The phrase sports management often brings up images of Jerry Maguire, working in a large, corporate sports management firm that specializes in handling the business affairs of professional athletes. A graduate degree in sports management is the starting point for becoming a sports agent for this niche, but there are many more opportunities throughout a diverse range of organizations and to represent a variety of types of athletes and athletic groups.
Students develop skills in the management of organizations and departments that are related to sports from planning to execution of sports-related business operations. For prospective students who want to turn their love of sports and athletic activity into a career or current professionals in the sports field looking for continuing education, a master’s degree in sports management is the key to open the doors to many rewarding, challenging possibilities.
Master’s in Sports Management Degree Overview
Sports management master’s degree programs have grown in popularity, and there are many options for prospective students to choose from. Most universities offer options for both full-time and part-time programs in either on campus or online.
Most master’s programs in sports management require completion of between 30 and 36 credits. The courses are specific to sports management, making it the best option for pursuing a career in a field that is related to athletics and physical activity in comparison with a general business management master’s degree program.
In some programs, there is also the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of sports management. For example, some colleges and universities offer specific programs in golf management and sports hospitality. Sports media is an increasingly popular concentration as well.
Getting Started in a Graduate Sports Management Program
Numerous universities and colleges throughout the United States offer programs in sports management at the master’s degree level for prospective students to select the program most closely aligned with future career goals.
Prospective students for a master’s degree in sports management will be required to have completed an undergraduate degree in a relevant field with a minimum, in most cases, of a 3.0 grade point average to be admitted into a program.
Some standard requirements include a statement of purpose, resume or curriculum vitae, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and transcripts from undergraduate or previous graduate coursework. For students who are non-native speakers of English, TOEFL results are also typically required.
Course and Degree Requirements
Students in graduate sports management programs take courses in marketing, finance, and management. In addition to course work, the majority of programs also require completion of an internship or master’s project that is customized to each student’s individual goals.
Possible courses in marketing include sports marketing and sales, sports sponsorship, sports media marketing, and sports public relations. In the management area, students will take sports specific courses in leadership and management, facility management, event management, marketing management, ethics, law, and athletics administration. Finance courses include financial accounting and various seminar courses in sports business-related economic issues.
Other courses might include sports business communications, history of sports, diversity in sport, sport governance, global sports management, athletic recruitment, psychology for coaches, advanced coaching methods, and sports culture.
There are opportunities in different types of organizations, and this enables master’s degree graduates to enter into a career with a company most suited for their skills, education, and personal interests. Graduates can consider opportunities in professional, collegiate, and amateur sport organizations, as well as in corporate sports firms and non-profit organizations.
Working as a sports agent for a management firm is one of the most often associated career opportunities to pursue after earning a master’s degree in sports management. Other organizations to look for positions include professional, college, and amateur sports. Arenas and stadiums also offer possibilities for sports managers. Sports management graduates are also prepared to become a part of sports marketing, communication and media, destination sports locations, and corporate firms in the sports or sporting goods industries. Service organizations such as the YMCA, private sports and athletic clubs, golf courses, and community programs are also options for pursuing a career in sports management.
Hundreds of possibilities for career positions are available. Some examples include athletic director, general manager, and executive of school or professional sports teams. Graduates can look for positions as event coordinators or directors, events promotion managers, sales manager, directors of operations, and facilities managers at sporting venues and traveling sports programs. In the marketing field, a master’s in sports management prepares graduate for work in an executive position at a marketing firm, director of business development, corporate sales manager, and director of marketing. In public relations, some titles include director of sports media, community relations specialist, and corporate communications director or manager. Hospitality positions include special events coordinator, customer service manager, travel coordinator, and tournament director.
The sports industry is one of the largest, most lucrative industries in the United States, and the outlook for growth is projected to increase.
According to Glassdoor, for sports camps and other community-based programs, the average salary is between $9 and $12 per hour. In management-based positions, salaries can range anywhere from between $29,000 for retail sporting goods management positions to well over $100,000 for executive and top-tier level management positions at major sporting venues and corporate management firms.