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Job Outlook in Sport Leadership & Recreation

Job Outlook

Whether its kayaking with friends and family or watching a professional sports team - does sports and recreation feel like home to you? You may enjoy playing them or being part of the support crew around a team, with education and experience, you can represent a professional athlete, manage a sports facility or recreation organization, or guide people as they explore outdoor recreation.

According to recent statistics, job growth across all sports-related industries grew more than 1.3% annually. This growth was measured across 20 industry positions including business-focused positions, promoters, agents, event planners and recreation attendants. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of postsecondary education administrators (including sports administration) to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030.


Become a Professional in the Area of Sports

With unique practicum and internship experiences, SLR graduates are uniquely qualified for a wide range of careers in the profession. Here's just a few:

Amateur Athletics

Youth Sports

High School

Community College

Intercollegiate (NCAA DI, DII, DIII, NAIA)



Athletic Administration

Bowl Games and Special Events



Equipment Management

Facilities Management


Hospitality Management



Public Relations


Sponsorship Sales

Sports Communication

Sports Governance

Sports Information

Ticketing and Sales

Potential Employers:

City Sports/Intramural Leagues

Colleges and Universities

Conference Offices (SEC, ACC, Big East, Mountain West)

International Olympic Committee (IOC)

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

National Sport Governing Bodies

Olympic Training Centers

Regional Sport Commissions

State Sport Governing Bodies

United States Olympic Committee


Youth or Teen Sports Camps

Youth Sports Organizations (e.g. Little League Baseball)

Fitness Careers & Potential Employers

Possible Occupations:

Aquatics Program Director, Specialist

Dance Instructor

Facility Designer/Operator

Fitness Specialist

Golf Pro

Health Club Manager

Leisure Counselor

Ski Instructor

Tennis Pro

Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

Youth Sports Coach

Potential Employers:

Adult Care Facilities

Athletic Clubs

Corporate Fitness Centers

Department Stores

Fitness Centers

Sports & Entertainment Centers

Sports Clinics

Weight Reduction Clinics

Facilities and Event Management Careers & Potential Employers

If you've attended any event with anywhere from one hundred to thousands of people and have thought "I can do this better," consider what we can teach you to be a manager of the event and/or facility, the manager of the leaders of that organization or those that prepare and maintain that venue, to manage ticket sales and oversee seating management, how to best advertise and market the event, how the facility can be used as a venue for a variety of purposes, who orders and organizes and manages the people who provide and sell the food, and who get to design and develop everything from the events to the venues within the venue (suites, boxes) to how the video board looks.

Potential Employers:


City Parks and Recreation Centers

Convention and Visitor Bureaus

Golf Courses

Industry Suppliers (e.g. Aramark)

Local Tournaments and Festivals



Professional Management and Player Personnel Positions & Potential Employers

Positions in leadership and/or management exist and are needed in a number of sports including baseball, basketball, eSports, football, golf, hockey, motor sports, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball, and more.

Other jobs include those in roles of player personnel: coaching, community relations, general management, and scouting.

Potential Employers:

Professional Sports Leagues - NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, WNBA, XFL, Arena Football

Professional Minor Leagues - AAA, AA, and A Baseball Leagues, NBA G-League, American Basketball Association

International Sport Organizations - FIFA

Motor Sport Organizations - NASCAR, Indy Racing

Sports Media & Potential Employers

There are more jobs than being the person with the microphone. We can prepare you to be the person talking into the mic, or one of the many roles around sports media, including: advertising sales, broadcasting, journalism, sports information, and sports photography.

Potential Employers:

Colleges and Universities

Internet Sites / Sports Blogger

Media Outlets (newspapers, television - local, regional, online, national; radio - local, regional, online, national)

Social Media - professional teams, leagues

Special Interest Sport Publications

Sports Conferences (Big 12, for example)

Sports Magazines

Sports Merchandising & Potential Employers

Have you ever thought about who has made the choices that determine what you have available when selecting an item with your favorite team's logo on it?

You can get into brand representation, internet sales, product development and distribution, sales and marketing, and store management and be that person making those choices.

