What jobs are there in sports management?

If you’re looking for an energetic career that combines sports and business, then look no further than sports management. Sports management can take you in many directions, with all kinds of exciting opportunities and challenges. For instance, take a look at the Olympic Games and you’ll notice the breadth of a sports management career. The Olympics has all bases covered – from event planning and marketing to talent management and sports coaching.

And, depending on your interests, you’ll have plenty of options to shape and build your career in sports management. Whether you’ve got your sights set on lucrative roles in sports administration or you want to manage events or marketing for your favourite sports team, jobs in sports management will open those doors.

We spoke with our exercise science expert, Dr Jaquelyn Osborne, to find out what jobs sports management has to offer.

So, what jobs are there in sports management?

“There are many opportunities for full-time, part-time and casual sports managers across sports, venues and government agencies. There are also many schools which employ specialist sports managers and administrators.”

And the changing world has created new opportunities in the sporting sector. Technology and online sporting events are set to play a big part in the future of sports management.

“During 2020, COVID-19 lockdowns resulted in a rise in the number and type of online sporting experiences available. People took virtual cycling and running tours, did virtual dance classes and engaged in other online sports events. As the world continues to be affected by COVID-19, there is a real opportunity to use technology in new ways to connect people through sport perhaps with a broadened idea of how we can participate and how we can spectate.”

Let’s take a closer look at some sports management careers.

Sports administrator

Behind every sports team, there is a sports administrator who is hard at work. Sports administration is a rapidly growing field with roles in the management and promotion of sports and recreational activities. And here’s the good news – future growth in sports administration is strong (2021 Job Outlook).

But what does a sports administrator do? Well, as a sports administrator you’ll cover all things admin. You’ll spend your days promoting sport, managing corporate sponsorships and keeping rules, policies and structures updated. Here are some of the tasks that you can expect to do behind the scenes in sports admin:

  • Conduct market research by talking to fans, members and stakeholders
  • Develop programs and services to help promote the sports organisation
  • Identify formal standards and regulatory codes and assist with compliance documentation
  • Develop strategies to increase awareness and participation in sport
  • Plan and organise sports events
  • Coordinate the organisation’s business activities
  • Oversee marketing and promotional activities
  • Help to secure funding and monitor budgets

“Every sport employs sports managers at some level. And many sports offer multiple opportunities from grassroots clubs all the way to elite and professional teams. Charles Sturt graduates have sometimes used their workplace learning to secure jobs. Our graduates can work in state government departments, city councils and agencies like the Heart Foundation and the Cancer Council.”

Want to work for sporting teams that are household names and fan favourites? Imagine what it would be like to work behind the scenes for the Wallabies or Matildas, or share your sports administration skills with AFLW or the Australian Cricket team. Your options are limitless!

Sports event coordinator

Combine your event planning skills with your passion for sport as a sports event coordinator. Bring your time management, interpersonal and organisation skills to the table as you plan every aspect of sporting events. Using your critical thinking and problem-solving skills, you could help plan some of the biggest sporting events on the Australian sporting calendar.

Imagine taking to the world stage with the Olympic Games event management team. Here are some of the many aspects of this prestigious event that you could be part of:

  • Express your creativity by managing the opening and closing ceremonies
  • Coordinate a cast of thousands, including athletes from around the world, at ceremony rehearsals
  • Oversee and monitor the construction of essential infrastructure such as the Olympic Stadium, swimming centre, sports arena, media centre, Olympic Village and public transportation
  • Activate the Olympic Games brand through advertising, promotion and merchandising
  • Coordinate individual sporting events, managing ticket sales and keep the media informed.

And there are plenty of opportunities to be part of major sporting events on Australian soil such as the Tour Down Under, State of Origin, Australian Open, City to Surf or F1 Grand Prix. Or you could explore event management jobs in your own backyard by bringing to life sporting events in your local community. You could work on anything from contingency planning and arranging security for spectators, to marketing ticket sales, inspecting facilities and distributing media releases.

Sports marketing manager

If you love sports and have it in you to create engaging, audience-centric marketing campaigns, then a career as a sports marketing manager could be for you. When it comes to organisations and brands you could work with, the sky is the limit. Think big. Nike, Adidas, NRL or AFL, Tennis Australia or the Olympic Games. Engage with fans, create brand awareness and build business sponsors.

As a sports marketing manager you’ll:

  • Advertise and promote sporting events, teams and players
  • Secure sponsorships for teams and events
  • Recruit and manage brand ambassadors
  • Research marketing trends and innovations
  • Build and maintain the organisation’s brand
  • Develop and deliver marketing campaigns that engage fans and attract sponsors
  • Oversee the marketing team
  • Devise strategies to increase merchandise and ticket sales
  • Generate awareness for athletes and teams.

Sports agent

Want to represent some of the biggest names in Australian sport or help uncover the next generation of talented sportspeople? You can as a sports agent. Through this role, you’ll be a chief negotiator and make big decisions to support athletes or sportspeople that you manage. As a sports agent, you can expect to:

  • Negotiate employment and endorsement contracts for athletes
  • Act as a legal representative for professional sports figures
  • Explain contracts to your clients
  • Manage finance and sponsorships
  • Network, collect data and analyse statistics
  • Recruit and assess new talent
  • Resolve public relations issues
  • Ultimately have excellent sales skills.

If you’re interested in a career in sports management, you’ll need to explore a law qualification in addition to your sports management study as one of the major functions of this role is to negotiate contracts for sportspeople.

As a sports agent, you may even work with one of our Elite Athletes down the track.

Study sports management with Charles Sturt

Kick-off your career in sports management with Charles Sturt’s Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science (with specialisation). Want to take a look into what your future in exercise and sports sciences could be like? Read more about the day in the life of a Charles Sturt exercise and sport science student.