The Purpose of Youth Sports Management (2024)

Mike Keenan
a baseball coach with a young player
a baseball coach with a young player
Every sports league needs management, from youth sports all the way to the professional leagues. Sports management helps ensure every aspect of an organized sport goes smoothly, from registration and finances to rosters and game schedules.
If you’re considering starting a youth sports organization, you need to consider the role of sports management and how essential it will be to your future success.
To learn more about youth sports management, read on below. We cover key topics like the main objectives, roles, career opportunities, and more that surround managing a sports league.

What is sports management?

Sports management is the management of various tasks, processes, and skills related to running a sports organization. Some of these tasks include:
  • Planning a new league
  • Promoting your new league
  • Opening registration
  • Finding and reserving sports facilities
  • Building rosters
  • Managing league finances
  • Organizing tournaments
The sports industry wouldn’t run nearly as smoothly without this essential discipline. Many people even study sports management in school so they can pursue this career path in youth sports, school sports, or professional sports.

Main objectives of sports management

There are many reasons that sports management is essential when managing a sports league. Let’s cover some of the main objectives that sports managers take care of to give you an idea of why this role is so important.

Ensuring the financial viability of the organization

Making sure a sports organization has the finances it needs to run smoothly throughout the season is one of the main tasks a sports manager has to deal with. Managing the budget includes things like:
  • Knowing the upfront costs of starting up a league
  • Understanding the organization’s financial history if it’s a long-standing league
  • Identifying places where the league may be losing money or overspending
  • Calculating how much each player costs the organization
  • Setting prices for registration, uniforms, and other player costs
  • Putting together and sticking to a budget
Essentially, this involves ensuring the league has enough money to continue operations. One way sports managers can improve an organization’s finances is by making the registration process simple. 
A platform like Jersey Watch improves this aspect of sports management by providing parents with easy-to-use online registration forms they can fill out at home. 
a donation being made during youth sports registration
Example of customized sports registration form made in Jersey Watch
Furthermore, the platform's integrated payment processing system facilitates quick and secure handling of registration fees, donations, and merchandise sales, giving league managers a real-time look at their finances. 
upcoming registration deposits on the Jersey Watch dashboard
This kind of financial oversight is essential to setting budgets, planning future activities, and ensuring the league's financial viability.

Improving fan experience and engagement

Another task that many people may not consider is sports management, which involves ensuring fans and spectators thoroughly enjoy themselves at sporting events and want to come back. 
Though youth sports management may not involve things like shooting out team t-shirts via cannon or shooting off fireworks at the end of the game, there are still other ways to ensure fans, parents, and family members are engaged throughout.
Things like:
  • Setting up a scoreboard to make it easy to follow along with the game
  • Create chants that parents can sing along to support
  • Make sure parents know player names so they can easily support them
  • Live stream games so fans can watch if they can’t attend
  • Offer concessions and other amenities to game attendees
Making sure the fan experience is enjoyable so people continue wanting to come back is a key aspect of a sports manager’s role. With Jersey Watch’s built-in communication tools, leagues can send out newsletters, game reminders, and league updates via email or SMS. This direct communication keeps the community in the loop.

Promoting the league 

These days, promoting a sports organization goes beyond traditional flyers and word-of-mouth. It involves building a strategic online presence that showcases your league and reaches potential players and supporters.
For example, a youth sports website is often the first point of contact for players and families. Jersey Watch offers user-friendly templates to build your own, which you can integrate with registration forms, schedules, updates, photos, and more. You can tailor the site to reflect your league’s mission and brand, and create a professional image online. 

Managing personnel, equipment, and sports facilities

Sports management also involves managing the people, places, and things involved in your sport. For example, getting coaches, hiring staff to operate the league, buying equipment, ensuring equipment remains up to code, and managing facilities.
Everything involved in keeping the sport going falls under the umbrella of sports management. The manager must ensure all personnel can do their job, equipment is safe and ready to use, and facilities are rented and maintained.
two youth soccer players fighting for possession
Source: Pexels

Guaranteeing the sustainability of the sport activity

Finally, sports managers must ensure their sports activity remains sustainable so that families continue to want to sign their kids up for leagues. This could include, for example, designing your seasons so that indoor sports are held during the more extreme seasons while outdoor sports are held during the more mild seasons.

