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Jobs in Sports Finance

by Ron White

In the United States, the sports world equals money. Wealthy investors start sports leagues and build franchises. Cities spend millions to lure franchises and to garner consideration as a host city for popular championship events, such as the National Football League’s Super Bowl. Additionally, players earn six-, seven- or eight-figure salaries, and fans spend millions each year on tickets, stadium concessions and memorabilia. If you have a love for sports and have work experience or a degree in finance, you might consider a job in sports, where the financial-minded are sought to manage the money.

Executive Jobs in Finance

Sports franchises depend on executives who manage team finances. In addition to the team owner, a vice president serves as general manager and another executive serves as the chief financial officer. These executives, along with their assistants, work collaboratively to invest and protect the owner’s investment in the team. They formulate and monitor the team’s short-term and long-term financial plans, analyze costs and identify opportunities for financial growth and the potential for financial loss. Executives also make purchasing decisions, monitor revenue from ticket and concession sales, hire workers and negotiate player contracts.

Accounting Department

Sports franchises leave much of the day-to-day financial management to an accounting department. The accounting department ensures the financial health and profitability of the franchise. Employees in this department oversee purchasing, sales and accounts payable. The St. Louis Cardinals employ a senior accountant, a junior accountant, a staff accountant, a payroll accountant and one or more assistants to each accountant. These accountants perform finance-related tasks such as monitoring revenue from ticket and concession sales, processing payroll checks and filing tax documents. Sports accountants also analyze financial data and submit detailed reports to team executives.

Investment Banking Jobs

Some investment banks specialize in sports finance. These banks provide financial services to the sports industry. Investment banks hire managers, analysts and associates. These individuals work as a team. Entry-level jobs are for associates. Experienced associates who show promise may earn a promotion to the analyst position. As an investment banker, you may act as a consultant and adviser for franchises considering mergers or acquisitions. These bankers also offer corporate financing for stadium renovations and constructions and restructuring of loans held by teams, leagues and other investors involved in the business side of sports. Loan officers evaluate financial risk involved in lending money to sports franchises. They work with team executives to establish repayment terms.

Sports Agents

Sports agents negotiate sports contracts and marketing partnerships on for professional athletes. Their clients pay a percentage of their earnings to the agent. To work as an agent in a particular sport, you must meet the requirements for the sports league. Possessing a college degree is not necessary, but a bachelor’s or master’s degree in finance or business administration may help you gain the trust of clients and provides the knowledge needed to succeed in this competitive career field. Player contracts often feature complex financial clauses. Agents also must monitor the contracts of similar players in the sport to ensure that their clients receive a salary commensurate with their abilities. Many agents also serve as financial managers. They invest money for their clients.

About the Author

Based in Central Florida, Ron White has worked as professional journalist since 2001. He specializes in sports and business. White started his career as a sportswriter and later worked as associate editor for Maintenance Sales News and as the assistant editor for "The Observer," a daily newspaper based in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. White has written more than 2,000 news and sports stories for newspapers and websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images