Sports Management Degrees Prepare You for the Business Big Leagues

There’s a reason why sports superstars like A-Rod can make a gazillion dollars a year. The main one being that the sports business industry is more than twice the size of the U.S. auto industry and seven times the size of the movie industry. In fact, according to Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal annual survey, sports is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the United States, estimated at $213 billion in 2002. Interested in sharing the wealth in a career related to your passion for all things sports, even if you’re not a superstar third baseman? If so, be prepared to complete a thorough business spring training within a reputable sports management degree program.

Step Up to the Sports Management Degree Plate

“The sports industry is clearly big business,” attests Dr. Sharianne Walker, chair of the Sports Management Program at Western New England College. “The reality is that those in sports management careers deal more with dollars and cents than goals scored or RBIs.”

In other words, in order to succeed in the sports management industry, a student must know much more than the lifetime batting average of Cal Ripken Jr. “You need solid business skills, sport industry experience and sport industry contacts/network,” says Walker. ” It is important for students to look at academic programs that provide them with an opportunity to build all three.” In addition, she says, you should find ways to distinguish yourself from among other rookies in sports management careers.

“It is particularly important for students to demonstrate that they have had industry experience. This can be done through internships, practicum, class-based industry projects, working within the college’s athletic department and/or other volunteer work with sport organizations,” suggests Walker.

Sports Management Careers: Which Position Will You Play?

By earning a sports management degree, you’ll be setting yourself up for a plethora of career opportunities. From professional sports and college-level athletics, to health and fitness organizations, there are many sports management careers beyond the ball field. One common thread, however, is that your business skills stats must be of big league caliber.

“Students need to know how to sell tickets, develop sponsorships and create innovative revenue streams for the sport organization,” says Walker. “Sport employers are also looking for problem-solving skills, technological savvy, communication skills, willingness to work hard, and the ability to get along with people and cultivate relationships.”

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