A review of sports management through transnational perspectives

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The field of sports management involves working in the business side of the sports industry. Read on to learn more about the different areas of sports management, from sports information to fundraising. Schools offering Education - Sports Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices. Sports management is a broad and highly competitive field that incorporates aspects of many different areas, such as business, marketing and accounting. Public interest in health, fitness and spectator sports has also increased over the years, making sports management a multibillion-dollar industry with a variety of job opportunities for those with experience and education. Those who work in sports management may find themselves performing various functions, such as working with the finances of an athletic organization or creating marketing strategies. Professionals in sports management might work on international sporting events or local, amateur ones. Other areas in sports management include college or recreational sports management or sports economics.

A review of sports management through transnational perspectives
AuthorAnushree Sharma
Published on14/09/2018
Last Updates14/09/2018

Sport management is a branch of education about business aspect of sport. Some examples of sport managers include the front office system in professional sports, college sport managers, recreational sport managers, sports marketing, event management, facility management, sports economics, sport finance, and sports information. Many colleges and universities offer bachelors and masters degrees in sport management

A person will gain skills and qualification for organizing activities at economic departments of enterprises of different forms, especially in sport. They will be able to work at the management and marketing departments of sports organizations, clubs and sports associations. Students might be employed at business companies and take part in management of leisure time activities. They will be prepared to carry out economic, commercial and administrative activities as sports managers' assistants, marketing assistants and later even as economists and managers of sports facilities


Sport management is a branch of study about the business aspects of sport. The work of a sport manager includes activities at the front office in professional sports. It means dealing with clients, marketing, sales, services, organizing events and others. Sport managers may work in the field of college sports, recreational and leisure time sports, sports marketing, event management, sponsorship, facility management, sports economics, finance and sports information.

Sport management involves any combination of skills related to planning, organizing, directing, controlling, budgeting, leading, and evaluating within the context of an organization or department whose primary product or service is related to sport or physical activity (DeSensi, Kelley, Blanton and Beitel, 2003). Sport managers carry out these skills in a variety of organizational settings, for example: college sports; professional sports; amateur sports including the Olympics, sport marketing and management firms; sport communications and news media firms; corporate sponsorship and advertising firms; sporting goods firms; arenas, stadium, and civic centers; among many others.

According to Parkhouse (2005), the most recent research on the economic impact of sport identifies it as a $213 billion-a-year industry, making it the sixth largest industry in the United States (“The answer is,” Sports Business Journal, p.23, December 1999). The wide range of organizational settings where sports occur means that individuals can select and pursue careers in the kind of work environment of their choice and for which they are best suited. Besides traditional sports, the sports industry now involves new alternative, action, and extreme sports (skateboarding, boogie boarding, ice climbing, snow kayaking, etc) and new professional sports, especially for women.

An upsurge in the numbers and variety of sports publications, sports related internet sites, and enhanced mass media presentation and exposure of sports events and activities is resulting in an increase in the need for individuals with special qualifications in sport communications/media. Likewise, growth in the number and variety of specialized sports facilities, an increase in sports tourism and adventure travel, the rapid progression of the globalization of sports, and the provision of sport related goods and services for diverse market segments, is contributing to the continued growth of the sports industry. These developments ensure that the sports industry will continue to rank among the largest and most diverse industries in the nation, thereby, sustaining career opportunities for the future.

Sport management is the field of business dealing with sports and recreation. Some examples of sport managers include the front office system in professional sports, college sports managers, recreational sport managers, sports marketing, event management, facility management, sports economics, sport finance, and sports information.

Bachelor's and master's degrees in sport management are offered by many colleges and universities.[1][2] A number of classes outside sport management may be relevant to the field, including; classes in management, marketing, business administration, economics, and accounting. Internships may also open opportunities within the field.

In America, jobs in sport management include working for professional programs like the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, and other professional or non-professional sport leagues in terms of marketing, health, and promotions.


• Appreciate the emerging themes within the social and cultural management of sport

• Understand that the management of sport cannot be regarded as a homogenised profession but must respond to constraints present at a national and local level

• Identify where the focal points for the successful management of sport will emerge from and the skills necessary to respond to these.

Key Terms

Urban space – One of the challenges for sport is the declining capacity within inner city settings to facilitate continued involvement in organised participation in physical activity. This urban space, which is simply adequate scope to allow for the practice of sport, is instead typically dominated by retail outlets and housing.

