Sports Management Careers

Read on to learn about typical courses, resources, and careers in this field.

Staff Writer

2022-09-0825 min read

You can become eligible for a wide range of behind-the-scenes positions in athletics and sports fields with a sports management degree.

Many people in this dynamic area have academic backgrounds, including coaches, trainers, facility managers, sports marketing and business specialists, and player agents. Sports leagues also hire sports management professionals.

This guide provides comprehensive information on the numerous sports management occupations.

Why Choose Sports Management?

Sports management is a vast field that includes experts with a wide range of skill sets.

While some sports management professionals focus on amateur and professional sports administration, sports marketing, and sports operations, others work directly with professional athletes.

Professionals in sports management come from a variety of backgrounds. But still, they all share a passion for athletics and a solid awareness of the commercial aspects that make the sports industry special.

How to Start your Sports Management Journey

A crucial first step in developing a profession in sports management is defining a specific goal.

Many of the positions in this field require skill sets that are radically different from one another.

Therefore, you should concentrate on developing the skills and abilities you'll need for your selected professional path during your academic studies and career preparation.

Education Requirements

Associate Degree

An associate's degree in sports management provides a general introduction to sports marketing and finance, organizational administration, promotions, public relations, etc.

Some programs adopt a different approach by fusing business education with sports science. With this degree, you can access entry-level positions.

Bachelor's Degree

Sports management programs at the bachelor's level go beyond generalities and give students the chance to focus their studies on particular interests.

These concentrations are built around vital requirements that include the fundamentals of sports administration, marketing, ethics, etc.

And they have access to roles as a coach and contract administrator.

Master's Degree

Sports management master's degree programs dive deeply into highly specialized fields of professional practice.

At this level, students can have valuable pathways to jobs at the upper management and effective levels.

Doctorate in Sports Management

Students often concentrate on a rigorous, research-oriented study on a particular topic or area of interest at this level.

Most of these programs focus on quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques to explore topics with substantial economic, cultural, and sociological ramifications. They also prepare students for careers in the professional sector.

Employment Prospects

Sports management graduates are qualified for various roles with high demand and job satisfaction.

With your associate's or bachelor's degree, you can work in an entry position with room for advancement.

About 106,200 openings each year, on average, are projected for employment in entertainment and sports occupations.

Sports Management Career Forecast

BLS projects the number of overall employment in entertainment and sports occupations to grow 13% from 2021 to 2031.

Most sports management roles pay over $60000, with several openings yearly.

Lucrative Sports Management Career Paths

Sports management is a broad field with various career paths and job prospects in different sectors.

Here are some of the Sports management careers.

Athletic Coach

To get athletes ready for competition, athletic coaches work with them and instruct them.

They help participants perform individually and collectively at their peak in sports, including football, baseball, basketball, etc.

Average Salary

Athletic coaches earn a median annual salary of $43,300

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Monitor individual student-athlete progress to ensure academic eligibility

  • Promote sportsmanship and foster good character in student-athletes

  • Plan and conduct practice sessions

  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each athlete and opposing sports teams

  • Motivate athletes to ready themselves for competitions

  • Plan physical programs that enable athletes to reach ultimate performance

  • Recruit potential athletes

Industries Employing Athletic Coach

  • Colleges

  • Arts

  • Entertainment

  • Self-employed

Sports Psychologist

Sports psychologists use psychological proficiency and skills to address athletes' optimal accomplishment and well-being.

And systemic issues associated with sports settings and organizations.

Average Salary

Sports psychologists earn a median annual salary of $75,076.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Assess performance and determine which tools can help

  • Provide personal psychological advice

  • Counsel athletes on work-life issues

Industries Employing Sports Psychologists

  • Health

  • Government

  • Colleges

Fitness Manager

Fitness managers manage the operations of their facilities daily.

They set the service and customer satisfaction goals, create policies, and supervise staff.

They also interact directly with financial data to ensure revenue and cost corresponds to plans and objectives.

