November 19, 2015
If you’ve ever wondered how you could turn your lifelong passion for sports into a rewarding career, then perhaps pursuing an online degree in sport management is the right path for you. Certainly, a passion for and knowledge of sports is instrumental to being successful in this field. If you can put a checkmark in those boxes, you're in a good spot already. However, there's much more to sports management than just basketballs and end zones. Read on to discover the details of an industry that's not only challenging but also full of excitement, both on and off the field.
Like its name suggests, management is an integral component of the field of sports management, and along with that comes the responsibilities of planning, organizing and supervising a range of sporting and physical activities, people and projects. In short, sports management focuses on the business attributes of sports. A sports management degree equips you with the ability to handle the demands of this industry, including matters involving finance, marketing, facility maintenance and event organization across all levels of sports programs—from amateur to professional.
Rapid and continuous industry growth, coupled with a multitude of positions in which a variety of interests and skills can be employed, makes sports management a highly sought-after and competitive profession. As such, there is an urgent need to identify prospects with the necessary skill sets to effectively manage operations and drive organizational success. Earning a sports management degree is the key to cementing your place as a worthy candidate in the job market and it's a smart investment for anyone interested in getting in the game.
Greg Gosselin chose to earn his MS in Sport Management online at Southern New Hampshire University. "When I first graduated with my undergraduate degree in general business, I wasn't really satisfied so I went back and got my degree in sport management," he said. "I came to SNHU to change my career and now I work for a professional hockey team... to be happy to get up every morning and go to a job that I love to do is something that I would never exchange."
It’s clear that sports are big business, and the commercialization of sport has transcended far beyond national borders to become a mainstay of the global economy. It's estimated that the sports industry takes in annual revenues of approximately $500-600 billion worldwide. In the United States alone, the sports industry generates $250 billion each year, making it sixth among all industries in annual revenue.
The resilience of this industry is also noteworthy, as it continues to thrive even in the face of troubling economic times. While folks who live on a budget might be willing to forego a meal out at a restaurant or a shiny new set of wheels, diehard sports fans will cut corners and scrimp in order to save up the cash to buy a ticket to a home game. Multiple factors are credited with fueling the industry, such as improvements in broadcasting and technology, leverage of social media, increases in the numbers and variety of sports publications and websites and the emergence of sports event management companies. In the case of the latter, much of the success in sport commercialization is attributed to these management companies' ability to maximize revenues and ensure the profitability of sports-related professions.
All of these elements solidify the industry’s standing as a monumental and sustainable force in the global economy, while presenting exciting opportunities for aspiring sports management professionals.
There are a wide variety of career paths in sports management that may appeal to interested individuals. Roles in marketing, sales, media relations, promotions, events and facilities management are just some of the opportunities afforded to degree holders with the specialized knowledge needed to engage in the day-to-day management of sporting activities and events. Along with the opportunity to pursue their passions, sports management professionals can also reap financial benefits and the assurance of career longevity.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth in sports management will increase faster than average through 2022. Further, careers in athletic management, marketing, sales, public relations and other sport management-related positions are expected to grow 7 percent to 13 percent over the next several years. In all, statistics point to a growth in job prospects and a bright future for those interested in a career in sports management. Added to that is the chance for career development regardless of geographic location—after all, a sports management career is able to flourish anywhere there are sports and athletes.
However, specialization and experience can be major determinants of salary expectations in this industry. Entry-level sports management professionals can expect to earn salaries in the $35,000 to $42,000 range, while middle- and senior-level positions command upwards of $50,000 and $100,000, respectively. All told, a degree in sports management is key to gaining the specialized knowledge and maintaining the competitive edge needed in this field.
This degree type sharpens necessary business skills and acumen and furnishes the holder with invaluable insight into the economics of sport. Students enrolled in sports management programs are given the tools to understand and apply the essential business, legal and marketing components comprising all aspects of sports management. Upon graduation, they are armed with a sturdy industry foundation and are primed to assume exciting roles in this highly-competitive field. So, why not join in the race?
