At the onset of the 21st century, sports management has embraced techniques, strategies, and principles used by modern businesses and organizations. This has been attributed to the rampant growth, professionalization, and development in sports. This has changed the production, consumption, as well as management of sporting activities, personalities, and organizations. The majority of people today, probably millions, are involved in sports in one way or another (Yow 4). This has changed sports from an amateur pastime thing to an important profession.
A sports manager is involved in the strategic planning and management of crucial sporting events and personalities. They also manage the largest human resources, huge contracts worth billions of money, and the welfare of sportspeople, just to mention a few (Baker and Esherick 9). This has led to a major concern about understanding the special sports features, the environment under which sports operate, and forms of sports organization both in public and private sectors of the sports industry.
Loy says that a sport is a play-like activity in nature. It involves physical activity by the participants. Sports are organized for purposes of physical exercise, competition, or entertainment. They involve competitors who exhibit a lot of skillfulness and are guided by a technical bench and coaches or trainers. Results of a given game are only known at the end of the event (qt. in Shilbury and Kellet 11).
VanderZwaag and Sheehan Special equipment and facilities are used in the various sports activities. There are specific rules and regulations, a sports organization, guiding how a particular sport is to be played (qt. in Shilbury and Kellet 11). Stadiums are the most thought of facility.
Sports events are one of the dominant activities on the ever-busy and crowded world calendar of major events. Sports are known to attract crowds in excess of about tenths of millions annually. Millions of fans tune into television and radio broadcasts to “follow” a season-long league. A significant number of people are club members and contribute annual subscription (Australia Football League). This is quite a big number; the world is indeed a sporting place.
The Sports Event
A sports event is an organized sporting event. It is held over a period of time and brings together many competing teams of the same sports organization. The teams compete under set rules by the sports organizations. Some of the most famous sports events are the Olympics, common-wealth games, football world cup, Paralympics games, and African cup of nations, among others.
Kew says there is no doubt that social engagement and competition are the most significant characteristics that are observable in a sports event. Events are social events in which two or more teams collaborate, abide by the set rules by the respective organizations, and agree to the terms and conditions set to compete in them (qt. in Shilbury and Kellet 14).
The outcome of the match is based on skill, strategy, and chance. The team’s technical benches are involved in setting up a strategy, sharpening their player skills and physical fitness to win the match. Highly contested matches attract the interests of the fans, who fill the stadium to capacity.
There are high levels of competition, cooperation, and conflict that are experienced and expected. The teams are compelled to adhere to the setout or laid down terms and conditions, and the matches end with no many incidents.
A sport of nature is characterized by so much physical prowess. It is played with the realm of ongoing and regular competitions, there is a lot of competition, and rules are set to govern the competition by the federations (Shilbury and Kellet 13).
In the recent past, sports events have witnessed a lot of punctuality. This is due to the high levels of planning before and on the day of the event. All the teams are warmly welcomed and ushered into their respective changing rooms by the attendants, who are mostly volunteers. The matches start on time, and all other activities before and after the match are on time as well.
Successful sports events are globally brought about by the sports organization management that involves all the stakeholders. Representatives are drawn from; the participating teams, a particular sports federation, the referee associations, the media, the sponsors, and the professional player associations, among others.
Mullin defines a sports manager as someone mandated to plan, organize, staff, direct, and control a sports organization. The main product of the organization is a sport or something related to sport (qt. in Shilbury and Kellet 11).
Sports organizations refer to associations whose main goal is to promote and develop sports (Slack and Parent 15). Sports organization consists of fan club associations, national federations, and International federations, among others. Sports events are one of the main roles these organizations have. Sporting events have been in existence since time immemorial. They can be traced to Roman and Medieval times. Sports organizations were established with the aim of bringing order in the world of sports, for instance, handling and controlling finances as well as organizing sports events for the teams involved (Smith 17).
Management techniques can be defined as analytical and systematic methods that are implemented by managers as a way of assisting them in decision making, planning and control, and the improvement of efficiency and effectiveness in management activities (Jarvie 9). Management techniques are considered important in any given organization as they tend to solve problems, as well as enable things to be done in a more effective.
