How Can I Become a Sports Manager?

Explore the career requirements for sports managers. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, average salary and employment outlook to determine if this is the right field for you. Schools offering Education - Sports Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Sports Manager Do?

A sports manager, sometimes called an agent, handles business dealings and promotional functions for professional athletes and sports teams. This can include negotiating contracts, organizing travel and advertising athletic events. When working for individual clients, they may contact potential sponsors to try to get endorsement deals. When working for college teams, they may coordinate with the university administration to schedule facility use and discuss budget allocation.

Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree (common, though not always required)
Key Responsibilities Work with clients to develop career plans
Negotiate with third parties relevant to client
Oversee client's business and financial matters
Enforce contract terms
Training Required Work-related experience
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 10% (for all agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes)*
Median Salary (2018) $66,040 (for all agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Is a Sports Manager?

Sports managers generally run the business-related aspects of an athletic team, which can range from facilitating trades to speaking as a representative during press meetings. As a sports manager, you may design athletic programs, plan fundraising events, handle risk and liability issues and engage in sports tourism. You may find work with youth, amateur, college or professional sports teams. Obtaining this position generally requires working your way up the ranks and can include studying related fields.

How Can I Prepare for This Career?

The Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) has a specialized accreditation process for undergraduate and graduate programs. In addition to performing program evaluations, COSMA also assists schools in their efforts to further enhance program professionalism.

You can find undergraduate and graduate degree programs that offer training for becoming a sports manager. For example, a program like a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management covers relevant topics that include finance, law, licensing, marketing and facilities management. You may also have the opportunity to gain work experience through an internship with an amateur athletic association, a community sports program or a professional sports organization during your studies.

If you've completed a bachelor's degree program in another field, you might be interested in a graduate certificate program in sports business. These programs are also designed to prepare you for the global sports industry and emphasize recent developments in the field. While course offerings may vary, you could expect to take courses in economics, law, revenue strategies and other related areas.

Master's degree programs in sports management or dual studies in sports management and business administration are available. You may also be interested in a similar course of study that leads to a master's degree in sports business, which emphasizes the complex legal and proprietary aspects of the field, such as branding, contract negotiations, corporate sponsorship, digital media, financial analysis, gender issues, government regulations, salary caps and television rights.

What Other Training Options Are Available?

According to The Princeton Review, you can gain experience by working as an assistant to a team's coach or manager. This can help you learn how a team runs and develop the necessary interest in sports.

You may consider joining a professional organization, such as the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) or the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO). These organizations can offer you additional training in the field through seminars and continuing education courses. Although not required to find a sports manager position, professional credentials are available from organizations such as the United States Sports Academy.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

You might also be interested in a job as an agent for a musician. As a music manager, you would negotiate recording contracts, organize performances, protect the artist's intellectual property rights and embrace innovative ways to monetize the artist's music, such as offering tracks through paid streaming services. Most music managers have a bachelor's degree. Alternatively, if you are looking for a sports-related career, you could also consider becoming a scout. In this job, you would recruit talented athletes for a college or professional sports team. The minimum educational requirement is usually a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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