Sports facility managers may work for single team, a multisports arena or stadium, or they may work for a city or state organization, such as a parks and recreation department. According to the market research group IBISWorld, there were approximately 9,736 indoor sports facilities management businesses, with 33,313 employees, in 2019.
Graduates of programs in sports administration and sports facility management usually find jobs through internships, personal contacts, or job listings in career services departments.
Entry-level jobs may be in facility management or in a related field. Most organizations promote from within, so it is common for someone with a bachelor's or graduate degree in facility management who is working in, for example, public relations, to be considered first for an opening in the sports facility department. Associate- or assistant-level positions are the most likely entry point for graduates, but those with exceptional education and experience may qualify for managerial positions after graduation, although this is rare. As the field becomes more popular, it will be increasingly difficult to enter a sports facility management position without a bachelor's degree and a solid internship experience, at the very least.
Those who find entry-level jobs are helped by mentors. Mentoring is an industry-supported method in which an older, experienced member of a facility management team helps a younger, less-experienced individual to learn the ropes. This process helps the person learn and aids the organization by reducing problems caused by inexperienced beginners.
Experience and certification are the best ways for someone to advance in this field. Years of successful on-the-job experience count for a great deal in this industry; the owners and administrations of professional teams and sports venues look for someone who has demonstrated the ability to make things run smoothly. Certification is becoming another way in which success can be gauged; more and more frequently, certification garners salary increases and promotions for those who hold it. Increasingly, firms are asking for certified facility managers when they begin job searches. Since certification goes hand-in-hand with experience, it is assumed that those individuals who are certified are the best in their field.
Outside of experience and certification, a willingness and eagerness to learn and branch into new areas is a less objective manner for gauging which managers will land top jobs. Those who are willing to embrace new technology and are open to new ideas and methods for improving efficiency will very likely advance in their careers.
Advancement might also mean changing specialties or developing one. Sports facility managers who are interested in other areas of management may decide to leave the field and involve themselves with different venues, such as auditoriums, performing arts centers, or convention centers, to name just a few. Still others might advance to manage international venues.
Join the International Association of Venue Managers and the International Facility Management Association to access networking opportunities, continuing education classes, publications, and other resources.
Read Venue Professional (https://www.iavm.org/fm-magazine/current-issue) to learn more about the field.
Participate in the International Association of Venue Managers’ Mentor Program (https://www.iavm.org/mentor/mentor-connector-program) to build your professional skills and make networking contacts.