Management techniques can be systematic or analytical. Management techniques considered systematic provide frameworks that enable managers to put into practice their abilities in a more purposeful and orderly manner (Baker and Esherick 14). On the other hand, management techniques considered analytical tend to look closely at complex situations where they are systematically examined and then resolved into main elements (Slack and Parent 14).
Unique Features in Sports
A sport is viewed by many as a happening, which cannot be easily explained, as fans for different teams have developed a passion that is unmatched t their teams and the competition. A sport differs significantly from other fields in the manner in which the performance results, success, and achievements are perceived, presented, and celebrated. Therefore, sports managers are required to be knowledgeable on how to harness the fans’ passion for the benefit of the sport. These include appealing to fans to buy tickets and other sports merchandise, become club members, and volunteer in sports activities. The sport manager should come up with clear business logic and management techniques to the maintenance of traditions and connections to the nostalgic aspects of sports consumption and engagement (Butenko et al. 14). The achievement of this requires sports managers to have specific management techniques (Hoye et al. 12).
Sports organizations bear great differences from other organizations in terms of performance evaluation. While other public or privately listed organizations are profit-oriented and increase the wealth of their shareholders/owners, sports organizations base on other imperatives like winning titles, services provided to stakeholders, members, and the larger community over the financial ambitions. Nonetheless, sports managers must balance between these imperatives and financial issues. They can be compared to non-profit organizations whose core values and services are serving their people regardless of the financial backing.
The competitive balance is another factor to consider in sports management. Sports organizations, both on-field and off-field, aim to maintain the teams’ viability and the leagues in the long run. Therefore, sports organizations cooperate in sharing revenues and players. Additionally, they regulate themselves to avoid the game results’ certainty to maintain the fans’ interest. On the contrary, most business organizations target eliminating all competition to gain a monopoly and the largest shares in the market (Hoye et al. 12). Teams compete fiercely on-field. Off-field, they cooperate, build strong relationships with the ultimate goal of growing the sport.
The varying quality of sports products is of key concern. It is obvious, the results in the competition are not known until the competition ends. It is on record that some teams in a particular tournament are tagged ‘tournament favorites,’ but they end up not winning the tournament. For instance, one team can dominate, thus reducing the game’s attractiveness. This is damaging as it creates a perception of diminishing game quality, especially to the losers. In turn, a guarantee of quality becomes difficult. A lot of competitiveness and quality, if upheld, will increase the fans’ interest, increase the fans in the stadiums, and resultantly increasing the sponsorships of teams and organizations. Coca-Cola, Samsung, Fly Emirates are some of the major sponsors.
Sports products/brands attract a high degree of loyalty and optimism from the fans that are less influenced by the results or standards of officiating. Clubs will find it hard to attract new fans and as well lose old fans. This works for and against the clubs. Such loyalty stimulates certain behaviors in sports fans like buying or wearing a uniform of their teams or favorite player or imitating sports heroes (Hoye et al. 12). With such loyalty and following from fans, team merchandise is assured a stable demand as they no change of choice as in consumer goods. Fans are buoyed with confidence; they always believe their team will win even if it’s not doing so well at the moment.
Hoye et al. argued that sports organizations are reluctant and limited to adopting new technologies connected to sports. This portrays sports organizations as conservative and based on traditions (12).
Lastly, sports organizations are also limited in terms of availability. In this case, clubs are to achieve their set goals within a definite season that is never added if the team does not perform as expected. Unlike sports, other organizations are flexible to changes to meet their demand and increasing production (Hoye et al. 13). The above-mentioned reasons can influence sports organizations to apply specific management techniques.
Sport Management Environment
Globalization has greatly impacted the sports industry as much as it has on others. Apart from fans thronging the stadiums, millions of them can now “follow” their best team’s all season long by watching television, listening to the radio and the internet. Fans can read about game analysis, their favorite players, and teams through the newspapers and magazines, receive live scores via mobile phones and subscribe online for special deals and information using their email address.
Sport encourages patriotism, economic spur and builds strong relationships among the citizens of the country. Because of such vital national benefits, governments are working hand in hand with sports organizations and creating a good working environment for them. The government provides guiding principles through creating laws that regulate the field of sport. Worldwide, governments directly or indirectly fund the sport, bid for events jointly with sports organizations, build new stadia, among others. Governments give tax waivers for sports equipment, sports events, and money earned by individual athletes. The sports organizations are encouraged by the state to increase their membership, do social-corporate activities, and provide guidance on the use of alcohol and drugs.
