This field involves the business aspect of sports. It can include entrepreneurial sports ventures, managing sports teams, and recreation and facility management.
Sports management involves any combination of skills related to planning, organizing, directing, controlling, budgeting, leading, and evaluating within the context of an organization or department whose primary product or service is related to sport or physical activity. Sports managers carry out these skills in a variety of organizational settings, including professional, collegiate, and amateur sports; sport marketing and management firms; sport communications and news media firms; corporate sponsorship and advertising firms; sporting goods firms; and arenas, stadiums, and civic centers.
Students in this track can expect to become competent in the following topics:
- Project Management – EXDM 412: Event and Experience Management; EXDM 490R, section 13: Experience Design Perspectives on Product Management
- Risk Management – EXDM 412: Event and Experience Management
- Financial Management – ACC 200: Principles of Accounting; FIN 201: Principles of Finance
- Administration – HRM 391: Organizational Effectiveness: MSB 390: Ethics for Management
- Human Resources – EXDM 350: Experiences in Diversity and Inclusion; HRM 391: Organizational Effectiveness
- Stakeholder Management – EXDM 306: Community Festivals and Special Events; EXDM 422: Experience Needfinding,; EXDM 423: Experience Insights
- Meeting or Event Design – EXDM 404: Experience Design; EXDM 412: Event and Experience Management
- Site Management – EXDM 306: Community Festivals and Special Events
- Marketing – MKTG 201: Marketing Management; EXDM 416: Experiential Marketing
- Professionalism – M COM 320: Communication in Organizational Settings
Suggested Electives and Minors
Sports management roles can take place in a variety of industries. As students begin to identify industries where there would like to work, the ExDM program encourages students to consider the following complementary electives and minors:
- EXDM 303: Introduction to Sports and Entertainment Industries
- EXDM 307: Sport and Entertainment Venue Management
- EXDM 306: Community Festivals and Special Events
- EXDM 490R, section 5: Managing Meaningful Guest, Visitor, and Customer Journeys
- ENT 101: Intro to Entrepreneurship
- MKTG 402: Consumer Behavior
- MKTG 403: Advertising and Promotion Management
- EXSC 362: Kinesiology and Biomechanics
- HRM 402: Human Resource Management
- PETE 335: Coaching Competitive Swimming
- PETE 341: Coaching Basketball
- PETE 342: Coaching Track and Field
- PETE 346: Coaching Baseball and Softball
- PETE 347: Coaching Soccer
- STDEV 359: Conflict Resolution
- Communications Minor
- Nonprofit Management Minor
- Design Thinking Minor
Organizations provide excellent opportunities to network and learn more about the profession from professionals. Most provide greatly reduced student membership rates. They also host conferences that have reduced rates or volunteer opportunities for students. Students are highly encouraged to join at least one of these organizations and attend one of their conferences.
- North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM)
- Sport Marketing Association (SMA)
- North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS)
- Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America)
- National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA)
- Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF)
Certifications not only help in professional development, but they are also valued by potential employers. The ExDM department highly recommends working toward certifications that are aligned with a student’s career aspirations. The program actively attempts to integrate certifications or preparation to gain certifications into curriculum whenever possible.
- Qualtrics Customer Experiences Certifications*
- Event Design Certificate*
- Project Management Certifications
- Certified Meeting Professional
- Crowd Manager Training
*Integrated into the ExDM curriculum
To learn more about professional contacts as part of the ExDM mentoring program, get in touch with chief student experience officer Ariadna Mateu.
Career and Internship Placement
Individuals preparing to work in sports management can strengthen their backgrounds by officiating sports; coaching youth sports camps/clinics; assisting with the management and operations of sports camps/clinics; serving as volunteers with professional sports teams/events; or serving as volunteers with college/amateur sports teams, camps, clinics, or events.
Progression within this field often entails moving between different organizations or shifting to management roles.
For more information about career opportunities and internships, check the experience design and management career placement profile or contact ExDM career director Noelani Wayas in the Business Career Center.
Graduate Degree Options
Students are highly encouraged to consider graduate school as career preparation option. Students interested in graduate school should consider enrolling in EXDM 585R: Experience Design Research Seminar. Students can also reach out to Patti Freeman, who teaches the research seminar course, if they have questions about graduate school opportunities.