Regulatory framework – In the future the need for sport managers to become sufficiently aware of the constraints placed upon their decisions and actions by a legal imperative will become ever more apparent. Thus proving conscious of the regulatory framework in which sport takes places will be of paramount importance for those seeking employment in this field.

Volunteers – The willingness of individuals to give freely of their time without expectation of material or in-kind return, that is the act of volunteerism, will represent the most significant challenge for sport managers of the future.


• Roots of Sport Management Structures Management structures include clubs, leagues, professional tournaments Primary theme of chapter –Evolution resulting from broad social changes and/or to address specific issues Secondary themes: –Honest play and inclusion

• The Club System England –Birthplace of modern sport and sport management 18th century –Development of sport clubs with limited membership 19th century –Continued club evolution with standardizing of rules, settling disputes, and organizing schedules

• Thoroughbred Racing Races drew broad and diverse audience – No admission charged Local club system initially –Racing existed for entertainment only, not financial gain 1830s –Rail system allowed horses to compete nationally Desire of owners to breed and train fast horses and the increasing complexity of gambling lead to more complex club system

• The Jockey Club Settled disputes, established rules, determined eligibility, designated officials, regulated breeding, and punished unscrupulous participants Organized, sponsored, and promoted local events Met need for a strong national governing body to establish rules, standards, and a mechanism for resolving disputes Served as model for wider sport management practices in England

• The Modern Olympic Games International club event, with little resemblance to ancient Olympic Games First Modern Olympics in 1896, but the revival can be traced back to at least 1850 with club-based Olympic festivals in England Founder Pierre de Coubertin, inspired by English revivals and Victorian notions of character building and peace movements through sport, introduced concept of amateur Olympic Games every 4 years

• Present-Day Club Structure Commitment to serve broad membership and manage elite sport enterprise Clubs organize youth teams and academies, adult recreational leagues, and social events for members Large built-in memberships and loyal fan bases Characterized by nonprofit status and exclusive membership –Augusta and male-only membership Change from European club system to U.S. league system

• American Structures European club system did not suit the United States –Lack of aristocratic tradition and prohibition against gambling Evolution of harness racing, sport of the common person Better spectator sport –Sprint vs. 4-mile race; horses could compete daily, large field of competitors Managed by track owners and race promoters –Willing to create spectator interest for sport Issues of race fixing, management lacking credibility

• Leagues Baseball was first to adopt league system Cincinnati Red Stockings: First pro team Some teams in the league paid and some did not— created controversy 1871: Creation of National Association of Professional Baseball Players Importance of “breakeven” financial interests of individual clubs © Jones and Bartlett Publishers

• William Hulbert Czar of baseball 1876: Took over management of National League of Professional Baseball Players Believed stability achieved only if teams were run like businesses Teams should compete against each other and not collude –Understood that without strict rules forcing honest competition, collusion would occur

• Success of League Excitement of pennant race Favorable media attention Appealed to fans’ loyalty and pride in their cities Early form of revenue sharing Rules that distributed talent

• Leagues Today Successful contemporary commercial sport leagues depend on consolidated league play with strong centralized control and regulation Audience has changed –Public’s perception of locus of honest effort resides more with the players than with ownership structure Single-entity structures: MLS, MLL, AFL

• Professional Sport Tournaments Professional Golf Early golf professionals were instructors and caddies. Professional leagues failed to capture public interest or attract golf professionals. Attempts to generate gate revenues at tournaments failed. Stability of tournaments was achieved when prize money was put up by companies and corporate sponsors.

• Corcoran’s Tournaments Fred Corcoran: Architect of golf tournament Golf tournament was medium through which celebrity, politician, manufacturer, charity, town, or product gained exposure Used athletes and golf tournaments to sell advertising space to the public Bing Crosby and Bob Hope created charity golf tournaments in pro-am format for WWII fund-raising

• Importance of Women Heraea Games: –The Sixteen Women Intercollegiate Sport: –Christine Grant and Judy Sweet National Intramural-Recreation Sports Association (NIRSA): –Anette Akins, Mary Daniels, Juliette Moore

• Academic Field Continuing growth of sport industry and its importance to numerous sponsors and institutions created demand for the systematic study of sport management practices. –1957: Walter O’Malley –1966: James Mason; first master’s program at Ohio –1971: University of Massachusetts

