers to obtain certification from an organization like the National Athletic Trainers' Association.

Median Salary: $43,180


Coaches and player development specialists perform hands-on work with an organization's athletes and prospects. They offer instructional insights and monitor player progress toward specific developmental goals, which typically focus on physical skills, as well as psychological and mental aspects of performance optimization.

Median Salary: $44,210

Public Relations Manager

The primary responsibilities of a public relations manager include building, promoting, and maintaining a positive and branded image that athletes and teams can draw on to market themselves. They also liaise with other business-oriented operational departments to ensure the consistency and effectiveness of their PR campaigns.

Median Salary: $67,560

Contract Administrator

Contract administrators are responsible for reviewing the details of service contracts and ensuring that all signatory parties meet their responsibilities and obligations. Player contracts represent only a fraction of the total number of contracts an athletic organization manages. Others include deals with vendors, concession operators, corporate partners, and advertisers.

Median Salary: $60,190

Source: PayScale

Popular Online Bachelor's in Sports Management Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Master's Degree in Sports Management

At the master's level, sports management programs delve deep into highly focused, niche areas of professional practice. Because they thoroughly prepare students for specialized careers in sports management, the best master's in sports management programs can provide valuable pathways to jobs at the upper-management and executive levels.

As an alternative to pursuing a master's degree in sports management, candidates can also enroll in MBA programs with sports management concentrations. These study paths maintain an exclusive focus on applying proven principles of business management to the unique needs of athletes and professional sports clubs.

What Can You Do With a Master's in Sports Management?

Marketing Director

Sports marketing directors lead the marketing departments of sports leagues, teams, and athletic clubs. They build brands for their athletes and teams, negotiate and manage sponsorship deals, liaise with advertisers, and work to maximize revenue from marketing and promotional channels.

Median Salary: $87,910

Business Development Director

Leagues, clubs, and teams sometimes maintain internal business development departments. However, these specialist professionals more often work for companies that own, operate, or manage event venues. They work to monetize facilities through rentals, sponsorships, special events, and participatory programs to create diversified revenue streams.

Median Salary: $103,850

Contract Negotiation Manager

Contract negotiation specialists typically interact with the various advertisers, vendors, and sponsors who forge deals and partnerships with sports leagues, teams, and event venues. They negotiate contract terms and ensure that signatory parties adhere to their obligations.

Median Salary: $97,320

Athletics Director

At the high school and college levels, sports programs are typically administered by a dedicated internal department headed by an athletics director. These professionals shape the policies that guide athlete participation in organized events and manage the practical and financial aspects of participation in sanctioned events.

Median Salary: $60,430

Player Agent

Player agents represent professional athletes during contract negotiations with teams and corporate sponsors. In some cases, they also play active roles in the labor unions that represent players during collective bargaining negotiations. Some function as independent, self-employed professionals, while others work with agencies or management groups.

Median Salary: $51,700

Source: PayScale

Popular Online Master's in Sports Management Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Doctorate Degree in Sports Management

Doctoral programs in sports management typically allow learners to focus intensive, research-oriented studies on a specific topic or area of interest. While these programs can prepare students for careers in the professional world, most are oriented toward applying quantitative and qualitative analysis methods to study questions with significant economic, cultural, and sociological implications.

Most sports management doctoral programs require applicants to hold a master's degree in a related area. A growing number of schools offer mostly or fully online doctorates in sports management.

What Can You Do With a Doctorate in Sports Management?

Postsecondary Educator

Postsecondary educators teach undergraduate and graduate college courses, participate in program and curriculum design, evaluate applications, and assist with departmental administrative duties. Most colleges only hire candidates with doctoral degrees.

Median Salary: $88,210

Sports Researcher

Sports researchers design and perform studies related to various aspects of the sports industry, including athlete performance, statistical analysis, and sports psychology. They work at various settings -- including colleges and private companies -- that use study data to help clients identify and optimize market inefficiencies, revenue streams, and monetization opportunities.

Median Salary: $66,590

Executive Director

Executive directors fill leadership roles in amateur and professional sports leagues, athletics organizations, unions, and management companies. In working their way into these roles, professionals combine advanced education with extensive professional experience.

Median Salary: $79,130

Source: PayScale

Popular Online Doctorate in Sports Management Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How to Advance Your Career in Sports Management

In a high-profile, competitive industry like sports management, networking is one of the most impactful ways you can advance your career after completing your postsecondary education. Strive to expand your network of personal and professional connections at every opportunity, and remember that the skills you develop and the contacts you make by performing well in entry-level positions can pay dividends in your future career.

This section explores and explains tangible, action-oriented steps you can take to boost your career prospects after graduation.

