About the Author: Sandra Evans owns the website Sports Management Degrees. In her leisure time, she enjoys playing tennis and writing.
Most people only think of general managers when they think of sports management, but there are many other sectors in the business of sports. As you can see from the recent lockouts, professional sports are really all about one thing; making money. There are many ways to increase the flow of money to a sports franchise, and sports management involves maximizing all those ways.
Without fans in the seats, players can’t be paid, and the franchise will go bankrupt. There are three main ways to keep fans in the seats; sale tickets, give good customer service and entertainment and win games. General managers work to win games, sales managers work to sale tickets and event managers work to provide fans with a great experience that will keep them coming back to watch live games.
When you first start out in a career in sports management, you will more than likely work on the sales and event side of the business in an entry-level position. These positions are not glamorous, and they don’t pay well. But, hey, you have to start somewhere.
When it comes to “starting” your career in sports management, you should actually begin this process while still in school by finding an internship or volunteer opportunity. This can be with your college’s athletic department or with a nearby professional sports team. When it’s time to get your first job, employers will always hire the recent grad with previous experience over the recent grad with no internship or volunteer experience.
So, what kind of entry-level positions can you expect to work in?
Sales positions are all about getting people to buy tickets. You will make cold calls to sale tickets to previous season ticket holders and others who have purchased tickets in the past. You will also participate in other sales and marketing events that are designed to help boost ticket sales for the team. An entry-level position in sports sales and marketing can lead to a higher position in corporate sales, sales data analysis, business development or Director of Sales.
In event management, you will likely start out helping those who organize pre-game and halftime activities. More than likely, you will be need to be present at every home game to participate in these activities (handing out poster, t-shirts, managing halftime games, etc). Higher positions in event management include event manager and Director of Event Management.
Customer service (which is part of events) is another great area to start out in sports management. As a customer service representative, you will be responsible for making sure that all customers with reserved box seats or VIP lounges are satisfied. Entry-level positions usually involve working with the customer pre-game to organize the set-up of their reserved area and event. You will also be the customer’s point of contact to make any changes or to resolve any conflicts during or after the event.
You should expect to work in an entry-level position for some time before moving up to the next step on the ladder. As with all employment opportunities, hard work and dedication always leads to bigger and better job titles. Once you have gained a good deal of experience in your entry-level position, keep a look out for better opportunities with your current employer or with another sports team. Sports management is a tricky field. It may not seem fair, but many teams look to hire previous athletes as general managers and staff. This is not a rule, however. As long as you stay active in your current job and network with those on the higher-level, nothing can stop you from reaching your dream.
If there is a particular sports management position you are interested in pursuing, then do the necessary homework to make it happen. Call a general manager or staff member and ask if you can speak to them about the job. Ask them how they found their way to the position and what skills they think you should have to succeed in the job. Make your career goals known to your manager and director. Lastly, show your loyalty to the business. Volunteer to help at home games after work, and go the extra mile by initiating projects and suggesting ways to do your job better.
For more information on finding the right Sports Management Degree program for you, visit www.SportsManagementDegrees.net.