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You Don’t Have to Be an Athlete to Work in Sports

Have you always dream of being involved in the world of sports? Becoming a professional athlete is an arduous process — it often depends on chance and uncertainty. Sometimes, even incredibly talented athletes do not get picked up by professional or collegiate teams. If you have always wanted to work in sports but do not want to become a professional athlete, you have options.

What Are My Options?

Athletes make up only a small portion of the people in the sports industry. While athletes enjoy the spotlight, an army of people stands behind them, making the entire operation possible.

A sports administration career allows you to be part of the sports industry while also enjoying the flexibility of various jobs over time. If you love working with athletes and sports teams, consider pursuing a career as an athletic director, general manager or public relations specialist. If you love the thrill and excitement of sporting events, perhaps a career as a tournament planner, special event manager, ticket manager or guest services director would be a good fit for you. Other sports administration careers include marketing director, facility manager, media relations director, advertising executive, operations manager and sports researcher.

What Can I Earn Working in Sports?

A sports administration career offers salaries ranging from $30,000 for entry-level positions to over $100,000 for experienced executives and specialists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), coaches and scouts earn an average of $40,050 annually, with higher salaries available in professional-caliber sports. Public relations specialists work with specific teams or sports organizations to create a positive image in the public eye. There were 218,910 public relations specialist jobs in 2015, and these professionals earned an average of $65,830 per year. The number of marketing and promotions management jobs is growing faster than average and marketing managers earned a 2015 median salary of $124,850 per year.

Depending on what kind of sports administration career you want, you can choose from a variety of positions and environments. For more information about careers in sports and their average salaries, see the BLS’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.

How Can I Get Into Working in Sports?

Pursuing a career in sports requires a strong working knowledge of the sports industry, and that education is available in a reputable sports administration graduate program. At Arkansas State University, you can earn a Master of Science in Sport Administration degree, which will prepare you for any path you choose to take in the sports industry.

Classes like ESPE 6123 Sport Marketing and ESPE 6143 Sport Communications will teach you how to navigate the challenging world of public relations, branding, promotions and sport media. Other classes such as ESPE 6113 Sport Law and ESPE 6163 Sport Governance and Operations will give you an advanced understanding of the policies, procedures and legal issues you will encounter in your sports administration career. After earning your M.S. in Sport Administration, you will be ready to achieve your goals in the world of sports.

Once you have the education and skills you need to enter the sports industry, you can begin making connections by attending sport-related events and conferences. Volunteer to work at local sporting events and attend important sports conferences to meet people already working in the field. When you are ready to pursue your first job in sports, you will have a better understanding of the current landscape awaiting you.

Joining the world of sports does not always require you to don a helmet or jersey. There are thousands of men and women working in sports administration careers today, and you can too.

Learn more about the A-State online MS in Sport Administration program.


Bureau of Labor Statistics: Entertainment and Sports Occupations

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Coaches and Scouts

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Public Relations Specialists

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

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