Show me the money: What is Sports Management?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - 17:22

Guest post by Michael Bokody 

I often get asked what industry I work in.  My response is always Sports Management.  The counter question the vast majority of the time is “You manage athletes?”  The answer is no and granted while athlete management is part of it, sports management covers the broad area of all business, commercial, finance, management and leadership aspects of the sports industry.

A further misconception about sports management is that it requires a unique skill set.  This is totally untrue – sports management is built on the same principles as business management but applied in a unique context that involves a different slant on normal products and services – for example customers are fans, employees can include athletes and products can be athletes, fans or memberships.  There is no difference to general business except the terminology.

With the scope of professionalism in sport rapidly expanding, it has opened up a range of opportunities for non-traditional roles to be created.  Over the past decade there has been considerable investment in the areas of Athlete Recruitment, Athlete Welfare, Fan Development, Digital Content Development, Digital Media, Community, Education and Athlete Transition to name but a few.  All of these areas require skills that have their roots firmly set in the foundations of business, finance and leadership.

For example, a Recruitment Manager or List Manager at a professional sports team is no different to a Human Resource Manager at a corporate organisation.  They both have a specific position description they need to fill; they both go through a selection process; they both conduct background checks; they both have experience and specialisation in the areas they are recruiting and ultimately, their accurate recruitment of staff results in low turnover.

When many people do take the jump to working in sport, it's the real world application of this sporting context where expectations and reality aren’t aligned.  When choosing to work or study sports management it is extremely important to understand or be willing to adapt a skill set to this niche environment.

For anyone looking to establish himself or herself in the sports industry, the first question will be what area do you want to work in, what skills are transferable and how can I develop my current skill set to be sport ready?

The Accelerated Sport Management Program (ASMP) is a leading industry driven Sports Management Diploma, providing students with not just an education but an experience. Delivered via blended learning over a six month period the online study allows you to understand the core principles of business, while the weekend workshops provide a sporting context with unprecedented access to industry professionals and athletes.

Michael Bokody has worked in the sports industry for over 10 years, specializing in athlete education and welfare, and calls many AFL, NRL and elite athletes as his clients.  Michael is CEO of the ASMP.