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Sports managers, commonly referred to as business managers are responsible for handling the business matters of athletes and sports teams. Sports managers work at both the collegiate and professional levels. A sports manager may be called upon to manage relations with the media and organize promotional events.
It is not uncommon for sports managers to be asked to hire coaches or draft new players, in addition to other members of a team’s athletic staff. Sports managers are also responsible for managing the finances of the individual or organization that they work for.
This list of responsibilities can include preparing financial statements for stakeholders, creating travel accommodations, and making financial arrangements for equipment and uniforms.
The primary job of a sports manager is to make it easier for their client(s) to focus on winning without having to focus their time and energy on the business side of sports. Unlike an agent, a sports manager does not focus on their clients’ contracts.
Instead, their goal is to ensure that each client is receiving the appropriate amount of training, nourishment, and attention so that they are able to compete at their highest level.
What Does a Sports Manager Do?
The specific job function of a sports manager will depend primarily upon their clientele. If he or she is working for a single athlete, then their duties will include keeping the athlete in prime mental and physical health.
These duties can range from hiring a private chef to mediating disputes between the athlete and the team. Sports managers frequently manage their client’s relationships with the media and ensure that they maintain a favorable image.
They must also make sure that their client’s life is well-organized in all aspects. A sports manager is akin to a spokesperson for their client, and this includes making sure that they are in the best possible position to excel at their sport.
On the other hand, a sports manager who works for a team will have an entirely different set of duties. He or she will act as an overseer for the entire organization and ensure that the whole network runs smoothly and efficiently.
The manager must oversee the organization’s inner workings and resolve any conflicts that arise between different departments.
First, he or she may need to act as a go-between for a team’s players and the owner of the franchise. Second, ensure that the marketing team is promoting the ideal image for the sports team. Third, maintain the proper balance of employees so that everything runs smoothly.
What Salary Do Sports Managers Earn?
The 2020 Occupational Outlook Handbook, which is published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the median annual salary for a sports manager in the United States is approximately $64,200.00. However, a sports manager’s actual salary will depend on a number of variables. Such as their field of specialization, years of experience, and their location.
For example, according to the BLS, the top 10% of executive managers in the U.S. earn $208,000 per annum.
What Is the Projected Job Growth for This Field?
First and foremost, it’s important to note that national projections of growth in this field may not accurately reflect short-term or local job growth.
The BLS believes that the demand for sports managers will increase significantly in some arenas through 2024 due to the expansion created by the sports industry’s multi-billion dollar profits. However, competition for these jobs will be exceptionally high.
Here are the BLS’s job growth projections through 2030:
- Scouts and Coaches – 26% (much faster than average)
- Sports Referees – 29% (much faster than average)
- Sports Marketing Managers – 10% (about as fast as average)
What Kinds of Companies Hire Sports Managers?
The demand for professional sports managers is much stronger than one might initially think. An individual who has earned their bachelor’s degree in sports management can more than likely find themselves working for one of the following employers:
- Universities and colleges
- Major or minor league sports teams
- Talent agencies
- Sports facilities
- Marketing and public relations firms
- Sport broadcasting companies
Education You Need to Have
The good news is that, for a person who wishes to enter sports management, there are many different routes that he or she can take.
Many four-year universities and community colleges offer certificate programs or associates’ degrees that are ideal for a person continuing their education or who are preparing for an entry-level career.
An associate’s degree should be thought of as a stepping stone or the foundation of future education and career goals. Associate degree programs in sports management have a broad-based curriculum that includes introductions to many subjects. Examples include fundamentals of coaching, physical education, business ethics and law, and management.
The curriculum also focuses on the business side of sports management, including finance and accounting. Whether or not a student needs to obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree in sports management will depend upon the specific career path they intend to pursue within the sports industry.
A bachelor’s degree will suffice for most jobs in sports finance, sales, public relations, or sports marketing. However, if they intend to pursue an upper-level management job, then a master’s degree will be required.
Ideal majors for those seeking a bachelor’s degree in sports management include:
- Sports management
- Business Administration
Students who intend to seek a master’s degree will generally choose a Master of Science or MBA, including:
- Master of Science in Sports Management
- Masters of Business Administration
- Master of Science in Sports Medicine
3 Skills a Successful Sports Manager Must Have
By definition, a sports manager is a leader. In order to be a successful leader, he or she must have a specific set of skills. Students who are considering entering the world of sports management should begin to cultivate and hone the following skills now.
- People Skills – A sports manager must work with a diverse range of individuals from unique backgrounds in both casual and professional settings. Common examples of the types of groups a sports manager will regularly interact with include medical professionals, the media, coaches, scouts, agents, and athletes. For this reason, it is imperative that a sports manager is capable of moving seamlessly from one group to the next – regardless of the setting.
- Communication Skills – Communication goes two ways. Sports managers must be able to talk with their clients and/or team, but they must also be able to listen to their needs. Each manager must personally decide how permissive or strict they want to be with their players. It is important for a manager to be able to communicate through the written word as well. Successfully negotiating a written contract requires a sharp eye and the ability to understand legal jargon.
- Organizational Skills – Arguably, this is the most important set of skills a sports manager can have. Sports managers juggle multiple clients and teams, they must be able to multi-task. They should plan things in advance, keep a calendar, and maintain records. Because a manager’s time is in high demand, they must be able to make effective use of their time.