Professionalism has grown in the past three decades due to increased corporate sponsorship. The sport is an employment opportunity, for example, sport managers, players among others. In the past decade, universities worldwide have increased the intake in the number of sports management courses. It is noted that more universities that were not offering the course are now offering it. Sports managers should be equipped to work with different professionals that include and are not limited to lawyers, physicians, psychologists, engineers, architects, landscape architects, coaches, gym instructors, and match officials, among others.
Technology is shaping all fields in the 21st century, and the sports department has not been left behind either. Technology is noticeable in the following areas: detecting performance-enhancing drugs, information technology, coaching, and high-performance techniques, sports venues, goal technology, and video refers in hockey and cricket, and sporting equipment.
Sports organizations and managers have come up with policies. These policies guide the sport about the incorporation and use of the technology in the sport, intellectual protection, and how to adapt their operations to incorporate their use to help the organization achieve its objectives.
Sport Management Stakeholders
They are three stakeholders in sports management whose roles are multifaceted and work jointly with the sport managers to achieve the goals of sports organizations. They consist of the public sector, non-profit/ voluntary sector, and professional or commercial sport organizations.
The public sector comprises the national, state, regional, and local governments, government agents. The manager should abide by and work within the set rules by this sector. The major role of this sector is to create a conducive working environment for the sport to grow rapidly with little or no interference.
Non-profit or voluntary sector
The non-profit or voluntary sector consists of but is not limited to community-based clubs, governing associations, national and international sports organizations. National and International sports organizations create opportunities to compete and participate. They also set rules and regulations that form the guiding principles within which the sport is managed and organize events.
Volunteers sacrifice their time and service to the sports organization at their own will, and their roles are diverse. A sports manager can involve volunteers in the following areas:
Historically, sports all over the world were administered by family members, friends, and sports enthusiasts. These people volunteered their time and services to run the affairs of the club or sports association (Shilbury and Kellet 7). In the sports fraternity, some of the administrative positions in the club committees are held by volunteers. Most of them are players, former players, and football enthusiasts. At the administration level, we have volunteers with various specialization fields employing their skills in committees of clubs and associations. For instance, people with accounting skills serve as treasurers of the clubs and associations. This is referred to as a serious leisure type of volunteering. Such roles are obligatory and require a lot of dedication and time, preferably a whole season.
People also volunteer as coaches, team instructors, or teachers of the various sporting activities. Most of the clubs, especially the less established ones, use volunteers for most of these services. It is on record that most successful teams in the world started purely on a voluntary basis, with the coach, team instructor, gym instructor, and manager being volunteers.
Volunteerism is employed most in event organizations. Volunteers offer their services from the planning stages to the particular day of the match. Some of the services include but not limited to; publicity, transportation, venue preparations, ushering teams and fans, and hospitality services, among others. It is on record that volunteers have even officiated and refereed matches.
Volunteers sell drinks and snacks in the stadium during matches. Volunteer’s contribution goes further to entering scores, and timekeeping, and offering medical services like first aid and ambulance service in case of emergencies. Serious medical issues are handled by medical practitioners who are also in the volunteering team. Events of great magnitudes like Olympics and world cup competitions have always pulled volunteers from all over the world. It is on record that the 2004 Athens Olympics attracted the highest number of volunteers in Australian history.
The base for recruitment of professional staff
Volunteers also offer a base for recruitment into paid professional staff. This offers some advantages because most of them are already acquainted with the responsibilities. Some of the employed officials in most clubs in international sports organizations were at one point volunteers to their various clubs.
Professional/ commercial sport organizations
Professional/ commercial sport organizations include professional leagues and their member teams, equipment manufacturers, media companies, stadia operators, and event managers, among others. It’s at this stage that the manager can negotiate lucrative contracts for the organization, like selling coverage rights to media companies, subcontracting event organizers to organize their activities, among others.
Sports Management Techniques
Sports managers use techniques and theories that are similar to managers of other business organizations. The management of sports organizations involves the use of multifaceted aspects that are unique, unlike other organizations. The management techniques should be adopted by the sport manager for the organization to realize its goals. The various techniques are as discussed below.
