Learn About Being a Sports Manager (With Duties and Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 6, 2022

If you're passionate about a career in sports, you might consider a job as a sports manager. Sports managers provide valuable services to the teams they support, helping them stay organized and managing their relationships with other teams, partners and members of the media. Learning more about the job can help you learn if a position as a sports manager is a good choice for your professional goals.

In this article, we define what a sports manager is, explain what a sports manager does and offer additional insight into the role by discussing details like how much they make, what skills they need and what their work environment is like.

What is a sports manager?

A sports manager is someone who organizes and oversees the activities of sports teams. Sports managers can work for teams of any size or competitiveness, from professional sports teams to recreational clubs. They might handle aspects like team training, travel, partnerships and administration. On larger teams, sports managers might work alongside other team leaders, like coaches and assistants. On smaller teams, sports managers might have more responsibility and higher instances of athlete interaction.

Related: Sports Management Degree: Courses, Benefits and Careers

What does a sports manager do?

A sports manager's responsibilities can depend on the size of their team and their specific job description. While exact duties may vary based on each position, here's a closer look at some common sports manager responsibilities:

  • Schedule team practices, games and travel

  • Act as a public relations professional, representing the team to stakeholders like media, coaches and other athletic personnel

  • Perform accounting responsibilities and budgeting

  • Schedule public events and appearances for the team and athletes

  • Work with brands, donors and team officials to organize events and fundraisers

  • Secure team funding and endorsements

  • Oversee ticket sales and distribution

  • Help athletes navigate media and event appearances and interactions

  • Assist the coach with team training and initiatives

Related: How To Become a Sports General Manager: 6 Steps

Sports manager job requirements

The exact job requirements can vary between positions. To learn more about the job requirements at the professional level that most interests you, you can browse job postings and boards to discover what specific qualifications. Here are some typical job requirements for sports managers:

A college degree

While not a requirement for all sports management positions, a college degree can help you qualify for high-level roles and learn skills that can aid you as a manager. Those positions which require degrees might not have any specific subject requirements, but there are certain degree programs you can pursue that can help you develop valuable skills. For example, some schools offer degrees in sports management or sports administration, and these programs can be worthwhile pursuits for growing your network and gaining helpful industry knowledge.

You could also pursue degrees related to sports marketing, business administration or sports science. These can boost your resume and make you a more desirable sports management candidate.

Related: 15 Majors Involving Sports (With Job Details)

A strong professional reputation

Likely, when you first enter the field of sports management, you may work with smaller or less competitive teams. Gaining experience and growing your network within the area you ultimately want to work can help you develop a professional reputation and find more opportunities. Managing teams well and growing your aptitude for different management processes can make it easier to connect with higher-ranking management positions later in your career.

Related: 11 Sports Management Jobs

Sports knowledge

Because sports managers often handle responsibilities like public relations, scheduling and planning, sound knowledge of sports and sports processes can be especially useful. Often, a passion for sports is essential for someone in the role. This passion and knowledge can help them lead their teams successfully and maximize success for those they manage.

Accounting experience

Another requirement some employers ask of their sports managers is accounting experience. They can use this knowledge and experience to keep and maintain team budgets, track ticket sales and manage travel expenses. Basic knowledge of bookkeeping and financial tracking can often be beneficial to those in the role.

Related: 6 Essential Accounting Skills

Sports manager skills

Many skills can help sports managers lead teams successfully. Here's a closer look at skills worth highlighting to employers and developing in your professional pursuits:

  • Communication: Communication skills can be extremely important for sports managers because they often represent teams to other coaches, sports media members and partners. They also often work closely with teams, communicating expectations and educating athletes on best practices.

  • Marketing: Sports managers might help to market their teams and secure opportunities with partners. Skills in selling and negotiating can be particularly beneficial in their roles.

  • Organization: Organizational skills are also often a bonus for sports managers. They can help manage travel arrangements, set competition schedules and manage events and appearances successfully.

  • Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills are important for sports managers because they may want to address public relations concerns or respond to budgeting challenges.

  • Leadership: As managers, sports managers might have direct reports and direct different administrative members of the sports team in their roles. Leadership skills can help managers maintain the support of their teams and assist others in their duties successfully.

Related: How To Become a Sports Marketing Manager: Steps and Tips

Sports manager salary

The salary expectations for sports managers can vary based on experience level, team size and location. According to Glassdoor, sports managers in the United States can expect to earn an average annual salary of $76,572 per year. This number can be much higher for professional team managers and much lower for recreational or club-level team managers.

Related: 25 Jobs in Professional Sports

Sports manager work environment

The work environment for a sports manager can also vary depending on their exact position. Sports managers often spend their time traveling with teams. They might have active roles, meeting with other athletics professionals, team members, the media or partners. Sports managers often appear at events and games alongside teams.

They might also work in offices for some of their time, using computers to manage budgets, track expenses and communicate with partners and stakeholders. During the sports season, sports managers can expect to travel with teams for away games and events. This can mean staying in hotels, taking flights and driving in busses to different destinations within their competition territory.

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