Interscholastic sports programs require strong leaders to be successful. These individuals must be well equipped to combine a strong interest in sports with a keen business sense. The goal is to provide the direction, delegation, and support to efficiently guide a program in a manner that results in positive achievements for teams and their players on and off the field.
Earning an advanced degree, such as a Master of Athletic Administration (MAA), can help individuals gain the skills and knowledge to assume positions of leadership. At the same time, an MAA can prepare people to explore a broad scope of sports management careers.
The world of sports and athletics is continually growing and evolving, requiring even more experienced and educated people to enter its workforce. Anyone with a passion for sports and a heart for helping emerging athletes can be prepared to fill roles beyond being an athletic director (AD). Earning an MAA, either in-person or online, can be the key to any of these various career opportunities.
Careers in Sports Management
According to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 57.4% of high school students played on at least one sports team in 2019. This figure represents ample opportunity for individuals who are looking to make a significant impact on the lives of young people. While this may mean pursuing a role as an AD, this career path isn’t the only choice. Other careers in athletics can integrate leadership skills and a love of sports to make athletics a positive, enriching experience.
Anyone interested in helping students achieve their goals in athletics may wish to look beyond the athletic director job description and to other careers in sports management.
Event managers focus on organizing and structuring sporting events to ensure players and spectators have a positive experience. They can work on events of all sizes, from a football game with hundreds of attendees to an awards banquet with players, parents, and coaches. Managers must be able to plan and organize events while adjusting to unpredicted situations and last-minute changes.
Event managers also balance budgets; find venues; negotiate prices; and manage staff, seating, equipment, security, and all other pertinent details. Leading job candidates for this position usually have business and sports backgrounds.
Athletic Compliance Officer
Compliance officers in athletics ensure the rules and regulations of recruiting are followed. While they may work for colleges or universities, their job duties may require direct interaction with high school sporting programs.
Compliance officers also closely monitor student-athletes to ensure they remain eligible to play, and that higher-education institutions stay within the rules of recruiting.
Sports marketing managers promote sporting events, teams, and team-related products through publicity events, endorsements, sponsorships, and beyond. They also work with advertisers and sports-related organizations to develop and execute marketing and advertising initiatives. Marketing managers play roles in creating content for the team’s website and social media channels.
Sports Information Director
Sports information directors act as public relations managers for athletic teams. They speak for the team in the event of a crisis and handle general news announcements. Sports information directors also provide the media with team statistics and announcements about upcoming events. In addition, they handle the team’s or school’s digital content, updating websites and social media accounts.
Sports agents work directly with professional athletes and coaches to determine contract terms including salaries and bonuses. They may also handle a client’s personal finances and promote their clients for community relations and other opportunities.
Sports bloggers are dedicated to keeping fans up to date on the latest developments regarding their favorite teams. They interview coaches, players, and fans to generate information about the team to engage readers. They market their blogs through social media outlets.
Sports bloggers need strong writing and interviewing skills. They also must be able to network with coaches, players, and other bloggers to create and curate the best content.
Sports analysts work behind the scenes to determine team statistics and player evaluations. They may help managers choose the best players or provide newsworthy information to reporters. Analysts must be able to use data, mathematics, and statistical modeling to establish findings that are useful to team managers.
Sports Management Salaries</h2>
Sports management salaries can vary depending on the career path. Here are the median annual salary figures for the positions discussed in this article.
- Event manager: $54,700 (source: PayScale)
- Athletic compliance officer: $74,700 (ZipRecruiter)
- Marketing manager: $67,200 (PayScale)
- Sports information director: $39,700 (PayScale)
- Sports agent: $51,500 (PayScale)
- Sports blogger: $41,300 (PayScale)
- Sports analyst: $59,500 (ZipRecruiter)
A Winning Formula for Success
MAA degree programs may also prepare graduates to work in sports risk management, law, and human resources. Regardless of the specific path, pursuing a sports management career can help build safe and structured sports environments where community and life lessons can flourish. It can also inspire young people to explore the broad possibilities that sports have to offer.
Through Ohio University’s Online Master of Athletic Administration program, students engage in a robust curriculum that includes coursework in budget planning, fundraising, and leadership. The program prepares graduates to achieve success in the athletics field and pursue sports management careers that go beyond the athletic director job.
Simply put, the program is designed to provide you with the foundational knowledge and skills to advance your career in the world of interscholastic sports administration. Explore how Ohio University can jumpstart your career success.