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The specific duties of a sports manager can vary depending on the particular job, though he is usually responsible for all business and management aspects of a team. Sports managers can be employed by community organizations, educational institutions, or professional teams, so they can have a wide variety of responsibilities. A sports manager for a community or amateur team will typically be responsible for organizing competitions, obtaining practice space, and managing other aspects of team activities. College sports managers may also perform many of these duties, though they will often oversee the entire sports program. At the professional level, a sports manager often has the final say in signing players, making trades, budgeting, and other business concerns.
Many colleges and universities offer undergraduate degrees in sports management, though not everyone in the field studied for it. Sports managers often begin as coaches or in other business or management aspects of sports. Others were amateur, college, or professional athletes that transitioned into the management side at the end of their sports careers.
At the amateur and community level, a sports manager can be a salaried employee of an organization or or may be a volunteer. He is typically responsible for organizing games with other teams, securing practice space, and procuring necessary equipment. If the team is set to play in a distant location, he may also be responsible for making travel or lodging arrangements.
College athletics programs are typically ran by sports managers as well. At this level, the sports manager is often responsible for obtaining quality athletes for the program, organizing daily operations, and dealing with budgetary concerns. This often includes setting salaries for all related support staff and dealing with any necessary fundraising operations.
Sports managers of professional teams typically have even more responsibilities, as they may be in charge of a wide variety of business and financial decisions for the team. At the professional level, a sports manager will often take part in drafting new players, signing free agents, and performing trades. The salaries for the entire team and all of the coaches and trainers may also be his responsibility.
In order to defray some of the responsibilities, college and professional organizations often employ assistant managers. An assistant sports manager will typically perform some of the duties of the head manager, such as working with facilities to ensure the needs of the team are met or interfacing with marketing or promotional staff. Assistant positions, along with jobs such as trainers, coaches, and scouts, are often stepping stones to sports manager careers.