Top 9 sports management careers

Top 9 sports management careers
SEEK content teamupdated on 13 February, 2024

If you have a passion for sports and love the thought of working in the industry, a sports management career could be the right option for you. While roles like team manager and coach might first come to mind, there are many more job opportunities in Australia across the field of sports

A career in sports management could follow a variety of pathways, and lead you to work in diverse, dynamic and exciting environments. Roles extend beyond working with athletes, to include management careers in branding, fitness and event planning. Some roles don’t require sports ability either, instead focusing on leadership, conflict resolution and communication. 

To give you some guidance and inspiration, this guide covers 9 careers in sports management, with average Australian salaries for each one.

Athlete manager [$92k]

An athlete manager is an essential role in the realm of elite sports. They oversee their clients’ schedules, negotiate contracts, organise travel and generally take care of their clients or teams. The specific duties of an athlete manager depend on the sport and the level of the individual athlete or team.

For this kind of career in sports management, key skills include leadership, problem solving, and knowledge across multiple relevant fields, which could include law, accounting and public relations. Qualifications required include a degree in business, specialising in sports management, plus several years of experience in their chosen sport.

Sports event coordinator [$73k]

An event coordinator is a specialist in organisation and planning. They’re responsible for producing events from the planning stage through to post-event follow up. Sporting events they might organise include competitions, sports fairs, fund-raising events and charity matches. They could start out working on local school carnivals and end up managing events at the Olympic Games.

As sports event coordinators are in charge of everything to do with an event – equipment, catering, cleaning, venue hire, audio-visual, hosts and performers, etc. – they naturally require strong project management skills. It also helps to have a relevant qualification, such as a diploma in event management or TAFE certificate in events.

Fitness centre manager [$85k+]

Gyms and fitness centres provide some of the more social careers in sport management. If you’re into fitness and like spending time in the gym, the role of fitness centre manager could be a natural fit for you. Fitness centre managers run the day-to-day operations of gyms and fitness studios, overseeing budget, staff, programs, equipment and so on.

A common career pathway to fitness centre manager is to start off in an entry-level role as an instructor, trainer or front desk receptionist and work your way up to manager over time. The role doesn’t necessarily require a degree, but business or management-related qualifications are helpful, along with experience working in a fitness centre.

Sports marketing coordinator [$75k]

It’s not one of the most obvious careers in sport management, but marketing is an important part of the sports industry. A marketing coordinator in sports supports advertising and other public campaigns to gain fans and grow interest in a sport, or a specific sports team, club, league or athletic body. 

For your best chances of succeeding as a marketing coordinator, start with a marketing qualification like a diploma of marketing and communication or a bachelor’s degree in marketing. An internship or volunteering role in a sports marketing agency or with a specific sports team could be a way to get your foot in the door. Your career pathway may take you to a role as a campaign manager or sports marketing director, with much higher earning capacity. 

Public relations officer [$85k]

Has your favourite sports person ever received bad publicity for something they said? If so, they likely turned to their public relations team to come to their rescue. A public relations officer usually works as part of a larger PR department, and is responsible for a person’s or team’s public image. They bridge the gap between sports professionals and the media, helping their clients build and manage their brands. PR teams arrange press conferences, send out press releases and create media events to get their clients good publicity. 

A bachelor’s degree in marketing and communications is the usual route to work in PR, or an arts degree with writing qualifications. 

Sports administrator [from $65k]

Sports administrators work in sports clubs, for teams, for school sports or for other sports organisations, taking care of their overall operations. This is an office-based role that might include marketing, hiring or managing operational staff, handling inventory, liaising with local council for permissions and any other duty that supports the management of the club or team. 

Key skills for a sports administrator include decision-making, organisation and time management, and relevant qualifications can include either a degree or diploma in administration or sports management.

Sports coach [$78k]

Sports coach is one of the more stereotypical sports management careers for sports professionals. These roles are usually filled by people with extensive high-level experience playing the relevant sport. Leadership qualities and empathy are also important skills to have as a coach. Coaches provide training plans, nutritional advice, emotional support and general advice to keep their clients performing their best. 

Depending on the level and the sport, formal qualifications may not be required, as more focus is placed on skills and experience. At higher levels, sports coaches may need qualifications in sports management, nutrition science and media relations.

Sports development officer [$90k]

A sports development officer is in charge of promoting specific sports or activities to particular groups (young people, elders, veterans, etc.) They create outreach programs and engage the community with the purpose of improving public health and/or building interest in a specific sport. They might try to get young people to sign up for local clubs, leagues or teams as a way of getting new talent and interest.

Useful qualifications for this sports management career include diplomas in sports development, sports science or sports and recreation, and excellent communication skills are a must. You should be physically fit, interested in working with the community and happy spending time outdoors engaging with your target audience.

Team manager [from $100k]

A club team manager plays a varied role in looking after their team. They oversee their team’s day-to-day schedule, handling training, player development, team selection and travel arrangements for games. They could work for school teams, professional teams or even Olympic teams. 

Team managers usually have decades of experience in their sport, and have skills in leadership, coaching and conflict resolution. Depending on the level of the team, there may not be any formal education requirement, but if you’re earlier in your career, a qualification in sports management or coaching can help. 

If you’re interested in a sports management career, it’s a matter of defining exactly what pathway you want to take, as there are so many roles to choose from. Your skills might lead to a successful career in coaching, marketing, event planning or athlete management – and to exciting opportunities across Australia and beyond. 

More from this category: First job

Top search terms

Want to know what people are searching for on SEEK? Explore our top search terms to stay across industry trends.
Select an industry to uncover the top search terms

Subscribe to Career Advice

Get expert career advice delivered to your inbox.
You can cancel emails at any time. By clicking ‘subscribe’ you agree to SEEK’s Privacy Statement.