What Does a Sports Marketer Do? (And How to Become One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 1 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you have a passion for sales and an interest in sports, a sports marketing job may be ideal for you. Sports marketers help sports organisations grow their fan base by promoting athletes, sports teams, events and products. Knowing what a sports marketer does can help you decide if this is the right career for you. In this article, we explain 'what does a sports marketer do', define the steps to become one, discuss their essential skills and explore their work environment.

What does a sports marketer do?

Sports marketers' primary role is to oversee the operations of their organisation. They engage fans and establish relationships with potential business partners or sponsors to promote their brand and bring more people into their sports events. Other typical duties may include:

  • developing brand loyalty

  • determining a target audience

  • conducting market research to understand what the public wants

  • negotiating contracts

  • developing and implementing market strategies

  • planning promotional campaigns

  • running social media accounts

  • managing a team of marketers

  • interviewing sports professionals

  • estimating the demand for products or services

  • analysing the effectiveness of marketing strategies

  • researching new marketing trends in the market

How to become a sports marketer

If you're interested in pursuing a career in sports marketing, consider taking the following steps:

1. Obtain a bachelor's degree

A bachelor's degree can provide you with the skills and foundation needed to grow in this career. Most employers tend to hire sports marketers with a bachelor's degree in marketing, advertising, public relations, project management or business. These programs equip learners with knowledge of marketing a business, how a company operates, how to communicate and how to conduct research and identify a target audience. Consider pursuing a degree that offers theoretical knowledge and hands-on, practical learning.

2. Apply for a sports marketing internship

Consider finding a sports marketing internship before you graduate or immediately after graduation. Some degrees may require you to obtain an internship as part of the coursework. Sports marketing internships are a great way to learn about your industry and connect with experienced professionals in your industry. You can get an internship as a sports marketer or any other related field that equips you with marketing skills.

To find an internship position, you can search online job-seeking directories or research the companies you'd like to work for and check to see if they have internship opportunities. You can also ask for referrals. Consider asking about your university partnerships and the internship programs they offer.

3. Gain experience

After graduation, consider applying for an entry-level position in a sports marketing job to gain experience. You can search for jobs in public relations, advertising, marketing or any other career within the sports industry. An entry-level role allows you to understand your work environment and work with qualified and experienced sports marketers. Gaining experience also enables you to progress in your career, as most employers tend to hire individuals with more experience.

You may also gain experience by volunteering at a local charity or sports club. Charities often run sports events such as marathons, and they often look for volunteer media managers and coordinators. Volunteering your services in such places allows you to work on your leadership skills and exposes you to the kind of work you may do as a sports marketer. You can also find a mentor in your industry and request to shadow them for a day or two.

4. Find your niche

After gaining some work experience, consider specialising in an area that interests you. Create a specific profile and brand yourself according to your unique experiences and skills. Research the specific jobs that interest you and tailor your resume with the skills, training and work experiences those employers need. If you require particular skills or training beyond your education and work experience, consider enrolling in a course to learn or find a job that can give you relevant experience in what that role needs.

Related: 12 Essential Marketing Resume Skills (With Examples)

5. Improve your skills

As you gain experience, also consider focusing on improving your sports marketing skills. You can do this by pursuing further education or undertaking other certifications in your field. You may also purchase and read books on marketing.

6. Pursue a master's degree

A master's degree improves your chances of obtaining high-ranking positions, such as a sports marketing manager. It also helps you stand out among other candidates when applying for jobs and allows you to negotiate for a better salary. A master's degree enables you to specialise in a field you're interested in and provides you with advanced knowledge in that field. You may study brand strategy, marketing communications, marketing operations and marketing analysis.

Related: 16 Highest-Paying Sports Jobs (With Education Requirements)

7. Build your network

The sports industry can be relatively competitive, so it's best that you start growing your network. Building your network may take patience and time as a young professional because you may still be trying to fit into the professional world. Consider joining professional clubs, associations or groups. That way, you can build deeper connections. You can also consider starting an industry blog such as internet journalism. This can give you an excuse to meet professionals in your field who may not have time to mentor you or share experiences.

What are some of the essential sports marketing skills?

Here are some skills for sports marketers:

Management

Depending on your position, you may lead and manage a team of other sports marketers. Knowing how to manage the team for optimum results can help in keeping your team and employer happy. You may also use your management skills to delegate duties among your team and solve any conflicts that arise.

Research

As a sports marketer, you may conduct research on the public to know what they want, allowing you to create effective marketing strategies. You may conduct market research to identify your target audience. Sports marketers use the research findings to create reports for their employers, distilling all the irrelevant information.

Communication skills

Sports marketers often communicate with a team during the marketing process. They may also liaise with their team members to delegate tasks and the fans to learn more about their needs. Sports marketers often prepare reports for their employers and create written marketing strategies that they may use during advertising campaigns. This means that both written and verbal communication skills are essential in the day-to-day activities of these professionals.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Creativity

Marketing is a dynamic and creative field. To help your organisation's reputation grow, you can keep up with the latest trends in social media management, visual composition, contract negotiation, digital marketing, search engine optimisation and customer relationship management. These trends affect the sports industry, and understanding them can help you create more effective marketing techniques.

Creativity allows you to turn challenging situations into opportunities. It also allows you to experiment with new methods of engaging the audience and refreshing the brand message. You can develop unique content on a website to attract a large, loyal fan base by being creative. Given that the sports industry is dynamic, you may use your imagination to find fun ways of adapting to the changes.

Time management

Sports marketers often track the performance of a marketing campaign for an organisation. They may be responsible for finding sponsors and managing communications from individual athletes while also running advertising campaigns. To be successful in this career, you may want to work on your time management skills to stay on schedule and meet deadlines. Consider the following tips to improve your time management skills:

  • Plan your tasks of the day, specifying timelines for each job. For example, determine the hours you plan to use to manage social media or reply to emails.

  • Learn industry-software tools that can help you complete tasks effectively and on time.

  • Delegate responsibilities, allowing you to work on the most urgent and crucial tasks first.

  • Set your priorities and know your limits.

  • Create a management platform that can help you keep track of contractors and team members' progress in accomplishing assigned tasks.

Related: Time Management Skills: The Importance of Including Them in Your Resume

Technology

In most cases, sports marketers rely on technology to run advertising campaigns. They may use customer management databases, marketing software tools and advertising software. Having computer skills can help you remain relevant in the industry, as many tasks may require technology, including communicating with team members, fans and the public.

What's the work environment of a sports marketer?

Sports marketers spend most of their time working from an office. They may spend their day devising marketing strategies, conducting team meetings and conducting research. They may spend their day at sports events to meet with potential business partners, interact with their fanbase and implement marketing strategies. Their working hours are typical business hours, with some working weekends and night shifts depending on the volume of work and events.

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