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Home Blog Exploring Career Paths with a Sport Management Degree

Exploring Career Paths with a Sport Management Degree

April 19, 2024

Contributing Author: Alley Bardon

8 mins read

Defined as the administration and handling of sports-related businesses and organizations, sports management is a dynamic field with plenty of opportunities. Individuals who pursue careers in sports management can combine their passion for athletics and sports with their finely tuned business skills. By understanding the various sports management career paths available, you can decide if this degree program is right for you. 

What Is Sports Management?

Described by Coursera as a broad career field, sports management refers to the oversight and organization of a wide range of sports organizations, including athletic departments, teams, sports-related businesses, and sports facilities. The goal of any sports management program is to not only raise brand awareness, but also to increase the team's overall success, boost revenue generated from ticket sales and promotional experiences, and provide a memorable game-day experience for any fans in attendance. 

Skills and Qualifications in Sport Management

If you are hoping to pursue one of the jobs in sports management, you will find that you need to acquire a well-rounded set of sports skills, business skills, and interpersonal skills. 

According to LinkedIn, the most sought-after skills in sports management graduates include: 

  • Business acumen, including an understanding of marketing and finance 
  • Leadership and management skills 
  • Understanding of and passion for a wide range of sports 
  • Communication skills 

Career Opportunities in Sport Management

While most people think of college or professional sports when they consider the field of sports management, there are a wide range of careers in sports management. 

These are just a few of the possible careers with a sports management degree: 

Sports Tourism and Hospitality Management

The United Nations World Tourism Organization has sports tourism is defined as any type of travel in which the visitor is spectating or participating in a sporting event. For example, individuals who are traveling to Paris in the summer of 2024 for the Olympics are part of the sports tourism market. As one of the fastest-growing sectors of the tourism market, sports tourism is expected to play a more prominent role in the years to come, making this one of the most viable sports management career opportunities. 

Sports Media and Broadcasting

Those who pursue a sports management degree may be able to consider jobs in sports media and broadcasting. These communications positions require candidates to have a solid understanding of a wide range of sports, which they will develop as part of their degree program. Some of the top jobs in sports media and broadcasting include sports commentator, sports editor, sports content creator, sports TV reporter, sports data analyst, and sports talk radio host. 

Athlete Representation and Sports Agency

Sports agents are professionals who represent professional athletes in a wide range of affairs, including business, public relations, and legal matters. For many in the sports industry, working as an agent is a dream come true, because it allows you to become a driving force in this dynamic and growing industry. Some of the top responsibilities of sports agents include: 

  • Representing their clients during contract negotiations, ensuring that their client receives a fair, competitive, and favorable deal. 
  • Securing sponsorships and promotional opportunities for their clients. 
  • Communicating with the public on behalf of their clients, often serving as a spokesperson or public relations representative.

Event Management and Facility Operations

Another niche area of sports management is event management and facilities operations. While these positions do not require sports management graduates to work directly with athletes or organize team activities, they do allow those interested in the industry to play a pivotal role in athletic experiences and events. Event management and facility operations specialists work to coordinate events at athletics facilities and ensure that all attendees and participants enjoy a safe and memorable experience. 

Sports Marketing and Promotion

Sports marketing is a specialized branch of marketing that involves promoting activities, events, or products within the sports industry. Sports marketing and promotion is an incredibly important part of managing a sports team, whether it's a semi-professional team, a youth organization, or a professional sports team. Sports marketers work to raise brand awareness in the community, drive ticket sales, and create promotional products and experiences targeted to a specific audience. 

Semi-Professional and Recreational Opportunities

Sports management graduates may find themselves more interested in semi-professional and recreational opportunities. For instance, an individual with a sports management degree may be able to oversee the operations of a community recreation department that organizes youth sports teams in the local area. 

Specialization Areas Within Sport Management

Within the sports management field, you will find that there are several specialization areas to choose from. By specializing in one of these niche areas, you will be able to personalize your career path and pursue opportunities only available to a select pool of candidates. Many professionals believe that specialization is the key to long-term success and salary growth over the course of any career, and that's particularly true in the sports management arena. 

Sports Analytics and Data Science

Data is playing an increasingly prevalent role in the world of sports, particularly in professional sports, in which athletes are valued based on the data generated from their overall performance. Those who specialize in sports analytics and data science will be in particularly high demand in the coming years, as data is expected to continue to drive the sports industry forward. 

