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Careers for Sports Administration Graduates

A sports administration degree can give you an edge in a competitive job market. Plus, Sports Networker notes that “by participating in a sports administration program — especially at the graduate level — it allows you to expand your network and gain real word experience that can be certainly beneficial in the long run.”

If you are interested in pursuing a master’s degree in sports administration, you may wonder what career possibilities await you after graduation. A comprehensive degree program like Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s online Master of Science (MS) in Sports Administration – General program provides students with the knowledge and skills needed for a wide variety of exciting jobs.

Here are five such careers you can explore after earning a master’s in this field:

Marketing Director

The global sports market was valued at roughly 471 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 according to data from Statista. The sports industry is huge business, dependent on revenue from myriad sources. However, as with any such industry, a great deal of this revenue relies on excellent marketing that effectively targets and capitalizes on consumers, donors and sponsors.

Given this, directors of marketing, fundraising and similar functions for professional sports organizations are vital to organizational success and growth. They are compensated well for their strategic expertise, averaging $139,961 per year according to Glassdoor as of July 2021.

Head Coach

A head coach position is the dream job for many people who love tactics, strategy, gameplay, athlete development and the excitement of competition. Southeastern’s M.S. in Sports Administration program includes extensive coursework devoted to coaching, from athletic development techniques to research methodologies and statistical analysis used to improve strategy and decision-making.

Coaches often begin their careers as athletes or high school coaches and move their way on up to more prestigious positions with colleges or professional sports teams. According to data (June 2021), the median salary of coaches that leverage their experience, education and skills to attain head coach jobs in a major sport is $80,557. But Forbes reports that in 2019, the top earning coaches in professional and collegiate sports made seven or even eight figures annually.

Sports Statistician

Southeastern’s coursework in sports-related research and statistical analysis can also prepare graduates for unique jobs as sports statisticians. These professionals may draw statistical analysis from player performance data, coaching strategy and other sources to inform and improve coaching decisions, training programs and team strategy. They may also work for sports media networks, providing statistical analysis on team performance and league developments for sports news shows, articles and other entertainment media sources.

According to July 2021 data from the Economic Research Institute, sports statisticians make an average annual salary of $97,676.

General Manager

According to the website Manager Skills, general managers (GMs) occupy top-level executive management roles in professional sports franchises. In this capacity, GMs oversee other departments like marketing, public relations and business development from a business management perspective. This involves supervising subordinate managers and coaches, managing financial resources, ensuring compliance with regulations and league policies and reporting directly to a team’s owner.

Salaries and additional compensation for GMs vary greatly. Manager Skills estimates that the average annual earnings of top-tier GMs in professional sports range from one to six million dollars.

League Administrator Positions

Students in Southeastern’s M.S. in Sports Administration program delve into topics like legal aspects of sports, contemporary and societal issues, finance, event management and much more. Beyond working with specific teams or media outlets, the comprehensive knowledge graduates gain can prepare them for various administrative roles with sports league organizations such as the NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAA and more.

Graduates could pursue management-level positions in league departments like business development, finance, marketing and media relations. Experience, advanced education and job performance could lead to upper-management opportunities or even the coveted role of league commissioner. According to the website Sportscasting, commissioners of the top professional sports leagues command pay in the seven to eight-figure range (annually).

Of course, very few professional league commissioner positions exist. However, they demonstrate the range of growth opportunities that education and experience can provide. Regardless of how ambitious your professional aspirations are, a master’s in sports administration can help you develop the knowledge and skills you will need to excel in your chosen career.

Learn more about Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Online Master of Science in Sports Administration – General program.


Economic Research Institute: Sports Statistician Salary

Forbes: The 20 Highest-Paid Coaches in American Sports 2019

Glassdoor: How Much Does a Sports Marketing Director Make?

Manager Skills: How Much Do Sports Managers Get Paid Head Coach (Major Sport) Salary

Sports Networker: Jobs in Sports Administration: How to Land Your Dream Job in Sports

Sportscasting: Which Professional Sports Commissioner Gets Paid the Most?

Statista: Market Size of the Global Sports Market From 2011 to 2018

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