Potential Employers:

Exercise Equipment Manufacturers

Sport Equipment and Supply Industry (companies such as Wilson, Spalding, Adidas, Nike)

Sport and Recreation Retailers

Sporting Goods Manufacturers

Business Operations, Event Operations, Legal, Nonprofit & Potential Employers

Every aspect in sports echoes best business practices: you need operations managers, marketing and promotions positions, public relations managers, sales and ticketing directors, sponsorship sales, suite sales, and fundraising officers.

If you are looking at event operations, there are directors of food and concessions, guest and suite services, and the importance of the role of the person making the decision about how cars can enter, park, and exit the event can not be undervalued.

There are also legal aspects to sports. While there are lawyers who handle some of these roles, there are jobs not requiring a law degree so players have people who know about player agency and representation.

And lets not forget nonprofits - the role these organizations and sports charities play in our society is an important one and one you may find rewarding.

Potential Employers:

Individual Sport Franchises

International Talent Agencies and Management Groups (such as IMG, CAA)

Professional Player Associations and Unions (MLB Players Association, Professional Hockey Players Association)

Sports Associations (PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Senior PGA Tour, Nike Tour, United States Tennis Association)

Sports Marketing Firms

Sports Marketing Departments in Large Organizations (Anheuser-Busch, major university intercollegiate athletics departments)

Management Firms

Law Firms Focusing on Sports and Entertainment

Post-bachelor's work

Students who earn a degree in sport leadership and recreation have plenty of options to continue their educational pursuits. An SLR undergraduate degree is versatile and a great segue for various graduate degrees. Here are some of the options:

Master’s in Sport Management

Master’s in Sport Administration

Master’s in Business Administration

Master’s in Recreation Management

Master’s in Sport Psychology

Master’s in Sport Sociology

Master’ in Sports Journalism

Master’s in Kinesiology

Master’s in Sports Communication

Master’s in Athletic Training

Master’s in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism

J.D. Sport Law

Ph.D. in Sport Administration

Ph.D. in Sport Management

Ph.D. in Sport Leadership

Earning a graduate degree in any sport leadership and/or recreation related area will qualify individuals to teach as an adjunct instructor or lecturer at a college/university. A doctoral degree will qualify them for a tenure-track professor position.

Commercial/Tourism Careers & Potential Employers

Possible Occupations:

Commercial Game-Center Director

Concert Promoter

Cruise Ship Activity Director

Entertainment Coordinator

Event Planner

Fitness Specialist

Hospitality Manager

Museum Guide

Outdoor and Waterway Guide

Resort Manager

River Guide

Social Director

Tour Guide

Transportation Specialist

Travel Planner

Potential Employers:


Amusement Parks

Bus Lines



Convention Services

Cruise Lines

Dance Studios

Gold Courses

Health and Fitness Clubs


Motor Home Parks

Movie Theaters

Multipurpose Sports Clubs

Party Services

Racquet Clubs


Recreating Communities

Recreation Travel Agencies



Second Home Communities

Special Events Companies


Theme Parks

Travel/Tourism Bureaus

Various Entertainment Providers


Government Careers in Recreation & Potential Employers

Possible Occupations:

Armed Forces Recreation Leader

Campground Attendant

Environmental Interpreter

Fisheries Conservationist


Municipal Recreation Leader


Outdoor Recreation Manager


Park Ranger

Part Superintendent

Prison Recreation Specialist

Wildlife Biologist/Conservationist

Zoological and Botanical Garden Director

Potential Employers:

City, County or Regional Government Agencies including parks and public recreation programs

Correctional Facilities

Department of Defense military bases in U.S. and foreign countries

Rehabilitation Centers

State and Federal Government Agencies including parks, forests, wildlife areas and water resources

Social Services/Medical Careers in Recreation & Potential Employers

Possible Occupations:

Camp Counselor

Camp Director

Church Recreation Director

Community Education Specialist

Leisure Counselor

Outdoor Recreation Manager

Playground Leader

Senior Citizen Programmer


Therapeutic Recreation

Volunteer Agency Supervisor

Youth Agency Recreation

Potential Employers:

Acute Care Hospitals

Adult Daycare Centers

Camps (wilderness)

Children’s Homes

Community Centers

Community Programs for People with Special Needs

Community Mental Health Centers

Correctional Facilities

Educational Facilities

Nonprofit Organizations

Nursing Homes

Psychiatric Facilities

Recovery Centers

Senior Centers

Service Organizations

Special Olympics

Substance Abuse Centers

Youth Programs