The sports industry is booming – Plunkett Research reports that it was worth $519.9 billion in the U.S. alone in 2017. And that prosperity isn’t just benefiting athletes. Every winning team or star player has a whole host of other professionals backing them up, and even minor league, amateur, collegiate and youth sports teams, events and athletes need professional support from fitness directors, coaches, event coordinators, sales reps and others.
The sports industry is going strong, and that’s great news if you’re interested in a career in it. Athletes aren’t the only ones who are drawing paychecks in this industryTweet This
So, there are plenty of jobs in the sports industry, even if you aren’t cut out to be a professional athlete. But how can you start your career in sports management? First, you’ll need the right education. Then, you’ll need to focus on cultivating the right personal and professional traits and skills and working your magic to get your foot in the door at your very first career-track job.
If you want to start a career in sports management, you need to get educated. Many positions in sports management require both knowledge of the sports management field and another skill set, such as marketing, communications, sales or analytics. While you may not need a master’s degree for some positions, it’s a good idea for most, especially if you want to pursue one of the field’s flashier career tracks, such as general manager of a professional sports team.
“Without the right connections or credentials, the high-growth field of sport management can be particularly difficult to break into or advance in, often requiring one long night after another with no promise of promotion. But, as a lifelong pastime of yours, isn’t it worth finding a way to enter and excel in the industry of sports?” – ku.edu
Because so many sports management career tracks require a specific skill set in addition to field-specific skills and knowledge, it’s a good idea to combine a relevant bachelor’s degree with a master’s degree in sports management, like the master’s in sports management from KU. For example, let’s say you want to pursue a career in sports marketing, where your primary responsibilities will involve marketing an athlete’s, team’s or sports company’s brand. You may want to combine a bachelor’s in marketing with a master’s in sports management.
Or, let’s say you’re interested in a career in inside sales. These are great entry-level positions for young people hoping to break into the sports management field. You might consider a bachelor’s in business administration to build your negotiation and business skills, followed by a master’s in sports management. Suppose you’re more interested in sports public relations – you might combine a bachelor’s in communications, English or journalism with a master’s in sports management. You get the idea.
Cultivate the Right Traits and Skills
As with any career field, you’ll do best if you cultivate the right traits and skills before starting your career track. You’ll need strong time management and organization skills for most roles in the field because you might find yourself juggling a lot of responsibility, especially in roles like sports agent, general manager, coach or event coordinator. You’ll also need a strong eye for detail, especially in a high-responsibility role.
No matter what role you ultimately pursue, written and oral communication skills are a must because you’ll spend much of your workday interacting with and influencing others. Whether you’re trying to develop a new player’s talent, trying to sell season tickets to a church group or trying to run damage control with the press when an athlete’s personal scandal goes public, you’ll need to be able to communicate well.
Get Your First Job
When it comes to getting your first job, creativity is essential to get your foot in the door. Hiring managers often only interview candidates who demonstrate creativity in their resumes and application materials because creativity is such an essential trait for most professionals in the field.
But, there’s good news – thanks to recent trends in the industry, there’s no better time to get a job in the sports management field or to nurture career growth if you’re already working in the industry. As you search for a job, remember how small the industry is and be careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings or annoy anyone. Try to find out as much as you can about a position through informal means, such as contacts, colleagues, recruiters and your own research, before deciding whether to pursue it. This way, you don’t leave people feeling strung along and resentful in a way that could come back to haunt you later.
The sports industry is going strong, and that’s great news if you’re interested in a career in it. Athletes aren’t the only ones who are drawing paychecks in this industry; there are plenty of opportunities for everyone, and a degree in sports management can help you take advantage of them.