Strategic management involves the identification of the company’s core operation, vision, role, and the organization’s set goals. The achievements of any sports organization mainly rely on the value of their strategic decisions. It had taken ages before the sports organization embraced the ideas related to strategic management due to the manager’s preference of on-field performance and tactics boardroom choices.
Sport managers need to make clear cut market analyses and develop strategies that match their set goals and opportunities in the organization.
The Organizational Structure
An organization structure outlines the functions, steps in the decision-making process, and the need to work as a team and not in unison. Also, it clearly states the layers of individual and group accountability and reporting mechanisms. A right structure in a sports organization should not kill creativity; the manager should have adequate control over the employee and volunteer activity with no interference on their morale and attitude. Communication channels should be clear in the organization while avoiding redundancy in highly complex organizations. The manager should have a balance between salaried staff and volunteers.
Human Resource Management
Baker and Esherick say that the ultimate goal of managing a human resource is to ensure an effective and satisfied workforce. The human resource in a sports organization consists of the players, technical bench, other salaried staff, and volunteers. The sport managers need a good balance between managing staff and volunteers. There should also be a clear and good human resource both on and off-field. The manager should have clear channels of hiring and firing the staff. The human resource should have a good working environment and conditions (8).
Sports managers should be able to have influence over others. This eases their work as their visions, decisions are followed. They should also strike a balance and make people own the organization’s decisions and visions, reduce negative conflict, build strong alliances for the benefit of the organization. The sport managers should also forge a strong working relationship with other organizations; collaborate with government agencies, national and international sports organizations.
A good sports manager should have set channels through which conflict is resolved and avoided. Groups and individuals should be involved in the decision-making process for the decisions to be owned. A strong working alliance will always achieve the organization’s best interests. Therefore, a good manager should work for the better interests of the sports organization to achieve the set goals.
Organizational culture affects the staff’s performance and provides clear cut channels of how things are done in that place. It affects the attitude of staff members, their commitment to the organizations, among others. Each organization has its own culture that is unique to it. The sports manager should know, internalize, and influence the culture of a sports organization. A culture of a place is mostly an indicator of how the organization performs employee commitment, cooperation, and decision making. The sport manager should influence a positive culture in the organization.
A negative culture is a source of organizational failure, increased conflict and backstabbing among workers and groups, and increased rebellion, reduced efficiency, among others.
Governance revolves around the exercise of decision making. Sports organizations are run by elected officials who are the policymakers for the enhancement of organizational performance. They are not involved in the day-to-day operations management decision making. Good governance systems ensure the elected officials and staff meets the organization’s set goals. Sports managers report to these the elected officials of the council. Therefore, the sports manager must understand the main principles of a better administration and how it needs to be applied in a sports federation.
The governing structures should be made strong and supported by the manager and the elected officials. They should be a mutual understanding between the manager and the governing council about the organization’s core goals and how to achieve them. No matter their differences in the governance of the organizations, the set goals, and targets must be fulfilled within the means of the organization.
In the past three decades, sports organizations have become more professional. They have adopted new tactics that aggressively advertise their products, with well set up strategies that focus on the. A sports manager should be able to analytically examine the tactic and come up with the best line of action or option. This will enable them to have a balance of both an on-field and off-field performance.
The Importance of Sport for a Global Culture
Sports for all: Local, national, and international sports organizations such as International Football Federation Association (FIFA), Fédération International De Volleyball (FIVB), International Rugby Board (IRB), International Federation of Hockey(IFH), among others have promoted regular participation through a partnership with the following but not limited to youths, women, men, disabled persons, working adults, families, seniors and community as a whole. These sports organizations allow participants to take part commensurate with their ability.
The sports industry has grown through a promotional partnership with local and international organizations. The industry has brought together people from within and outside the sporting fraternity. They have realized that sports can benefit individuals, the community, the nation, and the world.
Media involvement: In colonial times, in the case of Australia, the penal authorities restricted press coverage of sport in the Sydney Gazette (established 1803). Sports organizations and clubs currently sell coverage rights to media houses. These rights earn revenue for the organizations worthy billions of shilling. Media houses, in turn, get adverts from the corporate world. This has enabled millions of fans to tune in to television and radio broadcasts to “follow” the best teams in their houses. Events like the soccer world cup, Olympics, rugby seven series, Athletics events have recorded a massive following on television, radio, and more recently on the internet through social media networks. Most of the fan bases of most sports follow the proceedings through the media as they must not necessarily watch live matches in the stadium.
