Sports Management: an Emerging field

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1 Sports Management: an Emerging field Prof. Rajesh Tripathi Chairman All India Council of Physical Education, New Delhi Sport management is a field of education concerning the business aspect of sport. Some examples of sport managers include the front office system in professional sports, college sports managers, recreational sport managers, sports marketing, event management, facility management, sports economics, sport finance, and sports information. Many colleges and universities offer bachelors and masters degrees in sport management. Sport management involves any combination of skills related to planning, organizing, directing, controlling, budgeting, leading, and evaluating within the context of an organization or department whose primary product or service is related to sport or physical activity (DeSensi, Kelley, Blanton and Beitel, 20003). Sport managers carry out these skills in a variety of organizational settings (for example): college sports; professional sports; amateur sports (Olympics); sport marketing and management firms; sport communications and news media firms; corporate sponsorship and advertising firms; sporting goods firms; arenas, stadium, and civic centers; community recreation sports programs; social service agency sports programs (YMCA, YWCA, JCC); private club sports programs; and military sports programs. According to Parkhouse (2005), the most recent research on the economic impact of sport identifies it as a $213 billion-a-year industry, making it the sixth largest industry in the United States ( The answer is, Sports Business Journal, p.23, December 1999). The wide range of organizational settings where sports occur means that individuals can select and pursue careers in the kind of work environment of their choice and for which they are best suited (public/private organization; profit/non-profit organization; professional/amateur sports; participation/spectator sports). Besides traditional sports, the sports industry now involves new alternative, action, and extreme sports (skateboarding, boogie boarding, ice climbing, snow kayaking, etc) and new professional sports, especially for women. An upsurge in the numbers and variety of sports publications, sports related internet sites, and enhanced mass media presentation and exposure of sports events and activities is resulting in an increase in the need for individuals with special qualifications in sport communications/media. Hence, some sport management programs now offer courses in sport communications/media and there are a few programs of study (majors) now being offered in sport communications/media. Likewise, growth in the number and variety of specialized sports facilities, an increase in sports tourism and adventure travel, the rapid progression of the globalization of sports, and the provision of sport related goods and services for diverse market segments, is contributing to the continued growth of the sports industry. These developments ensure that the sports industry will continue to rank among the largest and most diverse industries in the nation, thereby, sustaining career opportunities for the future. Individuals who want to pursue a sport management career should pursue an academic degree program that provides them with a thorough understanding of sport, business/management, and significant and meaningful practical work experiences related to managing sport organizations/events. A major in sport management is preferable to completing a minor or 6

2 concentration in sport management where the degree is actually earned by fulfilling academic requirements in a related academic discipline, for example: physical education, human movement, business administration; management; communications. Since the sports industry is so large and diverse, it is possible to pursue some specialized degree programs for specific segments of the sports industry, for example: golf management; sport communications/media; sports tourism/travel/hospitality. High school courses in the area of business, (sport) marketing, economics, (sport) sociology, (sport) psychology, (sport) history, mathematics, and (business) statistics are useful to complete in preparing to study sport management in college. Likewise, playing varsity sports, participating in school sports organizations/clubs and assisting with school sports events or clinics is highly valued since it provides individuals with strong sports backgrounds and leadership experiences. Other work experiences that individuals can obtain to strengthen their backgrounds in preparing to study sport management in college include: officiating sports; coaching youth sports camps/clinics, assisting with the management and operations of sport camps/clinics; serving as a volunteer worker with professional sport teams/events; serving as a volunteer worker with college/amateur sports teams, camps, clinics, or events. Since the sports industry is so large and diverse, a wide range of career opportunities exist in a wide range of organizational settings as mentioned in the section titled Definition and Nature of Field. Some examples of career opportunities for some of the management function areas in the sports industry include: Administration: Owner; General Manager; Executive Director; Vice President; President/Founder; Athletic Director. Communications/Media: Vice President for Sports Communications; Media Relations Assistant; Sport Video Manager; Sports Video Production Assistant; Assistant Manager for Sports Web Page/Internet Site. Facilities & Events: Executive Director of Facility Operations and Entertainment; Facility Manager; Special Events Director; Event Coordinator; Food and Beverage Manager; Special Events Promotion Manager; Customer Relations Manager; Guest Services Manager. Finance: Vice President for Finance; Associate Athletic Director for Finance; Ticket Manager; Accounting Manager; Director of Corporate Sales; Manager of Group Sales. Law: General Counsel; Assistant General Counsel; Sports Agent; Vice President for Labor Relations; Sports Arbitrator/Mediator; Special Events Contract Lawyer; International Sport Lawyer; Intellectual Properties Lawyer. Marketing: Vice President for Marketing; Director of Marketing; Director of Special Events and Promotions; Director of New Business Development; Director of Fan Development; Corporate Sales Manager; Tournament Operations Manager. 7

