What is the Sports Management Job Outlook?

What is the Sports Management Job Outlook?

Sports management job outlook projections are difficult to find due to the unique nature of the sports industry. For some, the idea of working in sports management doesn’t sound like a job at all.

While it’s the dream field for many who didn’t make the cut to play on the field or court, it’s highly competitive. Knowing what you’re up against and whether or not the supply of jobs will be there is what will give you the best chance after earning your sports management degree.

sports management careers

Where Should You Look for Job Outlook Data?

Anyone can tell you that there will be a high demand for sports managers. But that doesn’t necessarily mean their statement is accurate. It would be best if you never relied solely on statistics or data compiled by schools that offer undergraduate and graduate sports management programs.

The administration’s goal is to enroll students, making the program profitable. However, you could be making an uninformed career move if you see biased numbers and projections that make the field appear to have a great outlook. It’s best for any student who has a genuine interest in choosing a career where they can find work and enjoy stability to reference data published by reliable sources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Sports Management Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) updates its job outlook and salary projections every few years. It also publishes other data based on the surveys taken by current professionals in the field. These ten-year projections are general and specific. According to the Bureau, the general national outlook for all jobs in the United States is positive. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment in entertainment and sports occupations to grow 13 percent from 2021 to 2031.

Furthermore, the BLS expects the employment of coaches and scouts to grow 20 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than average for all occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics BLS also projects around 39,900 job openings for coaches and scouts annually during this time. Many of those openings replace workers who transfer to different occupations or retire. The numbers for the more specific field of sports management can get much more complicated.

What Factors Affect Job Outlook in Sports Management?

Facing competition is what sports are all about. Of course, there’s always some competition when you apply for positions. But,the competition within the field of sports management is unlike any other. Since it’s such a highly desirable field to work in and many people have a passion for sports, many other qualified candidates will apply for the 35,700 openings.

It’s not unusual for sports management professionals to start from the bottom, coaching at recreation centers and high schools. Then they can enter the field as college coaches or even professional coaches. Pay scales range so significantly that there’s almost no way to average. Even more challenging is that retired players and family members of veteran coaches often get consideration before talented and educated candidates.

What Skills Do You Need in Sports Management?

Sports managers need a range of technical and analytical skills. Some may be specific to a role, such as building management for facilities managers or social media for marketing and media professionals. However, specific skills and expertise are essential throughout the global sports industry. 

A sports manager doesn’t need to have played a sport to understand and know what teams and fans need. However, a manager should have analytical and technological skills. For example, they should understand how to use player statistics, business metrics, or other data to support decision-making. They should be able to analyze both the human elements that drive athletic performance and the industry’s business side. Coaches, athletes, and athletic directors all benefit from these insights and strategies. 

A strong ability to analyze statistical data can take a long way in the sports world. However, sports management professionals must constantly make difficult decisions at the coaching, organizational, and executive levels. So, they also need excellent decision-making skills. 

Amid the pandemic, the most effective leagues were those that adapted to the new reality and came up with ingenious solutions to keep players safe and games intact. Individuals with creative problem-solving skills are a good fit for these careers.

Sports Management Education

Studying for a degree in sports management is the first step all potential managers should take. They will gain industry knowledge, earn direct experience, and connect with industry members. Additionally, most professors have experience working in the industry and are mentors to students. Internships, externships, and professional development workshops also develop well-rounded professionals.

  • Bachelor of Science in Sports Administration
  • Master of Science in Sports Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Sports Management
  • Master of Science in Sports Management

Students also develop Business Management and Leadership Skills for a Career in the Global Sports Industry. The Sports Industry Management program is ideal for professionals interested in pursuing an exciting and dynamic career in college athletics, professional sports, sports and entertainment organizations, player associations, or other sectors of the multi-faceted industry.

Sports Management Careers

Some individuals live and breathe athletics their whole lives, but landing a position in the field is still challenging. Career advancement is often about who you know. But in Sports Management, what you know will get you a promotion or a new position.

In the sports industry, your connections play a significant role in landing contracts with professional teams and colleges. Still, there are many other types of jobs for your sports management career.

sports management careers

Where Do Sports Professionals Work?

Working in the sports industry does not necessarily require exceptional athletic talent. Management provides an excellent way for sports enthusiasts with business mindsets to enter the field. Sports management spans every aspect of business in athletics and recreation. Industry professionals can work in marketing, facilities, coaching, and recruiting. Other careers in sports management include job market opportunities in:

  • professional sports programs
  • high school sports teams
  • business managers for sports leagues
  • Clinics and Hospitals
  • sports team in the Military
  • marketing for corporate partners and corporate sponsors
  • event coordinators and event planning

Sports Management Salary

An entry-level sports management salary may be low-to-average, but there is tremendous room for advancement. For example, if you choose to become a sports agent, you might find yourself looking at a lucrative bonus plan on top of your regular pay.