• Academic Field (cont.) Current status –More than 210 programs nationwide –North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) –Program evaluation –Globalization Sport management degree programs throughout Europe SMAANZ EASM


The purpose of this final, concluding chapter is to draw together the key themes that have emerged during the course of what has proven to be a detailed and wide-ranging anthology. It aims to reveal these factors in a manner that confirms a view that the successful sport manager of the future will not simply be one that can capture the core elements of finance, organisational behaviour, marketing and resource management but crucially also one who can set these issues in their proper context. Thus being aware of the social and cultural factors that inform management practice within a variable and unpredictable sporting environment will be at the heart of effective sport management in the years to come.

The Evolution of Sport Management

Much of the sport management literature that emerged during the latter part of the twentieth century adopted a very functional, almost abstract approach to the management process. The profession was conceived of in largely generic terms with little account of the varying social and cultural contexts in which sport was taking place or being governed. In latter times a more comprehensive assessment of these variables, from gender, to ethnicity, the specific needs of special populations and the challenges presented by emerging markets, has consequently led to a more sophisticated response to the management of sport, which is informed and impacted by these and other factors (Ming, MacIntosh and Bravo, 2011, Roberts, 2009).

A number of important themes emerge from this anthology, which serves to condition the thinking of the reader, who is in turn conscious of the challenges that lie ahead in the field of sport management. O'Boyle's insightful analysis of the need to establish defined and appropriate performance management structures and systems points towards the efficient deployment of scarce resources, their maximisation and management in the new management environment of the early twentieth first century. It appears this is more salient than ever due to the examples of poor governance of sporting organisations, their underperformance and even cases of mal-practice on the part of certain personnel that occasionally defined the latter part of the twentieth century and sadly continues in part to do so to this day. The latter may be due to the high degree of liquidity present endemic many sporting bodies or it may be the inappropriate deployment (or election to office) of individuals to positions of responsibility that their capabilities, euphemistically referred to as their ‘skills set', are unable to address. In any event O'Boyle's timely contribution reminds the reader that notwithstanding the flexible and evolving nature of applied sport management, there remains a need for proper structures to be implemented to quantify the efficiency of organisations regarding the management of their often limited resources (Sillitoe, 1969).

The management of one key resource, urban space, remains a principle concern of many inner city agencies. With the pressures of housing, retail and infrastructure competing for the same piece of land, amid ever increasingly congested cities, it is often recreational space that becomes the first casualty of rationalisation. Matuska, in her contribution to this collection, reveals the situation in the city of Casablanca, Morocco where the lack of urban space to engage in physical activity is most acutely experienced by the disadvantaged, the poor and other minority groups. It is a perfect example of the requirement to manage sport according to the social needs of a target population and of how a failure to do so then has a knock on effect in terms of personal wellbeing, health and social exclusion for the marginalised. It is where the emerging field of health economics reminds the reader of how investing in a novel and innovative response to longstanding and intensive demands upon public finances can prove to be a strategically responsible act. In all of this the need for appropriate public policy responses, followed by their implementation at a local level by socially responsive sport managers, becomes manifest (Rigg, 1986).

Regulatory Framework

One of the recurring themes within professional sport over recent years has been the need for an enhanced regulatory framework to safeguard participants, officials and the general public (Greenfield and Osborn, 2000). It is an argument at the heart of two separate chapters contained within this collection penned by Reid and Kitchin, on doping in sport, and by Anderson who examined the relationship between criminal law and a number of separate activities within the sports arena. In the case of the latter, Anderson's contribution contains a salutary reminder that sport does not operate in some benign utopia but is as subject to the rigors of the law as any other aspect of modern life. Where this issue becomes problematic is when one reflects upon the inherent physicality of certain sporting activities and the very strong possibility that participants may be injured as a result of this engagement. The challenge for managers therefore is to protect one of the most important features of sport – its combative nature – whilst remaining conscious that overstepping these boundaries may result in criminal prosecution, especially where it can be proven that this behaviour was premeditated on the part of the aggressor and thus designed to inflict pain and injury.