Certifications and/or Licensure

Some careers in sports management demand optional or mandatory licenses or professional certifications. For example, many major pro leagues require player agents to obtain credentials in order to represent athletes. Credentialing processes vary among organizations, but they typically include rigid qualification and testing standards. Some U.S. jurisdictions also mandate that sports agents obtain and maintain separate licenses to represent players that live or work in the state.

Similarly, combat sports, such as boxing and mixed martial arts, also frequently require officials, trainers, coaches, and athletes to obtain state-based licenses to participate in official events. Athletic training is another example of a regulated sports management profession; trainers who work for amateur organizations, such as high school or collegiate athletics leagues, must hold profession-specific certifications, in addition to state-issued teaching licenses.

Continuing Education

Continuing education can be used to supplement a degree in sports management. Continuing education can take the form of informal sessions, such as seminars or open courses, or formal continuing education programs.

Formal programs often lead to certificates of completion and may explore subjects like advanced statistical analytics, e-sports management, facilities management, international sports management, and sports marketing. Alternatively, you have the option to head back to college and upgrade to a higher sports management degree.

Next Steps

Many major sports leagues, teams, and player agencies offer internship opportunities; however, given the high levels of demand for a limited number of available openings, these may be difficult to land and usually entail a highly competitive application process. Thus, no matter what branch of sports management you plan to work in, networking will likely be a critical factor in your career success.

Joining a professional organization can open a lot of doors for students looking to expand their networks. Prominent examples include the Sport Marketing Association and the North American Society for Sport Management.

How to Switch Your Career to Sports Management

The actions you need to take to switch into a sports management career depend on your current educational and employment background. While a growing number of colleges offer specialized sports management degrees, many professionals who work in the field hold generalist credentials in fields related to their positions. For instance, a PR specialist for a sports team or league may have a regular marketing or public relations degree.

If your current credentials qualify you for your target sports-related job, networking and a willingness to start from the bottom may be all you need for a successful transition. Otherwise, you should consider earning a sports-focused certificate or degree to qualify for entry-level professional opportunities.

Where Can You Work as a Sports Management Professional?

People commonly associate sports management careers with professional leagues and teams, and such organizations certainly offer many employment opportunities. However, people who aspire to work in the sports industry can also seek jobs in many other places.

High schools, colleges, and amateur athletics associations all hire sports management professionals in various capacities. Player agencies are another common job setting, as are corporations that own and manage sports arenas, stadiums, and event venues. Thinking outside the box, you could also seek employment with data analytics firms, law firms, and other professional practices that have sports leagues and teams on their client rosters.

Featured Programs in Sports Management

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Interview With a Professional in Sports Management

Portrait of Robin Monsky

Robin Monsky

Robin Monsky is a veteran sports industry PR/communications executive living in Chicago, Illinois. Since opening Round Robin Sports in 1996, her clients have included marquee names such as ESPN, La Liga, The Rugby Weekend, and the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation.

Monsky has worked at six Super Bowls, five Chicago Marathons, four World Series, three Sundance Film Festivals, one Davis Cup Final, several regional NCAA basketball tournaments, and the 1996 Olympic Games when she was press chief at Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park.

Early in her career, Monsky worked in Major League Baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals and then for the Atlanta Braves. She was the first female public relations director to travel full time with an MLB team and even has a World Series ring of her own from the 1982 Cardinals. Monsky holds a master's degree in sports administration from Ohio University -- the birthplace of sports business education programs. A native Nebraskan, she lives and dies with Cornhuskers football.

Why did you choose to earn a degree in sports administration? Was this a field you were always interested in?

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I wasn't always interested in a sports degree for one simple reason -- I didn't realize it existed.

Graduate school was always in the plan for me as a follow-up to earning my BA in economics, but until the summer before my junior year in college I figured I'd choose between law school or getting an MBA. Then, fortuitously, I met someone who was a rising senior and was anxiously awaiting word on whether he had been accepted into Ohio University's sports administration master's program.

I had never heard of that degree before, but it immediately seemed like an exciting option. Ohio's program was the very first in the country (launched in 1967) and was only about 10 years old at that point. I believe there were only two or three other schools who had adopted the idea since OU's debut, so the concept of furthering my education while also working in sports was a game changer for the direction I was headed.

While not a great athlete, I loved sports. I had been the first woman sports editor of the oldest high school newspaper in the state of Nebraska. I grew up in a family of rabid Cornhusker fans, traveling to bowl games each winter. I wrote about sports for the college newspaper and also got a job as a student athletic trainer working with the athletes. I was the first woman student trainer at the school to be asked to work at football training camp and to consistently travel with the men's teams.

