Five skills needed for Sport Management
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 also need 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. At Manchester Met, our online Sports Management masters has been designed with this in mind, with all units set to equip students with the fundamental skills – both hard and soft – that employers need.
So whether you work in marketing, event management, economics or any other discipline in the sporting industry, these are the top 5 skills all sports managers need to master.
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, 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 in order to keep all stakeholders happy in the process.
On the International Strategic Management unit of our MSc Sport Business Management programme, you’ll 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, be it governing bodies, football teams or Formula One racing, a lot can happen on any given day.
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 are happy, so being organised is crucial to creating seamless, high-value experiences for them.
You’ll also need to complete several activities in the same day or simultaneously – possibly even taking on tasks outside of the scope of your job. Just as in sport, management teams need people who fully commit to the task at hand to achieve success. Ultimately, you need to demonstrate you can complete tasks at short notice and prioritise these as needed.
As our online Sports Management masters is part-time, many of our students continue to work while completing their masters. Of course, this offers a great opportunity to develop your time management skills as you learn to juggle work with your university studies.
Communication is arguably the most important component of a successful business environment. Without it, sports managers can’t establish effective relationships with business partners and other stakeholders. Internally, poor communication causes confusion among teams and damages productivity.
Whether you already have an established career in sport business, or you’re looking to enter the sector, you’ll need great verbal and written communication skills, especially when managing the public reputation of a brand or team. This might involve correcting any issues relating to contract negotiations or endorsement opportunities, as well as establishing the necessary relationships to facilitate these in the first place.
As part of our Masters in Sports Management, you will work with students from around the world, as well as expert academics, who will each bring their unique experiences and insights for you to learn from. Communicating and collaborating with peers and tutors is a crucial part of your development and learning experience. And you can take these transferable skills back into the workplace with you too.
The sporting industry rewards those who are brave enough to take risks – be that on the pitch or in business.
For this reason, working in sport business and management requires an entrepreneurial mindset and a willingness to ask questions, challenge the status quo, be curious, and view change as a way to unlock new opportunities for growth. Having the ability to take measured risks and manage the risk assessment process is essential in competitive marketplaces such as sport.
As part of the Critical Perspectives in Entrepreneurship unit on our course, you’ll explore the drivers of entrepreneurship in multiple contexts: economic, social, political and geographical. Being entrepreneurial literally means ‘taking risks’, so the online Sports Management masters will push you to develop the mindset you need to progress.
With the growth of big data and its increased use in sporting organisations, it’s crucial to understand the concept of self-service business intelligence and the impact this will have on your future career progression.
Each sport has its own statistical benchmarks that identify the athletes that are excelling and those that aren’t. 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 of our programme, 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 online MSc Sport Business Management programme 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 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.