An applicant’s educational level is another factor that makes a candidate more appealing than others. For example, an individual with a master’s degree in sports management has more formal training than a graduate with only a bachelor’s degree. So, individuals with a more advanced degree will typically earn a higher salary.


Athletes and Sports Competitors 

Professional athletes and sports competitors participate in organized, officiated sporting events to entertain spectators.

Degree Needed: none

Average Salary: $77,300 (BLS)

Athletic Coach

Coaches teach amateur or professional athletes the skills they need to succeed at their sport. Public high school coaches may need to be certified or complete mandatory education courses as per the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). College coaches may need certification or training dictated by college athletic associations. Some of these are the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Degree Needed: no formal education to a bachelor’s or higher degree

Median Annual Salary: $38,970 (BLS)

Athletic Trainer

Athletic Trainers work with athletes to prevent, diagnose, and treat muscle and bone injuries and illnesses. Some entry-level jobs are available for workers with a bachelor’s degree. However, most athletic trainers have a master’s degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).

Degree Needed: master’s degree

Median Annual Salary: $48,420 (BLS)


Scouts evaluate athletes as possible recruits. They look for new players, evaluating their skills and likelihood for success at the amateur, college, or professional level. Many coaches also participate in scouting to find potential athletes for their teams. These professional scouts typically do some of the below activities.

  • Research to find athletes to consider
  • Attend competitions, view videos of the athletes’ performances, and study data about the athletes to determine their talent and potential
  • Talk to the athlete and coaches to gauge athlete success
  • Report to the coach, manager, or owner of the team
  • Arrange for and offer incentives to prospective players

Degree Needed: no formal education to a bachelor’s or higher degree

Median Annual Salary: $38,970 (BLS

Sports Data Analyst

Sports data analysts collect, analyze, and share athlete and team data points for both internal and media use. To be a sports statistician and enter this sports management career, graduates need a master’s degree in mathematics or statistics.

Degree Needed: master’s degree

Average Salary: $45,000 to $98,000 (GlassDoor)

Sports Agent

Sports agents help athletes with legal issues, negotiate contracts, manage their money, and manage their public image. Professional sports agents also facilitate meetings with prospective teams and secure endorsement deals for athlete clients.

Degree Needed: Bachelor’s degree in sports management

Median Annual Salary: $57,000 to $95,000 (GlassDoor)

Facilities Manager

Facilities managers help to manage the locations where sports teams play and train. They are responsible for the physical management and also financial management. Sports facilities managers ensure the systems and equipment of the facilities operate smoothly.

Degree Needed: bachelor’s degree or higher

Median Annual Salary: $99,290 (BLS)

Sports Marketing Manager

Sports marketing managers develop marketing campaigns to support individual players, sports teams, and events. With branding, promotional events, and targeted programs, sports marketers build effective advertising campaigns to meet a client’s revenue goals.

Degree Needed: bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, or business

Median Annual Salary: $133,380 (BLS)

Athletic Director

Athletic Directors (ADs) manage all parts of high school and college athletic programs and also professional leagues. They hire coaches, supervise sports personnel, promote programs and events, and order equipment. Athletic directors also oversee the facilities management.

Degree Needed: bachelor’s in Sport Management degree

Median Annual Salary: $90,000

Should You Earn a Sports Management Master’s Online?

Online education is more accepted by employers every year. So, earning a Master’s in sports management online is affordable for students who want a successful career. 

More state universities and respected institutions are offering online masters in sports management, which gives the degrees more credibility. Online education gives students more flexibility and can complete classes from their homes. Additionally, online degrees are often more affordable because schools do not have to maintain a classroom.

Is a Degree in Sports Management Worth it? 

North America represents the most significant sports market, according to the Sports Global Market Report 2020. And this market continues to grow, with a projected global increase from $446.5 billion to $556.1 billion by 2023.

Professionals in this field need the proper education and skills. And a sports management degree equips aspiring sports managers with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in the business. Organizations that employ sports management professionals increasingly seek candidates with specialized rather than general training.

Many career paths in the sports management industry are highly competitive. So, the strong educational credentials of a sports management degree can help you stand out when applying for internships and jobs. 

Is Sports Management a Promising Career? 

The aptitudes and abilities of sports management professionals vary by discipline. Still, they invariably include a passion for the world of athletics and a thorough understanding of the commercial factors that make the sports industry unique.

Beyond the love of the game, successful sports management professionals need unwavering dedication and a strong commitment to teamwork. The industry also attracts people driven to win. Players might get all the glory, but they represent only a fraction of the organization-wide effort needed to capture championships and build legacies. 

Your Career in Sports Management

This could be your field if you have thick skin and the skills necessary to be a sports manager. There’s nothing easy about working in sports administration, even if it’s something you love. It’s a line of work about what you have done for me lately. If you can deal with this, the sports management job outlook could push you to go to school.