Average Salary

Fitness managers earn a median annual salary of $44,550.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Train and manage personal trainers, class instructors, etc.

  • Provide gym tours for new gym members.

  • Keeps records and provides feedback to personal training staff.

  • Educate personal training staff

Industries Employing Fitness Managers

  • Civic and social organizations

  • Fitness and recreational sports centers

  • Government

  • Educational services

Sports Business Development Coordinator

Business development coordinators work closely with a sports team's finance, marketing, marketing, and management teams to help bring new clients, fundraising partners, etc.

They also deliver sales pitches, organize and lead meetings, and work with their sales team to meet customer expectations.

Average Salary

Sports business development coordinators earn a median annual salary of $51,356.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Research and develop budget plans

  • Generate clients

  • Delivery sales pitches

  • Lead meetings

Industries Employing Sports Business Development Coordinator

  • Sports

  • Colleges

  • Government

Sports Event Coordinator

Sports event coordinators arrange, prepare, and coordinate sports programs in a sports facility.

They also research data and delegate tasks to staff.

Average Salary

Sports event coordinators earn a median annual salary of $44,175. 

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Facility inspection

  • Tickets sales marketing

  • Security maintenance

  • Media distribution

  • Event Preparation

Industries Employing Sports Event Coordinators

  • Colleges

  • Government

  • Educational services

Sports Compensation and Benefits Manager

Sports compensation and benefits managers oversee the payroll department of a sports team.

They determine the salary, sign-on bonus, health insurance, pension, etc., that sports brands offer talented athletes to persuade them into signing contract deals and joining their team.

Average Salary

Sports Compensation and Benefits Managers earn a median annual salary of $68,439.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Adjust salaries

  • Oversee payroll

  • Ensure that pay and benefits plans comply with federal and state regulations

  • Prepare a program budget

Industries Employing Sports Compensation and Benefits Manager

  • Government

  • Universities

  • Sports team's

Sports Agent

Sports agents help guide athletes through every step of their careers, helping them choose which teams to play for and hammering out every detail of their contracts.

They also intervene in public relations disputes and help organize and execute promotional campaigns to further clients' brand awareness.

Average Salary

Sports Agents earn a median annual salary of $52,620. 

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Negotiate contracts between an athlete and their team

  • Recruit new talent

  • Managing marketing and promotion.

  • Look out for sponsorships and endorsements.

Industries Employing Sports Agents

  • Sports marketing firms

  • Talent agencies

  • Sports management companies

  • Self-employed

Sports Facilities Manager

Sports facilities managers oversee and manage leisure centers, gyms, or other sports facilities, such as practice courts, swimming pools, etc.

They are responsible for ordering supplies and equipment and developing marketing strategies.

Average Salary

Sports Facilities managers earn a median annual salary of $69,038

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Prepare current financials

  • Manage staff and inventory

  • Schedule maintenance of facilities

  • Recruitment and training of employee

  • Develop pricing policies

Industries Employing Sports Facilities Manager

  • College

  • Recreational centers

  • Governments

Sports Information Director

Sports information directors serve as the athletic teams' public relations officers.

They handle general news updates and act as the team's spokesperson in times of crisis.

They also provide news about future events and team statistics to the media.

Average Salary

Sports information directors earn a median annual salary of $38,833. 

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Collect, organize, and disseminate information on competitive academic programs and games.

  • Update player and team information, including portraits and social media.

  • Coordinate interviews, fundraising events, and press releases.

  • Act as a local expert on state and federal laws and requirements.

Industries Employing Sports Information Director

  • Colleges

  • Government

  • Educational Services

Sports Contract Analyst

Professional sports teams and other athletic institutions depend on contract analysts to ensure each agreement they sign and enter is in their best interest.

As they study contracts in search of detriments that could lead to lawsuits in the future, they come up with ways to minimize unnecessary costs.

Average Salary

Sports contract analysts earn a median annual salary of $61,783.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Sign agreements

  • Evaluate contracts for liabilities

  • Review contracts

Industries Employing Sports Contract Analysts

  • Government

  • Educational services

  • Colleges

Sports Equipment Manager

Sports equipment managers are responsible for all new and used athletics supplies of a team.

