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How to Get a Career in Sport Management

April 04
Two men looking at a tablet and discussing sport management

If you're passionate about sports and want to make the athletic world your career, the great news is that nearly 80,000 jobs in the sport and entertainment industries are expected to be added in the United States from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1 As someone who loves sports, it's probably no surprise to you that the industry is highly competitive. If you're looking for advantages that can help you break into the sport industry, a solid education, training and networking can all help.

Sport management is a fulfilling career for professionals in a wide variety of organizations. From professional leagues to nonprofit sport associations, from global competitions to community athletics organizations, there are many opportunities for those wondering how to get into the sport business. Read on for some tips on how to break into sport management and achieve a career you love.

First, Study Up

In general, the more education someone has, the less likely they are to be unemployed. The BLS reports that unemployment is 5.2 percent for those with only a high school diploma, compared to 2.4 percent for those with a master's degree.2 Earning potential also increases as graduates rise through the ranks from high school diploma through professional degree.

Besides being able to list a relevant degree on your resume as you're applying for sport management jobs, education provides other advantages too:

  • Learn the best strategies and insights from professors with real-world experience. Studying for a sport management degree gives you one-on-one access to top experts in sport management: your professors. You can ask questions, get advice and gain networking opportunities by forming relationships with those you're learning from.
  • Connect with students who will turn into your professional peers. Growing your network through study helps expand your ability to get a job in sport management. One study found that up to 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking.3 Building your network in school can give you an advantage over your less-connected competition.
  • Practice sport management techniques. Students can apply what they learn in a sport management program in group work projects or in their day-to-day work, depending on their jobs. Getting tangible experience demonstrates to employers that you're ready for a real-world challenge.

In a competitive job environment, getting a master's degree in sport management stands out to employers. This level of degree also allows those who graduated with a bachelor's degree in a different field, as well as those who are currently working in a non-sports-related industry, to learn the essential skills they need to succeed.

Get Hands-On Experience

Getting your foot in the door at a sport organization can be a great way to get the job you really want. Because the sport industry is tightly knit, an internship, apprenticeship or entry-level position at the organization you want to work with while you're studying can help you move up to a better career after graduation.

Besides tapping into professors and classmates for opportunities, attending professional sport conferences can also give students the opportunity to network. Students can look for events in the area where they'd like to work, or they can check out a national event like the National Sports Forum4 or conferences hosted by Sports Management Worldwide.5

Join Professional Organizations

Another way to network with current professionals in the industry is to join a professional organization. The North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) is the leading sport management organization dedicated to research and development within this dynamic field. Members gain access to issues of the Journal of Sport Management and the Sport Management Education Journal, featuring articles by top sport management scholars.

Social networking sites, especially those focused on careers, are other places where those wondering how to get into sport management can connect with current sport professionals. There, you can join groups related to your particular area of interest and connect with new contacts.

Check Out Sports-Related Job Boards

In addition to making great connections and looking on general job sites for sports-related jobs, there are many sport-specific job boards to find positions on. These include:

Someone standing in soccer cleats near two soccer balls

  • Jobs in Sports6
  • SportsCareerFinder7
  • Sports Careers Institute8
  • Sports Networker9
  • TeamWork Online10
  • Work in Sports11

Keep these bookmarked, and check back regularly so you can be among the first to apply for the positions that look best to you. You can also do job searches on social networking sites like LinkedIn to see if your current contacts work for any of the organizations where there are open positions, and then ask them for introductions.

Does Working in Sport Management Sound Great to You?

If a career working in sports sounds appealing to you, getting a Master’s in Sport Management* degree from the University of Kansas can propel your journey. The degree program is part of the Department of Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences, whose first chair was Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball. Steeped in rich history, this program uses guidelines aligned with the NASSM to shape its curriculum.

*This program is a Master of Science in Education (M.S.E.) degree in health, sport management, and exercise science with an emphasis in sport management

  1. Retrieved on March 7, 2018, from www.bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/home.htm
  2. Retrieved on March 7, 2018, from www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
  3. Retrieved on March 7, 2018, from linkedin.com/pulse/new-survey-reveals-85-all-jobs-filled-via-networking-lou-adler/
  4. Retrieved on March 7, 2018, from sports-forum.com/about-us/
  5. Retrieved on March 7, 2018, from sportsmanagementworldwide.com/conferences
  6. Retrieved on March 7, 2018, from jobsinsports.com/
  7. Retrieved on March 7, 2018, from sportscareerfinder.com/
  8. Retrieved on March 7, 2018, from sportscareersinstitute.com/sports-jobs-sites/
  9. Retrieved on March 7, 2018, from sportsnetworker.com/
  10. Retrieved on March 7, 2018, from teamworkonline.com/
  11. Retrieved on March 7, 2018, from workinsports.com