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In-Depth Jobs

Issue no 11, 10 - 16 June 2023

Beyond the Stadium ...

Career Opportunities in Sports

Jyoti Tiwari

The Indian sports ecosystem has witnessed a significant transformation driven by recent government initiatives to promote grassroots participation, identify and nurture talented athletes, improve infrastructure and provide financial support for advanced training. Initiatives such as the Khelo India programme, National Sports Talent Search Portal, and Target Olympic Podium Scheme have provided opportunities and resources to athletes across the country. Additionally, policies promoting private investment, sports education, and sports science have further bolstered the ecosystem. This comprehensive approach has not only elevated India's sporting prowess but also created a vibrant environment for athletes, entrepreneurs and other professionals alike to excel and contribute to the nation's sporting success. The sports industry is a dynamic sector that offers a plethora of opportunities for entrepreneurship and professionals of different fields besides sportsmanship. From sports management, sports marketing, and sports journalism to sports technology and equipment manufacturing, the industry has a wide range of career options for individuals with diverse skill sets and interests. The industry's entrepreneurial landscape is promising, with opportunities for sports-related start-ups and innovative ventures that can transform the sector's employment generation capacity. The industry's multi-faceted nature means that it requires professionals from diverse backgrounds, including finance, law, and technology, to name a few. Thus, the sports industry offers an exciting and rewarding career path for individuals who wish to combine their enthusiasm for sports with their professional aspirations, making it a dynamic and thriving industry that is sure to attract the best and brightest talent. India has hosted a number of illustrious international sporting competitions in recent years including the Commonwealth Games, Cricket World Cup, Formula One Grand Prix, FIFA U-17 World Cup, the Indian Premier League (IPL). This year again, India is hosting the Cricket World Cup. These events have not only put India on the global map as a sporting destination, but they have also given rise to a thriving sports management industry. The increased visibility and popularity of sports in the country, coupled with the injection of substantial financial resources, has created a fertile ground for the growth of sports management businesses. The emergence of such ventures has helped to usher in a new era of innovation and professionalism, with talented teams and individuals leveraging cuttingedge technologies and techniques to deliver world-class experiences to fans and athletes alike. As such, India's sports management sector is slowly but steadily becoming a shining example of how sports can drive economic growth and create a legacy that extends far beyond the playing field. Sports Management Do you possess a unique combination of business acumen and passion for sports? If yes, then Sports Management is the ideal profession for you. It is a career path that is highly lucrative and rewarding for individuals with a flair for leadership, strategic planning, and exceptional communication skills. At the heart of sports management lies the responsibility of overseeing the business side of the sports industry, including marketing, finance, and administration. This requires a deep understanding of the sports industry, as well as the ability to develop and implement effective strategies to maximise revenue and ensure the smooth functioning of sports teams and organisations. Moreover, sports management provides the opportunity to work with elite athletes and coaches and contribute to the success of sports teams and organisations. It is a career path that offers a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction by being a part of the team's achievements, making it an excellent choice for individuals who seek a challenging and dynamic work environment. A career in sports management opens doors to various positions, including sports marketing, sports media, and sports event management, among others, making it an ideal choice for individuals with diverse interests and skill sets. Enlisted below are some top management positions you may find in a typical sports management firm:

·         President or CEO - responsible for overall strategy and direction of the company. Š

·         General Manager - oversees day-to-day operations of the company. Š

·         Director of Marketing - develops and implements marketing strategies to promote the company and its clients. Š

·         Brand Manager - manages the branding and image of the company and its clients. Š

·         Financial Manager - manages the company's finances, including budgeting, forecasting, and accounting. Š

·         Legal Counsel - provides legal advice and services to the company and its clients. Š

·         Public Relations Manager - manages the company's public image and relationships with the media and public.

Within the sports management firm, there are certified categories of professionals who directly deal with the sports people the company is representing or sponsoring. The roles are:

·         Athlete Representative or Agent - represents and negotiates contracts for athletes, and handles all aspects of the athlete's career, including contract negotiations, endorsements, and appearances

·         Talent Scout - identifies new talent and potential clients for the company, and works closely with athletes to help them develop their careers. Š

·         Personal Trainer - works with athletes to develop and implement training programmes to improve performance and prevent injury. Š

·         Nutritionist - provides advice and guidance on diet and nutrition to help athletes optimise their performance. Š

·         Physical Therapist - works with athletes to prevent and treat injuries, and help them recover from injuries more quickly. Š

·         Sports Psychologist - helps athletes to develop mental toughness, manage stress, and cope with the pressures of competition. Š

·         Strength and Conditioning Coach - works with athletes to develop strength and conditioning programmes to improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. Š

·         Equipment Manager - manages the equipment used by athletes, and ensures that it is properly maintained and meets safety standards. Š

·         Travel Coordinator - handles travel arrangements for athletes, including transportation, lodging, and meals. Š Media Relations Specialist - works with athletes to help them manage their public image and interact effectively with the media. The other category of employees is entrusted with varied responsibilities in organising the sporting events: Š

