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Get In the Game: What Is Sport Management and Where Can It Take You?

July 10, 2019

Sports manager discussing with his colleague in a gymnasium

While many people tend to think of sport management as confined to football fields and baseball diamonds, it’s much broader than that. What sport management is, in fact, is an expansive world of experts who handle budgeting, marketing, and all aspects of planning and directing sports organizations and sports-affiliated businesses. This encompasses quite a lot of tasks—outgoing public relations (PR), branding, creating internal policies, and working directly with athletes and coaches, to name just a few. Sport management, in all its variety, is a diverse and an exciting career path for fierce sports fans.

Sport Management Degrees

Sport management undergraduate and graduate degrees prepare students for the many professional opportunities in the sports world. Undergraduate programs equip students to enter the sports industry by integrating business and liberal arts curriculums with core sport management courses. During undergraduate study, students learn to apply analytical skills to sports business; discuss ethics and principles in sport management; examine the relationship between sports and business, culture, and society; and explore marketing strategies and team resources. After graduation, students may find work as facility or athletic managers, marketing assistants, media relations specialists, or other related roles.

Master’s degrees offer the opportunity for professionals to dive deeper into aspects of the field that interest them. LSU Online’s Master of Science in Kinesiology with a specialization in Sport Management program, for example, emphasizes leadership and versatility. Program graduates may go on to practice physical therapy or open their own gym or clinic. Study of digital sports media and analytics, sports law and ethics, PR strategies, and finance and digital media enables graduates to expand expertise and job possibilities. In a fast-paced world like sport management, graduate education can also attune students to changing trends in the field and instill habits of lifelong learning.

Trends in Sport Management

Like other fields, sport management is constantly evolving, keeping pace with new demands from audiences and clients, as well as the newest technologies that can enhance many aspects of the field—from behind the scenes to PR strategies to the fan experience. The following subsections highlight some current trends shaping new definitions of what sport management is.

Technology Integration

Today, dozens of platforms enable teams and brands to speak directly to their fans and clients. From livestreams to social media, the integration of technology with any communication strategy is important to successfully market a modern sport brand or team. Harnessing content, amplifying messages, and distributing content through the right channels at the right times are now key to any PR and marketing strategy. In addition, new technologies create a wealth of data that can give sport management professionals specializing in PR and communication insight into how their messages are reaching their audiences and where they’re falling flat. New technologies often have applications beyond marketing and social media. It’s the sport manager’s job to stay attuned to changes and take advantage of new technologies as they arise.

Policy Creation That Promotes Equality

Through inclusive messaging, the creation of diverse groups and clubs, and the development and adherence to policies that bar harassment, sports teams and brands can promote environments of equality that elevate their brands and expand their reach to wider audiences. A sport manager’s work can positively impact an industry after past scandals of harassment, intolerance, and discrimination. These topics are important to fans, athletes, and other professionals. Sport managers help develop inclusion policies and create welcoming voices that make the sports world safe, productive, and open to all.

In-Person Experiences for Fans

When people consider what sport management is, they often think it relates to professional sports teams and the experience of attending large sporting events, and this is an important and a highly visible aspect of sport management. Enhancing the fan experience is an ever-present, exciting challenge for these professionals. Creating a game worth attending—as opposed to watching on the couch or in a public venue—leads to activities like booking pregame shows, scheduling postgame celebrations, and arranging prize giveaways. In collaboration with marketing professionals and others, sport managers work to define their teams and set them apart from others, as well as entice fans to experience the sport in a new way.

Learn More About Preparing for a Career in Sport Management

What is sport management but an exciting career path for professionals interested in athletics, marketing, and high-level organizational structure and planning. Preparing for a sport management career is about so much more than knowing the game rules; it’s about having a firm understanding of topics that influence the industry, such as law, finance, and marketing. It’s about gaining experience through internships, advanced study, and entry-level work. And it’s about making the sports world a more exciting, inviting place for all.

Study at the postgraduate level by completing LSU Online’s Master of Science in Kinesiology with a specialization in Sport Management program. Find out more about the university’s degree program and how it can take your skills to the next level, so you can pursue your sport management career dreams.

Discover LSU Online's Masters in Kinesiology with a specialization in Sport Management program.

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