Career Definition of a Sports Facility Manager
Sports facility managers generally oversee and manage leisure centers, gyms, or other sports facilities, such as practice courts, swimming pools, indoor climbing centers, etc. Common duties will typically include preparing current financials for the owner of the facility, managing staff and inventory, as well as ordering supplies, equipment and scheduled maintenance or repairs. Depending on the size of the facility and the number of staff available, facilities managers may also be in charge of human resources, which could include recruitment, training, employee scheduling, and other employee-related duties. They may even develop marketing strategies, advertising, pricing policies, and be a point of contact to ensure visitors to the facilities receive positive customer service throughout their stay.
With all these duties in mind, it's clear that sports facility management could be a quite varied position. Typically, managers will work onsite, working directly with their employees and potentially interacting with customers. It would be normal for a facilities manager to work regular business hours, but weekends and early mornings may also be high traffic times for customers. Some managers may take a hands-on approach, creating classes and schedules, directing front desk staff, and overseeing training. It may also be possible for a facilities manager to take a more operational approach, hiring the appropriate employees for the day-to-day running of the facility and focusing more on the financial, marketing, and goal-setting aspects of the facility.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree or, potentially, equivalent work experience within the industry|
|Job Skills||Communication Skills, Leadership, Time Management|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$105,610 (managers, all other)|
|Job Outlook (2016-26)*||9% (recreation workers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics
Depending on the size and scope of the facility, some employers may require a formal degree in the areas of business administration, or management. Candidates could potentially improve their employment outlook by pursuing a more specialized degree: bachelor's degree and graduate programs in recreation and sports administration or sports management are available at multiple universities.
Some employers may accept prior industry experience over a formal education, knowledge of the business itself could be crucial, and an hourly employee may be able to seek promotion based on their experience with the day-to-day upkeep of the facility. Potential candidates who have an interest and knowledge in the particular specialty of their prospective facility will also likely do well on the job.
Individuals seeking a career in sports facility management will need to possess great flexibility to cope with the many tasks involved in the day-to-day operation of the facility. Skills in personnel management, training, leadership, and communication will certainly be necessary. Other skills, such as customer service, budgeting, minor maintenance or repair skills, and planning skills may be useful and/or required. As previously noted, a prior background knowledge of the sport/s available at the facility will likely be a pre-requisite.
Career Outlook & Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment in the recreation industry will grow by 9% from 2016-2026. Managers, of course, only make up a small percentage of overall employees in this field, but the appetite for sports and recreation in the United States continues to grow, as expendable income increases, and sport and exercise in general remains a hobby for nearly 20% of Americans in 2015.
Salaries for a sports facility manager may vary based on facility size, membership base, and the potential specialty of the sports in question. However, the salary may also be commensurate with experience, and the size of the company itself (whether a single-location specialized facility, or a chain location, for example). The BLS reports that the median salary for managers, all other category as of May 2017 is $105,610.