About Sports Management

Sports management is a work area that deals with the business of sports and recreation. To become a sports manager, one must acquire the fundamental knowledge and skills in finance, marketing management and laws pertaining to the sports industry.

Remember Tom Cruise as the sports manager in the 90s movie Jerry Maguire. From then, till now with movies like Draft Day, Moneyball, Coach Carter and Two for the Money, there has been a distinct rise in the number of sports management movies. In the recent years, with the emergence of new leagues and series in the sports arena, sports management as a career has begun to receive limelight. If you are someone who watches sports for more than just entertainment and have strong allegiances for certain teams and sports, here is an excellent career option for you to consider!

Sports management is a work area that deals with the business of sports and recreation. To become a sports manager, one must acquire the fundamental knowledge and skills in finance, marketing management and laws pertaining to the sports industry. Courses in sports management are available at both the bachelors and masters level which prepare you for a career in amateur, college level and professional sports organizations. With new avenues opening up, jobs in this field are aplenty.

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Top Colleges

The best path to follow in order to become a sports manager is to first pursue a bachelor’s degree in sports management and then specialize through a master’s degree program or an MBA in areas such as athletic administration or international sports management. A bachelor’s degree in economics, marketing, business administration, health or accounting is also equally relevant although you will then definitely need either a Master of Science in Sports Management or a Master of Science in Sports Medicine or other similar courses to complement your education.

With sports organizations like the NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. the US is the most popular choice of destination for courses in sports management. The University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee offers a 4 years BS in Athletic Training course. Western Michigan University (WMU) has 2 courses at the undergraduate level - B. S. Recreation: Recreation Management and B. S. Recreation: Sports Management. Florida Institute of Technology also has a 4 years B. S. Business Administration/ Sports Management course. Even the Oklahoma State University has a program in sports management.

In the UK, the University College Birmingham has a 3 years Sports Management BA (Hons) course. The Nottingham Trent University (NTU) offers 4 years B Sc. courses in Coaching and Sports Science, Equine Sports Science, Sport and Exercise Science, Sports Science and Management, and Sports Science and Mathematics. The University of Central Lancashire offers 3 and 4 years BA and BSc. courses in Sports Studies and Sports Business Management. The University of Lincoln also has a 3 years BSc. Sports Development and Coaching (Hons.) course.

In India, Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala offer a 1-year full-time IOC Solidarity Course in Sports. The Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Sciences (IGIPESS) - New Delhi offers a 3 years B. Sc. Physical Education & Health course. The Syamaprasad Institute of Technology and Management (SITM), Kolkata also offers a 3 years Bachelor of Sports Management (BSM) course. George College, Kolkata has a 3 years Bachelor of Sports Management (B.S.M. Hons.) degree. MATS School of Physical Education-Raipur, HLM College-Meerut and Shri Shivaji College- Parbhani also offer bachelor’s degree courses in sports.

Career Prospects

With over $200 billion generated annually, the sports industry in America is the biggest in the world. India is not far behind either considering the sports sponsorship in India in 2017 surpassed the $1 billion mark. Needless to say that the money is a strong indication of better career prospects in the sports industry particularly within sports management.

Although the specific job role depends on their area of specialization, some of the general responsibilities of sports managers include – managing sports people, the marketing of the events and the facilities.If you have a degree in sports medicine, you could be training players/athletes about health and nutrition. You will also be responsible for the psychological counselling of the players at the time of competitions when they are stressed.

Some of the types of organizations that employ sports managers are:

There are also several opportunities for sports managers in sports economics, finance and the information industry.

  • Sports Broadcasting/Production networks like ESPN and Star Sports
  • Sports Sales, Advertising & Sponsorship Companies Athlete/Talent (also Rights & Licensing) Management
  • Sports Hospitality & Tourism
  • Sports Digital Solutions & News Websites
  • Sports Venue Operations
  • Sports Infrastructure
  • Sports Merchandise & Equipment

Jobs & Salary

Once you have completed your academic education in this field, several job avenues will open up for you. The higher your level of education, the better will be your chances of making it to executive profiles. Some of the typical job roles for sports managers are::

Sports administrator
Media relations manager
Guest relations specialist
Sales manager
Facilities manager
Tournament director
Special events coordinator
Promotions manager
Sports information director

The NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS are some of the top organizations that hire sports managers in the US. Some of the top companies which employ sports managers in India are:

PMG (Professional Management Group)
Sports Media Limited
Floodlights Entertainment Plus
IOS Sports & Entertainment
Twenty First Century Media
Sportz Interactive
Baseline Venture
DNA Networks
ITW Consulting

The average salary for sports managers in the US range from around $2,600 per month to $7,600 per month. The highest salaries are made by the Athletic Director and the Director of Marketing. In India, the average salary sports managers make range from approximately Rs.33,500 to Rs.67,000 per month. Regional Managers, Engagement Managers, Program Managers and Sponsorship Managers make the highest salaries in this profile.

The average salary for sports managers in the US range from around $2,600 per month to $7,600 per month. The highest salaries are made by the Athletic Director and the Director of Marketing. In India, the average salary sports managers make range from approximately Rs.33,500 to Rs.67,000 per month. Regional Managers, Engagement Managers, Program Managers and Sponsorship Managers make the highest salaries in this profile.

Pros & Cons

Besides the formal education in sports management, essential skills like people management, communication, quick decision-making, teamwork and organizational skills are necessary to succeed in this field. However, it is most important to have a passion for and comprehensive knowledge of sports. Following are some advantages of being a sports manager:

Pros
  • The work is exciting and will keep you on your toes
  • You become famous when your team does
  • You will get to meet and network with sports icons
Cons
  • Your management skills are questioned if your player/team performs poorly
  • You must keep yourself physically fit to keep up with the team
  • Long hours of work and stress during competitions can negatively affect health

Famous Personalities

Scott Boras

One of the top sports managers in the world, Scott Boras is legendary for his capability of negotiating record-breaking contracts for his clients. In fact, his negotiating strategies have prompted certain rules to be changed in Major League Baseball. Some of his famous client players include Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Greg Maddux.

Leigh Steinberg

The inspiration for the movie - Jerry Maguire, Leigh Steinberg is a true legend in the field of sports management. He has worked with professional athletes in football, boxing, basketball and baseball, and played an important part in negotiating over $2 billion in contracts for his clients, including picking the eight top NFL draft positions. As famous as his clients, Steinberg has even a bestseller book to his credit.

JB Bernstein

Best-known for the success of his reality show ‘The Million Dollar Arm,’ JB Bernstein has had an impressive clientele including baseball’s Barry Bonds, and football players - Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders. Having begun his career as the brand manager in Proctor & Gamble, he now is the chief marketing officer of Seven Figures Management. .

Timeline

1900 First formal sport management courses are established.

1920 and 1930 Several higher education institutions start offering sports management /administration courses within physical education departments.

1950 Professional and amateur sports management expands to large metropolitan areas.

1960 The interest in sports management initiates graduate degree programs for the first time in the USA.

1970 Theoretical studies are included in sports courses reflecting the emphasis on advancing management science in sports management studies.

1980 A surge in the number of sports management programs across universities displays the rising interest in the career.


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