Evidently where this latter point has particular relevance is in the on-going battle against the scourge of doping in sport (Coakley and Hughes, 1994). Those who intentionally decide to cheat the system and their fellow athletes by ingesting performance enhancing drugs arguably represent the most immediate challenge to the integrity of sport and, consequently, embody the need for managers to remain socially responsive to the changing nature of the multi-million dollar doping industry (Chambers, 2009). It is Reid and Kitchin's detailed analysis of this field and of the culture of compliance and sympathy offered by those who wish to excuse illegal and unethical practices that strike at the core of the modern dilemmas facing the sport manager. In some parts of the world for instance the presence of a sympathetic media that retains a vested interest in preserving a wholesome image of its athletes and their success does little to make the job of the sport manager any more straightforward.

One of the settings during which the issue of illegal drug taking in sport receives most attention is the Summer Olympic Games, including at the recent Olympiad help in London in August 2012 (Roche, 2000). Spencer Harris' analysis of the UK government's attitude towards the community sport element of the London Games is of interest to the global sport manager because both the ‘ripple' and much vaunted ‘legacy' effect of major tournaments appears to point to a wider remit regarding mega sports events than has certainly been the case heretofore. There is an onus on sport scholars and students alike to properly consider the full extent of the legacy concept, which needs to be more than simply a study of economics and include social and political impacts as well (Coakley and Hughes, 1994). One of the key aspirations of hosting any major event should be the momentum it creates amongst the indigenous population in encouraging them to participate in sport, yet successive initiatives, promoted by a host of state administrations, appears to have had only a limited impact in persuading people to engage in physical activity and improve their health and wellbeing. The future of sport management is likely to be defined by its capacity to encourage greater involvement in sport and physical fitness by the majority of us who choose not to engage in regular healthy activity at present.

The access to resources often considered necessary to participate in regular exercise is further complicated if one is subject to marginalisation and discrimination in society. It is a theme developed by Lusted in his analysis of sport and ‘race' and specifically the needs of governing bodies to develop policies designed to facilitate and encourage greater participation in their activities by members of ethnic minorities. All too often however the upper echelons of many governing bodies of sport are dominated by white, aging males and there remains a responsibility upon those in positions of influence and indeed the sport in general to ensure that their organisations are truly representative of the population at large (Roberts, 2009). Of course when the opportunity arises to make public one's opposition to racism, be that at the institutional, organisational or participatory level, then any equivocation or unreasonable qualification on the part of key personnel should be highlighted and roundly condemned. This is where the insightful and progressive sport managers of the future require the cultural sensitivity that has been the core thesis of this collection in its most opaque form.

Indeed it is entirely probable that the future of sport management will be about addressing the twin agendas of access and equality. It is an argument at the heart of Dowling et al's comprehensive coverage of the Special Olympics' Youth Unified Sports initiative, which pairs athletes (young people with intellectual disabilities) and partners (contemporaries without a disability) on the same sports team. It is an example of the purest form of integration of otherwise marginalised minorities with the ultimate intention of achieving full inclusion within society. It is a reminder that the most effective response to long standing issues are often the most simple and this alongside the remarkable reach of the Special Olympics organisation, with over 3 million members world-wide as of 2012 and counting, suggests that collaboration between national governing bodies of sport, including those that explicitly promote a socially responsible agenda, can constitute a progressive and impactful way forward in the time to come.

Of course for a whole host or reasons, financial, utility maximisation, supporter demands and one's own personal expectations, it appears a growing body of academic and popular literature has emerged over recent years glorifying a ‘culture of risk' within sport. The propensity of those who either willingly subject themselves to risk or continue to perform in sport when injured is understandable at some level but the long term impacts of this, especially upon professional athletes, can often be profound. The argument contained within the excellent work of Killick et al is that the input of significant others, from owners to team coaches, must be closely examined to consider if their actions are in the very best interests of players with whom they come into contact. There can emerge a conspiracy of expectation upon participants to engage in a sport even when they are injured and clearly unable to perform to their optimum. Sport managers, working now and in the future, would do well to reflect upon the short term folly of this practice and if anything properly consider and implement strategies designed to ensure the very best playing talent is available for as long as is conceivably possible.

