APU Careers Careers & Learning

Sports Management Professionals Part of Growing Industry

Combine Your Love for Sports with Your Talent for Business

The sports business industry is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the United States, according to a leading sports business journal. Its annual survey shows its size to be about $213 billion. That’s more than twice the size of the U.S. auto industry and seven times the size of the movie industry.

The industry is expected to continue growing.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics says demand – and salaries – for sports managers should increase as well.

“Sports has not felt the recession like other segments, but it still faces challenges,” says Brian Freeland, sports and health sciences academic program manager for American Public University System (APUS). APUS is a distance learning institution that offers more than 70 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs. It serves more than 40,000 students worldwide.

“The sports industry needs professionals who can address the changing economy – and the changing lifestyles and interests of its audience. It needs new, creative approaches to marketing, finance and more.”

Gaining the Skills to Succeed
Freeland says those who love sports and have strong business or management skills have many opportunities in the sports management field, including business operations, sales and marketing, interscholastic and intercollegiate athletic administration, fundraising, public relations and more.

“Sports management positions are becoming more specialized, and more complex,” says Freeland. “You need to have the right academic credentials and on-the-job experience to earn the best paying positions.”

For example, the bachelor’s program in sports and health sciences at APUS prepares students in sports and fitness, psychology, legal and regulatory issues, management principles and human behavior. The master’s program in sports management covers social contexts of sport in historical and modern society, fundamentals of the sports industry, and specific focuses in sports law, marketing, promotion, public relations, finance, and economics.

“Look for ways to put that academic knowledge into practice, while earning your degree,” says Freeland. “Consider volunteering for your city’s sports council, serve on a parks board, or become involved in promotion efforts for a local sports team.”

Top 10 Sports Management Jobs
Freeland offers this list of Top 10 Sports Management Jobs – and responsibilities — to help students hone in on their career goals:

  1. Athletic administration and general management
    Oversee all aspects of athletic programs. Work with coaches and other professionals to provide a safe, competitive experience for athletes and an enjoyable event for fans.
  2. Sports and entertainment marketing
    Develop advertising and marketing to increase revenue for clients, such as professional sports teams, hotel and resort properties, golf courses, restaurants and entertainment venues. Typical job duties include sales, advertising, public relations, client relations, account management and customer service.
  3. Event management
    Respond to tenant needs, coordinate schedules of events, and assist with event preparations.
  4. Marketing and promotions
    Develop and implement marketing and promotion plans to maximize ticket revenue and attendance. Coordinate all marketing and promotional game-day activities.
  5. Communications
    Oversee public relations efforts, including sports information initiatives. Responsibilities include issuing news and developing media guides, communicating with the media, developing game programs and compiling statistical data.
  6. Fundraising
    Organize various athletic fundraising activities and promote specific donor organizations. Solicit donors and sponsors for athletic programs and scholarships.
  7. Compliance Officer
    Ensure that athletic programs follow all NCAA rules and regulations. Duties include monitoring recruiting procedures, student-athlete eligibility, and student-athlete academic development.
  8. Facility management
    Responsibilities include scheduling, personnel supervision, budget development and administration, and supervision of maintenance and support services. Facility rental means additional responsibilities, including contract negotiations, special staffing, traffic and security management, and insurance coverage.
  9. Sports and recreation director
    Manage and supervise a community or organization program, including promotions, marketing, communication, and regulation of sporting events or recreational activities.
  10. Finance and accounting
    Responsibilities include management of all financial aspects of the organization or facility, including financial reporting and budgeting.

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