What To Do With a Sports Management Degree

What can you do with a sports management degree?

At Canisius, we have 1,400+ alumni across the globe, living and working in 40 states and 13 countries, with job titles like Head Coach, Scout, Chief Operating Officer, Senior Development Manager, Assistant Director of Player Engagement, and Director of Football Operations. In this post, we will outline how you too can build a successful career in the sports industry while highlighting the top and highest paying sports jobs in the industry.

Taking the first steps into the sports industry can feel daunting, especially if you’ve just completed your undergraduate degree in sports management and are unsure where to go from here. A good place to start is determining what area of work you would like to pursue and identifying the job opportunities within that field. 

Laurel Wreath
88% of Canisius Alumni
Employed in the sport industry
Laurel Wreath
Top 10 Best Online Masters in Sport Management
2023, bestschools.org

What do I do after graduation in sports management?

There are various career paths you can take with a degree in sports management. Before you start applying for jobs, it's important to consider your individual strengths and interests. Do you want to work directly with athletes or behind the scenes? Do you have a specialization in a particular area of business, such as finance, accounting, marketing, or operations? Do you have any experience or interest in a particular sport or league? The answers to these types of questions can point you in the right direction. 

Some top job prospects for graduates of sport management degrees include:


  • Sports agents
  • Athletic directors
  • General managers for teams
  • Coaches
  • Recruiters and scouts
  • Marketing professionals
  • Public relations officers and contract specialists

There are endless career opportunities in the sports industry, and the higher up you want to work, the more education you'll need. Canisius University offers various graduate programs to help you further your career. To advance in the industry and increase your earning potential, you may want to consider pursuing a graduate degree or certificate program, such as a Masters in Sports Administration, a Masters in Sport Product Development, or a Coaching Advanced Certificate

What are the best sports management master’s degrees?

While a bachelor’s degree in sports management can open many doors in the world of business and sports, pursuing a master's degree can help you specialize in a particular field or build upon your business management skills. This can further enhance your knowledge and expertise, making it easier to achieve your desired career path.

Canisius University is located in one of the greatest sports towns in America - Buffalo. It is home to several professional sports teams, including the Buffalo Bills, Sabres, Bisons, and Bandits, as well as established organizations like Pegula Sports and Entertainment (PSE) and New Era Cap. While you might know Canisius for its D1 sports programs, did you know our graduate programs in sports are just as impressive? If you have a passion for working in sports, here are two master's programs you should consider:

Master’s in Sport Product Development

The sports industry generates ~$400 billion in revenue annually, with ~$60 billion from retail sporting equipment sales alone. 

The Master’s in Sport Product Development program at Canisius is a 1-2 year online program consisting of 33 credit hours. The program includes a six-credit internship, where you’ll gain hands-on experience and build connections with key industry players. The program covers six key segments within the sporting goods industry, including competitive team sports, extreme sports, fitness, individual sports, indoor games, and outdoor recreation sports. After your first semester, you can specialize in sports product design or retail management.

Graduates of the program have a wide range of career opportunities, including marketing, product line management, research and development, merchandising, retail management, and operations.

Learn MoreCareer Outlooks

Master’s in Sport Administration

The Master’s in Sport Administration at Canisius is recognized as one of the top 10 best online master’s programs in sports management by bestschools.org. Tailored for those aspiring to enter professional and managerial roles in the public and private sectors, this flexible 1-2 year program is available entirely online (33 credits) or a hybrid with online and on campus learning (42 credits). 

In this program, you will benefit from hands-on experience in an NCAA D1 program, with opportunities in assistantships, coaching, operations, and facility management. If you opt for the hybrid program, the curriculum will also include a core of business management courses from the AACSB-accredited M.B.A. program of the Richard J. Wehle School of Business.

An impressive 87.5% of Canisius alumni from this program are successfully employed in the sport industry. Graduates can explore career opportunities in intercollegiate athletics, amateur and professional sports, sport-marketing firms, special-event management, and facility management. 


Learn MoreAlumni Outcomes

Top Careers in Sports

It can be challenging to narrow down the top and highest-paid jobs in sports management as the industry is vast and pay can considerably vary based on the organization, league, or level of sport you work in. Nevertheless, here is a list of some of the top careers in sports that you can aspire to, including average annual salaries from Glassdoor: 


Product Manager

$156,651 per year 

Product Managers in the sporting goods industry can earn between $97K to $162K annually. They are responsible for the strategy and success of a product or product line and require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and experience in a related field such as retail management or product development. A Master’s in Sport Product Development can increase your chances of success in pursuing this role.

Athletic Director 

$79,493 per year

Athletic Directors oversee a school's athletic programs and typically earn between $56K to $93K annually. To become an Athletic Director, you'll need a bachelor’s degree in education, physical education, exercise science, or sports management, and many employers also require a master’s degree. 

Head Coach

US$63,252 per year

Head Coaches earn an average annual salary between $43K to $79K, but in professional sports, salaries can go much higher. A bachelor's degree and coaching certification are required to become a coach. Coaches work with athletes and staff in multiple areas, including recruitment, training, budgeting, and media relations, and typically require previous experience working with teams to reach head coach positions.

General Manager

$152,321 per year

The average annual salary for a General Manager in the sporting goods industry varies between $84K to $157K. The average salary for a General Manager of a team is difficult to determine as this can vary widely. General Managers oversee either multiple stores or one team in a geographic region. The job responsibilities include hiring, training, sales, finance, marketing, and operations. For those managing a team, there is also the added responsibility of managing team contracts, coaches, and players. To become a General Manager, a bachelor’s degree in business administration, sports management, or a related-field is required, along with management or retail experience. A master’s degree can prove to be beneficial when climbing the ranks. 

Talent Scout

$87,908 per year

The average salary for a Talent Scout can range between $83K to $131K a year. In the sports industry, a Talent Scout is responsible for identifying and recruiting athletes for school, professional or amateur teams. Generally, a bachelor's degree is necessary to enter this field, and having a major or master's degree in a specific industry-related field, such as sport management or sport administration, can be highly advantageous. Typically, starting from entry-level roles within the industry, like working at a sports stadium or with a team, on or off the pitch, is the way to work up to this position.

Learn More About Canisius Sport Graduate Programs

For more information on the sport graduate programs offered at Canisius, check out the Canisius Sport Graduate Programs page