My inclination to work in sports predated my knowledge that I could pursue the degree but prepared me for it once I discovered it. By the way, the guy who told me about the program never got in but I did! And here I am 40 years later still working in sports!

What was the job search like after completing your degree? Did you feel fully prepared when making the transition from school to the workplace?

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Transitioning from student life to real life was fairly seamless for me upon graduation, in large part because of how the program was constructed then. I graduated in 1979 when one of the requirements for earning the sports ad degree was to complete a paid internship in sports after wrapping up the course work. And OU, at that point, had a growing and influential list of alumni very eager to give the new students an opportunity.

The fact that a host organization had to pay you meant that you would be given a higher level of responsibility off the bat. It also fostered a confidence that what you had learned at school had created more value in what you had to offer a potential employer.

The simple act of mandating that the internship be paid not only allowed students to ease out of the protective cocoon of being in an academic setting, but it also allowed us to continue networking. The kind of connections that I made during that internship -- and two previous volunteer sports internships I secured for myself prior to grad school -- were critical in launching me into the field.

I had entered the program with valuable experience: I sold advertising and helped design a program for an NCAA regional basketball program in my hometown; worked in the New England Patriots marketing department one summer; garnered academic knowledge through on-campus professors; and topped it off with a job that introduced me to a 40-plus hour work week in a high-profile field.

I understand that the paid internship is no longer a requirement at OU, but that is a reflection on the fact that the program is so much more widely established and acknowledged as a leading pipeline of talent in the field. Now, almost 80% of its students are offered jobs before they even graduate, and OU's alumni network just keeps getting larger and more powerful.

What are some crucial skills that you acquired through your master's program?

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The master's program taught me that success takes more than simply acquiring academic knowledge. Curriculum is important, of course, but being able to research and synthesize information from multiple sources and then apply what you learned to real business situations and challenges is far more critical than book learning.

Additionally, being able to communicate your thoughts, verbally and on paper, is more than half the battle. Writing skills are critical, even in a text-happy world where brevity rules. The courage to approach people face to-face or by phone and ask questions is invaluable. The confidence of "presentation" or believing in yourself, knowing that you "belong" and that your thoughts are every bit as valid and valued as anyone else's -- these things matter and are skills that can be learned and strengthened through the right academic approach.

Part of the application process for the OU program I went to was an on-campus interview, during which I sat facing a committee of six people firing questions at me. A daunting prospect for a college student, but I quickly learned that standing my ground and how I presented myself were equally important to what I had to say. It was a great way to vet whether a potential student had enough backbone to handle a job in a field where things change from moment to moment and attention is needed in multiple areas all at once.

What are some of the challenges you face in your work on a day-to-day basis?

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As someone who has specialized in communications throughout my career, the rapid change in the media universe -- the ever-changing platforms and constant flow of information -- is the biggest challenge I face. It's ironic, but as the volume and constant feed of accessible information has increased, communications pros have a lot more media outlets to work with (a real plus); but at the same time, we are all inundated with more and more input through various channels, which often makes it harder to actually break through the clutter than it used to (a real challenge).

Telling the right story to the right audience at the right time has always been the name of the game, but now you have to keep track of a seemingly infinite number of burgeoning media platforms, figure out the right one for your client/message, and find the most efficient way to land a successful pitch.

Earned media is no longer the be all and end all. Social media, owned media, and paid media are now equally important. And while the overarching message needs to be the same for all these areas, the tools you use to deliver the content on each channel are different -- and ever changing.

Even today's students, who grew up in a digital world where analytics are woven into everything in a way that simply didn't exist when I graduated, have to keep learning and staying on top of new developments and trends. Learning never stops and successfully navigating a changing media and business environment will always be a challenge to anyone wanting to remain successful for the long term.

How has your work in different sports leagues varied? Which sport have you enjoyed working in the most, and why?

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I've worked with a long roster of leagues, teams, sponsors, events, brands and athletes in my career, and every one of them is different. Their starting points and goals are different; their cultures vary; and there's a range of process and protocol, turnaround times, etc. It's important to be flexible and know how to learn on the fly.

Each time out requires a quick assessment of the landscape, identification of potential opportunities, solving existing challenges, and matching objectives of different stakeholders to find common ground and pinpoint the intersection of what the client wants as a message and what the media are interested in covering. It calls for learning about sports with which I wasn't previously familiar and finding, sometimes surprisingly, that it's a really great sport, which leaves me wondering why I didn't know that before -- and happy that I get to help spread the word.