3 Public Relations: Vice President for Public Relations; Director of Sports Information; Director of Sports Publicity; Director of Sports Media; Director of Community Relations; Corporate Communications Assistant. Travel/Tourism: Tournament Planner; Guest Relations Specialist; Adventure Travel Coordinator; Travel/Tour Guide; Special Events Coordinator. SCOPE OF SPORT MANAGEMENT The basis of most sport management professional preparation programs revolves around an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approach. Fields of study such as physical education, sport, business, computers, and communications are all intricately intertwined in the preparation of future sport managers and administrators. In fact, Sutton (1989) refers to sport management as a hybrid field of study in that it encompasses so many other disciplines. Sport management programs can prepare students to become generalists or specialists. The professional preparation curriculum typically consists of three basic components: Cognate or foundation classes, which are related to the discipline of sport management and can include courses in communications; interpersonal relations; business; accounting; finance; economics; statistics; and the historical, sociological, psychological, kinesiological, and philosophical perspectives of sport (Stier, 1993). Specialty or major courses, which are the core, applied courses geared specifically to sport management (Brassie, 1989). Examples include introduction to sport management, sport management theory, sport marketing, fundraising, promotions, public relations, ethics in sport management, legal aspects of sport, facility planning and management, computer applications to sport, research methods, sport management problems and issues, and risk management. Field experience, which is included in almost all undergraduate and graduate programs (Sutton, 1989). This may take the form of a practicum or internship. A practicum is usually a preinternship, part-time field experience taken while the student is still pursuing cognate or specialty classes. An internship is taken when all or a majority of specialty and cognate courses have been completed. This experience is usually full-time, and the student is expected to provide meaningful assistance to the intern site. The internship is the quintessential learning experience for the sport management student (National Association, 1987). CAREER AND EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES An estimate was made in 1991 that there existed approximately 4.5 million sports jobs at all levels in the United States. These were in marketing (1.5 million), entrepreneurship (1.15 million), administration (500,000), representation (370,000), media (300,000), and other sportsrelated areas (720,000) (Markiewicz, 1991). Although there is seemingly a wealth of job opportunities in sport, the competition for these positions has been and will remain severe. And, many of these positions involve extremely low pay in comparison to the amount of work expected. Career paths in sport management can include athletic team management, finance, sports medicine/athletic training, journalism, 8

4 broadcasting, public relations, development and fund raising, sports information, facility management, cardiovascular fitness and wellness administration, aquatics management, among others. THE FUTURE OF SPORTS MANAGEMENT Sport is big business today and will remain so in the future. In fact, sports revenues are approaching the $70 billion mark in the United States and other countries. As a result, there is an ever increasing need for professionals trained in the managerial, administrative, and business aspects of sport (Stier, 1993). The undergraduate sport management specialization offers professional preparation in the application of business principles to the sport industry. Students will complete a degree program that includes courses in accounting, management, marketing, economics, and computer applications. Sport management courses will focus on the business aspects of sport in culture, sports information, interscholastic intercollegiate and professional sports, facility management, sport ethics, sport marketing, sport law, and sport finance. Sport management positions carry a variety of job titles. Program directors in community sport programs, marketing and promotions director, academic services for student-athletics, corporate sales director, director of ticketing and finance, sporting goods sales representative, intramural director of campus recreation, facilities coordinator, athletic director, compliance director, athletic business manager, and fitness manager are all sport management titles. Job responsibilities vary with the type of organization, area of the sport industry, and level of management. All involve business aspects of sport, and normally include hour work weeks, including night and weekend hours of employment. Job duties may involve working with corporations in special event promotions and sponsorships. It may also include accounting, ticketing, and financial operations of a sporting event or program. Additional responsibilities might include developing a risk management plan for dealing with current legal issues in sport. The sport manager may be involved in facility and event management, sport broadcasting and media relations, or the sales of sporting goods and licensed sport products. The career field of sport management is extremely competitive. The majority of jobs will require a practicum for hands on experience in the industry. Undergraduate practicum usually does not pay; however, academic credit hours are earned toward graduation and the opportunity to network and learn from professions in the field is provided. Beginning salary ranges in educational institutions may range from $18,000 to $25,000. Minor league professional sport starting positions will usually pay in the low 20 s. Sporting goods jobs are often composed of basic salary plus commissions. The opportunity to advance within the professional is usually present, with the 1994 Team Marketing Report stating the following average salaries: vicepresident of marketing at the major league level earning $114,444; director of marketing - major league level: $76,785; general manager, minor league: $62,500; and assistant general manager, minor league: $35,166. 9

5 There are many benefits in working sport management jobs. The opportunity to work with people who share a common bond of the love of sport provides an enjoyable work setting. Health and wellness benefits are usually excellent in this field. The sport industry has grown dramatically in the past decade and promises to continue to expand. Jobs in marketing and promotions, sports information, academic student services, and development within intercollegiate sports are often available. Other employment opportunities exist in professional sports with event management and community relations. Still others employment options exist in sporting goods, sports agents, arena management, and interscholastic athletic administration. References:- 1. Georgetown University MPS in Sports Industry Management 2. NYU MS in Sport Business 3. Saint Leo University Sport Business Degree Websites:

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