It's been said that the sports industry is run according to the same principles as any Fortune 500 company so it's important that well-educated and highly-skilled employees are at the helm of the ship. According to the BLS, the sports industry requires the employment of a number of well-rounded skills at every level for effective strategy development and execution. Among these are strong analytical skills to make critical decisions and for effective conflict resolution. Additionally, proven verbal and written communication skills are also critical in this field, as is the ability to convey information effectively and interact positively with diverse audiences. In the same vein, the ability to collaborate and forge valuable partnerships is key. Business acumen and a spirit of entrepreneurship provide a solid foundation for professionals in sports management to thrive.
To build and enhance these and other vital competencies, enrollment in an accredited sports management degree program is a great idea. Such a program provides an avenue through which aspiring sports management professionals are able to determine where their interests lie and how developed skill sets can be best utilized.
At SNHU, this goal is prioritized. Following completion of the online bachelor’s degree program in sport management, graduates will emerge with a well-rounded business education that maximizes these practical skill sets. Geoffrey KrumwiedeI, a student in this online degree program, has found these tools to be especially useful in shaping his career goals.
“I have always struggled finding the right career path since beginning college," Krumwiedel said. "Sports have been a large part of my family’s life, and when I decided to study sports management, it felt like the perfect fit. SNHU gave me the opportunity to study what I love and to work to provide for myself. In the time that I have been [enrolled] at SNHU, I have already found opportunities and resources that can help me move forward in life.”
Through a combination of coursework and field experience that enables program participants to bridge the gap between theory and real-world application, the following skills form an indelible part of the program graduates’ tool kits:
As a nod to the global impact of this industry, students are also treated to courses that allow them to explore a worldwide view of the sports economy and equip them with the know-how to recognize and understand the various interrelationships impacting sport business.
This practical and relevant knowledge is fundamental. As Dan Reed, head of Global Sports Partnerships at Facebook advised in a recent Forbes article, “Let your passion for sports show through, but it is more important that you deeply understand the business of sports and can demonstrate that you have relevant experience for the specific job you are interested in.” That same article detailed the importance of understanding how and why the sports business has become big business in the U.S. and abroad.
Read on to uncover how SNHU’s affordable and accessible online programs in sport management have been carefully constructed to give students a leg-up on the competition vying for positions in this multi-billion dollar (and growing) industry.
Whether enrolled online at the undergraduate level in SNHU's BS in Sport Management program or the BS in Business Studies with a concentration in Sport Management program, you're sure to gain the skills needed to enter the exciting field of sports management.
The bachelor’s degree program in sport management has been established for 25-plus years and has consistently remained on the pulse of this evolving and dynamic industry. With accreditation from the Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), the program has recorded great success in preparing enrollees for successful career opportunities in this field.
From marketing and sales to media relations and athletic administration, there is no shortage of career options for graduates of this reputable program. Case in point: graduates have gone on to work with a range of sports-related organizations, including the Boston Bruins, the Boston Celtics, the United States Olympic Committee, Reebok, YMCAs and Boys and Girls Clubs, among a host of other leading organizations. Talk about waking up each morning excited to go to work!
The online sport management degree program's curriculum encompasses core courses plus humanities and business-related courses to encourage the development of well-rounded graduates. But with a specific focus on the development of sports management and general business skills, the curriculum enables students to gain foundational and experiential learning opportunities, while earning practical experience in a variety of sports-related professions. Coursework in sport marketing, governance/management of sport organizations and ethics reward students with a strong foundation on the fundamentals of sports management, whereas elective courses ranging from sport law to event management and marketing, allow students the opportunity to specialize in potential areas of interest.
In most professions, specialization provides individuals with opportunities for career advancement, and the same rings true for advancing one’s knowledge in a particular field. In sports management, this is particularly relevant. A master’s degree in sports management deepens knowledge and fine-tunes skills necessary to lead in this field and prepares graduates to pursue higher-level positions; in return, these upper-level positions can also spell increases in salary earnings. According to a SportsBusiness Journal survey, managers in this field earn a median salary of $65,000 per year while directors and senior executives earn median salaries of $105,000 and $340,000, respectively.
