Exploring this Job
One way to start exploring this field is to volunteer to do something for your school's sports teams, for example, chart statistics or take on the duties of equipment manager. This is a way to begin learning how athletic departments work. Talk to the general manager of your local minor league baseball club, and try to get a part-time job with the team during the summer. When you are in college, try to get an internship within the athletic department to supplement your course of study. Any experience you gain in any area of sports administration will be valuable to you in your career as a sports executive. You may also find it helpful to read publications such as Sports Business Journal (https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal.aspx).
The two top positions in most sports organizations are team president and general manager. Depending on the size of the franchise, these two positions might be blended together and held by one person.
Team presidents are the chief executive officers of the club. They are responsible for the overall financial success of the team. Presidents oversee several departments within the organization, including marketing, public relations, broadcasting, sales, advertising, ticket sales, community relations, and accounting. Since team presidents must develop strategies to encourage fans to attend games, it is good if they have some experience in public relations or marketing. Along with the public relations manager, team presidents create giveaway programs, such as cap days or poster nights.
Another one of the team president's responsibilities is encouraging community relations by courting season ticket holders, as well as those who purchase luxury box seats, known as skyboxes. Usually, this involves selling these seats to corporations.
General managers handle the daily business activities of the teams, such as hiring and firing, promotions, supervising the scouting department, making trades, and negotiating player contracts. Of course, general managers who are employed by professional sports teams have marketing, finance, and human resources experts that assist them in these and other duties. All sports teams have general managers, and usually the main functions of the job are the same regardless of the team's professional level. However, some general managers that work with minor league teams might also deal with additional job duties, including managing the souvenir booths or organizing the ticket offices. The most important asset the general manager brings to an organization is knowledge of business practices.