Many aspiring athletes and sports enthusiasts’ career aspirations of working in the field dwindle as they age and realize they may not be able to go pro. However, there are ways to curtail your passion for your favorite sport into a lucrative and rewarding career.

Sports and recreation management is a dynamic field with endless potential, allowing you to customize your career path to align with your professional strengths and personal interests.

What Is Recreation Management?

Recreation management is a broad career field in which professionals primarily focus on creating opportunities for individuals to live healthy, active lifestyles while promoting community engagement. Those who study recreation management can be prepared to work for a parks and recreation department at a local municipality or a leisure facility that provides programming for members. Many students who complete a recreation management degree program work within the wide world of sports, leveraging their skills and indulging their interests throughout their careers.

Diverse Career Options

One of the most considerable benefits of a degree in recreation sports management is that many career options are available after graduation. From working as part of a community recreation team to securing a position in professional sports, you may discover many opportunities to find a job that aligns with your personal and professional goals.

Recreation Sports Manager

Many communities employ a recreation sports manager to offer their residents opportunities to get involved with athletics at the local level. A recreation sports manager is a professional who often works for the municipality and coordinates sports teams, fitness programs, activities, and events. However, recreation sports managers also may be employed directly by private sports teams, such as travel leagues.

Depending on the position, a recreation sports manager may focus on outdoor recreation programming for a community or oversee the development of a specific sports program in the area, like a soccer or baseball league.

According to Indeed, a recreation sports manager is responsible for managing and overseeing teams in the league, program budgeting, customer service, planning events, and scheduling games. Glassdoor notes that the average annual salary for a recreation sports manager is about $55,000.

Event Coordinator

An event coordinator is a professional who plans and oversees events for a specific organization or a local community. Many event coordinators with a sports and recreation management background work for a parks and recreation department to help plan and execute events that promote a healthy lifestyle.

A sports event coordinator may be responsible for:

  • Working with venues to coordinate locations for events, games, or matches and negotiating a favorable contract to utilize that venue.
  • Planning and executing large sports events, tournaments, team-building events, significant banquets, or other events.
  • Collaborating with sports marketing specialists to promote events and increase attendance.
  • Managing the event team to help ensure there are enough staff members and volunteers to oversee, set up, and clean up the event.
  • Coordinating logistics for the event, such as additional transportation or lodging.
  • Developing security and emergency plans for the events being planned.

The salary for a sports event coordinator may vary significantly depending on the organization for which they work. Typically, the salary will range from $35,000 to $55,000 annually.

Sports Marketing Specialist

A sports marketing specialist is a marketing professional who focuses on this niche industry and employs the best marketing strategies to help a team grow its fanbase, improve its reach in the community, and increase attendance at team events. A sports marketing specialist may be employed by an individual team or a marketing firm that contracts sports teams or organizations.

When sports marketing professionals have a background in sports management, they can better understand client’s needs and their target audience’s preferences, which is key to their success as a marketer. A sports marketing specialist may oversee a team’s social media strategy, improving brand loyalty in the local community, researching the latest market trends and consumer preferences, and creating promotional campaigns that raise awareness about the team.

The average salary for a sports marketing specialist in the United States is $68,000 per year. This position’s salary range can vary significantly based on your educational credentials, professional experience, and place of employment.

Job Outlook and Growth

As communities prioritize wellness initiatives and recognize the importance of offering sports and fitness programs, the demand for recreation management professionals is expected to continue rising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of administrative service and facilities managers is projected to grow by about 5 percent in the next decade, which is faster than average compared to other professional positions. It is also expected that there will be about 20,000 jobs added in this industry within the coming years.

How to Work in Sports and Recreation Management

You will find that there are several steps you need to take to become qualified for the best positions in this industry. To work in sports and recreation management, consider gaining relevant knowledge, experience, and connections. 

Educational Path

The BLS notes that most professional positions in the administrative services and facilities management industry require a bachelor’s degree. The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Sports and Recreation Management offered at Salem University provides a comprehensive introduction to the sports management field. This rigorous academic curriculum covers the fundamentals of business administration with a focus on sports management principles and theories, facilities management, program development, physiology, and sports law.

Gaining Relevant Experience

Gaining relevant experience in the area where you desire to specialize is critical to securing the type of sports and recreation management position you prefer. For example, suppose you strive to work at a leisure services department. In that case, you may want to seek an internship through your local municipality. This internship will allow you to put your newfound knowledge and skill set to work in actionable ways and begin to develop your resume.

On the other hand, if you are interested in working in professional or college athletics, you will want to focus on professional development opportunities in that sector. You may need to acquire different skills—such as first aid and CPR—to work directly with athletes.

Expanding Your Network

Creating and nurturing a professional network will help you realize new opportunities and possibilities in sports and recreation management. You can expand your professional network by joining a professional organization, attending industry conferences, attending local networking events, and simply getting involved in your local community.

Start Your Career Journey Today

From working with young athletes hoping to pursue advanced training and hone their skills to planning exciting and engaging sports events, the career possibilities are virtually endless in the recreation sports management industry. By enrolling in the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Sports and Recreation Management degree program, you can acquire the skills and knowledge needed to dive into this industry. Request more information about the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Sports and Recreation Management today.

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