Exploring a Career in Sports Management

As he recently completed his 1000th match with the English Premier League, the Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger was awarded with the golden cannon.

He is lovingly called as the Professor and has earned recognition not only among his team followers, but has great respect among the opposition teams as well mainly because of his unique style of management.

He represents the pinnacle of sports management, but he does not work alone as well. Not only Arsenal, but also many other professional teams today work with a wide range of professionals, who take effective care of the sports management.

One of the first instances of sports management can be traced back to the Greeks. This is because their management talent can be understood from the way in which they organize the Olympics.

‘Sports’ is a field that has experienced great development, particularly after the industrial revolution. After the industrial revolution, a number of rural people migrated to urban areas and the requirement for their entertainment was rightly felt.

This gave the way for sporting activities. In the present circumstances, this field is riding of the chariots of media and it is a field that readily crosses the national boundaries.

Due to the development of this field, the need for sports management is rightly felt. Now, this field has gained status as a business, rather than as a gaming field. This again has improved the importance of sports management.

Career Sports Management

What is sports management?

When it comes to educational point of view, sports management is an educational field that teaches about the business side of the sporting activities as against the gaming side.

It is something that deals with the study of supervising and organizing different sporting activities. Experts are of the opinion that sport administration and management are closely connected to each other.

In the past, it was assumed that working in governmental organization was something related to sport administration, while working for private sector in this field is stated as sport management.

However, this difference is not felt these days and both these terms are used alternatively in the present circumstances.

What do sport managers do?

In a work called ‘Career and opportunities in sports’ introduced in the year 1964 by Stan Isaacs, the author has clearly explained the details of sports management jobs.

According to this expert, there are four broad areas namely sport journalism, sport TV, sport art and sport trading. Two years after this work, in the US, the Ohio University rolled out the first program in the field of sport administration.

It is stated that the basic eligibility to become a successful sport manager is a life-long passion towards sports.

If a person wishes to shine in this field, it is important that he has to live for sports all through the day. It is not important that the sport manager should be a professional player, but he should have a keen understanding of the game.

These people should also have appropriate background in management, finance and law as well. Some of the areas in which professionals managers work include:

  • Consultation services
  • Production
  • Licensing/sponsoring sales
  • Event management
  • Media rights sales and distribution

In short, people working in this position, work behind the scenes in most of the circumstances as they coordinate the events on behalf of their employers.

Most of the sporting activities have seasonal cycles and sports managers generally work round the clock during these seasons.

During off-season, they will be engaged in tasks like searching for and hiring talents, preparing for the forthcoming season and they will also engage in marketing activities as well during these off-season periods.

Sports management is a demanding field and it needs a never-die attitude to stay in this competitive arena. Even though, the pay may be low, the profession that is connected to the favourite game of an individual can be stated as huge bonus as against the lesser pay.

Career segments in the sport industry:

Experts are of the opinion that the following segments are present in the sports industry:

  • Community recreation
  • Facility management
  • Inter-collegiate athletics
  • Professional sports
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Consulting
  • Sports medicine
  • Athletic training
  • Sports club management
  • Physical fitness
  • Sports journalism
  • Sports marketing
  • Sports information
  • Campus-based sports

Distinctive management:

Experts are of the opinion that sports management is something distinctive and it has some specific characteristics for its own. It is unique in the following ways:

  • Some people are of the opinion that sports products are something perishable and should be used immediately after the production.
  • Also, companies engaged in the production of products for sports cannot get to know about the customer satisfaction with the result. In other words, the outcome cannot be guaranteed.
  • The profits in this field do not depend on the sales, but it relies on other factors like sponsorships, partnerships, merchandise, broadcast rights, etc.
  • The idea behind sport marketing is to enable the consumers to spend more on off field as compared to what they spend on-field.

IPL a pioneer in India:

In the recent past, India has experienced a rapid increase in the demand for sports managers. The forerunner that contributed a great share towards the increasing demand for professionals for this position is the Indian Premier League, which started its journey in the year 2008.

IPL has taken professional cricket to a place, where it has created a wide range of career opportunities. Every IPL team is armed with a wide range of sport managers in the name of operations manager, media manager, CEO, team principal and the list goes on and on.

Now, explorers from different IPL teams are visiting countries like England, West Indies, Australia and many other countries to find the right talent for their team.

With the process of bidding used in IPL for hiring players, the teams are looking at every nook and corner to make the right purchase.

Following cricket, many other sports like Kabaddi, Hockey, Football, badminton and other sports leagues are also taking off. Even, golf is planning to have an IPL style league in India.

Where to study?

In the United States, this field has seen a great growth. In the year 1966, just a single college was offering course in sports management, but now the number has risen to more than 250.

Likewise, Europe also has a good number of courses in this field and some of them are based on research. As far as organized education in sports management is concerned, it is still in its budding stage in India.

However, some universities offer diploma courses in sports management, but the courses are not organized well.

However, with the increasing demand for the course, many private institutions are coming up with such courses.

Sports management courses in India:

  • The International Institute of Sports Management located in Mumbai claims that they provide quality education in this field with good level of industrial interface.
  • In Shillong, the UTM University offers one-year PG diploma in this field.
  • In Tamil Nadu, the Physical Education and Sports University offers M. Phil and Ph. D in this field. Two-year MBA program is also offered by the university in sports management

In addition to these institutions, many other institutions also offer sports management courses and candidates can conduct a research to find the best course that will suit their requirements.

But, experts are of the opinion that there is going to be a rapid pace of development in the number of institutions offering sports management courses in India in the near future due to the increasing demand for professionals with appropriate qualification.

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