Careers That Combine Math & Sports

by Steve Lander

While math and sports might not seem to have a lot in common, they're actually extremely compatible. It's possible to be a mathematician without ever throwing a football. However, every time you choose a golf club, you're using your knowledge of geometry, physics and probability to determine a club that will give you the right loft, the right acceleration off the tee, and the highest chance that you won't end up in the sand. If you love math and sports, you have a wide range of career choices.

Sports Statistician

The most talked about statistician after the 2012 election was Nate Silver. He wasn't just a political pundit, though. In a previous life, he was a sabermetrician, which is someone that applies statistical analysis to baseball. While sabermetrics was made famous by the book and movie "Moneyball," statistics and probability play an important part in sports analysis. Teams, sporting associations and sports media all use statistics to better understand the game as it's being played and to predict future outcomes.


To a large extent, sports is about movement. Classical physicists play roles throughout the industry. They use mathematics to determine the right way to arrange dimples on a golf balls' face or how to design the sole of a shoe for better traction. The fastest cars in the world are also designed by mathematicians.

Structural Engineering

Modern stadiums are engineering marvels, featuring thousands of miles of wiring, fields that can drain thousands of gallons of water in minutes and roofs that expand and retract over complicated geometries. While the games played in the stadium may depend on strength and agility, the stadium itself stands on a strong foundation of mathematics. While architects design the aesthetics and layout of the structure, structural engineers use mathematics to figure out how to build it. When a stadium survives 80,000 fans all stomping their feet to "We Will Rock You" at the same time, it's thanks to a structural engineer.


If you love math and also love watching and studying sports, you could look for a career in bookmaking. Sports bookmakers set odds and point spreads based on their perception of where people are likely to be willing to bet their money. Interestingly, while the actual game and the players are a part of the calculus, bookmakers are also students of the philosophy of their bettors. They use statistics and probability to turn their assumptions into a point spread -- like San Francisco by 3 points -- or into the pay back odds when an event occurs.

About the Author

Steve Lander has been a writer since 1996, with experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology. His work has appeared in trade publications such as the "Minnesota Real Estate Journal" and "Minnesota Multi-Housing Association Advocate." Lander holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Columbia University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images