The sheer variety keeps me on my toes, fosters creative thinking, and gives me something to look forward to every day. For me personally, variety truly is the spice of life!

It would be impossible for me to pick one particular sport as my favorite because each brings something different to my life. There are certainly special moments that stand out -- riding with players in World Series Parade; sandboarding in the desert in Abu Dhabi with Tony Hawk and a number of Olympians as part of a PR stunt; creating social media content with rugby players (who are a lot of fun to hang with) from around the world to promote international matches; being on the field at a Super Bowl and feeling the intensity from the players -- but I could never pick a favorite.

How has the travel aspect of your work impacted your career satisfaction?

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Travelling in connection with sports has been incredibly rewarding -- for several reasons. First and foremost, it often allowed me to visit parts of this country and the world I might not have otherwise gotten to see. And if there's a big sporting event going on, it typically means a city is going to show off its best side while you are there so that's a bonus! Whenever possible, I try to book an extra day or two onto my business trips so I can go exploring on my own.

Participating in sports events around the country and around the world also serves as a reminder of the power of sports to make people happy, to create passion, and to cross barriers. Sports are a great unifier, and feeling that as I travel recharges my soul.

What advice would you give to students who are considering a master's degree in sports management?

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Students who are considering a master's degree in sports management should make sure to do their due diligence on the schools offering the degree. Search for a program that has a manageable class size so that you can get the personalized attention and conversation you need from the professors. Look for a program where the director and administration are committed to your career development and job placement.

Stay away from what I call "puppy mill" programs that offer a menu of general classes that can be applied to a degree and will earn you a piece of paper, but that's as deep as they go. Make sure you are learning from the experts. Check out the rankings each year of SportsBusiness International's independent list of sports management offerings.

Students also must know that working in sports isn't all glamor and fun. Yes, it's amazing to work for businesses that are in the spotlight, but know too that the hours are long and hard. Weekends and holidays are often not your own. When you are needed, you are needed. No ifs, ands, or buts. The offseason for the players doesn't mean it's offseason for you. Ask yourself if you are truly willing to make that kind of commitment?

The best thing a student can do is to get involved with sports as a business before going to a sports ad program. See if it's something that interests you, makes you curious to learn more, and makes you happy. If it does, then go ahead and apply!

Featured Programs in Sports Management

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Resources for Sports Management Majors

Professional organizations offer invaluable networking opportunities to members, especially through conferences and industry events. Many such organizations offer low-cost or free memberships to students.

Open courseware represents another often-overlooked way to improve your knowledge base and grow your peer network. The resources listed below offer a good starting point if you are looking for ways to develop your career.

Professional Organizations

Sports management requires a combination of coaching and business savvy in order to effectively manage -- or play a part in managing -- a sports organization. A familiarity with athletics, marketing, event planning, accounting, and behavioral psychology can all help sports management professionals enjoy a successful career. Read on to investigate some of the resources a sports management executive can turn to for career development.

North American Society for Sport Management: Formed to encourage scholarly research and professional best practices in sports management, this organization is available to students and working professionals. A jobs board is also available to members.

National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics: Comprising more than 6,000 collegiate athletic directors, NACDA provides support to professionals, while also offering a number of resources relevant to faculty and students. A mentoring program, internship opportunities, and a jobs board are all available to members. NACDA also sponsors the Disneyland Pigskin Classic football game and Sears' Directors Cup program.

National Association for Sports and Physical Education: Formed to provide support for physical education faculty and staff at all education levels, NASPE promotes best practices among its members. Teachers, coaches, trainers, directors, and other faculty can take advantage of academic-focused opportunities or attend NASPE events to learn and network. NASPE funds some programs with grants and recognizes others with awards.

Open Courseware

Open courseware refers to online courses taught by higher learning institutions. Courses are offered free of charge, though some classes may encourage students to seek out additional reading materials that must be purchased.

Sport Media and Culture: Who's calling the shots? - The Open University: This introductory course explores the role that media plays in our cultural appreciation of sports. The creation of sports heroes and the place of sports in popular culture is examined in this five-hour class.

Communication for Managers - MIT: This course covers communication skills that are key to management success in any industry, including the sports industry. The curriculum of this graduate-level course covers topics like motivation, persuasion, presentation skills, listening skills and business writing, among other topics.

anagerial Psychology - MIT: Another course hosted by MIT, this class is an undergraduate introduction to the psychology of good management. Lecture topics include organizational structure and the latest behavioral research. Students explore ways to tie these concepts together effectively.


Open Access Journals

Open access journals are free to access. The publications listed below feature scholarly, peer-reviewed articles dedicated to sports management topics.

