Athletes and professional sports teams are constantly in the spotlight, whether they win or lose… but what about the agents, consultants, marketers, and managers in the background who help them navigate business deals, steer their careers, and achieve success in all the "behind the scenes" aspects of the sports world? These people work hard to get their clients into the public eye and keep them winning both games and popularity--and an MBA in sports management is one of the most effective tools an agent or manager can possess to hold this vital role in the world of professional sports.
Overview of MBA Sports Management Programs
The competition you see on the field isn't the only contest going on in the world of competitive sports. Professional sports are a lucrative business, and sports agents and business managers compete to represent top teams and athletes. A master in business administration, or MBA, can teach you the skills you need to succeed in this exciting field.
An MBA sports management degree gives students a competitive edge by preparing them for the rigorous work they'll face on the job. From business and economic expertise to financial planning, licensing, and marketing acumen, an MBA in sports management prepares students to negotiate sports contracts, pursue endorsement deals, and manage media surrounding their clients.
MBA sports management programs focus on a range of topics that include business courses and sports-related knowledge. You might learn about:
- Economics and commerce
- Business, marketing, and finance
- Sport management and sport marketing
- Licensing and sales
- Athletic administration
- Moral, ethical, and social issues in sports
- Sports law
- Sports media
Many MBA sports management programs provide real-world experience as well as practical knowledge through internships and partnerships with top coaches, agents, and managers. These additional benefits give students the experience they need to excel once they leave academia and make their way in the industry as sports managers, marketers, agents, representatives, and sports administrators.
Sports management MBA programs can be found all throughout the U.S. The best programs are generally offered at schools with top business and athletics departments, as the two complement each other in this interdisciplinary field of study. Some of the top universities also offer MBA sports management programs through online or hybrid programs that combine online and class learning.
Opportunities for Graduates with an MBA in Sports Management
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 109,400 people worked in 2008 as agents, managers, and event promoters--roughly 5.6 percent of the arts, entertainment, and recreation industries. Managers and business and financial experts make up an overlapping 5 percent of this industry, performing jobs that involve event booking, fundraising, business management, financial planning, and marketing for teams, sporting organizations, and individual athletes.
In 2009, reports the BLS, there were 11,700 agents and business managers working on behalf of performers, artists, and athletes. Approximately 7,500 of them worked as agent managers for individuals, while 1,160 were promoters for events and 920 represented companies. These professionals earned a mean annual wage of $87,430; the top-earning 25 percent brought home more than $105,870 a year for their work promoting top athletes and sports teams and steering their careers, according to 2009 BLS data.
Across all industries, roughly 623,800 people held jobs in marketing, advertising, promotions, and public relations in 2008, earning a mean annual income of $105,960 in 2009. The BLS expects keen competition to continue in this profession, with an average growth of just 7 to 8 percent expected between 2008 and 2018. Although graduates from MBA sports management programs are among the top paid in this field of work, jobs are scarce enough to make it difficult to break into the industry without the connections and training provided by a top MBA school.