How Much Does a Sports Manager Make?

8 Min Read

While no one goes straight from the classroom to behind the desk of a professional sports team manager, with a degree in sports management, you will be able to qualify for a long list of coveted behind-the-scenes careers in the dynamic and exciting world of sports.

A rewarding and profitable career in sports management is possible without any athletic ability, particularly if you have a degree in sports management (e.g., a bachelor's degree). Many coaches, facilities managers, trainers, sports marketing, public relations, and business professionals, and player agents have academic backgrounds and degrees in this dynamic field.

Additionally, there is a vibrant and robust ecosystem of sports management professionals that keep the industry running behind the scenes. For example, sports marketing and public relations experts attract large crowds and engage fans. On the other hand, finance professionals and accountants negotiate vendor contracts, operations managers oversee venue maintenance, and sports data analysts gather and study team statistics.

So, there are many avenues and options to lucrative earnings that begin with a sports management degree, especially if you're willing to put in a few years of hard work. However, as with any career, you cannot expect to earn a fortune simply because you bagged a sports management job. In this article, we will dive into salary expectations for sports managers, the career outlook in 2023, and what you can expect when venturing into this industry.

What is sports management?

We can define sports management as the business end of sports and recreation, from local community leagues up to top or professional sports leagues. It is the field of business that deals with the organization and administration of sports teams, athletes, and events. In fact, everyone from the general manager and the scouting staff to the operations and marketing staff are involved in supporting a sports team's success.

Sports management incorporates various aspects of other industries like business, accounting, law, public relations, and marketing, depending on the specialty you wish to pursue.

How much does a sports manager make?

The average sports management professional in the US makes $46,852. Also, the average bonus for a position in sports management is $2,552, and many sports managers report that they get a bonus each year. The sports management salary you earn varies based on many factors, such as the career path you follow. However, lower-paying careers in sports management are still popular. This is because they allow for a more balanced personal and professional life.  

Regardless of the track you choose, you should focus on the skills and traits needed for your preferred career path during your studies. For example, obtaining a bachelor's degree in sports management is valuable as it will help you find a well-paying job in the sports industry. There are several top schools and colleges that offer sports management degree programs, such as Rice University, University of Flordia, University of Michigan, etc.

Sports management salaries—a closer look

How much do sports management professionals make? 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for sports managers is $49,470 per year, which is higher than the average salary of many other professions. The BLS projects overall employment figures to increase by 13% through 2031, which is considerably higher than employment figures in other industries. 

Sports management salary ranges vary depending on many factors, such as education, location, and experience. Location plays a significant role in how much sports management professionals earn because many different aspects and variables come into play, including the overall demand in the sports industry and the annual cost of living. For instance, sports management jobs and positions, such as that of a sports marketer, earn an average of $58,000 in New York and about $37,000 in Des Moines.

What is a sports management degree salary?

Like other professions, the average salary of sports managers differs based on education. This underscores the importance of sports management degrees and the difference they can make to your sports management career. 

According to Payscale, the average salary for a person with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management is $55,000 per year. Similarly, Indeed reveals that the earnings grow from a bachelor's to a master's degree by around 20%. BLS reports that individuals with an advanced degree in sports management have the highest salaries and the lowest unemployment rates.  

What is the highest-paying sports management job?

According to The Balance Careers, out of the most lucrative or top twelve positions in sports based on annual salary figures, most are jobs directly associated with the presentation and competition of the game. Some of them are directly related to a sports management career path, such as the following:

What is the sports management career outlook for 2023?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are fantastic opportunities in this field. The BLS has projected that the demand for scouts and coaches will increase by 11% from 2018 to 2028. Career paths in marketing and advertising—jobs related to sports management—are also expected to experience above-average growth levels over the next few years.

How sports management salaries compare across job roles and careers

Your salary level depends on your position within your organization as well as the level at which your organization or sports team competes. Let's look at how salaries compare across job roles within the sports industry:

Sports facility director

A sports facility manager or director usually works in a collegiate setting. However, some may work at a private gym. Keep in mind that professionals working in academic settings tend to earn the most money. However, these jobs are usually the hardest to break into.

Facilities managers in the US represent a mainstay of the professional sports landscape. These individuals play a crucial role in preparing arenas and stadiums to host games and events, making sure that facilities meet or exceed league standards and remain secure and safe for spectators.

For people working in a prestigious sports facility or a major university, annual salaries can reach $100,000. A master's degree in sports management is ideal for this career track.

Sports agent

The salary of a sports agent depends largely on their success. As the trajectory of an agent's career depends mainly on how well their players do, sports agents can be at the top or the bottom of the pay scale. However, the average salary for this position is $89,590.

Sports agents usually negotiate their fees directly with their clients, often taking a certain percentage of their earnings. This means that networking and word-of-mouth marketing are vital to earnings in this position. For the best shot at success, you should get at least a bachelor's degree in sports management.

Public relations manager

Public relations management is an important facet of professional sports, particularly in the dynamic social media age. Sports PR professionals earn a median salary of $62,800 and use their deep knowledge and understanding of marketing and promotional platforms in order to help athletes and organizations develop and maintain a positive public image.

Event coordinator

Sporting event coordinators and planners work behind the scenes in order to identify and secure facilities and venues and create budgets and schedules. They earn an average of $52,020. In some cases, these professionals also help manage crowds and arrange transportation and security for athletes.

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Sports marketer

This is one of the essential sports management jobs. Sports marketing is a critical aspect of management. Sports marketers analyze markets and devise strategies to expand attendance and increase endorsements, readership, consumer sales, and viewership. A sports management salary for this role often depends on how well a professional has performed at other positions.

Final thoughts

If you are an avid sports enthusiast but not quite an Olympian, it is possible to create a profitable career in sports management and earn a handsome sports management salary.

With the right sports management degrees and the perseverance of a professional athlete, you can put your accounting, communications, leadership, public relations, or legal skills to work and revolutionize your career.

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