Five skills needed for Sport Management

One man, young and handsome, soccer manager on the bleachers, using digital tablet.


New technologies, big data, a changing media landscape and social and cultural movements are causing seismic shifts in the sporting world. Combine this with the growth of sport business in emerging markets including the UAE, Qatar and Doha, and global blue-chip sports brands are searching for highly skilled staff to meet the needs of an ever-changing sector more than ever before. Those already in the industry are also needing to learn new skills to keep up to date with the latest trends, from digital content production and management to sports analytics, governance and more.  

As with many industries, the marketplace for talented people in sport management is competitive. If you work in sports management, whether it is in sports marketing, event management, or sports economics, there is a wide array of skills that sports managers – regardless of specific sector or role – should obtain.  

1. People management  

Working in sports management involves dealing with lots of different professionals across specialisations, which varies depending on the specific sector you work in. This could be legal experts, marketers and sales professionals, trainers, financial experts, fans, medical professionals or the press. As a manager, you are the facilitator, meaning you must exercise your people skills to ensure that everyone stays on schedule and delivers tasks to a high standard to keep all stakeholders happy in the process.  

On the International Strategic Management unit you will learn to formulate and implement international strategy at company and business organisational levels, teaching you to lead in a sporting context. 

2. Time management

In sporting organisations, whether it is governing bodies, football teams or Formula One racing, a lot can happen on any given day. In sport management, you’ll often be working at a fast pace, requiring impeccable organisation and time management skills. You must therefore ensure the people you manage are in the right place at the right time to make sure end consumers are satisfied. For example, if you are part of the customer management team, you need to make sure that fans have the best experience, so being organised is crucial to creating these experiences. 

You will also often be tasked with completing many activities in the same day or simultaneously. This could also be coupled with taking on roles slightly outside of the scope of your job. Just like a team needs every player to fully commit to the job, management teams need you to do the same. Ultimately, you need to demonstrate you can complete tasks at short notice and be able to prioritise things that you might not usually.  

As our course is part-time many of our students continue to work while completing their masters and as such this is a great opportunity to develop your time management skills as you will need to ensure you perform at work, while hitting university deadlines.  

3. Communication

Communication is arguably the most important component of any business environment. Without communication, sports managers cannot establish relationships with business partners and other stakeholders. Internally, without communication, confusion might arise within and amongst teams, and productivity will diminish. Whether you already have an established career in sport business, or you’re looking to infiltrate the sector, you will need great verbal and written communication skills, especially when managing the public reputation of a brand or team. This might mean rectifying any issues with contract negotiations or endorsement opportunities, as well as establishing these relationships in the first place.  

As part of the MSc Sport Business, Management and Policy, you will work with students across the world, each with their own expertise and background, as well as expert academics who can bring opinions and theory to your study. Communicating with these peers and tutors is a crucial part of your development and learning experience. Therefore, you can take these transferable skills back into the workplace with you too. 

4. Entrepreneurial mindset

Whether it’s on the pitch, field, court or on the business side, a core element of the sporting industry is about being brave enough to take risks. Working in sport business and management requires an entrepreneurial mindset, whether by questioning decisions or challenging the status quo. Part of this involves curiosity and striving to create opportunities rather than threats from change, to spark innovation and growth. So, having the ability to take measured risks and manage the risk assessment process are essential skills in competitive marketplaces such as sport.  

As part of the Critical Perspectives in Entrepreneurship unit, you’ll critically explore the drivers of entrepreneurship in multiple contexts: economic; social; political and geographical. Being entrepreneurial literally means ‘taking risks’, so the MSc Sport Business, Management and Policy will push you to hone the skills for your future.  

5. Analytical mindset

In any management role, an analytical mindset is required to a certain extent. And, with the growth of big data and its increased utilisation in organisations, it is crucial to understand the concept of self-service business intelligence and the impact this will have on your future career progression.  

Across industries, each sport has its own statistical benchmarks that specifies the athletes who are excelling in their field, and those who are not. In the past, these statistics were collected and analysed manually, however the simultaneous development of wearable technologies and big data analytics has accelerated the real-time collection and transmission of many performance-critical metrics. From this data, coaches can better understand where improvements need to be made, driving performance. 

As part of the Business Analytics unit, you’ll study the core principles of business analytics and how organisations can make sense of data and harness it to aid decision making processes.  

What is next for you?

Our Global Online sports management masters course is one of only a few management programmes taught by a UK institution which focuses solely on sports. 

It has been designed in conjunction with our Sports Advisory Board to give you the skills that top employers want. Whether you’re already building your career in sport management or are looking to break into the sector, you’ll benefit from the experience of some of the sector’s most well-respected bodies, including Sport England and the Football Foundation.  

Over the course of the programme, leading academics will help you to develop the expertise that sports organisations require – from events management and sports marketing to data analytics – without needing to travel to study. Unlike other courses from the UK, you will also explore areas such as policy, politics, finance and law to understand how they apply to the sports industry and give you the confidence you need to take your career to the next level. 

Delivered by Manchester Metropolitan’s triple accredited business school, the course has flexibility and student support at its heart, giving you the freedom to balance study with your existing work, life and family commitments. 

If you want to be competitive in the business of sport, find out more about our MSc Sport Business, Management and Policy today 

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