How To Become a Sports Marketing Manager: Steps and Tips

Updated July 21, 2022

To grow their fanbase and develop important partnerships with other businesses, sports organizations rely on sports marketing managers. These marketing professionals play a vital role in helping a sports organization grow. If you have an interest in sports and want to enter the business side of the industry, you might consider becoming a sports marketing manager. In this article, we discuss what a sports marketing manager does along with steps you can follow to become one.

What is a sports marketing manager?

A sports marketing manager is a marketing professional in an upper management position with a sports organization. They are responsible for overseeing the marketing operations of their organization, with the goal of bringing more people into events, engaging fans and establishing relationships with potential sponsors or business partners. Sports marketing managers focus on developing brand loyalty to help ensure that fans remain long-term customers.

Related: 10 Jobs You Can Find in Sports Marketing

What does a sports marketing manager do?

The duties of a sports marketing manager can vary depending on the type and size of the organization they work for. However, some common duties include:

  • Determining a target audience

  • Conducting research into the target audience

  • Devising a marketing strategy

  • Implementing strategies to increase brand loyalty

  • Identifying potential partners and sponsors

  • Developing relationships with business partners and sponsors

  • Running social media accounts

  • Creating advertisements and advertising campaigns

  • Managing a team of marketing professionals

  • Analyzing the results of current marketing strategies

  • Interviewing players or other sports professionals

  • Researching and testing new trends in marketing

Sports marketing manager work environment

Sports marketing managers spend the majority of their time working from an office. They may spend their days conducting research online, devising marketing strategies or meeting with their team. In some cases, the sports marketing manager may attend sporting events to learn more about the fan base, meet with potential business partners or oversee the implementation of a new marketing strategy. They work typical business hours during the week but may work extra hours if needed during sporting events at night or on the weekends.

Sports marketing manager skills

Here are some of the skills commonly used by sports marketing managers:


Sports marketing managers regularly communicate with different groups of people. They interact with other executives in their organization to discuss strategies and budgets, with their own team of marketing professionals to assign tasks and with fans of the organization to learn more about them. As such, it's important for sports marketing managers to have strong communication skills.

Sports marketing managers are comfortable talking with people in person, over the phone, through email and on social media. They are also able to listen to others carefully and explain their own thoughts effectively. Finally, sports marketing managers use their knowledge of communication best practices when developing outreach strategies to connect with fans or potential business partners.

Related: 21 Ways To Improve Your Communication Skills


To learn the best ways to reach an audience, sports marketing managers regularly conduct market research. They often analyze statistics, conduct studies and search the internet for the information they need. They can also distill the information they gather into reports to make it easier to implement.

Related: Research Skills: Definition and Examples


Sports marketing managers often have a team working for them. They know how to manage this team for optimum productivity and ensure employee happiness. They also know how to devise an overall marketing strategy and delegate parts of it throughout their team.


Effective marketing strategies rely on strong data and data analysis. Sports marketing managers have strong math skills, as they are able to study this data and draw conclusions from it. They also need to keep their marketing efforts within the organization's budget.

Related: Math Skills: Definition, Examples and How to Develop Them


Modern marketing strategies rely heavily on technology. Sports marketing managers often find themselves using marketing software tools, advertising software and customer management databases. They also regularly communicate via social media and email.

How to become a sports marketing manager

Those working as sports marketing managers often follow a career path similar to the one described below:

1. Pursue a bachelor's degree

As sports marketing is a fairly competitive industry, employers typically like to hire candidates with a strong educational background, which starts with a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree provides you with the foundational knowledge necessary for a career in sports marketing management. Common areas of study include marketing, business, advertising or public relations. During these programs, students often learn about topics such as how a business operates, how to market a business, how to identify and research a target audience and how to communicate effectively.

2. Obtain related work experience

To grow your knowledge and skills further, seek relevant work experience. You may consider multiple means of gaining this experience. For example, you might complete internships related to sports or marketing, both during your bachelor's degree studies and after. Internships are a great way to learn more about an industry while also meeting people connected to it. You might even look for a related internship, such as marketing at a non-sports business.

Another way to gain experience is through an entry-level position. After graduating, look for jobs in marketing, advertising, public relations or within the sports industry. Most sports marketing employers managers above entry level, so you'll probably need a few years of professional work experience.

3. Improve your skills

While you're earning experience related to sports marketing, it's also a good idea to focus on improving your specific skills. You can do this by taking additional educational courses, pursuing marketing or business certifications, managing additional responsibilities at your current job or purchasing books on the topic. For example, you could earn a professional certification related to social media marketing to expand your sports marketing expertise.

4. Pursue a master's degree

To possibly improve your chances of obtaining a sports marketing manager position, especially at larger organizations, consider earning a master's degree. A master's degree in sports management or marketing provides you with advanced knowledge of the field. Common areas of study include marketing operations, marketing research and analysis, brand strategy and marketing communications.

5. Grow your professional network

To learn about open sports marketing manager positions, it often helps to know other people within the industry. By expanding your professional network, you may learn about open positions and hopefully receive recommendations from people with influence over the hiring decision. To grow your professional network, you can attend conferences, use social media platforms and focus on meeting new people at your current place of employment. Another strategy is developing relationships with your professors at school, as they may be connected to the industry as well.

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