|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree; graduate degree for advancement|
|Degree Field(s)||Business, marketing, sports management, or law|
|License/Certification||Varies by state|
|Experience||Internship or experience within the sport|
|Key Skills||Communication, organizational, public relations, marketing, negotiation, and business skills|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)||$95,810 (for agents and business managers of artists, performers, athletes and other public figures)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Sports managers handle the basic organization and scheduling of their clients. Both individual athletes and entire organizations hire sports managers to see that everything off the field goes smoothly. To become a sports manager it's helpful to have a bachelor's degree, a related internship, or experience within the sport. Graduate level degrees in sports management might enhance job prospects in this career. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), agents and business managers of artists, performers, athletes and other public figures earned a mean annual salary of $95,810 in 2015.
A sports manager has numerous responsibilities that revolve around making it easier for their clients to focus on winning without worrying about the business or organization side of sports. Unlike sports agents, managers don't focus on contracts for their clients, instead managers ensure that their clients are getting the proper attention and training to allow them to compete at their highest level. Sports managers are hired at a variety of venues including academic institutions, amateur and professional leagues, sporting goods companies, and even sports marketing firms.
The duties of a sports manager can range widely depending on his or her clientele. Some sports managers are responsible for an individual athlete and keeping them in good mental and physical health. This can mean doing everything from hiring trainers to working out issues between the team and the player. The manager is somewhat of a spokesperson for their client, charged with making sure all their needs are met and that they're in the best possible position to succeed. This also means they must work with the media to ensure their clients are getting a good image. They must make sure that all aspects of the athlete's life are organized well and that they are getting the recognition they deserve.
For a sports manager of a team or organization the duties are quite different. Working with an entire organization the manager must be sure that the vast network that is required to run the operation is working well together and organized correctly. He or she are responsible for smoothing out any conflicts between departments and overseeing the inner workings of the organization. This involves working as intermediary between the owners and players, working with the marketing division to give the team a good public image, and keeping the right balance of employees to make everything function smoothly.
There are many different avenues to take to becoming a sports manager, but there are a few common advantages that can help someone get hired to manage. Many sports managers have a college degree in a field related to managing, such as business, marketing, or law. Additionally, some colleges and universities offer master's degrees in sports management, and earning this graduate degree might enhance job prospects. Many sports managers have to start with an internship with the organization and work their way up to managing. Experience within a sport can be a big help as well, as many former athletes go on to manage after their playing days are through. To become a sports manager it's important to have a good business sense and the ability to communicate and negotiate in serious discussions about big issues.