The sports industry is fast-paced, exciting, and full of diverse opportunities. It’s also big business. Whether you’re an athlete or a non-athlete sports enthusiast, a career in this exhilarating and competitive field can be uniquely fulfilling, and a degree in sports industry management can help get you there. While this business-oriented degree covers many of the topics addressed in other business management degrees such as marketing, finance and leadership, it does so within the specific context of the sports world in order to prepare the next generation of sports organization leaders. Read on for a round-up of reasons to pursue a degree in sports industry management, along with one degree to set you racing ahead in the industry.

1 - It’s a growing industry

The Business Research Company’s Sports Global Market Opportunities and Strategies to 2022 report predicts the global sports market will reach a whopping $614 billion by the year 2022. And while like the sports industry -- like almost every other industry -- has been rocked by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, experts say it will not only eventually bounce back, but will move forward in new and exciting ways.


And then there’s the fact that sports play a vital role in society, and will continue to do so when the crisis resolves. In fact, the return of the industry may be a critical rallying point for society, according to a Deloitte report on the impact of coronavirus on the sports sector.

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2 - It’s always changing

The sports industry is always changing which means there are plenty of opportunities to innovate. Deloitte’s US sports leader Pete Giorgio recently identified five trends he expected to see dominating and disrupting the sports world in 2020. These included the rise of women’s sports; the ongoing evolution of esports; legalized sports betting in the USA; growing endorsement opportunities for college athletes; and 5G and sports in the cloud.


The post-COVID-19 era has certainly changed society but is also giving the sports industry the opportunity to do some proactive changing of its own. One theme consistently rising to the top is sustainability. Sports sustainability expert Russell Seymour wrote in The Sustainability Report, “The post-COVID-19 ‘reset’ provides sport with an opportunity to generate a new, cohesive narrative including environmental responsibility as a core priority of the sector, taking a genuine leadership position for the good of society.”


Meanwhile, sports organizations are hard at work determining how to navigate an uncertain future. SportsPro recently took a closer look at five “brilliant basics” shared by top sports industry executives on how they’re preparing for what’s ahead. Strategies include scenario planning in real-time; supporting and challenging internal teams; embracing speed but not haste; understanding the importance of tone in these tricky times; and staying visible through relevance.


Indeed, if you’re looking to be a game-changer, there’s no better time than now, according to Simon Chadwick, Professor of Eurasian Sport and Director of the Centre for the Eurasian Sport Industry at em*lyon business school**. “Without a collaborative, consensual view of the future, of policy and of the industry, the new normal for sport could be, well, just the same as the old normal, with which many have been dissatisfied,” Chadwick asserts.


3 - You’ll be following your passion

People pursue careers for many different reasons, ranging from their skills and strengths to compensation and benefits. However, we can think of no better reason to work in a particular field than having a passion for it. When you do what you love, you love what you do. Instead of being bored and dreading going to work every day, choosing a career in a field about which you are passionate ensures you will stay motivated and engaged. These qualities can help you succeed and advance in your career.


If you are passionate about travel in addition to sports, sports industry management studies are a win-win. Not only are there sports industry management jobs all across the globe, but many jobs involve traveling to different events. If seeing the world while working in sports sounds like a dream, it’s a very real possibility with a sports industry management degree.

4 - You’ll enjoy job flexibility

Sports management jobs are anything but one-size-fits-all. For starters, sports organizations exist in all sizes and at all levels -- from grassroots community initiatives to massive international entities. The knowledge and skills acquired during a sports management industry degree are transferable across all of these organizations.


Additionally, there are a variety of job opportunities in sports, such as athletics administration, sports marketing, events coordination, facility operations management, financial and contract analysis, corporate partnerships management, sports law, coaching and many more.


5 - You’ll get to give back

Certainly, sports are a form of entertainment. But as consumers have increasingly voiced their preference for socially responsible brands, the sports industry has stepped up with leagues, teams, athletes and organizations championing causes such as diversity, equality, race, gender, sexuality and the environment. In 2018, Nielsen Sports included social responsibility as one of its five global sports industry trends.


The trend is more prevalent now than ever. ESPN vice president of corporate citizenship Kevin Martinez told the Sports Business Journal, “The structure of corporate responsibility has now become a business practice. It’s not just a community outreach or public affairs or a corporate giving job. It is a strategic piece of business. It’s still the ‘Do good, do right’ of the 1990s and 2000s, but it’s much more entrepreneurial, innovative and integrated than ever before.”

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Gain an inside edge in sports industry management

We’ve established that sports industry management is an exciting career path, and that a degree can provide a crucial foundation. Which begs the question: what degree program should you choose? emlyon business school’s MSc in Sports Industry Management may be just what you’re looking for.


Approved by the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles, this 18-month, English-taught degree is delivered in Paris and Shanghai with field trips to the UK, Germany, and the stunning French Alps. It also includes a four- to six-month internship. Appropriate for students with a bachelor’s degree minimum in any subject, the MSc offers the opportunity to study management with obtaining a broad view of the dynamics of the sports and outdoor industry.


One of the many things that makes emlyon’s MSc unique is that it was collaboratively set up to meet the specific recruitment needs of the ever-changing sports industry. Not only were major sports companies like Adidas, North Face, and Patagonia involved in the program’s design, but they continue to contribute to the experience through participation in classes, panels and company visits.


emlyon has also been heralded for its innovation, most recently by offering courses and training in the red-hot area of eSports, a discipline which has been unaffected by the pandemic -- or even increased in popularity because of it, with, for example, the ePremier League invitational tournaments, where Premier League football stars competed against each other and special guests at best-selling football game FIFA 20. emylon is innovating in other ways, too, such as its collaboration earlier this year with the Government of Odisha’s Sports and Youth Services Department’s toward India’s inaugural sports and innovation festival, SPORT IT 2020.

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But why not hear it from the students themselves? Emmanuel, a 32-year-old student and aspiring entrepreneur from Strasbourg, France, says, “The first reason why I have chosen this program is its strong entrepreneurial mindset with its unique “early makers” approach. The program is not only about marketing classes but also management, design thinking, digitalization, lifestyle trends and user experience. It gave me lots of key learnings to help me build my project in parallel.”


Alumnus Andrea Bordignon, meanwhile, gives high marks to the MSc’s career services. “Since the very beginning of the program, I have been helped by emlyon business school’s career services to achieve my career goals, preparing week after week my resumes, cover letters and interview speeches. And today, after several interviews and thanks to the relevant help of my career coach, I have got the position of European Merchandising Intern at Adidas Europe in Amsterdam. It is just amazing; I am really excited to start this great experience very soon,” she enthuses.


At a time when few things in life are certain, the value of sports to society remains indisputable. Sports management industry studies can position you to be a major player in its comeback story.