Careers With a Sport Management Degree

The global sports market is growing exponentially, projected to reach nearly $600 billion by 2025. Worldwide, sports sponsorships were worth $57 billion in 2020 and are expected to hit nearly $90 billion by 2027. Among the contributing factors to the growing market are rising demand for sports apparel, increased programming availability via streaming services, growing interest in Major League Soccer, expansion of esports and the explosion of sports betting.

There are many career opportunities in this flourishing industry. Popular sport management jobs include:

  • Athletic Director
  • Director of Guest Experience
  • Director of Promotions
  • Director of Social Media
  • Event Planner
  • Facilities Manager
  • General Manager
  • President
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Sales Manager
  • Sports Information Director
  • Sports Manager / Business Manager
  • Sports Marketing Director
  • Vice President of Corporate Partnerships

Earning a master’s in sport management helps you gain the sports business knowledge and leadership skills needed for these roles. You’ll also have the opportunity to develop important industry connections. In this article, we dive into several sport management careers and cover the sports industry in New York City.

Careers in Sport Management

There are many avenues you can pursue with a master’s in sport management, including working directly for high school or collegiate programs or professional teams, or with sports associations and organizations, such as MLB, the NBA or the NFL. You can also find employment with sport marketing, public relations and player representative agencies, facilities, broadcast and digital media outlets, licensing and retail operations and consulting agencies. And there are plenty of areas where you can have the opportunity to make an impact on challenges in the industry, including the advocacy for fairer wages for professional athletes and the legalization of sports betting.

Sport management salaries can vary widely, depending on the role and the professional’s industry experience. Below, we’ve detailed several careers with a sports management degree, including important sports management skills* and salary information for each position.

Athletic Director

Athletic directors (ADs) are responsible for overseeing all sports teams and activities at the high school and collegiate levels of the industry. ADs must be able to cohesively lead and promote all programs. They recruit new faculty, staff and athletes; develop and monitor departmental goals; lead communication efforts; and manage the department’s marketing program.

There is a wide salary range for athletic directors. At the collegiate level, where the median annual salary is about $120,000, the highest paid athletic director, Chris Del Conte of The University of Texas at Austin, is earning approximately $2.4 million over eight years. There is the potential for athletic directors to earn even more with performance bonuses.

The Adelphi University master’s in sport management with collegiate athletic administration specialization helps students prepare for this role, covering such topics as sports law, intramural and recreation management, sport communication and media relations and sport facility and event management.

Top baseline and specialized skills for college athletic directors:

  • Budgeting
  • Communication skills
  • Scheduling/programming
  • Planning
  • Teamwork/collaboration

Director of Social Media

Social media directors design and implement social media strategy for their organization. This includes collaboration with content, marketing, communications and multimedia teams to develop compelling copy, images and videos for specific social media platforms. Social media directors may also work with influencers to promote their organizations on social accounts. They may be tasked with growing a brand’s social media following and keeping their audience engaged, along with identifying ways to increase revenue through this channel. Directors of social media typically manage and mentor a social media team.

Professionals in this role can move on to work as senior directors of social media, like Will Carafello of the New York Mets. Their career paths might also involve entering a marketing director or digital strategist position. The average salary for social media directors is $75,646.

Top defining skills for social media strategists:

  • Social media
  • TikTok
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Social media platforms
  • Social media strategy

Sports Marketing Director

Typically reporting to the VP of marketing, sports marketing directors develop and execute strategic marketing initiatives. This includes email marketing, in-game presentation, marketing collateral, public relations, social media and media planning and buying. Supervisory responsibilities include managing and coaching other members of the marketing department.

Marketing directors also collaborate with other internal teams, including communications, sales, and social media. A master’s in sport management with a sport marketing specialization can help prepare you for this role with courses in branding strategies, public relations and promotion and sales management.

Sports marketers are reported to earn an average salary of $119,808, while those working in New York receive an average of 9% more. As with other sport management roles, your earnings can vary greatly depending on the sports entity you’re working for, your exact role and your experience.

Eventually, marketing directors can work their way up to the role of chief marketing officer, like Karin Timpone of Major League Baseball or Melissa Proctor of the Atlanta Hawks, where they oversee all marketing efforts for the organization.

Top defining skills:

  • Marketing
  • Budgeting
  • Market strategy
  • Social media marketing
  • Digital marketing

Learn more about top skills for sports marketing professionals.

Vice President of Corporate Partnerships

The VP of corporate partnerships leads and provides overall direction to the corporate partnerships team. Among their responsibilities, they must manage and strengthen current accounts; cold call and land new corporate partners, which includes the creation and delivery of sales presentations and development of sales proposals; and maintain and report on the prospect pipeline. Overall, VPs of corporate partnerships must meet annual sales and revenue targets for the organization. They often report to the CEO or president of the company.

Amos Varon serves as the senior vice president of partnership and premium development for all of BSE Global, heading up the business development team for the Brooklyn Nets, Barclays Center, the NBA G League’s Long Island Nets and the NBA 2K League’s NetsGC.

Across all industries, the average salary for corporate partnerships VPs is about $170,000, with the ability to earn bonuses for signing clients and revenue earned.

Top defining skills for corporate partnership professionals:

  • Sales
  • Business development
  • Account management
  • New business development
  • Sales goals

*The top skills for all of the above positions were taken from Burning Glass.

Sports Business in The Big Apple

New York City is the center of the sports universe, with 9 Big Four sports league teams boasting 29 World Series titles, 11 Stanley Cups, 5 Super Bowls and 2 NBA Championships. It’s where the headquarters of the MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL and WNBA are located. Top events like the New York City Marathon and U.S. Open Tennis Championships, along with hundreds of sports companies and organizations, call it home. Not to mention that it’s the media capital of the world.

Completing your graduate education at a university located in the center of it all is incredibly beneficial. The optional internship capstone in the master’s in sport management program at Adelphi University allows you to form valuable industry connections and put your skills to use in the real world while completing the degree. Students can also take advantage of career development and job placement assistance. The program’s faculty members have a wealth of experience in the sports industry, including in administration, coaching, consulting, marketing, public relations and research.

Adelphi MS in Sport Management graduates have found success with professional sports teams and organizations in New York and beyond, including the NFL, NHL, MLB, MLS, PGA, USTA and WNBA.

About the Adelphi University MS in Sport Management

The MS in Sport Management at Adelphi University is designed for hard-working, ambitious individuals with a passion for sports. The degree is available online and on campus and includes optional specializations in sport marketing or athletic administration.

At Adelphi, students gain an in-depth understanding of the sport industry with coursework that includes business management, market analysis, budget preparation, sport law, spot marketing and public relations. They also learn how to turn previous athletic experience and interests into professional strengths in order to stand out in the industry.

Our students benefit from the connections they build with their peers and with faculty members who work in the industry. This is a team that will support you throughout your career.

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