Most people imagine careers in the sports industry to include opportunities like athlete, coaches, managers, etc. And while these are good careers, there are other several higher-level positions that can be easily overlooked – sports industry boardroom jobs.
The boardroom positions are the most elite in the sports business management career path as discussed in this article at Sports Management Degrees: https://www.sports-management-degrees.com/business-careers/. The jobs include executive positions in professional sports teams, sports leagues, and governing bodies. Often, these positions are not advertised publicly. Instead, they are filled through special recruitment drives. For example, by executive recruitment firms like Stone Executive and others, that specialise in the sports industry. Read more at Stone’s site here https://www.stoneexecutive.co.uk/industries-and-functions/sector/sports-executive-recruitment
If you are looking to start (or switch to) a career in the sports industry, below is a look at the 5 top boardroom jobs you can consider.
1. Team President/ General Manager
A lot of people see a sports team as just that – a team. However, in today’s world, sports teams are more than sports – they are also businesses. As a result, they need someone to manage them for them to be successful enterprises. One of the top sports industry boardroom jobs is that of a sports team president or general manager (they are usually the same person in most outfits).
The president and/or the manager is the chief executive officer of the team, and they are responsible for its overall success. They are charged with overseeing several departments/units within the team – from marketing to finance, sales, tickets, broadcasting, community outreach, and so on. In some teams, the president might be the founder, but for big teams and clubs, he/she is employed by the owners/shareholders to guarantee the success of the business side of the team.
If the president is also the general manager, he or she might also be tasked with additional day-to-day tasks. These include responsibilities such as hiring and firing employees, promotions, player negotiations, supervising talent scouting (players), and so on.
2. Director of Business Affairs
As already stated, most professional sports teams are also business outfits. As a result, they require someone managing the business side of things so that the team can continue being successful. Another one of the top sports industry boardroom jobs is that of the Director of Business Affairs. The position can also be referred to with other titles such as the Vice President of Business Affairs.
Whatever the name, the person in charge is tasked with managing the business side of things, which (when it comes to a sports team) include things such as:
- Negotiating commercial agreements such as endorsement deals, consulting services, broadcasting agreements, vendor agreements, intellectual property rights agreements, representation agreements, and others
- Contract administration
- Advising the board and executive in business transactions
- Devising and executing the organizations’ (team) business strategy
- Supporting the team’s commercial growth
3. Chief Marketing Officer
The position of Chief Marketing Officer is another one of the most lucrative sports industry boardroom jobs. The officer is tasked with one vital responsibility – marketing the team and its’ athletes/players to the fans, corporation (for sponsorships and endorsements), and public (to gain more fans, sell team merchandise, etc.).
Chief marketing officer advises the board on the marketing strategies. At the same time, he/she can work with the staff in marketing, promotion, advertising, sales, public relations, and other departments to come up with strategies that will help to sell the team.
4. Chief Communications Officer
Sports team attract a lot of attention and scrutiny, be it from fans, the general public, media, corporations, leagues, and governing bodies, and other entities. As a result, a good sports team should have a strong public relations department/unit, whose job is to build a positive image of the team and players, handle damage control, liaise with the media, perform community outreach, and other public relations task. This brings about the need for another top-level executive position, that of the Chief Communications Officer.
For successful day-to-day responsibilities, the Chief Communications Officer will have the role of supervising the entire communication strategy of the organization, including the activities of the public relations unit. The CCO also advises the board, devises, and executes an effective communication strategy that will ensure the team retains a positive image and reputation. For more information read this post: https://www.spencerstuart.com/research-and-insight/chief-communications-officers-in-the-boardroom.
5. Athletes Representative
Sports industry boardroom jobs are not only limited to positions within sports teams. You can also land a great boardroom job in the various organization and governing bodies that are in charge of managing sports. Most of these organizations will usually have the position of an athlete representative in the boardroom, who is charged with representing the interests of the athletes. The athlete representative will also advise the organization on strategies that will cater to the interests of the athletes.
Tips for Landing The Best sports industry boardroom jobs
From the above job titles, it is pretty clear that there are several exciting sports industry boardroom jobs. But how can you get one of these jobs? Below is a look at some tips on how you can land a boardroom job in the sports industry summarised from the detailed post at Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonbelzer/2015/11/04/climbing-your-way-to-the-sports-industry-c-suite/#3891bbcd65e9.
1. Get the right qualifications
This is the first step towards landing a C-suite job in the sports industry. Usually, it will mean pursuing a course in sports management (there are several sports management courses in both undergraduate and masters level). If you are looking to land a specific position, for example, marketing, finance, and so on, you should consider pursuing a course that incorporates the specific skills required.
2. Find a job in the sports industry
More often than not, it will take you some time before you can rise to a boardroom job. Therefore, it is a good idea to start low by finding another job in the industry, and then building your career until you have enough experience to land a C-suite job. Some of the other types of sports management jobs you can start with include athletics director, marketing director, sales director, finance manager, etc.
3. Diversify your skill sets
Sports industry boardroom jobs are highly competitive. As a result, you need to add several skills to your resume so as to be attractive to employers. You can acquire these much-needed skills through managerial responsibilities in other sports management jobs, as well as more qualifications through additional courses and professional training.
The final step is to create contacts that will help you become visible to employers and recruiters. These contacts can include employers in the sports industry, colleagues and friends, and other contacts made through industry events. It might also be a good idea to get in touch with and submit your resume to an executive search firm. You can submit your CV at Stone Executive(https://www.stoneexecutive.co.uk/submit-your-cv) and elsewhere online.
The job market in the sports industry is not limited to athletes’ career or other technical and managerial jobs. Instead, there are several sports industry boardroom jobs that are available to the candidate with the necessary skills. More jobs are also being opened up with the creation of new teams, leagues, and governing bodies. Therefore, there are good opportunities if you have the necessary qualifications for a C-suite job in the industry, or are looking to start a career that will lead you to one.