Sports Management Programs
With the sports industry generating hundreds of billions of dollars a year, many of the country’s top professionals participate in those ventures. The competition for positions is high. As a result, sports management degrees have become increasingly important. They help those with these high aspirations get a foot in the door to this competitive field. Completing a program sport management provides the training and information necessary to succeed once in this field on a full-time basis.
The most prominent people in sports other than the players themselves are the head coaches and managers who lead them. Although sports management programs do not delve into the specifics of coaching athletes, they do provide a great deal of other sports-related information that coaches and managers can then use to improve their programs away from the practice fields and gyms.
The business aspect of sports is the focus of many taking part in sports management programs. Often, a student will move on from there to serve in marketing roles at universities and professional sports teams. Some will ultimately become collegiate athletic directors and general managers. Some sports management programs offer an MBA for those particularly interested in the business side of the sports industry.
Public and media relations are another possible focus. Every collegiate athletics department has at least one sports information director handling the arranging of interviews and dissemination of official statistics and information for their teams. The largest athletics departments will have a considerable number of people in these roles, some only handling it for one or two teams. These individuals are important as organizations need to ensure that they’re put out there in the best light possible and that the news coverage that they receive is as complimentary as possible. This is particularly true for teams that receive national media coverage.
The planning of sports events is another area that is discussed in a sports management program. This includes ensuring that athletic fields and gyms are of high quality, accurate official statistics are being recorded, marketing efforts are being taken advantage of, and all of the medical needs for all athletes taking part, including those with visiting teams, are taken care of. So much goes into the organization and running of sports events. Those with sport management degrees can ensure that this is done well.
Some of the other areas that sports management programs often touch upon are accounting, psychology, ethics, and law.
Regardless of the focus that’s taken, sports management degrees result in students strengthening their analytical thinking, business savvy, and communication skills. All of those skills are necessary whether students ultimately work as, for example, a coach, a media relations representative, or a sports marketing specialist.
Sports management associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs are offered, depending on the institution. In many cases, a bachelor’s degree will be required with a master’s degree strongly preferred by those hiring full-time employees in the sports industry. Note that some universities offer online programs, which are expected to increase in the coming years.
It’s essential to take advantage of internships (even unpaid ones). This is a near-must for anybody looking to secure full-time work in athletics. These include part-time hours and, in many cases, lead to a full-time job. One typical related example of the latter occurs when students take advantage of graduate assistantships in sports management. Fortunately, schools usually play a pivotal part in ensuring that their students receive the internship opportunities necessary.
Conversely, undergrad students earn valuable experience by engaging in work-study opportunities with their own school’s athletics department. For example, many will help their school’s sports marketing office at sports events and ticket sales as they earn their bachelor’s degree in sports management. Others may help their sports information office compile stats and write press releases for their sports teams while taking sports management classes.
Regardless of the specific focus that a student may have when starting a sports management degree, they can rest assured that they’ll be well educated and trained for future opportunities afterward. Don’t feel that a specific focus must be had before starting unless told otherwise. Take in all of the information while working on narrowing that focus.