Description of a Master of Sports Management Degree:
A sports management degree is the credential necessary to be a high level manager or other administrator in a sporting organization. Sports managers handle everything from a major sports team's finances to the hiring of referees for youth soccer leagues. Students in this field learn to evaluate and improve sport and recreation programs and organizations. These programs will train you to become a qualified athletics leader and will give you the skills to apply innovative solutions to the most challenging problems in the sport management field, including:
- Master of Sports Management Degrees
- MBA in Sports Management Degrees
- Master of Sports Psychology Degrees
- Master of Sports and Athletic Administration Degrees
- Master of Sports Business Degrees
- Master of Coaching Degrees
A Master of Sports Management degree will strengthen your academic portfolio and allow you to start a job in a sports organization higher on the corporate ladder than someone with only a bachelor's degree. Programs offer courses that provide you with important skills and business understanding so you can assume leadership and managerial roles. These programs usually take 18 months to 2 years to complete. Internship requirements often exist and provide a valuable way to gain contacts in the sports management field. When searching for a job, experience and contacts are key, so finding a program with hands-on experience is important. Through that practical experience you’ll polish your leadership skills while helping serve sports officials or athletic directors. You’ll also obtain necessary abilities to succeed in all sports management roles.
Objectives of Master of Sports Management Programs
The sports management profession is gaining in popularity, and top Master of Sports Management programs are offered to you from accredited universities online. The type of classes you'll take will vary depending on what sport you're interested in, and what facet of business, whether accounting, human resources, or something else, you wish to work in. However, the primary objectives of these degree programs are consistent from school to school. Skills that will be taught in any reputable sports management program include:
- The ability to apply the fundamentals of business to sport management
- Applying knowledge of law and labor relations to the sports industry
- Integrating principles of management to organize people and resources to succeed in the sport industry
- Using existing and emerging technologies in the sport management field
- Forecasting new developments and adapting to the rapidly changing sports environment
- Creatively directing the economic contributions that sports offer to individuals, organizations, and the community
- Effectively organizing, evaluating, and utilizing innovations in the sport industry
- Capitalizing on the knowledge and skills learned through the MS program to produce an in-depth research project or thesis, which will serve to advance the field of sport management as a whole
Courses in sports management degrees are divided into categories, such as general education courses, finance courses, management courses, and research courses. Some programs also require an internship, or some kind of practical experience, in addition to class learning. The core courses will focus on key principles of sport management in relation to law, marketing, public relations, economics, media and technology as they relate to the sport industry. The purpose of the internship, project, or research thesis is to utilize the knowledge and skills learned throughout the program. This final internship, project, or thesis will serve to advance you in your study of sports management.
Examples of sports management program core classes include (but are not limited to):
- Sports Industry Management
- Management Principles
- Sport Law
- Risk Management
- Sport Media and Technology
- Sports Ticket Sales and Strategies
- Sports Budgets
- Sports Public Relations
- Leadership in Sports Management
- Labor Relations
- Sports Globalization
- Corporate Sponsorship Sales and Strategies
- Development and Fundraising
- Sport Facilities
- Event Management
- Current Issues in Sport
- Research Design & Techniques
- Labor Relations and Bargaining
Career Opportunities with a Master of Sports Management
Sports management careers are available in all kinds of organizations, from little leagues and community recreation organizations to the NFL and NBA. Although many administrators of nationally recognized sports teams started out as players, there are definitely slots available for well trained sports administrators without prior on-the-field experience.
The different industries you can work in upon graduating include:
- Professional sports
- Collegiate athletics
- Corporate sport marketing, public relations and sponsorship firms
- Recreation, community and leisure industries
- Sport agencies
- Health and fitness industries
You should be able to advance your sports management career in a variety of settings including the front office system in professional sports, recreational sport management, college sport management, sport marketing, event management, facility management, sports economics, sport finance, public relations and communication, and management. You can also become an agent, coach, broadcaster, and recreation director. You’ll be hirable at universities, private organizations, and consulting firms to coordinate and promote events. High schools and colleges need skilled coaches to train their athletes. You’ll also find that many businesses and associations need staff to manage their athletic programs.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, agents and managers for athletes have the highest levels of employment within the sports management sector, with 7,500 jobs. Agents and managers also make an hourly mean wage of $47, and an annual mean wage of $97,760, which is over twice the median salary across all careers. Promoters of sports events come in second for employment with 1,200 jobs, an hourly mean wage of $31.87, and an annual mean wage of $66,290. States with the highest employment level for sports management are (in order of highest to lowest) California, New York, Florida, Tennessee, and Illinois. Additionally, employment of athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers is expected to grow at a faster rate than other occupations, which is great news for graduates of sports management programs.
Financial Aid Options for a Master of Sports Management
Most schools offer financial aid, scholarships, and grants to qualifying students. It’s important to contact your program's financial aid department to find out what options are there for you. There are also outside sources for scholarships and grants that you can apply to as well. The following is a listing of specific scholarships oriented towards certain populations:
- Black Coaches Association Scholarship: Every year the BCA gives out multiple scholarships for post-grad minority students who have been accepted into a sports administration-related field. Applications are due annually by May 1.
- Dorothy Harris Endowed Scholarship: The Women’s Sports Foundation sponsors this scholarship that is available for female students studying sports management, physical education, sport psychology, or sport sociology, who have the intention to go to grad school. The Women’s Sports Fund also offers grants. Applications are available on their website.
- Institute of Sports Management Scholarships: The ISM offers two different scholarship programs, but you have to be a member to apply. The first is called the "Additional Study Scholarship," and is designed to support students who already have a degree, but want to pursue an additional advanced degree in a field such as sports management or athletic administration. The second program is called the "Salary Subsidy Scholarship," and this program is for students who are looking for a job and sign up with one of the institute’s "host employers."
- Jim McKay Scholarship Program: The NCAA’s Jim McKay scholarship is a $10,000 scholarship awarded annually to one male and one female student pursuing a degree in the sports communication or management field. Applications are due each January.
The four scholarships listed above are a good start, and you can probably find more if you dig a little. If you’re in need of financial aid, do a specific online search because chances are, you'll find some opportunities that fit your needs.
Helpful Links for Master of Sports Management Candidates
- International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM): This is an organization committed to the professional operation of amphitheaters, arenas, auditoriums, convention centers and exhibit halls, performing arts venues, race tracks, stadiums and university complexes. They provide leadership development, education and research, life safety and security training, networking, and resources for the industry. This is an important resource for you as you plan your career in sports management.
- International Academy of Sports Science and Technology (AISTS): This is an organization based in Switzerland that is bringing a positive contribution to the management of sport through continuing and executive education and applied research, by developing, integrating and delivering knowledge from human sciences, life sciences and engineering sciences.
- North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM): This organization supports and assists professionals working in the fields of sport, leisure and recreation. They promote, stimulate, and encourage study, research, scholarly writing, and professional development in the area of sport management—both theoretical and applied aspects. They have information on sport marketing, future directions in management, employment perspectives, management competencies, leadership, sport and the law, personnel management, facility management, organizational structures, fund raising, and conflict resolution.
- Sports Management World Wide: This website offers sports job courses, sports career conferences, and sport management degree options. It’s a great resource for researching more information about the sports management career, or for further education once you have started working in your sports management career.