If you are interested in an exciting career in the fast-paced sports industry, then a sports management graduate program might be the right path. Competition is fierce in the sports management industry, and there’s no better way to the enter field than obtaining an advanced degree in sports management.
A degree in sports management deals with the business side of sports. Earning a master’s degree in sports management can immediately advance your career as a manager, agent, or athletic director, to name a few in-demand professions in sports. The demand for the industry positions is high, but turnover is rare. We’ve compiled a simple sports management graduate programs guide to help you decide where to go after graduation.
How to Choose a Master’s in Sports Management Program
There are many universities and master programs to research on when it comes to sports management. It is important to decide which program might be compatible with your interests and goals. Certain programs offer sports law, high-performance coaching, or athlete development. Take note of which programs offer concentrations that you may be interested in.
Depending on which program you choose, you may be required to complete an internship, capstone, or thesis. Research the different scenarios so that nothing will come as a surprise during your program.
Additionally, you must decide which learning structure is best for you. Some programs will require you to work as a cohort, meaning that you will have to attend classes full-time and in-person. If not, an online degree might be another option for you. Explore all the components of online programs and decide if it might be right for you prior to enrolling.
What Can I Do with a Master’s in Sports Management?
There are a plethora of jobs that await in the sports industry after you complete a sports management master’s degree. Some positions can include sports agents, public relations specialists, athletic directors, contract negotiation managers, facilities managers, fitness managers, and athletic coaches.
Those who deal with the legal side of the industry are known as sports agents. Sports agents represent professional athletes by assisting them with contracts and managing finances. If you are looking for a constantly moving job, then a sports agent position might be perfect for you. No day is the same as a sports agent, and a lot of traveling is involved in the profession.
The salary of an agent will vary depending on the sport, athlete, and team – the amount is a percentage of an athlete’s contract. A starting salary for a sports agent is generally $56,000 annually, where experienced agents can make millions.
A public relations specialist in the exciting field of sports media maintains a positive public image for professional athletes and sports teams by arranging interviews, writing press releases, and responding to information requests every day. The median annual salary for this position is $59,300.
A collegiate athletic director oversees the operations of college athletic programs. Some of their tasks include developing programs, organizing events, and managing athletes. If you wish to pursue a career as an athletic director, you will be required to have a master’s degree. Compensation does not influence the value of a career, however, the median annual salary of an athletic director is a cool $92,360.
Those who deal specifically with an athlete’s contract are known as contract negotiation managers. These professionals are responsible for preparing detailed and complex contracts. They will assist an athlete in bargaining for the most agreeable set of terms possible. They will work between the two parties to get the agreement signed. A contract negotiation manager can make an annual salary of $97,324 with bonuses.
Master’s in Sports Management Program Admissions
The sports industry is competitive on and off the field, and that includes when applying for an advanced sports management degree program. Begin by making a list of potential schools that you may want to attend. The more schools that you apply to, the higher your chances of being accepted into a sports master’s program. Qualifications for a master’s program can vary depending on the application and institution. However, some admission requirements remain the same: some prerequisites might include standardized test scores, minimum GPA, and prior professional experience.
A bachelor’s degree is typically required for all master’s programs, and a sports management degree is no different. The degree does not usually have to be a bachelor’s in sports management, but it does have to come from an accredited university. Universities may require potential graduate students to have prior professional experience in the industry. Usually, a university will require a specific minimum GPA. This GPA is typically 3.0 or higher.
To apply for a sports management master’s program, you will need to fill out an application. In addition, you might be required to submit official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and official test scores.
If you are not sure what the specific school requirements are, making an appointment with an admissions officer to ask questions is recommended.
What Else Can I Expect from a Master’s in Sports Management Program?
Concentrations for sports management are offered to provide a clear career trajectory. Typically, master’s programs will allow you to choose a concentration that interests you, and sets you up for success in your field. Universities offering concentrations for advanced sports management degrees can include sports law, analytics, coaching, and administration.
To gain knowledge in the laws governing the sports industry, you might want to choose a concentration in sports law. Judicial decision-making, insurance, mergers and acquisitions, consumer protection, contractual relationships, and agency representation are just a few topics covered in sports law. Potential careers that could result in this concentration include collegiate compliance officers, athletic directors, agents, and general managers.
