Sports Management Salary and Job Outlook

Sports management can be lucrative once you’ve earned your degree. Here are some salary ranges.

hero-sports-management-salary-and-job-outlookSports management careers can pay very well, depending upon which aspect of the field you decide to enter.

An entry level sports management salary may be low-to-average but there is tremendous room for advancement. For example, if you choose to become a sports agent, you might find yourself looking at a lucrative bonus plan on top of your regular pay.

Median Annual Salary

According to the 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median national annual salary for an agent or business manager of artists, performers and athletes is $64,200. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

What is my earning potential?

The BLS reports that the top 25 percent of those who acted as agents or business managers for athletes earned more than $120,290.

How do sports management salaries compare?

Take a look at some salary figures for top sports management careers:

Sports Management Career Median Annual Salary*
Coaches and Scouts $30,640
Sports Agent $64,200
Sports Marketing Manager $127,130

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition; Coaches and Scouts; Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers and Athletes; Marketing Managers

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Is there demand for this career?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job growth in sports management will grow faster than average for some areas of the field through 2024 because of expansion due to multi-billion dollar profits from the sports industry. Competition for these jobs is high, however.

What is the job growth for the field?

Take a look at the job growth projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics through 2024:

  • Coaches and Scouts—6 percent, a little slower than average
  • Sports Agent/Manager—9 percent, a little faster than average
  • Sports Marketing Manager—5 percent, slower than average

How much competition will I face for a job?

A lot! Because of the ratio of sports management jobs to applicants, competition will be fierce for employment within the industry. You’ll find yourself in the ring with business majors, communications majors and law students all vying for the chance to have a “sporting life.” Here are a few tips to help you navigate your way past the competition:

  • Be resourceful: Sports management requires a shrewd, pragmatic disposition, good decision-making skills and the ability to adapt quickly to changing conditions.
  • Location, location: There are areas of the country that are geographically closer to major sports markets or have greater concentrations of teams. You might find internships, summer jobs or part-time positions with a professional or college team while going to school.
  • Pick your academic department wisely: Is your program in the business school or in the physical education department? This will affect the type of education you’ll receive by determining whether you’re focusing on the physical aspect of sports, or the business side of the industry.
  • Learn to network: The old adage “it’s who you know, not what you know,” rings at least partially true in sports business. Jobs in the industry are rare, so learn to speak up for yourself.
  • Use the Internet: Sites like the National Collegiate Athletic Association (ncaa.org) offer one-year paid internships for college graduates and provide invaluable on-the-job learning experience.
  • Choose a school with an eye on your future: An accredited, sports-focused school, such as one of the Pac-12 Conference schools, could provide job leads or have a sports placement service to help you get your foot in the door.

Students who have earned a degree in sports management may find themselves employed in one of the following environments:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Major or minor league teams
  • Sports facilities
  • Talent agencies
  • Public relations and marketing firms
  • Sports broadcasting firms

How can I advance in my sports management career?

Get certified! The two most popular certifications available in sports management are the sports management certificate offered to those students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree, and the graduate certificate in sports management, which allows already practicing sports managers a way to enhance their skills and professional credentials.

A certificate is worthwhile because it teaches a certain set of skills and allows established professionals a means to stay current on physical and psychological theory or new business developments within the sports industry.

To learn more about the education required of sports management professionals, research your options by reading about degree programs.

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