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What Are the Highest Paid Positions in Sports Management?

This industry is highly competitive, but with the right career path it can be highly lucrative as well.  Graduates in sports management have numerous options with a large variety of responsibilities.  The salaries are just as varied with annual salaries of entry-level positions starting at $18,000 and some of the top positions in excess of $100,000 a year.  Many of the higher paying jobs are in sales and marketing, and the positions work on commission, so there is a potential to earn more.  In this article we will discuss some of the positions with the highest salaries in the sports management industry.

We all think of Jerry Maguire when we think of sports agents.  These are individuals that serve as business managers for their clients, representing the athlete in contract negotiations and many times managing their finances as well.  Agents handle their client’s public relations, ensuring that the client retains a positive presence for marketability purposes.  These star athletes have endorsement deals that are quite lucrative; promoting a variety of products and services and it is the agent’s responsibility to negotiate and secure these deals.  Sports agents can make millions on high visibility athletes in the major leagues.  Agents can work independently or as part of a large firm. 

This career is diverse, fast-paced, and exciting, but it is not a career choice for the meek.  To be a successful agent you will need to have sharp negotiation skills, a passion for what you do and a lot of drive.  A great agent will need to be part manager, part salesman and part therapist.

It is a general requirement for agents to have at least a bachelor’s degree, usually in sports management, business, or law.  Agents must know how to calculate deals, manage finances and budget.  You will be required to deal with a variety of people from young athletes to media personalities to large corporations. Agents are the epitome of multi-tasking, handling a number of clients as well as looking for new ones all the while anticipating potential avenues to promote their clients. 

While sports agents or managers are at the top of the list for moneymakers in the sports management industry there are several other lucrative career choices in the industry.  All the major sports franchises have sales and marketing departments with VP’s and directors pulling in six figure salaries.  The average pay range for a sports marketing manager was $40,000 to $81,000 outside of major league franchises; the average was $60,000 annually.

A director of ticket sales and corporate sales is also a very profitable career field, with most directors making in excess of $80,000 a year with some earning $150,000 a year.  This position is responsible for ticket sales and services, product sales and services, ticket operations and the day- to-day supervision of the ticket office. 

Winter sports managers make an estimated $70,000 a year while individuals working in public relations and marketing make around $50,000 to $60,000 a year.  A sports compliance official and athletic equipment managers make an average annual salary of $50,000.

This is definitely an industry that requires an individual to push themselves continuously, but if you have the right personality and drive you can have great success in a sports management career.

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