The corporate interest in the sport has tremendously grown. The corporate world is now investing in the sport through direct sponsorship of teams, players, and sports associations. Multi-national companies like Samsung sponsor the Chelsea Football Club, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the official sponsor of the Barcelona Football clubs, among others.
Financial rewards are now a common thing in the sporting fraternity. Countries, national sports organizations, local federations are rewarding individual sportsperson, and teams who exhibit exemplary sporting skill are being rewarded with financial tokens. It is on record that a country like Kenya in Africa has in the recent past rewarded all of its good performing long-distance runners.
Employment opportunities are being created within and without the sport. The sport can boast of professional managers, professional players, and sports managers, among others. The English Premier League (EPL) has the highest number of paid or salaried players on very lucrative contracts. Players and managers are imported and exported to all parts of the world. Europe has the highest number of professional players in soccer of African descend. This has led to a culture blend and exchange in the sports fraternity and the world as a whole.
Sports Facilities Management
This process goes beyond the event day management of sports facilities. These facilities include but are not limited to stadiums, training grounds, administration blocks, health clubs, public parks, and recreation centers, among others. The major roles played are the initial planning, designing of the facilities, maintaining lease information. Maximum use of the spaces around the stadium like enough parking bays through space planning. Property management and real estate acquisition is the new trend witnessed in very financially stable clubs and sports federations.
The process of creating a sports facility is a very extensive and involving process; it encompasses almost all stakeholders in the sports organization. It is marked with challenges, as everyone’s idea is expected to be considered. In recent times, higher value facilities have come up that comprise toilet facilities, food courts, specialty restaurants, wider concourses, well-manicured lawns, enough parking bays, recreation grounds, among other features.
The stage is for the management to find a site for the construction of the sports facility. The management puts in mind a lot of consideration before they fully settle to a given site. The factors considered include but are not limited to the location, competitive forces, alternative locations, lease vs. purchase, and tax concerns, among others. The designers will then be handed the site immediately; the site is chosen. This stage also involves a lot of back and forth processes. It also takes into consideration the ideas of almost all stakeholders in the facility. As much as it should be a functional facility, the vision, goals, and mission of the sports organization should be taken into consideration before the final design has arrived. The stakeholders will admire other facilities but will want to make theirs very unique. The design team will come up with a unique design that is shared by the organization’s vision and mission. The facility should care for special needs people with minimum requirements like the physically challenged and blind people.
A sports facility well built should consider spectator facilities like disability access, information for families, lost property area, first aid, and emergences, enough parking bays, among others. An up and running facility needs a manager to make sure it runs and remains functional. It is upon the management to ensure the scheduling of events in the facility. The management is granted the role of planning for the future needs and opportunities of the facility. The facility is expected to maintain itself from the revenues it brings, and it’s upon the management to make maximum usage of the facility and maintain it profitable.
The manager will hire other offices to support the facility. Some of the staff members include the administrators, landscaping team, and many more as he concentrates on expanding the facility. The manager should advertise and secure major events in that facility. The corporate sponsorship should be felt within the corridors of the facility. The facility should attract the best teams in the league to be a sort of ground in that region.
Xia Feng and Brad Humphreys suggest that sports facilities have led to an increase in the value of the neighborhood. These findings suggest that when a sports facility is built at the heart of a city or urban center, the residential property within the neighborhood values increases significantly. On the other hand, when a facility is built outside the center of a town, it will also cause a rise in the value of the residential property though in low percentages. This can be seen in many cities across the world. They are offering the sport organization subsidies to build new stadiums within their boundaries, be it at the heart of the town or outskirts.
Memberships and Tickets
Globally tickets to all events in any sports organization are sold through a contracted ticketing agent for the particular federations. The tickets are sold depending on the number of seats. Some of the stadiums around the globe that have the highest number of seating spaces are the Old Trafford in Manchester, Neu Camp in Barcelona, Moi Sports Centre in Kasarani, Nairobi, Soccer City in Soweto South Africa, and Melbourne Cricket Ground(MCG) in Australia among others.
