Pursuing a Career Through Majoring in Sports Management

Sports management is a multidisciplinary field that incorporates elements of business, marketing, law, finance, and communication in the context of sports. Pursuing a sports management degree can lead to various careers, from sports agency to event management.

Claflin sports intern with Planet Fitness staff

Claflin sports intern (center) with Planet Fitness staff

What Is Sports Management?

Sports management is the business side of the sports industry. It includes managing sports teams or individual athletes, overseeing sports events, working in sports marketing, and managing facilities. A sports management degree equips students with a unique combination of business knowledge and sports industry insights. It’s an excellent choice for people passionate about sports with a strong interest in business.

Black Professionals in Sports Management

Black Americans have made substantial contributions to sports management, breaking barriers and setting milestones that have transformed the industry. From being players to assuming leadership roles, progress has been slow at times and always hard-won, but it is also palpable. 

Figures like Billy King, former general manager for the Brooklyn Nets, or Kiki VanDeWeghe, who served as the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations, have led the way for others. In addition, it’s encouraging to see a steady rise in the number of Black women in these roles, like Simone Gourdine, who served as a deputy commissioner in the WNBA. Their presence has diversified leadership and brought unique perspectives to the field.

However, much progress is still needed, as Blacks remain underrepresented in sports management roles relative to their representation as players.

Pursuing a degree in sports management at an HBCU is a great way to advance equity in this field. However, if you are beyond your college years or otherwise in a position to do so, donating to UNCF-member HBCUs empowers future Black changemakers in sports management.

Careers in Sports Management

The global sports market grew from $486.61 billion in 2022 to $512.14 billion in 2023. It’s a diverse field that offers various career opportunities for individuals passionate about sports and business. Graduates of sports management programs can find opportunities in diverse settings, including professional sports leagues, collegiate athletic departments, sports agencies, fitness and recreational sports centers, and sporting goods retailers.

The sports industry’s digital transformation has also opened new roles in sports management and data analysis. The broad array of potential positions in this field means there are opportunities to align your career with your interests and strengths in the sports world.

Earning a degree in sports management equips individuals with the necessary skills to thrive in various exciting and rewarding careers, including:

  • Sports Agent:Represents athletes and negotiates contracts with teams, sponsors, and other parties
  • Sports Marketing Manager: Develops and executes marketing strategies for sports teams, athletes, or sports brands
  • Sports Event Planner: Organizes and coordinates sports events like tournaments, championships, or fundraisers
  • Sports Facility Manager:Oversees the operations and management of sports facilities like stadiums, arenas, or training centers
  • Sports Analytics Manager:Utilizes data analysis and statistics to provide insights and make strategic decisions for sports teams or organizations
  • Sports Broadcasting Producer:Coordinates and produces live or recorded broadcasts of sports events for television, radio, or online platforms

These are just a few examples of the numerous career paths available to sports management graduates. The field continues to expand and adapt to new technologies, ensuring many opportunities.

Want to learn more about this possible career path and college major? Have questions about which UNCF colleges and universities offer this program? Looking for help with financing this degree?

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How to Prepare for Success

Preparing for success in college as a sports management major requires a mix of academic preparation, relevant extracurricular activities, and self-driven research and knowledge acquisition. These steps might help:

Clark Atlanta football coach

Clark Atlanta football coach

These steps might help:

  • Academics:Take any business, management, economics, or statistics courses offered at your high school. These courses will give you a foundation in the concepts you’ll study more intensely in college. In addition, a part of sports management is understanding contracts and negotiations. Knowledge about sports law and ethics is also crucial. You can find online courses and resources to get a basic understanding of these areas.
  • Leadership Experience:
    Take on leadership roles in sports or any domain. The skills you learn from managing people, handling conflicts, and making decisions will be valuable in your career in sports management. You could also try to get involved in managing your school’s teams or setting up sports events to gain an idea of what sports management is at a basic level. In addition, try to get an internship or volunteer position with a local sports team, facility, or athletic department for practical experience.

UNCF Schools to Consider

Six UNCF-member schools offer programs for students wishing to work in the field of sports management, including:

NASSProfessional Organizations

Various organizations in sports management offer more insight into working in their fields. A sample list includes







There’s no better way to start on your path to a successful career in sports management than with a solid financial foundation. Fortunately, many scholarships are available through UNCF, including some specifically for sports management majors. Keep an eye on the UNCF website for current scholarship opportunities and announcements. 

Search for specific scholarships and view those that are currently accepting applications here! Students should also check with each college or university to see if additional scholarships are available to study sports management.

As you explore your options, be sure to use our guide to apply for scholarships and grants. You can also receive guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in sports management. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!

You can also show your support for students pursuing careers and furthering equity in sports management by contributing to UNCF member schools. Education is the greatest tool we have in creating a just and equitable society in which economic mobility is available to all. Help us achieve this future by donating today!