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Sports Management Career


What Is a Sports Manager?


Specifically, sports management as a profession involves the oversight of nearly all aspects of an athletic program. This may include athletic training, providing resources for athlete education, ensuring team and coach compliance, even fostering interest for your team or club in local communities.

A bachelor’s degree is typically required for applicants seeking positions in sports management, though the degree itself doesn’t need to be in an athletics-related field. Many individuals who go on to maintain successful sports management positions studied business, marketing, communications, or even finance at the university level.

As a sports manager, your daily responsibilities can sometimes require a working knowledge of fields like law, accounting, taxation, public relations, and more. Therefore, an equally wide variety of academic degrees can prepare you for the position itself. 


What Does a Sports Manager Do?

On a day-to-day basis, the responsibilities of a sports manager may vary greatly. These job duties include:

  • Spearheading public relations between athletes, coaches, other athletic personnel, and media
  • Accounting for team travel plans
  • Balancing an organization's income against financial obligations
  • Scheduling public events where members of your team will be present and documented
  • Partnering with promotional brands, launching fundraisers, and landing endorsements to further bolster team marketing efforts
  • Instructing team personnel and athletes on methods for correct media interaction
  • Monitoring ticket sales


What Education Does a Sports Manager Need?

Step 1: Get a bachelor’s degree.

Sports managers need at least a bachelor’s degree to compete for jobs. Even though your degree can be in a wide variety of fields, seldom will you land interviews for sports management positions without some evidence of a college degree. A business management bachelor’s degree can be an ideal choice because it allows you to learn multiple areas of business, from finance to marketing, as well as get specific training in management and strategy. A business management degree program will help you obtain the skills and credentials you need to take a step towards becoming a sports manager.

Step 2: Obtain experience.

Knowledge and understanding of sports will be crucial to help you become a sports manager. Taking a more entry-level role working within sports on the business side will help you see the daily work of sports management and be better prepared to step into that role. Most people will need to work their way up to become successful as a sports manager.

Step 3: Earn a master’s degree.

Either an MBA or a master’s in leadership and management will be helpful as you work to take the next step towards a sports management career. These types of degrees will give you more experience in communication, strategy, and leadership techniques. You’ll need to be confident and well-versed in these areas to help you lead an entire sports team and employees. They will look to you for what to do, and having additional skills will ensure you’re ready for the challenge.

Best Degrees for a Sports Manager


Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 61% of graduates finish within 19 months
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term
  • Courses: 40 total courses in this program

Skills for your résumé this program will teach you include: 

  • Business communication
  • Product development
  • Decision making models
  • Project management strategies
  • Budgeting for business

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.


Management and Leadership – M.S.

An online master's degree focused on change management, innovation, and...

An online master's degree focused on change management, innovation, and leading teams:

  • Time: 60% of graduates can finish in 17 months.
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 10 total courses in this program

Skills for your résumé that this program will teach you:

  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Coordinating
  • Communications
  • Performance Management 
  • Planning

Develop a comprehensive suite of leadership skills and your confidence to navigate changing business structures.


Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management,...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term
  • Courses: 11 total courses in this program

Skills for your résumé you will learn in this program include: 

  • Leadership strategies
  • Talent management
  • Communication
  • Data collection and interpretation
  • Financial statements

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.

How Much Does a Sports Manager Make?


A sports manager’s exact salary varies depending on the individual's location, years of experience, and typically the organization itself.

In general, a sports manager's salary can range from roughly $35,000 to $86,000, averaging $56,000 across the industry. Sports managers who pursue further education can often see additional increases in pay as a result. For example, individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree can make up to $24,000 more per year than those without one.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


As long as sports continue to dominate local/international news and interest, the sports management job market will likely be equally as strong. Employment in sports and entertainment occupations is expected to grow by 7% between 2019 and 2029 — a positive curve well above average.

ESPN alone reported over 12 million paying users at the beginning of 2021 for its online streaming service ESPN+, which represents only a small percentage of the total sports viewership volume. As long as these positive growth curves continue, we can expect the popularity and outlook for sports management careers to follow suit.


What Skills Does a Sports Manager Need?

Individuals who fulfill sports management roles will regularly call on a wide skill set. These skills include:

  • Communication: Ability to speak and write effectively and for a purpose
  • Leadership: Ability to lead team members and empower them to foster further change under your direction
  • Business strategy: Ability to draft and execute high-level planning for long-term fiscal and corporate success
  • Financial asset management: Ability to accurately and appropriately manage money-making assets for the benefit of your organization
  • Public relations: Ability to effectively communicate with the public and ensure that all player and staff personnel adopt similar strategies
  • Sales: Ability to trade valuable organizational assets for profit
  • Event coordination: Ability to plan an event sponsored by your team, one that also maintains appropriate standards for excellence
  • Facility management: Ability to perform basic upkeep on a team’s facilities, and foster respect for any other maintained athletics facilities your team visits

Under the direction of a sports manager, you’ll be able to help preserve an organization’s value, while simultaneously helping to guide all involved players and staff toward continued success.

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Interested in Becoming a Sports Manager?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.