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Growing Opportunities in Sport Management

Growing opportunities in the sports industry

Professional athletics has been culturally important since ancient Greece, and it remains popular today, extending even into the virtual environments of e-sports. In a 2013 report, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP projected North American sports industry revenue would grow at a compounded annual rate of 4.8 percent to $67.7 billion by 2017.

Broadcasting and media rights are driving this growth in the sports industry — these sales are now the biggest source of revenue for most sports organizations. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, this includes “upcoming rights deals for major properties and the media industry’s ability to make money from new platforms such as smartphone applications and streaming games over league websites for the future growth.” In this case, growth in other industries such as media and marketing will have a significant impact on the sports industry’s increasing value.

Varied Career Opportunities

Because the sports industry is so large, opportunities for sports industry professionals are varied. Many sports professionals pursue graduate education, such as a master’s degree in sport management, to enhance their careers. The degree acts as a catalyst to enhance your current profession in sports management. These degree holders tend to command higher salaries than their counterparts with only bachelor’s degrees.

Coaches and Scouts

In 2015, coaches and scouts earned approximately $31,000 per year, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Entry-level positions require a bachelor’s degree and generally some experience playing a particular sport. Even though coaches and scouts make lower median salaries than many others in the sports industry, the profession should grow at the standard 6 percent rate.

Sports Marketing Managers

Sports marketing managers, on the other hand, can draw higher salaries. The BLS reported the median salary for sports marketing managers in 2015 at around $125,000 per year. Sports marketing managers also need a bachelor’s degree, but those with a master’s degree in sport management have a distinct advantage on the job market. This sector of the sports industry should grow at a rate of 9 percent for the next decade, which is faster than the national average.

A Wide Middle Ground

Coaches and marketing managers are only two examples of the many career options available in the sports industry. Academia offers positions for researchers and professors who study the impact of sports on bodies, economies and cultures. Both collegiate and professional sports teams employ a variety of specialists in sports management, including medical professionals, trainers and support personnel.

Public relations firms, sports facilities and broadcasting agencies also need talent. Some sports professionals liaise between a team and its fans. Others schedule advertising for sports industry broadcasts and ensure the smooth operation of stadiums and arenas.

The sports industry offers variety in both opportunity and compensation. For many, a career in sports offers rewards — financial and otherwise — that last a lifetime. To secure these lucrative and rewarding opportunities, many sports professionals are pursuing advanced degrees, and educational institutions are answering market demand by offering accredited graduate programs such as a master’s degree in sport management.

Learn more about the LSU online master’s degree in kinesiology program.


Bloomberg: Sports Revenue to Reach $67.7 Billion by 2017, PwC Report Says

World Intellectual Property Organization: Broadcasting & Media Rights in Sport

BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook: Coaches and Scouts

BLS Occpuational Outlook Handbook: Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

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