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Arkansas State University

Learn Sport Finance and Budgeting with a Master’s Degree in Sport Administration

If you love sports and would like to use that passion to secure a dependable career in sports administration, studying finance in sports may be your ticket. While it may sound unconnected, finance is an essential aspect of sports administration, and teams and organizations around the world rely on capable financial administrators to operate successfully. So while a background in sports is an attractive quality in administrative candidates, employers also value experience with budgets, accounting and financial planning. Whether you want to work as a college sports department administrator, the director of a nonprofit sports program, a sports club financial planner, or even a parks and recreation program administrator, you will need to develop and oversee your organization’s finances. Earning a master’s degree in sport administration is a sound way to master the financial aspects of sports organizations.

The Importance of Finance in Sports

The first step in understanding finance in sports is realizing that sports organizations are businesses. Every business needs a well-developed and well-executed financial plan. Administrators’ decisions directly affect the income and expenses of professional sports teams, recreational youth development programs, and outdoor education and adventure therapy organizations, among others.

Sports Budget

Balancing a budget is a detailed, time-intensive task. Whether the responsibility falls to a director, financial planner, accountant or even a coach, overseeing the budget is foremost among sports administrators’ responsibilities. Hiring and organizing staff, monitoring monthly and annual expenses, keeping track of petty cash, and developing and meeting income goals are all part of an administrator’s financial responsibilities.

The Need for Financial Planning

Large organizations like the National Football League and the National Basketball Association deal with immensely complex revenue streams that include income from television, radio, team franchises, ticket sales and many other sources. Because these organizations are, first and foremost, businesses, administrators manage every detail of income and expense very carefully. Collegiate sports administrators deal with similar forms of income and expense, but they must also consider budget allotments from their institutions, scholarship programs for students from low-income families and many other complex factors.

A less well-known aspect of finance in sports is that it is not limited to for-profit sports leagues and teams with multi-million dollar budgets. Any sports-related nonprofit entities, like parks and recreation programs or therapeutic outdoors programs for at-risk youth, also rely on carefully planned budgets that balance revenue sources like grants and city funding with expenses like staff salaries, transportation, equipment, food and much more.

Understanding finance in sports is a necessary aspect of launching a successful career in sports administration. While your desire for this career may stem more from your love of sports than your passion for turning a profit, financial understanding is key to any such organization’s success. Candidates pursuing a master’s degree in sports administration can develop the financial know-how to become professionals in this exciting field.

Learn more about the A-State online Master of Science in Sport Administration program.

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