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What is a Sport Event Manager?

The athletes who compete on the field or in the court may get the glory, but they don’t reach the heights of acclaim alone. Massive sport events grip the attention of international audiences thanks to the efforts of many professionals working behind the scenes, including athlete coaches, legal experts, and marketers. Some of the most crucial responsibilities in today’s sport organizations belong to the sports event manager, who plans the complex operations that make exciting competitions possible.
sport event manager
Event managers provide amazing experiences for athletes and fans by bringing together the necessary employees, equipment, and facilities. This role offers many chances to resolve intriguing challenges while making an invaluable contribution to the world of sports. If you’re interested in applying operational expertise to help teams, venues, and communities, a career in sport event management could be the right path for you.

Related Content: How to Get into Sport Management

What Does a Sport Event Manager Do?

Sport event managers deal with a plethora of issues related to planning, organizing, leading and delivering sport events. Their areas of responsibility can be very broad or very specific depending on factors like the size of the sport event.

Sport event management professionals plan competitions that are both spectacular and safe for everyone participating or watching. Managers are essential to today’s mega-events, which involve big-budget production, massive audiences, global broadcasting, and enormous local impact. However, professional guidance can be a worthwhile investment for smaller-scale competitions as well. A local 5k race is very different from a world-class marathon, but it still takes careful planning and specialized resources to ensure operations go off without a hitch.

There are a wide range of managerial challenges that can affect the success of a sport event, and each comes with its own demands. The sport event manager may have responsibilities that cross every facet of putting on a great show, ranging from managing relationships with sport national governing bodies to deliver on their expectations to collaborating with PR professionals or ensuring that amenities like WiFi are ready for an influx of excited sport fans. Some other common tasks for professionals in this field include:

  • Bidding for sport events
  • Working with key sport event stakeholders to define project timelines
  • Providing hospitality to sponsors and other “clients” of the sport event
  • Communicating with broadcasters and members of the press
  • Recruiting and managing volunteers
  • Identifying an appropriate venue and collaborating with staff on preparations
  • Arranging for lodging and transportation to the event location for participants
  • Implementing security measures for athletes and spectators
  • Making parking available for attendees
  • Coordinating with leaders in the local community
  • Negotiating agreements with vendors and sponsors
  • Determining how to respond to inclement weather or emergencies

University of Florida students in the online M.S. in Sport Management program have the option of earning a focused certificate in sport event management, which is designed to help graduates build a broad foundation of skills that includes community and relationship building as specialized knowledge in managing mega-events.

Sports Event Coordinator vs. Manager

Is a sports event manager different from a sports event coordinator?

The positions of event manager and event coordinator are two distinct but closely related roles. A manager is tasked with big picture considerations like designing a schedule, securing a venue, and meeting community needs. A coordinator’s work focuses on a narrower set of issues like supervising logistics and conducting vendor relationships. All these aspects might be handled by a single manager for a smaller event or delegated to multiple coordinators under a manager’s supervision for a larger undertaking.

How Do You Become a Sports Event Manager?

Event planning and coordination can be a rewarding role for professionals who want to pursue a sport management career. Specialists in the field may find jobs working for organizing committees, national governing bodies, and sport commissions. They can prepare for these positions by learning about key concepts like the functional planning areas that go into mega-events and the bidding process undertaken by communities seeking to host a competition.

Sports event management education requirements commonly include a bachelor’s degree, which may be in a relevant area such as marketing, communications, business administration, or public relations. However, specialized graduate education can offer deeper insights into the nuances of sport events and prepare students to accomplish their long-term objectives. A practicum or internship in the field may also prove an advantage, offering both hands-on experience and networking opportunities.

What Skills Make a Sport Event Manager Stand Out?

The professionals who excel and advance in sports event management possess a thorough knowledge of what makes a successful event and the skills to solve problems as they arise. They account for broader issues, like the influence of governing bodies, as well as local concerns. These experts apply their sophisticated understanding of sport management and leadership principles to develop effective strategies for engaging fans and gaining stronger ticket sales.

Some of the skills and traits that count in sport event management include:

  • Adaptability: Event management leaders proactively adapt their tactics to a variety of situations. They must be aware of the dangers that can arise when working with large crowds, taking the appropriate steps to minimize risk and comply with state and federal regulations. Planners can also have a hand in minimizing the effects on the environment by establishing sustainable practices for using resources and disposing of waste.
  • Communication: Managers must be able to express clearly organized ideas and disciplined directions to a wide range of stakeholders. Keeping athletes, coaches, support staff, sponsors, vendors, and members of the media all on the same page over the course of a long planning process can challenging. Top planners and coordinators tailor their language to suit their audiences in both written and verbal communication.
  • Professional Networking: Planners should understand the importance of forming connections within the community hosting an event. Sports can be vital to the economic well-being and public image of a city or town, attracting visitors, investments from sponsors, and media coverage. Managers make their events more successful and build potentially valuable relationships by working closely with local businesses and leaders to make a difference in a region.

Sport event managers balance the needs of sport governing bodies, athletes, attendees, and communities to create unforgettable experiences. For professionals who are thoughtful strategists, persuasive communicators, and passionate about the thrill of competition, this career path could be an ideal way to get involved in sport management.

About UF's Online M.S. in Sport Management

The online Master of Science in Sport Management from University of Florida readies students to take on complex financial and administrative challenges in the world of sports. The comprehensive sport management curriculum can help you develop your skills as a multifaceted, multi-talented professional who is ready to break into the field of sport representation.

Through core courses that include Sport Marketing and Management and Leadership in Sport and electives such as Sports Sponsorship, Sport Psychology, and What Drives Winning Leaders, you will gain in-depth knowledge of the business of sports.

Athlete Development was created especially for those who want to work directly with athletes to successfully balance the demands of their sport with the demands of living a lucrative and productive life off the field.

High Performance Coaching is intended for students who wish to pursue positions in managerial coaching or athletic administration, showing them how to foster the best performances in athletes.

Sport Law teaches lawyers and administrators about legal principles that can have important applications in the world of athletics, including insurance, real estate finance, insurance, and fair competition.

Director of Racquet Sports is ideal for racquet sports enthusiasts seeking leadership roles. Whether you aim to run a racquet sports business or oversee a country club or league, this concentration equips you with vital skills in sport management, program development, sport marketing, budgeting, human relations, and more.

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