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The sports industry has only continued to grow, generating billions of dollars per year in markets like the US, Canada, and Europe. Professional sports have grown and developed an incredible amount over the past twenty to twenty-five years. With the rise of this industry, the field of sports management has expanded rapidly, too. Sports management is a perhaps unexpectedly large field with plenty of career opportunities.

Sports management degrees can lead to jobs with titles like athletic director, event coordinator, facilities manager, or a coach. Sports management degree programs prepare graduates for careers in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Some broadcasters, too, have a degree in sports management. Sports management may sound like a narrow career with few job opportunities, but in fact, the opposite is true.

The field has given rise to a separate academic field in part because of its growing popularity, but also because it’s such an idiosyncratic industry. Athletic teams are bound by a number of rules, whether they involve state commissions that govern the sport, or professional organizations like leagues and players’ unions. It takes time and effort to “learn the ropes” in any sport. That’s one reason that practical experience in the form of internships is crucial to career development in sports management.

Sports management is a great field for anyone who loves sports and understands its cultural significance. Sports management can lead to work helping athletes manage their money as a personal manager, or developing student-athletes at the collegiate level. In each of these career paths, graduates provide useful advice and service to some of the best athletes in their sports. Athletes, though they work with big-name teams, are generally considered independent contractors, not employees. So they often require assistance from professionals in managing their business as a sole proprietor.

Being a personal manager generally requires some background in finance. Personal managers often help athletes set up charitable foundations. Managers also make introductions between the athletes they represent and other professionals. For example, managers may help their clients connect with training for fields like broadcasting. They may also help players connect with opportunities for investments and for endorsement deals. Personal managers for athletes generally benefit from being outgoing and from having a sports management degree.