Tickets are allowed on pre-purchase to reserve seats to guarantee members entry to the event. However, not the case in major events, available seats on the event day are sold at the venue to the available customers. Ticketek, a company that is contracted to sell tickets for the Melbourne Cricket Ground, says on some special events, all seats are sold prior to the event. Tickets are on demand; it can be seen.
Merchandise and Licensing
The commercial Operations team offers assistance and services on merchandising and licensing. Permission to film and take photos must gain prior approval from the sports organizations before the intended date. The commercial fees vary depending on the following venue hire, cost-recovery, and commercial licensing. The venue has a set fee for hire that includes access fee only; other costs like services provided at the venue, catering services costs, security charges, and cleaning costs, among others, are to be catered for by the hirer of the venue.
The Sports Organizational Structure
The sports manager is the head and leads around seven departments depending on the size of a sports organization. The most suggested organizational structure is discussed below.
Member and Customer Service
Its core mandate is to provide services to the club members, clubs’ sporting sections, club functions, special interest groups, and other stakeholders. The communication teams, the one mandated for publications, media liaison, publicity, among many other roles, is a member of this department.
Its mandate is to organize events on behalf of the organization. It coordinates with event managers for a successful event day. It also cooperates with Ticket selling companies on the sale of tickets.
The facilities department is mandated with the general maintenance of the stadium and its surrounding. Some of the functions include turf management, repairs and maintenance, security, landscaping and manicuring of open lawns, and cleaning, among other tasks. They are mostly engaged after an event because of repairs.
Finance and Information Systems
It is in charge of all financial and accounting related functions for the federation and its affiliate organizations.
It is involved in the marketing and selling of all sports organization’s suites and dining rooms. Some of the other tasks are but are not limited to; managing contracts, sponsorship, sourcing money-making opportunities, and providing the club’s brand guidelines. They should secure better deals for the federation.
Heritage and Tourism Department
Its key responsibilities are operating the following the organizations’ sports museum, if any, and library and tours around the facility. It also manages the collections from the museums, the library, stadium, and public art. The museums are mostly a preserve for the great history of the club.
People and Culture Department
Its services are the recruitment of new members, performance management and development, employee benefits and payroll, employee relations, and health and safety management.
Summary and Conclusion
The paper depicts a sport a typically is play-like in nature, involves physical ability, skill, tactic, or chance. In sport, the outcome is never certain, and it is guided by rules and regulations. A sport as well utilizes special kind of facilities as well as equipment like well-marked fields and uniform.
Stewart and Smith observe the unique features in sports that include; fanatical support from people, the varying points of view in the analysis of sports’ results, the cooperation among competing organization off the field, among others(12).
The sports world has a completely changed environment from the past three decades. Globalization has affected the way sport is fashioned and viewed; governments are directly and indirectly support the sport. Professionalism has been introduced, transforming sport from an amateur pastime to a significant industry. The effect of technology has been felt in the sports niche; technology though being slowly embraced is leaving a mark in the field.
Sports managers apply the same administration methods as other organizations; however, they are some unique feature about a particular sport. The techniques have been discussed in the main report.
The sports industry is made up of the public division, voluntary zone, and commercial sector. These three sectors do not work in unison; they often collaborate before something is achieved. A government can bid on a major event with a sports organization that will use volunteers to provide services during the event that will be covered by the media. The sport managers and sports organizations should adopt the new management techniques; they should, however, be careful not to wash away the initial goals of a sport.
Sports events have seen tremendous numbers of fans throng the stadiums to watch football matches in the recent past. Some of the strengths observed from the sports events are; good volunteer spirit, high levels of event organization that ensured good time management, and an efficient emergency response system. On the other hand, some of the short-comings are; lower level of government support as compared to the Olympics, relatively low volunteer tokens and incentives, and their general welfare. The event organizers should seek the attention of the government for improvement of its involvement in the organization of sports. The great work done by the volunteers should be greatly appreciated through more tokens and incentives. All in all, the event organizers should keep up with the good organizational skills exhibited during the event. This made the sporting event a great success and very entertaining. A sport is a worldwide experience and is played by almost everyone.