They are also in charge of ordering, maintaining, and inventorying equipment and apparel.

Average Salary

Sports equipment managers earn a median annual salary of $66,059. 

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Ordering all the equipment

  • Inspecting and cleaning each piece of equipment

  • Equipment control, which includes pre-and post-season inventory, use, and storage.

  • Facility scheduling

  • Maintaining relationships with vendors,

  • keeping up-to-date on current trends and products available

Industries Employing Sports Equipment Managers

  • Schools

  • Colleges

  • Universities

  • Government

  • Educational services

Sports Lawyer

Sports lawyers represent clients lawfully and help implement deals and contracts.

They are also equipped to defend clients legally in any instances of personal injury, breach of contract, or possible lawsuits.

Average Salary

Sports lawyers earn a median annual salary of $127,990

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Protect their clients' from financial and legal predicaments.

  • Give legal guidance

  • Represent clients in civil and criminal court matters

  • Negotiate and execute contracts

  • Address the media on clients' behalf

Industries Employing Sports Lawyers

  • Law firms

  • Government

  • Universities

Sports Scout

Sports scouts are sports business experts who seek out hidden athletic talents on behalf of a sports organization, team, university, or even high school.

They spend most sports seasons examining newspapers for individual players with high score point averages.

Average Salary

Sports scouts earn a median annual salary of $58,958. 

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Discover and sign new talent

  • Conduct research on players

  • Recording athletes' performances for reference

  • Interview coaches and fellow athletes,

Industries Employing Sports Scout

  • Schools

  • Universities

  • Government

Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainers treat and help prevent sports-related injuries, which may occur during training sessions, games, and other physical activities.

They're usually the primary medical professionals to help when a sports injury occurs.

Average Salary

Athletics trainers earn a median annual salary of $44,766. 

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Attend sports games and practices

  • Conduct emergency care

  • Administer medication

  • Educate athletes on injuries and prevention,

  • Facilitate rehabilitation,

Industries Employing Athletic Trainers

  • Sports team's

  • Universities

  • Schools

  • Government

Sports Brand Manager

Sports brand managers are the sports marketing experts responsible for merchandising and branding for sports teams.

These sports management professionals strategize how a sporting team's brand should be represented and promoted whether directly or through partners.

In addition, they serve as brand ambassadors between athletes and the brands that employ them to advertise their products.

Part of the duties of these sports management professionals is ensuring that the companies they work with are not in direct competition with the team's corporate sponsors.

Average Salary

Sports marketing directors earn a median salary of $72,999.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Guide marketing efforts by managing all communication

  • Merchandise and brand for professional sports leagues

  • Responsible for the overall image of a sport team

  • Plan promotional campaigns

Industries Employing Sports Brand Manager

  • Schools

  • Universities

  • Government

  • Educational services

Sports Physiotherapist

Sports physiotherapists diagnose and treat sports injuries and guide athletes to avoid similar injuries in the future.

They work with top-level professional sports people and people who play sports recreationally.

Average Salary

Sports physiotherapists earn a median annual salary of $78,614. 

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Examine and diagnose injuries.

  • Identify the cause of an injury.

  • Devise an individual treatment plan.

  • Agree on realistic timescales for the sportsperson to return to their sport.

  • Keep accurate records of their treatment and progress.

  • Discuss the sportsperson's intentions for the future

Industries Employing Sports Physiotherapists

  • Recreational centers

  • Universities

  • Government

How to Boost your Sports Management Career

There are several ways to boost your career after acquiring a degree.

You can take professional certification courses to advance your career, making yourself more attractive to hiring organizations.

Other ways to boost your career include:

  • Learning from a mentor

  • Joining a professional organizations

  • Attending conferences and webinars

  • Internships

  • Networking

A combination of these can give you an edge in sports management.