If you've already earned a bachelor's degree and are looking to deepen your knowledge and broaden your earning power, consider enrolling in one of SNHU’S three affordable online sport management master's degree programs. The MS in Sport Management will equip graduates with business acumen and practical skills to use in the workplace, whether that's a boardroom or a locker room. Within this degree program, students can choose to pursue an Athletic Administration Graduate Certificate, which provides students with a strong foundation in athletic administration, or an International Sport Management Certificate, which grants students the opportunity to explore the globalization of sport and its worldwide impact.
SNHU also offers two additional programs of study at the graduate level. There's an MBA with a concentration in Sport Management and an International MBA with a concentration in Sport Management. Coursework in the international program was created to take an interdisciplinary approach to providing students with a comprehensive background in the business of sport, thus affording them a unique competitive advantage in this global industry. Designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of specific aspects of the industry, from sports teams, agencies and event management to equipment manufacturing, coursework in this program allows students to critically evaluate the issues and opportunities that face the sports industry across a range of disciplines. In turn, graduates gain a compendium of skills to edge out the competition, including knowledge of the latest trends in sport business and enhanced marketing, analytic and financial skills.
According to Mark Hecox, Ph.D., Chair of the Sports Management department at SNHU, “The MBA in Sport Management combines sport-specific classes with the breadth and depth of MBA classes. This unique combination gives you the ability to master the various aspects of the sport business.”
An added benefit of the online MBA is the opportunity to pursue a Sport Management Graduate Certificate. This credential further places students ahead of the competition and signals their professional commitment to employers. For working professionals, certificates are valuable because they provide a means through which individuals are able to stay on the pulse of emerging business developments within the sports industry.
All five of SNHU's online sports management degree programs provide students with the flexibility to learn whenever and from whichever location they prefer, making balancing work, school and family much simpler.
At the undergraduate level, students will enjoy specialized attention from their dedicated advisor who helps with choosing the appropriate classes so that busy adults won't waste hours upon hours poring over pages of course descriptions when they could be making better use of their limited time. The same is true of the online master's degree programs, also are a viable option for busy adults, too, as they can be completed in just over a year.
A Balancing Act
With all the noted advantages of pursuing a sport management degree, you’re probably more than ready to turn your love of sports into a fulfilling and exciting career. SNHU online makes it simple to match your passions and goals with the demands of adult life.
For Joshua Burgess, the opportunity to complete his master’s degree was made possible through SNHU’s online program: “I have always had the dream of completing my master’s degree. I found SNHU’s sport management program after my brother started his undergraduate degree at the university. The online program allows me to continue working full-time and to coach high school soccer every spring—one of my passions. The program has given me great tools to use in the future and everyone I’ve come in contact with throughout the process has been amazing!”
Achieving this work-life balance was especially important to Willis Whalen, a sports professional with over 20 years of industry experience working with the Miami Dolphins and the NFL Players Association (his current employer). He's enrolled in SNHU's online master's degree program in sport management and despite a long and rewarding career, Whalen has found that there’s always more to learn in this field. “Going back and getting my degree and seeing how everything is supposed to be, how it’s structured, how it works, why it works, the behind the scenes kind of things, it really connected all the dots,” he said.
Additionally, through the application of course concepts and principles, Whalen has been able to expand his role at work. “Getting my master’s degree has allowed me to take over some programs and bring in some fresh ideas based on what I’ve learned.” With such a busy life, Whalen has no plans of slowing down, even toying with the idea of pursuing a teaching role in the future. His message to anyone who thinks that adding school to their growing list of responsibilities is impossible? “If I can do it, they can do it.”
SNHU’s online sport management degree programs are accessible and convenient options for those considering a new career in sports management or those seeking professional advancement. You’ll be able to access classes when it’s convenient for you via 24/7 connection to courses, and you'll have the flexibility to complete degree requirements at your own pace. What’s more, much like a sport management career, you're not restricted by location, because you can gain access to courses from any geographic setting.
The sport management industry is thriving, and projections show that global sports revenues are on a rapid growth trajectory. With a slew of available positions for motivated individuals armed with the necessary business, critical-thinking and managerial skills, there are ample opportunities for personal and professional growth. In this competitive field, setting yourself apart with a degree in sport management is key to getting in the race. With an online degree in sport management from SNHU, you can play a significant role in this thriving industry.
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Timothy Woodward grew up in a small town in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in film and writing in California and an MFA in Fiction from SNHU.