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Top 4 Sports Management Careers

sports management careers

Ready to channel your love of sports into a business career? 

With the sports market projected to grow from $71.1 billion in 2018 to $83.1 billion in 2023, sports management careers are a safe bet. Let’s take a look at the top five in hot demand. Learn more about what they do, how much they earn, and how you can get started!

1. Athletic Director

An Athletic Director manages sports programs and departments at a university, college, high school, or middle school. Although duties can vary depending on the size of the institution, its division, and the types of sports programs, athletic directors are typically responsible for hiring and managing staff, creating budgets, promoting the athletics program, speaking to the media, ensuring compliance with athletic regulations, and most importantly, ensuring student-athlete health and wellbeing.

To become an athletic director, a bachelor’s degree in sports management is your first step. If you aspire to Division I or II athletic programs, you’ll likely need to pursue your master’s degree in sports management as well, unless you’ve worked your way up the ladder internally. St. Thomas University offers both an MA and an MBA in sports administration with ample opportunities for internships and networking.

In terms of job outlook, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes athletic directors under the category Postsecondary Education Administrators. They forecast seven percent growth for these roles through 2028, faster than average for all occupations. Athletic director salaries vary widely based on the size of the institution and years of experience, but PayScale reports that the average salary is $60,018, with the top 10% making around $100,000. 

2. Sports Marketer

As a sports marketing professional, your goal is to increase ticket sales and corporate sponsorships. To ensure an appealing and competitive brand, sports marketers are responsible for market research, advertising, promotions, digital/social media, community events, and other activities that engage fans and show potential sponsors their dollars will have a great return on investment.

You’ll need higher education in marketing and business to qualify for a position in sports marketing. A bachelor’s degree plus hands-on experience through an internship is the best way to get in the door. The Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Sports Administration from St. Thomas University can give you the business foundation you need. Plus, we can connect you to internship opportunities at prominent sports organizations throughout South Florida.

Job opportunities for marketing managers are expected to grow by eight percent by 2028 – faster than the national average. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), advertising, promotions and marketing managers earned a median salary of $132,620 in 2018.

sports management careers

A sports marketing professional creates an engaging brand experience through ads, promotions, and social media to generate fan enthusiasm and sponsorship interest.

3. Sports Agent

A professional sports agent handles the business and legal deals for professional athletes, facilitates meetings with prospective teams, negotiates contracts, secures endorsement deals, and helps athletes manage their money. Most agents work for international agencies with offices in major cities. Without significant sports connections, it’s difficult to work independently.

To represent the professional athletes of today, sports agents need a variety of business skills. You’ll need to understand your clients’ needs from a financial, legal, and tax perspective. While an MBA is ideal to break into this field, St. Thomas University also offers the JD/MS or JD/MBA dual degree program in Sports Administration. This gives students a first-rate legal education through the STU School of Law while taking specialized sports administration classes towards a master’s degree. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects strong growth for sports agents – seven to ten percent through 2028, which is faster than other occupations. Although they report an annual average salary of $66,040, your salary will depend on the athletes you’re representing. At the top 10%, salaries are as high as $187,600.

4. Sports Data Analyst

Statistics are integral to the sports experience. Commentators fight over the latest figures with their listeners,  recruiters evaluate the potential of upcoming athletes, fans obsess over their fantasy team, and coaches make game-time decisions. As a sports data analyst, you can serve up the latest and greatest numbers. You’ll collect, analyze, and share athlete and team data for both internal and media use.

To enter this field, you’ll need a master’s degree in mathematics or statistics. However, if you’re just starting out, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in sports administration is a smart first move if you’re planning to practice your analyst skills in a sports environment. 

According to, “the need for sports analysts is exploding.” Both collegiate and professional teams are developing and expanding their in-house analytics staff. In addition, there are growing opportunities in fantasy teams, sports betting, and media organizations.

While the BLS doesn’t track this career specifically, we can look to similar roles to get an idea of the salary. On average, statisticians made $88,190 in 2018 with growth projections of 30 percent, while data analysts made $83,390 with growth projections of 26 percent. Both of these careers are clearly well-positioned for rapid growth in the next decade.

sports management careers

Can you imagine a sports broadcast without statistics? Data analytics has become even more important in the sports industry, with new predictive applications and the growth of fantasy and sports betting.

Hopefully, this list of careers in sports management has reinforced your interest in the field. Can you see yourself in one of these roles?

As the first sports administration program in the nation and with a network of over 1500 alumni working in every aspect of the sports industry, St. Thomas University is the perfect place for future sports management leaders. Want a piece of the action? Contact our admissions team to learn more about sports management careers.

Michelle Tulande

Author Michelle Tulande

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