Five great sports management careers await those with the right education, skill sets and personal traits. In fact, the demand for athletic entertainment makes it a big business, requiring the talents of managers and administrators to organize, market and represent the players and their games.
1. Professional Team Management
The life of a professional sports team executive is lived in the “front office.” Here is where the CEO (or owner) runs the franchise, assisted by business professionals, attorneys, accountants, salespeople and talent scouts. Financial analysts monitor revenues and IT specialists keep the technology infrastructure humming. Essential to team management is the operations staff, which coordinates security, jumbo-trons, equipment, audio communications and anything else needed for game day. Meanwhile, writers and graphic designers publish guides for reporters and sportscasters. In the office, and across the country, scouts scour the colleges for new talent.
2. Player Representation
While a collection of athletes makes up a team, those players each pursue their own career paths. To help them along, they employ agents. One of five great sports management careers, athlete representation can be exciting, stressful, frustrating and lucrative. In some respects, a sports agent is a jack-of-all-trades: contract negotiation, public relations, vocational counseling and even sales are among the areas of practice. In the early stage of this career, an agent can be expected to make hundreds of unsolicited contacts, while building a client base. Combined with a sports management degree, a strong work ethic and a winning personality go far in this field.
3. Facility Management
Locales are an important factor in the success of professional teams. This is why sports facility management is one of five great sports management careers. Stadiums, ballparks and arenas can be owned by the teams themselves; by governments; by private investors; or by a combination of two or three. Whoever owns the facility needs property managers with a specialty in sports venues. These executives are responsible for the maintenance and engineering of the location as well as the safety and well-being of its visitors. They should have an even temperament since crisis and emergency management are called for regularly. Like landlords everywhere, they collect rents and fees from teams that lease throughout the year.
4. College Sports Administration
Collegiate sports occupy a unique niche in the athletic world: on the one hand, they are major revenue-producing businesses; on the other, the players are all (officially) amateurs. Athletic directors and other staffers walk a fine line in recruiting athletes, promoting programs and attracting sponsors. Governed by strict regulations from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), some administrators spend full-time on issues of compliance relative to recruiting, academic standards, discipline and media appearances. Sports Information Directors highlight successes of the various teams through press releases, brochures and social media. Other staffers make travel arrangements, purchase equipment and liaise with faculty.
5. Recreation Directors
While it might lack the glamour of the vocational paths listed above, running local recreation leagues is nevertheless one of five great sports management careers for passionate athletic enthusiasts. A recreation director might serve a large city with scores of leagues and ball fields. Alternatively, small towns likewise employ recreation directors albeit with a smaller infrastructure. Often reporting to a municipal commission, recreation directors enlist volunteer coaches and assistants; set up various leagues for children, youth and adults; schedule the use of fields; acquire equipment; and draw up annual budgets.
Related Resource: 5 Great Professional Organizations for Sports Management Professionals
Pursuing sports administration is a promising and fulfilling path. At the junction where athletics meets business, this profession offers at least five great sports management careers.