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How can I become a sports manager? Your guide to a career in sports management

Are you dreaming of becoming a sports manager? If you’re business-minded and think of sports as more than just a hobby, sports management may be the perfect career for you.

But how do you become a sports manager? What jobs can you get and what skills do you need?

In this blog post, we’ll answer the most common questions about becoming a sports manager. And, we’ll give you an intro to our Masters in Sports Management programme kicking off in autumn 2020.

Is sports management a good career?

What makes a good career is very personal and depends on each individual’s priorities. But there are many reasons to consider a career in sports management.

First of all, sports management covers a wide range of different fields and career opportunities, from marketing to event management and sports finance. Everyone can find a niche where they can make good use of their particular background and skills.

Secondly, it allows you to turn your passion into your career. If you’re an avid football fan or enjoy playing basketball as a hobby, becoming a sports manager will let you spend more time doing what you love. And you’ll never have to work a day in your life!

As a sports manager, you’ll be surrounded by amazing athletes who have dedicated their entire lives to sports. You’ll work with lots of different people in a highly stimulating environment. And, you can contribute to the growth and development of your favourite sport, which makes the sports management career highly rewarding.
What jobs can you get with sports management?
A sports management degree can open doors to many different jobs. Breaking into the sports management field is not as hard as you might think. Internships make up an integral part of the industry, and they serve as perfect stepping stones for young professionals.

Here are a few examples of career paths to consider for sports managers:

  • Sports Agent: Manage the career of an individual athlete
  • Sports Marketing Manager: Handle the marketing of a professional sports organisation
  • Social Media Specialist: Run an athlete’s or sports organisation’s social media accounts
  • Event Coordinator: Help sports organisations promote, execute and broadcast events – online and offline
  • Facility Manager: Work with sports venues and organise events
  • Financial Analyst: Evaluate, interpret and report on financial data
  • Business Development Manager: Pursue potential business opportunities and maintain business relationships
  • Public Relations Manager: Create and maintain a media image for an athlete or sports club

Which career branch you choose will depend on your interests and skills. A sports management degree – like the one ESEI Barcelona offers – will prepare you for employment in each of these fields.

What jobs are the highest-paid in sports management?

While compensation should not be the number one factor when it comes to deciding on a career path, it’s good to know how high you can shoot.

For example, Sports Marketing Managers are highly-paid professionals in most countries. Social media has become an indispensable marketing tool for all athletes, clubs and leagues. The specialists who have an expert understanding of these platforms are well-paid and in high demand.

Athletic Directors who oversee the work of coaches at high schools and colleges also have high salaries, especially in the US where college sports is a huge industry.

In general, high-responsibility positions at well-known sports clubs pay well, as does working with high-profile athletes. However, when you’re just getting started, you’ll want to gain some experience at smaller clubs and local organisations.
What skills do you need to become a sports manager?
Companies hiring for sports management positions will expect you to have an essential set of skills.

These skills can include:

Organisational skill

  • Time management skills
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • A robust understanding of business and legal contracts
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity

The rest will depend on the career path you choose and the role you apply for.

Which schools have the best sports management programmes?

The first step to becoming a sports manager is completing a Masters degree in Sports Management at a well-known university or business school.

It’s fundamentally important to choose an educational institution that has access to the best sports professionals in the industry. That way, you’ll benefit from their experience and insights. Plus, you need to build a network of connections to help you kickstart your career.

So make sure to choose a school that can provide you with access to accomplished sports professionals, and, ideally, is located in an active sports hub. This way, you’ll have an instant connection to local facilities, sports clubs, media outlets and experts.

At ESEI, our goal with our Masters in Sports Management is to connect our students to the beating heart of the European sports scene. By studying with us, you’ll have access to some of the biggest names in the industry and live in a city that lives and breathes sports: Barcelona.

To find out more about what a sports course at ESEI looks like, read our interview with sports producer and sports media professor Aarthi Rajaraman!

Is a degree in sports management worth it?

All in all, a sports management degree is worth the hours of studying because it opens doors that could otherwise remain closed to you. It gives you an opportunity to work with experts in the field, network with your peers and make valuable connections in the industry.

If you’re serious about pursuing a career in sports management, we recommend that you do your research. Learn as much as you can about graduate schools and the Master’s degrees they offer.

To help you get started, here’s a list of the 48 best Sports Management programmes in Spain. ESEI’s Masters in Sports Management has been ranked number one!

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