Careers With a Sport Management Degree

Published: January 25th, 2016

Category: Careers

Athletes may be the face of a sports organization, but they aren’t the only stars. Behind every double play, touchdown, and penalty shot sits the skilled management professional that made the game possible – whether they’re coordinating administrative details or working to attract crowds. Everything from major league franchises to club teams require personnel capable of fulfilling a wide variety of functions.

Careers with a sports management degree are highly sought-after, as the chance to work with professional, collegiate, or recreational athletics attracts a great many professionals from a variety of disciplines. A number of the positions within the field derive from similar concepts present in corporations. Athletic organizations require the same brand of financial, operational, and market outreach support as any other business, which means the fundamental skills required to do those jobs in other fields can still be applicable. However, knowledge of the issues specific to the industry can only help an aspiring sport manager as they make their move into the industry.

For financial professionals in sport, player and vendor contracts can be an essential part of the job, and often demand specific knowledge of negotiation and athlete valuation to navigate. For marketers, the challenge isn’t just to sell a product, but to bring in attendees, which has its own nuanced difficulties. They might also be responsible for coordinating a franchise’s external communications and facilitating the essentially close bond between local fans and their home team. These are issues that demand a specialized set of skills beyond the typical corporate environment, which is largely what lends the field such magnetism to job hunters.

Here’s a breakdown of some more opportunities in the field, some of them completely unique to sport as an industry.

Jobs With a Sports Management Degree

Game Day and Event Coordination

These organized, dynamic professionals oversee all of the essential elements that go into effectively promoting, executing, and broadcasting (if applicable) an athletic event. Often acting as liaisons between fans, the venue, and management, game day coordinators help to create a lively, engaged environment for the audience, and ensure that the event itself is a pleasant experience for all attendees.

Athletics Administrators

Athletics Administrators are often the central decision makers in sports organizations, responsible for supervising nearly every facet of a franchise, team, or club. Anything from ordering equipment to hiring and firing staff can fall within their purview. Their job can also involve ensuring compliance with changing legal regulations, particularly in the collegiate setting.

Sport Marketing

Sports marketing professionals have to focus on both creating buzz surrounding the franchise or organization they serve and managing the ways in which sponsorships may affect the team’s brand. Overall, their mission is to promote the team, its players, and whatever other stories or assets draw public interest, increasing sales and strengthening the voice of the organization. Expertise in both digital and traditional media is just as useful to a sports organization as any other.

Facility Operations Manager

Leadership in this field revolves around ensuring that the resources necessary to properly maintain and improve an athletic venue are applied effectively. Facility operations managers may also play an important role in facilitating maintenance, organizing the ticket sales and entry process, and coordinating emergency response plans.

Financial and Contract Analyst

The business of sport isn’t entirely dissimilar to other industries. As with any organization, sports teams and franchises aim to be as fiscally efficient and profitable as possible. Financial analysts in sport support this goal much in the same way they do in other businesses: analyzing available funds, capital, and expenditures to maximize revenue and report on performance. Considering that much of the company’s capital may involve athlete salaries and fees offered through vendor agreements, they may also be called upon to analyze the terms of a pending contract to ensure that it reflects the organization’s best interests, from a financial stand-point.

Guest Relations Manager

Ensuring that fans have a positive experience with every member of the venue’s customer service staff falls to the guest relations manager. From the first person to greet each attendee to the employee selling team merchandise, it falls to the guest relations manager to make each interaction with fans a satisfying one. They might do this by coordinating with members from each sub-set of employees to ensure that all organizational policies are being adhered to, or by taking the lead in resolving any disputes or issues that may arise.

Corporate Partnerships Manager

Sport organizations are certainly not strangers to corporate partnerships and agreements, with teams frequently working to promote a product or company in exchange for initial or ongoing fees. The corporate partnership manager oversees these partnerships, discovering new opportunities, developing agreements, and ensuring their proper execution to benefit both parties. Other types of partnerships in sport may include those with media, like exclusivity agreements regarding broadcasting rights.

Pursue Leadership in Sports Management

The University of Florida’s online Master of Science in Sport Management can help you pursue a winning career path in athletics leadership. Click here to learn more about our specialized program.

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