Nowhere is this more important it seems that in the developing world, which has also had to deal with the ill-effects of sports labour migration over recent decades. It is an issue adopted by Schroeder who points to the impact of globalisation upon the transfer of athletic talent as part of a process that has not always had the best interests of the individual sportsman or woman at heart. The management of such prodigious talent, from identifying it, to considering it as a viable investment, to its on-going development and, eventually, its retirement from active engagement in sport highlights the very important role played by the sport manager in this career management process. In particular it points to the range of skills required by someone wishing to pursue a career in this field but is also suggestive of the value in developing these through internships, other forms of work experience as well as engagement in real-life, practical settings alongside a course of academic study. It appears the future of sport management will belong to those willing to embrace a broad range of opportunities to develop their professional experience, which may include openings overseas and in different cultural settings throughout the world.

One of the emerging regions of interest to those working in sport management is the Middle East. It is because of the remarkable presence it now retains within world sport, primarily through the hosting of mega sports events, but also because of the diverse social and cultural mores and values of the region, that it retains such fascination (Stevenson and Alaug, 2010). Understanding these cultural practices is at the heart of effective sport management as in its absence no meaningful progress can be achieved. Its timely therefore that within this anthology two chapters highlight this apparent dichotomy: the work of Tuastad examining sport in a divided Jordan and the detailed analysis of the sporting preferences of the people of the UAE undertaken by O Connor and Hassan. The latter is particularly interesting on two counts; firstly, because it is remarkably difficult to secure access to factual information concerning the sporting choices of the people of the Middle East and secondly because it reveals the diverse nature of this interest and a setting in which local idiosyncrasies appear to assume precedence over global sports. Together the two chapters suggest a need for the prospective sports manager to initially become sufficiently aware of the cultural setting in which s/he is employed and, from this, to appreciate the role that sport can perform in ameliorating discord in many of the world's divided societies.

In a global sense however it appears the future of sport management will cohere around the proper recruitment, retention and development of volunteers as there exist insufficient resources to adequately service the expanding needs of event organisers or even the everyday requirements of sporting federations (Strigas and Jackson, 2003, Stolle and Hooghe, 2003)). It is an issue dealt with at length by O Gorman and yet his analysis has relevancy to almost all managers of sport as properly understanding and responding to the needs of one's volunteer base will, it seems, be fundamental to the future survival and success of sport as a whole. Yet O Gorman is sufficiently adept in his analysis to recognise that the ethos of volunteerism varies according to the social and cultural context in which one finds oneself. In certain parts of the world it is extremely difficult to recruit adequate numbers of volunteers because the act of volunteering carries with it certain negative conations, which conveys a demeaning ideology. In contrast, within other parts of the world, volunteering is if anything on the rise and certainly in a small number of individual governing bodies of sport remains absolutely central to their on-going prosperity. This of course is an emerging theme of the contribution to this collection made by Swart and Bob who perhaps capture the essence of modern day sport – the hosting of mega-sport events. Notwithstanding the growth and development of grassroots sport it appears the future of sport management will be largely informed by major sports events, which serve a host of agendas not least for developing and aspirational nation states (Roche, 2000).


This final chapter has sought to crystallise the key aspects of modern sport management. It has brought to the fore questions of volunteer recruitment and retention, the emerging policy responses to a variety of public agendas in which sport and physical activity remain central and the increasing spectre of a legal framework around sport. Moreover as the growth of sport in parts of the world that hitherto has been limited becomes substantial, the ability to respond to particular mores and values surrounding ethnicity, religious and cultural expectations appears ever more prominent. In short sport managers must be more aware than ever of the social context in which they are employed and prove capable of responding to this in order to develop and prosper.


The CAS award in Joseph Odartei Lamptey v. FIFA

On 15 January 2018, FIFA published on its website an arbitral award delivered on 4 August 2017 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the dispute between the Ghanian football referee Joseph Odartei Lamptey and FIFA. The CAS sided with FIFA and dismissed the appeal filed by Mr Lamptey against an earlier decision of the FIFA Appeal Committee which (i) found him to have violated Article 69(1) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code as he unlawfully influenced the 2018 World Cup qualifying match between South Africa and Senegal that took place on 12 November 2016; (ii) as a consequence, banned him for life from taking part in any football-related activity; and (iii) ordered the match in question to be replayed. In reaching its conclusion, the CAS relied heavily on multiple reports of irregular betting activities that significantly deviated from usual market developments.


http://www.sportsmanagement.co.uk/ - Sport Management

http://sportism.net/ - International Sport Management

http://www.easm.net/ - European Association for Sport Management


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Foundations of Sport Management - Jones & Bartlett Learning

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