The career outlook in sports management is expected to be positive in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the addition of over 1 million combined sports and entertainment and management occupations between 2020 and 2030. Workers in both sectors also received higher median annual wages, as compared to all occupations.
Like most undergraduate business programs, the typical online bachelor's degree in sports management takes students four years of full-time study to complete. In this guide, we examine the sports management field more closely and highlight the different educational and professional options available to students.
Sports management comprises all forms and functions of leadership within professional, collegiate, and amateur athletic organizations. The discipline also covers most areas of business, including finance, marketing, sales, and facility management. Professionals in this field may work in the front office in an administrative role, behind the scenes in a research or analytical position, or interact directly with athletes in more of a sports science position.
Sports management programs often provide students with leadership, analytical, and communication skills. Learners can apply their training to many sports- and business-related fields. Aspiring sports managers may be able to choose between different concentration options, and the type of training they choose can have a major impact on their eventual career.
Earning a bachelor's degree in sports management can lead to some very exciting and rewarding careers. The BLS projects the addition of over 900,000 management occupations between 2020 and 2030, which represents significant opportunities for business leaders in various sectors.
A bachelor's degree in sports management typically takes full-time students four years to complete, although accelerated and part-time options also exist. Some schools feature shorter course terms or summer and winter sessions, which can also have an impact on study times. Other factors that can influence the overall program length include a student's transfer credits, prior learning assessments, and internships.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average sports manager salary across all fields and levels as of November 2021 was about $50,670. In contrast, according to the BLS, the median annual wage for all management occupations was nearly $110,000 in May 2020.
The BLS projects 22% growth for sports and entertainment careers and 9% growth for management occupations between 2020 and 2030; both of these growth rates are faster than the average projected growth for all occupations (8%). As sports popularity and management complexities increase, professionals who specialize in the intersection of these fields should benefit.
Students interested in receiving sports management training can find a variety of options, such as on-campus and online programs, accelerated and part-time schedules, and specializations that can alter the focus of the curriculum. For example, learners can follow a general management pathway or choose a concentration that helps them pursue a career in one of the field's many related disciplines, including marketing or analytics.
Depending on their in-program choices, sports management graduates may enjoy professional flexibility as well. Their knowledge of management practices gives them access to many different administrative, analytical, and leadership positions. Graduates also have the option to pursue postgraduate certifications to set themselves apart from the competition or qualify for niche roles.
Although this field is projected to grow in the coming years, many learners aspire to work in professional sports, so positions may be quite competitive. To boost their employment chances, recent graduates can also consider careers in community or amateur sports or sports-adjacent fields.
The admissions process for a sports management program looks very similar to most other programs at this level. According to our undergraduate application guide, these programs usually require high school transcripts, college entrance exam scores, college application essays, and letters of recommendation.
The type of training provided in a bachelor's in sports management program largely depends on the school and the student's individual choices. Still, many programs feature some similar courses, covering topics like business fundamentals, management principles, and sports organization. Sport-specific courses often go over sports policy, governance, and law.
In addition to general business competencies, such as communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills, sports management students may develop skills related to event management and performance evaluation. Prospective students may have the opportunity to earn a BA or BS degree, which could have an impact on the focus of the program.
BA programs, for example, may take a more interdisciplinary approach to management theory, whereas BS pathways often delve into more practical and analytical approaches. The department offering the program can also influence the curriculum. For example, some schools run sports management programs through their business departments, while others have kinesiology departments run them.
As with most professions, a worker's location, industry, specialization, and employer can greatly influence their salary. According to the BLS, professionals in management occupations earned median annual wages of $109,760 in May 2020, but these earnings vary significantly among different professions within the sector.
While most students pursuing a bachelor's degree in sports management aim for a career in the professional sports industry, many other options are also available. Graduates can, for example, pursue careers in collegiate, international, and amateur and community sports. They can also look at positions in related fields, such as media, finance, and health and safety.
Sports management graduates also have the ability to pursue management careers in many other fields. They can apply their business and operational expertise and communication and leadership skills to business positions in most industries. Below are some of the most popular career and continuing education pathways for graduates.
Graduates with a sport management degree are prepared for a career in any sector of the sport industry, including sales of sport and sport related products, event management, facility management, intercollegiate athletics, youth and high school sports, professional sport, and sport marketing.
A bachelor of arts in sport management will prepare you for a career in the sport industry. The sport management degree provides you with a core business degree; however, it also gives you the opportunity to apply the core business theories of economics, marketing, finance, and accounting to the growing world of sport and recreation. Graduates with a sport management degree are prepared for a career in any sector of the sport industry, including sales of sport and sport related products, event management, facility management, intercollegiate athletics, youth and high school sports, professional sport, and sport marketing.
The sport management degree will prepare you through both theoretical and practical learning. You will learn the theories associated with marketing, selling, directing, and financing sport while incorporating the legal and ethical theories necessary to be a successful sport manager. You will also have the opportunity to practically apply the theories that you learn in the classroom through active learning and real-life situational case studies. Finally, you will be required to complete a practicum (internship) in the sport industry, allowing you to gain practical experience and a jump-start on your career.
The sport management faculty at Lindenwood University is made up of degreed educators and business professionals who know their subjects and have the experience to back up that knowledge. Small class sizes and easily accessible faculty ensure that you, as a Lindenwood University student, are afforded the attention and instructional time you deserve.
A bachelor of arts in sport management requires 78-80 credit hours. Topics of study include orientation to sport management, sport marketing and promotion, event management, sport law, plus many more.
When you pursue a BA or BS in business administration, you may earn an emphasis in sport management by completing 12 of your 21 credit hours of elective coursework in marketing. You will take classes in orientation to sport management sport marketing and promotion, event management and sport law.
The skills you acquire as a sport management student at Lindenwood University will benefit you in the business of sport, whether that be event management, facility management, intercollegiate athletics or sport marketing among other areas.
Our graduates work in the front offices of the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS; with professional sports teams like the Detroit Red Wings, New York Mets, and Milwaukee Bucks; within agencies like Creative Artists Agency, Wasserman, and Endeavor; and with industry-leading organizations like ESPN, the NCAA, The New York Times, Nike, and many more.
You are required to accumulate 300 hours of paid or unpaid experience in the sports or entertainment industry throughout your program of study. Experience may be in any aspect of the sports and entertainment industry, subject to the Colangelo College of Business approval. Industry hours can be accumulated through internships, part-time or full time-employment and volunteering.
Sports and entertainment management covers a wide variety of disciplines. With this degree, you can work anywhere from managing facilities for recreational or professional sports to managing social media for a specific sports team or athlete. The combination of a sports focus with all the knowledge of a marketing professional me