Some children want to be firefighters when they grow up. Some want to be teachers, or maybe astronauts. Many even want to work in sports — but don’t necessarily want to be a player on the field. In these cases, kids still have several options for them so they don’t have to give up their dreams — one of those options being sports management. But what exactly does this mean, and why would someone be interested in pursuing it as a career?
What is Sports Business Management?
By 2022 the sports industry is projected to reach $80.3 billion, up from $69.1 billion in 2017. This has increased the number of people interested in getting their foot into the sports industry, namely through a degree in sports management.
Getting a degree doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be managing a sports team or even dealing with athletes personally, as sports management is a balance between sports and business. People getting into the industry learn safety techniques, how to market a sports team, and even how to handle finances for athletes or an entire team.
With so many options, how might a focus in sports management impact your career?
Possible Career Paths
Getting a degree in sports management can create paths toward a number of different careers. Here are just a few to consider:
One of the more well-known sports management positions is that of the coach. However, not every coach does their job in the spotlight. Some come in the form of personal trainers and even advisors.
Athletes especially need guidance when it comes to taking care of themselves and using the correct equipment on the field. Think about all the busted teeth and broken bones there would be among athletes if coaches weren’t there reminding people to put in their mouth guards and train correctly.
Just about every industry in the world needs data analysts now. In the sports world, data analysis is used to find more effective ways for teams to play one another through analyzing old game footage and picking out details. An analyst in the sports world can also pick what is and isn’t working in the marketing department.
If a team isn’t selling tickets or is becoming largely unpopular, analysts can look at data and figure out why, and help pave the way to make a change. They can also find trends within the sport itself and see what is popular to better build the team’s brand.
Entrepreneurship in Sports
While becoming an entrepreneur isn’t something you’d normally connect with sports, people are able to make a great living doing so. Some individuals have opened their own sports clinics. Others have launched their own small businesses for personal training.
In some cases, entrepreneurs are working on new equipment and technology for athletes to use to keep them safe when they’re on the field. Once those items are picked up by a sports team, these businessmen and women are really able to make a difference in their field.
Every organization needs a finance department and people to handle the cash end of things. Financial management in sports can mean anything from negotiating an athlete’s pay to deciding on budgets for certain items, like travel, equipment, and marketing.
A sports management degree can help prepare you for handling a team’s finances but, in many cases, you’ll need a master’s degree to get a position in the finance department. This is because, oftentimes, a sports team’s finances can be extremely complicated. Money is coming in and going out constantly, making a higher education necessary.
Financial management may also include helping individual athletes with their personal finances. Athletes are some of the highest-paid people in the country, and many of them need help with their finances. Having a degree that helps you understand their world can be extremely helpful in assisting them and getting regular business for yourself.
Sports marketing is another career path you can go down with a sports management degree. Most of the time, this includes handling branding awareness, social media marketing, and any other form of promotion for the team.
This job can also include identifying and solidifying sponsorships for the sports team. For instance, the Pittsburgh Steelers stadium is sponsored by Heinz. The company helps keep up the stadium in exchange for having its name plastered center-city. Someone had to negotiate that deal, and they likely had a background in sports management.
Working in the Sports Industry
When it comes down to it, pursuing a career in sports management can and will open various doors for you. Sometimes it will take additional schooling. Other times it will mean you can start your own business.
And, for some, it means creating and ensuring the health and safety of all the players on and off the field. This includes everything from personal training to crafting mouthpieces for the inside of a player’s helmet.
Wherever you may find yourself in the sports management world, you will be in one of the largest, fastest-growing industries in the world. Find your place in it and see where it takes you.