AT A GLANCE

  • The sports industry was projected to grow by $145.3 billion between 2010 and 2015, and is currently full of opportunities in areas such as sports marketing and sponsorship, sports media, and sports facilities
  • Over the past four years, jobs in all sports-related industries have grown by 12.6% which is more than double the growth of the national job market of 5.5%
  • While the news and media is full of stories of the huge salaries of top athletes, the mean annual wage for athletes and sports competitors was $71,850 in May 2013

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Oct 01, 2014

Industry Highlight: Sports-Related Employment Index

It’s football season! Actually, October and the fall season is generally considered the time for a wide variety of sports in the United States, including football, basketball, hockey, baseball and more.

According to Bleacher Report, October is the most exciting month for sports fans since the baseball playoffs are in full swing, the NHL and NBA officially start, college basketball begins, and college football rivalry matches are being played. Other sports also feature major events in October, such as the Head of the Charles Regatta, one of the world’s preeminent rowing competitions, that which is celebrating its 50th race this year.

It’s only fitting that in the biggest month for sports we take a peek at sports-related employment. The increasing popularity of sports and the number of tournaments played in the U.S. and around the world has caused a surge of employment in sports-related occupations. The commercialization of sports has created a large awareness and demand for spectatorship and viewership, leading to growth in supporting industries such as media, journalism, facilities and maintenance, marketing and event planning, security, and leisure and hospitality.

DCR TrendLine Sports-Related Employment Index

DCR TrendLine Sports-Related Employment Index

The sports industry was projected to grow by $145.3 billion between 2010 and 2015, and is currently full of opportunities in areas such as sports marketing and sponsorship, sports media, and sports facilities. Over the past 30 years, there has been large growth in sports management education programs as well, with undergraduate and master’s level courses and MBAs that have a sports management concentration. From 1980 to 2010, the number of undergraduate sports management programs in the United States grew from just three to over 300. 

Temporary Employment within Sports-related Occupations

With the huge growth of the industry, there is ample volume for temporary work positions both within the core sector and the surrounding industries. Each of the numerous agencies, organizations, and institutions in the U.S. sports industry employs a number of interns as well.

Temporary Sports Employment Trend

Temporary Sports Employment Trend

Source: Indeed

Among the broad self-employment categories, most sports professionals fall under that of “arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations.” Approximately 30 percent of those working in this category are self-employed. From 2003 to 2013, among all workers in arts and media occupations, employment grew by 13 percent and self-employment grew by 17 percent.

Arts and Media Occupations with an Increase in Concentration of Self-Employment, 2003 to 2013

Arts and Media Occupations with an Increase in Concentration of Self-Employment, 2003 to 2013

Source: Department for Professional Employees

Sports-Related Jobs by Industry

Over the past four years, jobs in all sports-related industries have grown by 12.6 percent, which is more than double the growth of the national job market of 5.5 percent. Wages have also risen, with average wages in sports-related occupations surpassing the national average of $47,947 at $78,455.

On the national level, much of the growth in sports-related jobs has been on the business end, with the category of “Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events” growing by 30 percent between 2010 and 2014.

Sports Employment by Industry

Sports Employment by Industry

Source: CareerBuilder

Local Sports-Related Employment Growth

Sports Employment Growth by City

Sports Employment Growth by City

Source: CareerBuilder

A report by CareerBuilder and Economic Model Specialists Intl (EMSI) focused on cities with national football teams to demonstrate the multiplier effect and how sports-related jobs have impacted local economies.

Model Specialists Intl

Source: CareerBuilder

Job Title Focus – Athletes and Sports Competitors

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) defines this job title as those who participate in organized, officiated sporting events to entertain spectators. While the news and media is full of stories of the huge salaries of top athletes, the mean annual wage for athletes and sports competitors was $71,850 in May 2013. The employment estimate of this occupation is 13,880 with the majority (9,730) employed in the spectator sports industry. The state with the highest employment for this occupation is Florida with an annual mean wage of $39,500, followed by Pennsylvania with an annual mean wage of $116,510.

Top Paying States for Athletes and Sports Competitors

Top Paying States for Athletes and Sports Competitors

Source: BLS

“For anyone trying to break into the sports industry at the entry level, internship experience is critical” ~Carolyne Savini, Senior Vice President of Recruiting at Turnkey Sports and Entertainment

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