Pros and Cons of Sports Management Careers

With a degree in sports management, you can land high job demands. Here are a few pros and cons of a successful career in sports management


  • Flexibility

  • Scalable

  • Stable

  • Exposure and experience


  • Crowded space

  • Stress

  • Time commitment

  • Demanding

  • Erratic

Skills You'll Develop While Studying Sports Management

Here are specific skills you will need to be proficient in, regardless of your role.

Communication Skills

Careers in sports management depend on practical and well-developed communication skills.

People throughout the organization in this field have major demands on their time and must balance many prerogatives, and strong communicators make everyone's jobs easier.

Time management skills

A lot happens on a given day within a sports organization.

Management specialists often must complete more in a day than is feasible, and to be successful, you have to manage your time effectively.

People Management Skills

Working in sports management involves dealing with different professionals across specializations depending on your specific sports sector.

One of the major tasks involves helping your sports client to prioritize the demands on their time to focus on what matters most in their career.

You must exercise your people skills to ensure that everyone stays on schedule, delivers on the tasks assigned to them, and stays on track with meeting common goals.

Flexibility Skills

You need to establish that you can do different tasks at a moment's notice and take on roles you commonly wouldn't.

When you work in sports management, you are often tasked with doing many things that are not in the job description.

Just like teams need every player to be all in, the management teams need you to do the same.


Many sports management careers require professionals to make subtle ethical and moral decisions.

A principled ethical framework can help you develop a favorable reputation, especially if you seek to become a sports agent or work in organizational management.

How to Prepare for a Sports Management Career

1. Write your goals down and explore options

Start by having a detailed vision of your ideal sports career. Next, research about the different opportunities you can access.

Then consider your passions, skills, and abilities.

2. Certifications

Obtaining a degree or certificate in sports management is important in your career journey.

They will help you develop the skills to be competitive in your sports career.

3. Internships and networking

In a field like sports management, networking is one of the most impactful ways you can boost your career.

Strive to expand your network of personal and professional connections at every opportunity.

Also, through networking, you can get an internship placement to develop your skills and gain work experience, which will be useful to you in your future career.

4. Join a professional organization

Joining a professional organization can open many doors for students looking to expand their networks.

Sports Management Resources to Help Your Career

Professional organizations offer valuable networking opportunities to members through conferences and sports industry events.

Many such organizations offer low-cost or free memberships to students.

Below are some of these organizations and other resources

Professional organizations:

Open Access Journals:


Online Industry Magazines:

Books :

How to Switch to a Sports Management Career

The steps you need to take to become a sports management professional depend on your current educational background and experience.

If your current certifications qualify you for your target sports-related job, networking and a readiness to start from the bottom may be all you need for a successful transition.

Contrarily, you should consider obtaining a sports-focused certificate or degree to qualify for entry-level professional opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Sports Management?

Sports management refers to managing several business functions in sports and recreation organizations.

Depending on the specific job title, sports management professionals can plan, organize or budget within a sports-related organization.

What certification do I need for a Sports Management career?

Sports management is an eclectic field, and different certifications will help graduates establish a solid career.

Below are a few of them:

Can I get a Sports Management degree online?

You can earn a sports management degree online from a highly recognized and authorized sports management program that you can complete at your pace.

What fields can Sports Management professionals work in?

Anyone with a degree in sports management can work in any sport-related industry, depending on their education level, skill sets, and experience.

Lucrative opportunities include :

  • Athletic Coach.

  • Athlete Development Specialist.

  • Athletic Director.

  • Business Development Coordinator.

  • Contract Administrator.

  • Contract Analyst.

  • Corporate Partnerships Manager.

  • Director of Operations, etc.

Is there a high demand for Sports Management majors?

Sports management careers can be found in high school, college, and professional sports, which have the potential to always be prominent events for the public.

Final Thoughts

Obtaining a sports management degree can prepare you for various positions in the athletics industry.

Depending on your interests, you can work in any space you choose. From business operations to event planning, the options are abundant.

Whatever your option, this guide will provide you with the necessary information you need to break into the field of sports management.

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