10 Best Paying MBA in Sports Management Careers

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in sports management is a powerful ticket for entry into the sports industry where job opportunities abound in segments that include professional sports leagues and teams, sports media, intercollegiate athletics, athletic facilities, event entertainment, as well as sports sponsorship, sales, promotions, and marketing. BloombergBusiness spotlighted a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP predicting that the sports industry revenue in North America will expand to $67.7 billion by the year 2017, indicative of a compounded annual rate of 4.8 percent. This forecast is based on the analysis of four vital revenue streams, as follows: merchandise, media rights, gate receipts, and sponsorship in individual, minor league, collegiate, and professional sports franchises. The report has recommended that teams improve their revenues by adopting smartphone applications, dynamic pricing models, data analytics technology, exclusive content for attendees, and value-added amenities in sports arenas.

The following 10 occupations provide advantages in terms of working with people who share a common passion for sports, opportunities for advancement, the physical proximity to sports celebrities and stars, access to free tickets and merchandise, and the potential for unforgettable experiences.

1. Athletic Coach

The occupation of coaching and scouting involves instructing individuals and groups in the principles and elements of sports. Responsibilities include providing motivation, encouragement, and giving advice on nutrition and hydration in the preparation for competitive games as well as enforcing safety regulations. Coaches and scouts utilize implements and apparatus in the form of radar speed guns, performance database programs, ice skates, and video analysis applications. Coaches and scouts must possess essential skills and capabilities, as follows: decision making, administration of personnel resources, monitoring, and customer service. Compensation-wise, athletic coaches get paid an annual average of $40,034, with the potential to expand to $72,000 with a bonus.

2. Athletic Director

Athletic directors manage the sports departments of high schools, colleges, and universities. Job responsibilities encompass the recruitment, supervision, and dismissal of coaches and acting as liaisons with sports conference administrators. Essential skills and capabilities that athletic directors need to have are planning for revenue development, facility management, fundraising, event coordination, and departmental budget management. The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies athletic directors in the broader category of elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education administrators. Athletic directors receive an average annual salary of $55,853. The addition of a bonus raises that figure to $97,000.

3. Sports Agent/Manager

Agents and business managers of athletes undertake the challenges of representing sports competitors and players in contract negotiations, payment collection, promotional engagements, and other transactions with existing or potential employers. In the course of their work, sports agents make use of tax preparation programs, video cameras, videoconferencing applications, multiline telephone systems, computer data input scanners, and accounting software. Essential knowledge and skills in the practice include communication and dissemination techniques, resource allocation, production methodologies, customer service, and human resources modeling. Typically, a
sports agent earns an annual cash compensation that ranges between $38,474 and $484,790 with the median at $61,035.

4. Sports Agency Account Director

Sports agency account management involves taking responsibility for day-to-day administration of a specific account, reviewing strategic direction, and ensuring a high level of client service satisfaction on all aspects of the account. Vital knowledge and skills for success as an account director include persuasive communication, creative thinking, attention to detail, conscientiousness, collaboration, and teamwork. The average salary for an account director in a sports agency is $100,000 per year.

5. Sports Agency Executive Assistant

Sports agency executive assistants take charge of providing a high level of administrative support to sports agency executives in the form of carrying out research, putting together statistical reports, dealing with requests for information, as well as undertaking clerical tasks. The work of an executive assistant in a sports agency is enhanced by enterprise resource planning software, electric typewriters, database query programs, scanners, scientific applications, digital cameras, and accounting programs. Success in the job necessitates knowledge and capabilities in the arena of electronics and computers, management and administration, and customer service. The average annual salary for an executive assistant is $52,965.

6. Sports Agency Director, Marketing & Business Development

Marketing and business development managers work to improve a sports agency’s market position and financial growth. The roles include defining strategic goals, building important customer relationships, negotiating and closing contracts and transactions, identifying business opportunities, and contributing to revenue maximization. Vital qualifications include knowledge of Microsoft Office, sales prospecting, writing, research, public speaking, networking, and territory management. The average annual salary of a marketing and business development director in a sports agency is $55,992.

7. Sports Journalist

Sports journalism is the process of documenting what goes on during a game and analyzing the factors that contribute to a team’s victory or defeat. Sports journalists inform the public about coaching revisions, players’ contract negotiations, and trends in the specific sport. They deliver their content to various outlets that include newspapers and other print media, television, streaming video, radio, and blogs. Sports journalists earn an annual cash compensation that ranges between $24,511 and $107,276, with the median at $41,174.

8. Sports Anchor

The job responsibilities of a sports anchor include interviewing athletes, coaches, agents, and other sports personalities, writing scripts, and presenting news in broadcast radio or television as well as in video blogs and podcasts. Tools of the trade include spreadsheet programs, headset microphones, database user interface programs, teleprompters, enterprise resource planning systems, and media control consoles. A sports anchor needs to possess capabilities and knowledge in multiple areas that include social perceptiveness, telecommunications systems, customer service, critical thinking, and oral expression. The average annual cash compensation for sports anchors range between $22,879 and $96,507, with the median at $41,542.

9. Social Media Director

Social media directors tackle the challenges of creating content and adapting it to various social media networks that include Twitter, Linkedin, Skype, Flickr, Youtube, Facebook, Myspace.com, Twitxr, Doof, Pogo, and Digg. They also undertake the analysis of macro data and micro data, and then inferring marketing insights. Social media directors act as a customer service representative, community relations facilitator, funnel marketing administrator, as well as an extension of the sports agency’s public relations team. Essential skills for a social media director encompass copywriting, positioning, creativity, data analysis, data presentation, resourcefulness, and sales. The average annual salary for a social media director is $59,475. Bonus and profit sharing proceeds can raise that figure to $118,000.

10. Sports Management Administrator

Sports management administration encompasses the roles of presidents, directors, general managers, and owners of professional sports teams, sports media agencies, sports management firms, stadiums and arenas, municipal recreation departments, and college athletics. General managers of a professional sports team direct the day-to-day operations of the multiple divisions that enable the team to thrive. These departments include public relations, promotions, administrative affairs, and marketing. Sports team owners deal regularly with pressure situations such as demanding agents, egoistical athletes, unfair calls by referees, injuries sustained by players on the court or on the field, organizing events that provide unforgettable experiences to spectators, and an unprecedented level of scrutiny from media and fans in which every action and decision gets magnified. During a specific international sporting event, stadium operations managers take responsibility for sports venue conversion and logistics issues, implementation of operations management programs, and liaisons with the organizing committees throughout the phases of planning, delivery, and facility remediation. The median salary for management occupations in the spectator sports industry is $115,780. General managers of professional sports teams receive between $1 million to $3 million a year in salary. Administrators in recreation departments and youth athletic clubs take home an average salary per year of $50,000.