Sports Management, Marketing, and Communications Careers

Coach in the lockerroom

Inti St Clair / Digital Vision / Getty Images

Have you dreamed of sinking that game-winning basket at the Boston Garden or hitting a home run at Yankee Stadium? Some of us have the ability to do that, but if you are not one of the talented few physically gifted enough to earn a living in professional sports, you should consider other ways to pursue your passion for sports. Check out some of the options worth considering in the field of sports management, marketing, and communication, and tips for grooming your background while in college or high school so you can enter the field.

Sports Career Options

There are many niches within the field to consider depending on your skills and interests. For folks with strong writing skills and a nose for a good story consider sports information at a college or sports journalism for a website (think ESPN), magazine, newspaper, TV or radio station. Communications and publicity staff also work for sports teams, individual athletes, leagues, athletic venues, and corporate sponsors.

Those with a strong voice, confident presence, and in-depth sports knowledge might consider working as an announcer for a team or media outlet. Those with a knack for staging productions might explore a behind the camera position as a producer for sports programs.

Those with a keen sense of marketing and promotion, event management, and organizational skills as well as a creative flair should consider sports marketing, event planning, promotion, and advertising. Employers include sports marketing firms, advertising agencies, teams, leagues, athletic venues and sponsorship divisions of corporate marketing departments.

Individuals with assertive personalities, persuasive abilities, strong verbal skills, a competitive nature and the ability to bounce back from rejection might consider being an advertising salesperson for a sports-oriented television or radio station, magazine, newspaper, website or a sports venue.

Sports agents also draw upon a similar skill set. Sporting goods salespeople at the retail and manufacturer level use persuasive and customer service skills to promote sports merchandise to individuals, teams, and retail establishments.

A broad range of other jobs exists for those with numerical skills, financial ability, technology expertise, and administrative ability including statistician, accountant, financial analyst, retail store manager, human resources, information technologist, and web designer. The sports media, teams, leagues and sports-oriented corporations are the chief employers of people in these fields.

Sports Management, Marketing, and Communications Careers

So now that we've identified some of the options, here are some tips for high school or college students to lay the groundwork for a sports management, communications, or marketing career:

  1. Sign on for a position with your school's newspaper, radio or television station and write or produce stories and content about your school's teams and athletes.
  2. Develop a concept for a sports talk show at your school's radio or television station.
  3. Take on a position announcing or producing broadcasts of athletic contests at your school.
  4. Approach the sports information director at your college and ask if there are ways you can support their efforts to track, monitor, and report on sporting events and the accomplishments of your college's athletes and teams. If you are mathematically oriented ask to work on stats. If you are technically or artistically-oriented, consider helping with the sports-oriented aspects of the website.
  5. Speak to the athletic director and/or coaches at your school and discuss ways you could help promote sporting events and increase attendance.
  6. For those interested in sales, consider advertising positions with your college newspaper, yearbook or magazine.
  7. Consider interning during the semester or summer for local newspapers, radio, or television stations. Contact the sports editor or sports director for communications positions or the advertising director or marketing manager for sales/marketing positions.
  8. Consider a sports team internship. Virtually all sports organizations like teams, leagues, or sports venues utilize interns heavily. Contact promotion and marketing directors, general managers, and public relations officers with minor league teams in sports of interest in your area as well as sports venues and league offices.
  9. Take as many marketing courses as possible and participate in marketing competitions if you are interested in promotion, advertising, or public relations.
  10. Complete writing intensive coursework to help build a portfolio of writing pieces if you would like to focus on reporting or content development jobs.
  11. Approach local sports marketing firms and agencies and inquire about internships.
  12. Contact your college career office and ask for the names of contacts in the sports industry. Approach them for informational interviews. If you hit it off nicely ask if you could shadow them during a school break. Ask them for suggestions about jobs and internships.

If you follow some of these suggestions and make the most of your high school and college years, you will move closer to developing an exciting career in sports.

Sports Job Titles

Here are some sports-related job options.

  • Academic Adviser: Athletics
  • Account Executive
  • Aquatics Director
  • Assistant Athletic Director
  • Assistant Coach
  • Assistant General Manager
  • Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Associate Athletic Director
  • Associate Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Athletic Director
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Broadcaster 
  • Coach (Soccer, Tennis, Baseball etc.)
  • Color Analyst
  • Community Relations Director
  • Corporate Sales Director
  • Corporate Salesperson
  • Defensive Coordinator
  • Director of Fitness and Wellness 
  • Equipment Manager
  • Event Coordinator
  • Facilities Manager
  • Fitness Instructor 
  • Front Desk Attendant
  • Front Desk Manager
  • General Manager
  • Golf Pro
  • Groundskeeper
  • Group Sales Account Executive
  • Intramural Director
  • Maintenance Worker
  • Marketing Assistant
  • Marketing Director
  • Membership Salesperson
  • Offensive Coordinator
  • Official
  • Performance Coach
  • Personal Trainer
  • Physical Therapist for Sports Medicine Practice
  • Producer
  • Publicist
  • Public Relations Director
  • Referee
  • Scout
  • Site Manager
  • Skating Instructor
  • Ski Instructor
  • Sports Camp Activities Director
  • Sporting Goods Sales
  • Sports Agent
  • Sports Camp Activities Specialist (Basketball, Lacrosse, Volleyball etc.)
  • Sports Camp Counselor
  • Sports Camp Director
  • Sports Information Director
  • Sports Information Officer
  • Sports Lawyer
  • Sports Physician
  • Sporting Goods Store Manager
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Team Manager
  • Tennis Pro 
  • Travel Secretary
  • Umpire
  • Yoga Teacher

Sports Management Major Skills

Here's a list of the skills that employers seek when hiring sports management majors. Highlight the skills you acquired during your studies, internships, and jobs held during college in your cover letters, resume and job applications.

  • Analytics
  • Analyzing financial issues at sports entities
  • Analyzing legal issues within the sports sector
  • Analyzing sports management cases
  • Applying ethical principles to sports issues
  • Arguing a viewpoint
  • Attention to detail
  • Business to business marketing tactics
  • Collaboration 
  • Collecting data to test hypotheses 
  • Composing biographical copy about athletes
  • Constructing financial statements for sports companies
  • Coordinate events
  • Critically assess the contributions of group members 
  • Decision Making
  • Delivering constructive feedback
  • Developing hypothesis about sports management 
  • Devising ticket pricing parameters for sporting events
  • Evaluating performance contracts for sports employees 
  • Evaluate players
  • Evaluate statistics
  • Evaluating the validity of sports management research studies
  • Event management
  • Facilitating group discussions
  • Interpreting data generated from independent sports management research
  • Interviewing coaches and athletes to gather content for publicity
  • Leadership
  • Mathematical
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Multitasking
  • Negotiating
  • Organizational
  • PowerPoint
  • Presentation 
  • Problem Solving
  • Promoting sports events
  • Proposing solutions to problems confronting sports organizations
  • Public Relations
  • Receiving criticism 
  • Recognizing emerging trends in the sports industry
  • Recruiting
  • Selling to groups
  • Social media
  • Sponsorships
  • Sports marketing
  • Sports writing
  • Statistical 
  • Strategies for developing and managing sports facilities
  • Strategies for marketing spots entities
  • Stress management 
  • Teamwork
  • Time management 
  • Utilizing information technology to enhance productivity in sports organizations 
  • Utilizing social media to develop fan base
  • Verbal communication 
  • Written communication
  • Writing press releases
  • Writing research papers about sports management issues