How To Enter the Sports Management Industry


The sports industry in the United Kingdom is a huge money generator, contributing up to £20 billion towards the nation’s GDP while employing 450,000 people. It’s a huge sector that’s constantly growing with plenty of opportunities on the rise.

By itself, the sports management subdivision comprises of a large number of career options and  branches.

Depending on what you choose to do and excel in, you could find yourself in charge of a stadium, scouting for new up-and-coming talent on the field, or organising community and charity events for both big and small organisations.

Your path and the industry

When it comes to the professional sports sector, there are two main sides to sports management:

  • Roles that work with the team or individual itself
  • Roles that manage the business side.

While you’ll all technically be in the same sector, and working for the same organisation, opportunities to switch between the two are very limited.

For this reason, it’s important to have a clear vision of where you want to be in the Sports Industry. For example, a financial officer is unlikely to ever get a chance to try out for Talent Scouting.

Possible opportunities on the team side include:

  • Talent scouts
  • Football operations
  • Player management.

Whereas some possibilities for employment on the business side include:

  • PR and marketing
  • Finance
  • Analytics
  • Event management.

The ‘big’ break

Time to clear up a common fear about sports management.

The sports management industry is large and complex, but also very insular. To succeed you need a combination of drive and diligence. Much like many roles in entertainment and other parallel industries (such as event management), there’s a common perception that you need a ‘break’ to get in.

This is a misleading idea, but there is also a small grain of truth to it.

Unemployment rates are high in the sector not due to a scarcity of jobs but because of the fierce competition (especially for professional sports).

The good news is salaries can be extremely high when you acquire a great position. And the more experience you have under your belt, the more attractive a commodity you become.

It isn’t too hard to find yourself an entry-level position. With the relevant educational background, you should be able to acquire an internship which will give you that first time exposure to the industry. Your first job is vital to your growth as it is with most industries. Together your education and professional experience will help your journey up the chain in sports management industry.

Before you take any steps in your career you should do the research and find out what jobs are in demand. Don’t be afraid to exhibit your passion and ideas at job interviews, and most of all be proactive at chasing up opportunities.


Always keep a general eye on the job market, especially on the potential networking and employment events for newcomers. Alternatively, you can always look at local sporting facilities in your area (try your local gym or sports clubs).

The government employs about 10% of all sports management roles at a national and international level. With the global popularity of the English Premier League and all its participating teams, an array of jobs should exist. Gaining any kind of managerial experience in this league would be absolutely valuable for your progression.

New sporting industries

The arena of sports is always expanding. Mixed martial arts (MMA) only became a legally recognised form of sporting less than a decade ago, which goes to show how the lines of what’s traditionally considered sports is always blurring. E-sports – which involves competitive gaming – has rapidly grown into a sector of it’s own.

Industries like these create new jobs on the daily. For example, e-sport players still need management and analysts, and the multi-million dollar companies behind them still require financial and managerial roles.

The most popular e-sport in the world, League of Legends, earned $1.6 billion US dollars last year, despite being purchased by a Chinese holding company in 2013 for a paltry $350-450 million. That’s a lot of growth!

With mobile technology and mobile gaming on the rise, who knows what new forms of sport could crop up in the future.

No matter what angle you’re viewing it from, the sports industry is currently going through some major upheavals. Keep your nose to the ground, and keep an eye on emergent trends. Being successful requires a mix of the relevant education, passion and practicality. You also need to be realistic and figure out what jobs are being created and what positions need to be filled.

How we can help

ICI offers three stages in our Sports Management program, covering 13 distinct units designed to give you a competitive advantage in both the knowledge and practice necessary for finding work in this field.

If you’re not in a rush or juggling a number of commitments, feel free to take things at your own pace. Correspond with your tutor as you learn the ins and outs, the basics of leadership, and the specifics of event management for sport in Britain.

Our Sports Management program offers the chance to both grow your personal skills as a leader and manager as well as give you the necessary tools to help you succeed in this arena. We’ll also provide nuanced guidance towards finding you your first position through our own careers guidance services.

Career focused, distance education programs. Explore your opportunities to study Sports Management here to find your next course.

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Gladys Mae

Gladys is the Associate Director of Admissions & Student Services with over 10 years of experience at the International Career Institute.