Set for Sport Management?

 If you enjoy sports, why not make a career of it? You don’t have to be athletic, points out Michael Patrao.

“I will not rest until I have you holding a Coke, wearing your own shoe, playing a Sega game featuring you, while singing your own song in a new commercial, starring you, broadcast during the Superbowl, in a game that you are winning, and I will not sleep until that happens.”

 - Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire.

On your marks, get ready, get set, go for sports management. Sports offers many career opportunities in India today. You can be a sportsperson or a coach, or an umpire or a referee. You can practice sports medicine or become a sports journalist if you have a flair for words.

Sports management is an umbrella term which encompasses the business aspect of sports. It is a mix of marketing, management and business. It could involve any or all of the following activities:

Marketing sponsorship and co-sponsorship sales for series and tournaments on behalf of sports associations.

Signing endorsements for big brands 

Marketing syndicated columns, written by top players of most major sports, which are avidly followed and discussed like F-1 racing, cricket and tennis. Consequently, advertising space within the column is highly valued.

Syndication of television capsules featuring top players in association with the electronic media.

Handling endorsements for national and international sports stars

Auctioning of signed memorabilia, a collector’s item, that honour sports legends. These pieces are authenticated by an audit firm, while others have letters of authenticity from the cricketer himself. Rare items are often auctioned for charity.

Sports management in India is a relatively new field. The entry of international football clubs, the Commonwealth Games, India’s first individual Olympic gold, ATP Tennis, the Indian Premier League, Celebrity Cricket League, Formula 1 — have caused a spurt over the last two years. Growth of this industry is projected at 1000 per cent over the next five years.

Pioneers

The first sports management company in the world was International Management Group (1962) founded in the US in 1960 with a handshake between Mark McCormack and golf legend Arnold Palmer. Today IMG has grown into a global operation.

Perhaps inspired by IMG, Professional Management Group (PMG) became India’s first sports management company started in 1985 by Sunil Gavaskar and Sumedh Shah. PMG has been closely associated with cricket, but is also into golf, squash, horse racing, hockey, bodybuilding, archery and many water sports. PMG produces sports programmes for television channels and the concept of the sponsored syndicated column in India was created by PMG in 1986.

Mark Mascarenhas and his company WorldTel made Sachin Tendulkar a millionaire in 1995, changing the profile of sportspersons in India. Though WorldTel was set up in 1989, it shot to fame six years later with the first Tendulkar contract, worth Rs 35 crore over five years. From there to the next contract, five years later, for Rs 100 crore, was just a geometric progression.

Skill set

Sports management is a mix of sports and marketing or business.To be a successful sports management professional, you must have good communication and business skills and be passionate about at least one sport.

All the successful and well-known players have their own personal agents or managers. Something which only pop stars and film stars did in the past. As a sports manager or agent, you take care of player’s schedules, career progression, business promotion, media and public relations besides administrative aspects like budgeting, finance and other logistics.

In case of leisure and sports-club management, one is expected to handle administrative work, including managing accounts, planning, preparing schedules and timetables and arranging for specialised coaches. These days, golf clubs, resorts, adventure sports and other leisure activity centres require trained professionals to look after and promote these sporting activities.

The main players

Gameplan Sports Pvt Ltd set up in 1998 syndicates columns by sports celebrities.

Tiger Sports Marketing, set up in 1997, is the brainchild of Brandon De Souza, a former golf champion.

Rishi Narain Golf Management Pvt Ltd is a golf marketing and management company in India started by Asian gold medalist Rishi Narain.

Tennis player Mahesh Bhupati has a celebrity and sports-marketing company called GloboSport.

Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd has launched a dedicated adventure initiative called “Mahindra Adventure” for motor sports and adventures.

Geeth Sethi and Prakash Padukone are co–founders of Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), to identify and fund the best medal prospects for the Olympic games.

Career opportunities

There are over 100 sports management and related companies in India, where one can work in various capacities.

The corporate sector has dedicated sports teams and divisions which require professional management besides clubs, associations and federations.

Gymnasiums, fitness centres and chains, sport academies, educational institutes, schools, colleges, universities need professional sports managers. Clubs, hotels, resorts also recruit managers to manage their amenities (gymnasiums and sports centres).

Courses

The subject is currently being studied across the world, with 1,480 universities offering it as a degree or a major. In India, many institutions offer courses in sports management at the diploma, undergraduate and post graduate levels.

A typical course may have all or some of these modules: Leisure Marketing, Sponsorship and endorsement, Sports nutrition and first aid, Sports education, sports management, logistics, brand management, club management, celebrity management, sports journalism, sports marketing and other management subjects and internship.

Alagappa University, Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, offers a one-year Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Management.

Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Science, New Delhi offers a one-year Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Management.

The Management Development Programmes (MDP) at IIM, Ahmedabad includes professional management of sports organisations in its syllabi.

Institute of Sports Science and Technology, Pune has diploma and distance education courses in sports management, sports infrastructure management, fitness management,  sports journalism, sports photography, sports fashion designing and masters in sports management. Email: info@isst.co.in

The College of Events and Media, Pune has a two-year, full-time MBA course in Sports Management besides a one-year, PG programme in Sports Management (part-time/full-time); three-year advanced programme in Sports Management; one-year, part-time Diploma in Sports Management. Student Helpline: 98900-11177/ 88. E-mail: info@coemindia.com

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