The sports industry is worth billions of dollars across the world. Every successful sports organization has many highly talented and experienced business managers to keep the business running profitably.
Earning an MBA in Sports Management is a very versatile business degree option that can prepare you for many different careers in sports management and administration. No matter if you decide to work for a high school, college or professional team, or to work with a sports-related company, there are many good reasons to earn an MBA in this field.
What Is a Sport Management MBA?
An MBA in sport management is a two year master’s degree that provides you with the skills you need to excel in many types of sports and athletic-related organizations. Graduating with this master’s degree will prepare you to manage effectively in many settings related to sports, such as college athletics, amateur and professional sports, and sports marketing organizations.
Students in this MBA program will typically focus on the business management side of organizations that are focused largely on sports. You might use this MBA to get a job to manage the operation of a sports facility, or to develop sports-related merchandise. Both of these areas have seen plenty of growth in the last several years, and need highly qualified sports management managers.
Marketing and branding are very important in this MBA program, because branding is what drives fan loyalty and profitability in sports, whether the team is at the collegiate or professional level.
Depending upon the type of program you enter, you will study finance law, sports event management, communication and social media awareness.
One of the things to know about in this field is that you can earn either an MBA in sports management, or a master of science in sports management. What is the difference?
Usually the MBA will teach you more specialized knowledge that you will need to know to grasp the processes and operations behind the sports business. You will learn how all of the basics of business management apply to sports organizations, including finance, marketing, statistics, accounting, operations and HR.
On the other hand, the master of science takes a more of a multidisciplinary approach. It will teach you to look at the sports business from various business and operational points of view. Core courses also may be in finance, accounting, management and marketing. However, the MS degree will look at these topics more from the more limited point of view of a sports administrator or upper level manager.
An MS also may have more social science courses such as psychology, sociology and human performance.
You also will find more professionals in an MBA program who have interests outside of sports management. Generally, an MS program is much more focused just on sports business, and everyone who is in that program will be looking to have an exclusive sports management career.
For admission into an sports management MBA program, you will likely need to meet these requirements:
- Updated resume with several years of sports-related work experience
- 0 GPA or higher
- GMAT or GRE scores are usually required
- Three professional references, or three professor references
- Copies of transcripts
Types of Courses to Expect
Choosing to get your MBA in sports management will require you to have much more than just enthusiasm for various sports. Your success in the business of sports depends upon your dedication to learning essential sports business skills in your MBA program. You can expect to take courses in your MBA program that deal with diverse areas such as global sports, digital sports marketing and media, and sports analytics.
One of the universities that you should consider for your master’s program is Columbia University’s MBA in Sports Management. This program consists of 36 credit hours, and the core classes include an overview of vital sports business concepts and practices, and how they apply in the real world.
Also, you have the opportunity to choose classes from three major concentrations:
- Global Sports: This will provide you with a better understanding of the many similarities and differences between the US and international sports business. You will be studying complex legal issues that typically face large sporting events overseas. You will then compare this to the US model, and also will discuss emerging markets.
- Sports Analytics: These courses will teach you how to analyze, interpret and make important decisions that are based upon business data. You will need to show that you have the ability to think critically regarding sports business issues.
- Digital Sports Media: This is a very fast-growing area of the sports management business. This concentration provides you with a good grasp of communications practices and techniques, the most important parts of sponsorship packages and how to keep up with the quickly changing digital landscape in sports.
All students who complete either the online or in person program are required to complete an internship so that you can more completely explore a topic that is related to sports management.
The specific courses you will take in this master’s program are:
- SPRT PS5220. Foundations of American Sport
- SPRT PS5410. Leadership and Personnel Management in the Sports Industry
- SPRT PS5360. Sports Accounting and Finance
- SPRT PS5460. Sports Law and Ethics
- SPRT PS5470. International Comparative Sports Law
Career Path and Salary
The career path for a person interested in sports management is difficult in some cases because there is a very high interest in working in collegiate and professional sports.
One of the most common jobs for people who are interesting in sports management is to become a public relations specialist or professional. Many in the sports management industry work as public relations professionals.
Currently, it is anticipated that employment for PR professionals will increase by six percent by 2024, which is about average when compared to all jobs. It is thought that the increase in need for social media professionals will increase the demand for public relations professionals in the sports professions.
It also is possible that the demand for sports management professionals in the PR are will increase in demand as the economy improves. It is believed that as the economy gets better and people have more money to spend on leisure, this can drive the demand for more sports management professionals at the professional and collegiate levels.
Some professionals in this field get their foot in the door in the industry by working for a high school team, or for the athletic department of a high school.
Pay for all public relations professionals was $56,700 in 2015, but the top 10% usually with a master’s degree in business could earn more than $110,000 per year.