A coaching concentration will prepare you to support high school, college, and professional athletes to improve performance in a specific sport. In this concentration, you will study the psychological and physiological elements of training, performance evaluation, and much more. This concentration will prepare you to become a head coach, administrator, or sports coordinator.
In a sport analytic concentration, you will learn how to collect and interpret data. A few topics on this track include predictive analytics, data science, modeling, probability theory, statistics, and programming. Potential outcomes of a sports analytic track can work as a sports administrator, athletic director, collegiate compliance officer, general sports manager, or director of player engagement.
Sports administration is another possible track that concentrates on the business side of sports. Potential courses include data analytics, sports research, legal and ethical issues, sports marketing, public relations, and sports technology. Athletic director, college athletics administrator, front office manager, or a sports marketer are all potential career paths with a sports administration concentration.
Courses in a Master’s in Sports Management Program
You will develop advanced sports industry skills through a sports management master’s program. Specific courses will vary depending on the institution, but typically, courses will involve sports marketing, performance analysis, psychology, ethics, and business. If you simply search for master’s in sports management courses for a specific university, then results are for schools that may have some of these courses.
In sports management courses, you will learn how to develop and apply marketing principles in sports marketing plans. Marketing strategies, including branding, sponsorship, and promotions, will all be covered in these classes.
You will learn how to analyze teams through statistical and mathematical models to evaluate them in sports performance analysis classes. Meanwhile, sports psychology courses teach the behavioral, cognitive, and social factors of athletic performance.
A class in sports ethics class, you will learn how to apply ethical decision making. The business of sports courses will cover the financial management aspect of the sports industry. Topics in these classes can include managerial economics, accounting, budget planning, sports marketing, and labor relations.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Master’s in Sports Management?
A master’s in sports management typically takes anywhere from one to three years to complete. The entire degree consists of 36 credits. Although there are programs that can be offered in accelerated versions. School search results can typically narrow down which programs will offer accelerated curriculums. One of these featured programs may also offer a cohort style of learning. If you enroll in a cohort, you will have less flexibility with your schedule, as it is usually a set learning schedule. Universities can also offer part-time programs that will allow you to work at your own pace and on your schedule.
How Much Does a Master’s in Sports Management Cost?
The cost of obtaining a master’s in sports management will depend on the university. Colleges can charge on a per-credit or per-course basis. The price can vary between $350 to $1,400 per credit. The total tuition for the program can range from $20,000 to $80,000. Keep in mind that private schools will charge more than public institutions. Out-of-state tuition will also be more expensive than in-state. Although if you select for an online program, some universities may charge the same rate as in-state tuition but charge more in technology fees.
There will also be additional fees for books, commuting, miscellaneous items, and housing. However, there are many schools that compensate you in the form of financial aid. Check with your university to see if financial assistance is possible, but remember that federal financial aid is only available for regionally accredited universities.
Sports Management Jobs Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the outlook looks good for careers in the sports management field. Sports marketing agents have a projected job outlook of 8% by 2028, while sports agents have an outlook of 10%. These rates are faster than the national average. Coaches and scouts have one of the best percentages in the industry coming in at 11%, which is much higher than the national average.
Resources for Sports Management Graduate Students
The U.S. Department of Education Graduate School Resources is an ideal resource if you are getting a master’s degree in sports management. This resource provides information on student loans, scholarships, and grants.
The Sport Marketing Association is an organization for sports management professionals that consists of university professors. The group focuses on sports marketing through research and educational opportunities, career fairs, and conferences.
The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics is the largest group of collegiate athletics administrators. Internship programs, conventions, educational opportunities, and networking events are all opportunities through the association.
The North American Society for Sport Management assists the sports industry as well as leisure and recreational programming industries. Annual conferences, events, and awards are all perks of being a member of the NASSM. The Journal of Sport Management is their official research journal.
The National Academy of Sports Medicine is a partner of the Athletics and Fitness Association of America. The academy extends resources to the sport management industry in a variety of ways, including developmental courses.
Career Karma is another excellent resource for sports management industry professionals. Resources regarding starting your career are available through the Career Karma app. The website also provides school rankings. Many different factors influence our school rankings, but one factor that remains the same is their prestige.