Journal of Sports Management: Published by the North American Society for Sport Management, this scholarly journal covers current events and trends in the industry. Research and analysis is offered on organizational theory, sport operations, consumer behavior, sponsorship, and numerous other topics related to sports. This journal is published six times per year, though supplemental issues are also released at the discretion of the editorial board.

Journal of Physical Education and Sports Management: This peer-reviewed journal publishes original research and current events related to sports management. A recent article analyzed motivational factors that affect student attendance at collegiate sporting events.

International Journal of Sport Management, Recreation & Tourism: This refereed journal is a quarterly publication that reports on scholarly research in sports management, leisure, and tourism. Proposed theory, review papers, case studies, and book reviews all serve to inform working professionals in sports management.

Journal of Applied Sport Management: Formerly known as the Journal of Sport Administration and Supervision, this publication focuses on the development of academic theory behind the sports industry. To that end, original research and reviews of existing literature are published annually.

International Journal of Sports Science: Professionals in all subdisciplines of sports science may find this publication interesting. Articles cover research in the natural sciences related to sports, as well as the social/behavioral sciences and their application in sports management. Recent articles have examined risk perception in paragliders, a methodology to measure the skin of athletes, and the prevalence of injuries among rodeo participants.


Sports Analytics: A Guide for Coaches, Managers, and Other Decision-Makers: Written by Benjamin Alamar -- the founder of the first academic journal in sports management -- this text is a definitive guide to decision-making in sports. Coaches, managers, and athletes can all benefit from adopting these best practices in data analysis.

Essentials of Athletic Injury Management: Written for sports practitioners who do not have a medical background, this book discusses short-term management techniques for athletic injuries. Prevention, assessment, and identification are outlined, as are best practices for interacting with players, parents, and medical personnel.

Above All Else: A World Champion Skydiver's Story of Survival and What It Taught Him About Fear, Adversity, and Success: Author Dan Brodsky-Chenfield barely survived a harrowing plane crash, sustaining life-threatening injuries. After his recovery, Brodsky-Chenfield became a world-champion skydiver, using lessons he learned during his accident recovery. He shares techniques for success in this memoir.

Built to Win: Inside Stories and Leadership Strategies from Baseball's Winningest GM: John Schuerholz took the Atlanta Braves baseball team to the playoffs against ridiculous odds. Together, with co-authors Bob Costas and Larry Guest, Schuerholz shares his sports management secrets and offers tips for career success in the sports industry.

Sounders FC - AUTHENTIC MASTERPIECE: The Inside Story Of The Best Franchise Launch In American Sports History: Several unlikely business partners, including a comedian, a minor league executive, and a film producer, created a Major League Soccer franchise that unexpectedly enjoyed serious success. In this book, author Mike Gastineau details the launch of the Sounders Football Club in Seattle, sharing the careful planning that went into each step of the launch.

The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams That Win Consistently: Successful NFL coach and Super Bowl winner Tony Dungy shares his secrets to success in this book. Dungy's seven keys of mentoring leadership are detailed, with advice on how to deploy these tips in any aspect of industry, including sports management. Team discipline, coaching mistakes, and persuading players to follow along are just some of the topics discussed in this book.

Online Industry Magazines

Sports Business Journal: This online resource provides sports professionals with valuable information that can be used in their working lives. Breaking news is combined with in-depth weekly features and analysis to cover many aspects of sports business.

Great American Media Services - Sports: This site offers three sports titles: Coach & Athletic Director, Winning Hoops, and Training & Conditioning. Coaches, athletes, and athletic directors at all levels can benefit from the insights, information, and strategies discussed in these issues.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sports Management

Is a degree in sports management worth it?

Organizations that employ sports management professionals increasingly seek candidates with specialized rather than general training. Many career paths in the sports management industry are highly competitive, and strong educational credentials can help you stand out when applying for internships and jobs.

Is sports management a good career?

According to Forbes, the North American sports industry was worth approximately $73.5 billion in 2019, marking a 21.5% increase from its 2014 valuation. Media broadcasting rights continue to climb dramatically in value, appreciating at an average annual rate of 7.2%. These trends indicate strong future growth prospects for career-oriented professionals working in the sports world.

What can you do with a sports management degree?

A sports management degree acts as a versatile credential for people seeking to establish themselves in many different career paths. Job options include everything from coaching and player development to the business, marketing, operational, and player representation aspects of the industry.

What jobs are the highest paid in sports management?

Top-level pro sports executives and player agents who represent high-profile professional sports stars can earn millions of dollars, but these jobs are few in number and very difficult to land. More accessible positions with high pay include sports marketing managers and sports attorneys, both of which feature six-figure median salaries.

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