Sports analytics and data science professionals may work to: 

  • Rely on game theory to predict outcomes and develop game strategy. 
  • Collect and analyze data related to the performance of an individual athlete or a team as a whole. 
  • Develop predictive models that may be used to evaluate performance and make team selections. 

Sports Law, Regulation and Compliance

Sports law, regulation, and compliance refers to the legal issues related to the sports industry. An individual who specializes in sports law, regulation, and compliance may be well-suited to a career as a sports agent or a sports attorney. Some of the concepts that you will explore within this specialty include: 

  • Contract Negotiations 
  • Labor Relations 
  • Financial Counseling 
  • Intellectual Property Rights 
  • Tax Law 

In an increasingly complex world, athletes and sports organizations require the assistance of legal experts who can help them navigate the nuances of the industry. There is expected to be heightened demand for sports law professionals in the months and years to come. 

Sports Psychology and Athlete Development

Sports psychology plays a pivotal role in overall athletic development. Sports management professionals who are interested in improving athletic performance and who want to work directly with teams or individual athletes may be interested in a specialization in this growing subset of the field of psychology. 

Sports psychology refers to the use of psychological understanding and techniques to improve an athlete's mindset and overall performance. The field of sports psychology explores: 

  • Psychological assessments and techniques that can improve overall athletic performance. 
  • Counseling techniques that can help athletes manage the mental and emotional toll of sports. 
  • Social issues that may be related to sports participation. 
  • Developmental issues that may be related to sports participation. 

International Sports Business and Management

For those who want to take their career to the global level, a specialization in international sports business and management is an option. Within this specialization, students will study the global considerations that must be considered when managing a large-scale team or sports-related business. Topics covered as part of this specialization include global sports marketing, sports consulting, event sponsorship, and more. 

Internship and Networking in Sport Management

While the field of sports management is growing, it is still an incredibly competitive job market, especially for recent graduates. Through internship and networking, you will be able to develop the professional skills and business acumen necessary to secure one of the entry-level jobs in sports management. 

Importance of Internships and Building Networks

Most college students find that they need to secure internships while they are working on completing their degree, as this allows them to gain professional experience while completing the educational requirements necessary for their career. Within the sports management field, internships and networking are incredibly important. 

Some of the top benefits of securing an internship include: 

  • Gaining on-the-job experience. Internships in sports management are your first opportunity to experience what daily life is like as part of this field. First and foremost, it gives you an opportunity to hone the skills you will need for your career. Secondly, it can help you discover which specialty areas interest you the most. 
  • Allowing you to develop a better understanding of the various positions within sports management. In addition to completing your daily tasks on your internship, you should also become an observer. Watch what other professionals in your organization are doing each day, and don't be afraid to ask questions about their job responsibilities. 
  • Giving you the chance to secure a new mentor or career coach. Throughout your internship, you will have the opportunity to get to know other professionals in sports management, many of whom will have considerable experience in the industry. It's the ideal place to organically develop a lasting mentorship that can help you grow your career in the years ahead. 

Gaining Experience in Sport Management

Internships allow you to take a hands-on approach to career development, and they give you a chance to gain valuable experience that you can promote on your resume. These strategies can help you secure a sports management internship: 

  • Attend sports management career fairs at your university or in the local area. These career fairs often bring together representatives from various teams and organizations looking for fresh, young talent. 
  • Talk with your professors and advisors about any contacts that they may have in the industry and see if you can set up meetings with local professionals. Sometimes, the best way to get an internship is to simply ask if there are any opportunities available. 
  • Begin building your brand on social media. Professional networking sites, like LinkedIn, are a great place to launch your career and search for internship opportunities. 

Prepare for a Sports Industry Career at Lindenwood University

When it comes to careers with a sports management degree, the opportunities are virtually endless. At Lindenwood University, we offer an online Bachelor of Arts in Sports Management that provides you with the skills and knowledge required to access the most coveted jobs in sports management. Not only does our curriculum cover the broad scope of the sports management field, but it also infuses the best business, marketing, finance, management, and sports law strategies into the coursework, providing you with a comprehensive education. 

Request more information about our online degree programs today.  

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