Key areas of competence in sports management

Now, let’s talk about some of the main areas of competence, or related knowledge and skills, related to sports management. These are skills that a sports manager needs to know—and that someone who goes to school to get a sports management degree would likely learn.
Some of these are as follows:
  • Organizational skills: Being organized is key for keeping a sports organization running smoothly.
  • Financial management: From creating a budget to selecting sports league management software to implementing fundraising ideas, sports managers must be able to properly manage the finances of their organization.
  • Marketing and public relations: Sports marketing is another important aspect of this role and degree program so the manager can reach an even wider fanbase for the team or league.
  • Legal aspects: Things like contracts for coaches, players, sports sponsorships, and the like will need to be drawn up throughout a sports management career.
  • Understanding the relationship between fans and their teams: This relationship will vary based on what type of league you’re running; for example, the relationship between the fans and the teams is vastly different in a youth sports league (parents and children) versus a professional league (fans and players).
If you feel like you could encompass these skills, perhaps the role of a sports manager or athletic director could be right for you.

The role of sports management in individual and team development

As you’re probably beginning to see, sports management is an essential part of running a sports team or athletic program. But let’s get into the details a bit more. What, specifically, does the role of sports management look like with regard to player and team development?
For starters, sports managers need to build character amongst their staff, coaches, and players. This includes tasks like building recommended training regimens, supporting staff and coaches, and ensuring everyone is ready for the start of a new season.
Furthermore, sports managers must develop the right skills needed in sports business management. Management skills, negotiation skills, communication skills, and confidence. They need to be able to muster these themselves while also instilling them in their coaches and players.
And finally, fostering team spirit, leadership skills, fair play, and focus amongst their teams. This keeps players in line with the rules and excited to play, no matter the outcome.
Sports management professionals must be able to work with the teams while also having the skills to work one-on-one with a coach, player, or other staff member on the business side of the league.

Career opportunities in sports management

There are both bachelor’s degree and master’s degree sports management programs that interested people can take if they want a career in the field of sports management. 
Many sports management-adjacent roles can be found in the sports business administration side, and may not require a collegiate or graduate degree. However, most will require coursework or certifications to find a full-time role within sports administration.
Here are some sports management jobs you may be interested in:
Athletic Coach
  • Salary: $44,890/year+
  • Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Teach amateur or professional athletes the skills they need to thrive in their sport.
Athletic Director
  • Salary: $60,000/year+
  • Education requirements: Master’s degree, typically in sports administration
  • Job description: Managing the league/team at the high school or college level, recruiting coaches, supervising coaches, facility management, etc.
Sports Accountant
  • Salary: $45,000/year+
  • Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree in accounting
  • Job description: Managing the finances for a sports team or league.
Sports Agent
  • Salary: $110,000+ (often varies due to commission)
  • Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree in sports management
  • Job description: Taking on athletes as clients and finding the right college, league, or team for them.
Sports Event Coordinator
  • Salary: $48,000/year+
  • Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree in a sports management-related field
  • Job description: Event management and coordination for all league or team events - like large regional tournaments, marathons, etc.
Sports Facility Manager
  • Salary: $55,000/year+
  • Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree preferred, but may not be required
  • Job description: Coordinating anything to do with large sports facilities, like practices, games, events, ticket sales, etc.
Sports Marketing Manager/Public Relations Specialist
  • Salary: $64,000/year+
  • Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Promoting and marketing a sports league or team on social media and other outlets to reach a wider fanbase.
Many related fields will require a sports management major or minor to ensure that the applicant is interested in the sports industry as a whole.

The future of sports management

From sports apparel to sports equipment, the market sizes are in the billions, so the sports industry is going strong. On top of that, the top 10 sports each have millions, if not billions, of fans around the world.
And if we look at youth sports statistics specifically, around 60 million kids in the U.S. alone are registered in some type of youth sports activity.
We give you these numbers to say that the sports industry, and therefore sports management, is going nowhere fast. From youth sports to high school sports to professional sports, there will always be job opportunities for those interested in some kind of role in sports.
In fact, we’re even seeing the emergence of new areas, like esports management, which encompasses many aspects of the general sports management role but for the esports industry.
Plus, with social media growing, roles in sports marketing, advertising, sponsorships, and more are becoming more prevalent. Even for youth sports, promoting your league online will be key to increasing the number of participants and fans you get.
If you’re interested in working with the sports industry, you’ll want to start off by going to college for a sports management degree. Or, you can volunteer to be a youth sports coach in your spare time. Sports have endless benefits, so get involved in any way you can.

Get started in sports management

Sports management is important. It keeps sports running smoothly and ensures that players are safe, fans are having fun, and games are engaging.
Whether you’re a parent who wants to coach your child's team or an administrator looking to level up, brush up on your sports management skills. Find a league to volunteer for as a coach or a referee. See if you can get an internship to learn more about the work. Or consider going to school to get a degree in this field so you can make your way.
Jersey Watch is the Fastest Way to Manage Your Sports Organization