·         Event Coordinator - plans and executes events for clients and the company, working with vendors, sponsors, and other stakeholders to ensure that events run smoothly

·         Marketing Director - develops and implements marketing strategies to promote events and attract attendees. Š

·         Sponsorship Manager - secures sponsorships for events, and manages relationships with sponsors. Š

·         Ticket Sales Manager - manages the sale of tickets for events, and develops pricing strategies to maximise revenue. Š

·         Operations Manager - oversees the operations of events, including logistics, staffing, and security. Š

·         Volunteer Coordinator - recruits, trains, and manages volunteers who help to staff events. Š Broadcast Coordinator - coordinates the broadcast of events, including working with broadcasters, setting up equipment, and managing technical issues. Š

·         Venue Manager - manages the venue where events take place, including maintenance, security, and scheduling. Š

·         Hospitality Manager - manages hospitality services for events, including catering, VIP services, and accommodations. Š

·         Legal Counsel - provides legal advice and services related to events, including contract negotiations, liability issues, and compliance with regulations and policies

Colleges and Courses

In India, several colleges and institutions offer a wide range of programmes and courses in areas such as sports management, sports sciences, physical education, sports marketing, sports analytics, sports psychology, and more. Students can pursue undergraduate, postgraduate, and diploma courses in these specialised fields. The curriculum of these sports-related academic programmes typically covers a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical training, enabling students to develop a comprehensive understanding of the sports industry and its various facets. The courses often incorporate subjects like sports administration, sports marketing and sponsorship, sports law and ethics, sports performance analysis, sports coaching and training methodologies, sports nutrition, and sports psychology. Apart from classroom learning, many colleges emphasise hands-on training, internships, and industry exposure to provide students with practical experience. They may have collaborations with sports organisations, stadiums, sports management firms, and sports teams to offer students opportunities to engage in realworld projects and gain industry insights. These colleges also boast state-of-the-art sports facilities, such as sports complexes, gymnasiums, indoor and outdoor sports courts, and specialised laboratories for sports sciences research. These facilities ensure that students can apply their knowledge practically and hone their skills in a conducive environment. Graduates from these sportsrelated academic programmes can pursue careers as Sports Administrators, Sports Managers, Sports Analysts, Sports Marketers, Sports Coaches, Fitness Trainers, Sports Psychologists, and more. They can find employment opportunities in sports organisations, professional sports teams, sports marketing agencies, fitness centres, sports events management companies, and government bodies related to sports and youth affairs.


The Digital Game Changer

Digital technology is unlocking unparalleled possibilities for growth within the sports industry, presenting the potential to bring fans closer through innovative and personalised experiences while creating space for technocrats and technicians to become part of the vast sporting landscape. In the contemporary era, as our lives become increasingly intertwined with the digital realm through the extensive usage of smartphones, tablets, notebooks, smart watches, and other technological devices, it is evident that the application of technology in the domain of sports is experiencing a significant surge. At present, technology plays a crucial role in sports, aiding numerous athletes across various disciplines in enhancing their performance both in preparation and in competitive tournaments. As the sporting world constantly evolves, necessitating perpetual transformation, the quest for improved athlete performance and enhanced accuracy in tournament monitoring persists. Ranging from rudimentary processes to more sophisticated solutions, several notable technologies are prevalent in contemporary sports. Four key technologies warrant attention:


Video Assistant Referee (VAR)

Gaining prominence in football, VAR enables match officials to review critical decisions, aiding referees in assessing and determining potential infractions. This reassessment has proven decisive in influencing disciplinary measures imposed on teams.


Fencing Costume: Given the fast-paced nature of fencing, relying solely on judges' visual acuity to determine match outcomes would invariably introduce inaccuracies. To mitigate this, intelligent sensors have been incorporated into foils and swords, capable of detecting the impact of each strike on opponents. Upon activation, these sensors illuminate a signalling device. The successful operation of this technology relies on the transmission of a small electrical current throughout the length of the costume.


Smart Watch: Smartwatches have become increasingly ubiquitous. They range from basic models for casual athletes to state-of-the-art devices designed to monitor elite athletes' performance with exceptional accuracy. These watches measure vital statistics such as heart rate, calorie expenditure, step count, and even blood oxygen levels.


Smart Fabric: Another groundbreaking technology that propels the sporting realm forward is smart fabric, a material interwoven with sensors capable of collecting various forms of data. Smart fabric garments possess an array of applications, from monitoring an athlete's heart rate to recording muscle movements and calculating calorie expenditure. These are just a few examples of the vast array of technologies impacting the sporting landscape. With each passing day, the industry strives to innovate further, improving athlete performance and spectator experiences through the incorporation of cutting-edge technology.


(The author is a content writer for a leading Delhi-based news portal. She can be reached at mailmeatjyotitiwari@gmail.com)


Views expressed are personal