Sports Management Education and Career Guide

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Sports Management Salary and Job Outlook

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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.

In this Article

How Does Sports Management Compare Across Careers?

Sports management is an umbrella term that covers a variety of careers in the sports world. Some roles, such as sports data analyst, are administrative while others roles, such as agent, work with athletes more directly.

Administrative Sports Management Roles

Career Median Annual Salary
Public Relations Specialists $67,440
Marketing Managers $140,040
Computer Systems Analysts $102,240
Facilities Managers $99,030
Athletic Trainers $53,840

Athlete-Facing Sports Management Roles

Career Median Annual Salary
Coaches and Scouts $44,890
Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes $82,530

Is There Demand for this Career?

A 2022 survey indicates that 74% of Americans consider themselves sports fans, and 28% of Americans would call themselves avid fans. That popularity creates a demand for sports management professionals who can keep everything in the sports world running smoothly. It's demand that's expected to continue for years to come.

"The great thing about the sports industry is it is always evolving, and as a form of entertainment, sports professionals are always being asked to draw in a crowd in new and innovative ways," says Maggie Vlasaty, a social media engagement specialist at Uncommon Sports Group.

Job Growth

Job growth is strong in many sports management roles. In fact, many of these positions are predicted to grow much faster than the national career growth average. With so many new roles, it's likely that salaries will rise as companies try to attract skilled and talented professionals to job openings. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts significant growth in these sports management career fields by 2031:

Coaches and scouts9.2%
Public relations specialists6.1%
Sports marketing managers6.6%
Facilities managers4.6%

How Can I Advance in my Sports Management Career?

There are a few ways to propel your career and your salary forward in the sports management field. Like most fields, accomplishments such as the education you earn, the certification you pursue, and your years of experience can all make a big difference in your take-home pay. When it comes to sports management, location and networking can also play a large role.

Consider certification. The two most popular optional 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.

Advance your degree. The world of sports management is competitive and a bachelor's, master's or even doctoral degree can help you stand out and move up in your career. For instance, going after your Masters of Business Administration (MBA) or your Master of Science in Sports Management can be a smart career step that may translate to a higher paycheck. If you already have a graduate-level degree, a doctoral degree might be your next move.

Get experience. Getting some experience in the field can help you move up into higher-paying positions. You might be able to go after a promotion and earn a larger paycheck after a few years. You could move from a role such as a public relations specialist into a role such as sports market manager and potentially more than double your salary.

Getting some experience in the field can help you move up into higher-paying positions.

Network. Making connections can help you build your career and potentially boost your salary. It's a good idea to stay on top of the latest trends and stay in touch with your peers. Networking can position you to be the first-choice candidate for a promotion or new role. Plus, it's a great way to keep up with the job market and make sure you're earning a paycheck that matches your experience, education, and job title.

"Coming to a salary negotiation discussion educated on your job market and knowing what your peers are making in similar roles is crucial,'' says Vlasaty.

Consider a new city. 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.

stephanie behring

Written and reported by:

Stephanie Behring

Contributing Writer

maggie vlasaty

With professional insights from:

Maggie Vlasaty

Social Media Engagement Specialist, Uncommon Sports Group

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