Professional Sports Jobs: Stadium Operations Jobs

If you want to run the stadium, get into the field. Literally, get on the field, in the stadium and all over the sports complex. Intern, work part time in parking, security, concessions or the ticket office, take a temporary job in maintenance at the end of the season and get experience.

Education and experience in many different areas will help, such as business administration, sports administration, construction, engineering, architecture and urban planning, and even horticulture and chemistry for the care of grounds and artificial turf.

Executive Director is the top job in sports facilities management operations.

Stadiums Require Many Employees to Keep Operations Running Smoothly

In this position, you’ll oversee the utilization of the venue, finances, business administration, maintenance, repairs, construction and whatever else comes up. Your main job, though, is booking the place. Many stadiums have both a baseball team and a football team as long-term tenants; arenas might house both a basketball team and a hockey franchise. When the sports teams aren’t using them, they still cost money to maintain and operate, so somebody else needs to pay the bills. The Executive Director is the one who brings in the rock stars and country western bands, the special events and entertainment of all kinds to pay rent and fill the stands. This is also the person who has to keep the teams and the visitors happy, and make sure the baseball team and the football team have a cordial relationship with each other. If the NFL team pays twice the rent for 10 home games, compared to the MLB team’s payment for 80 games, who gets their clubhouse renovated first? It’s a tough decision, but the Executive Director has to make it. For this, long days and all, the salary can easily be in the $100,000 bracket at a major sports stadium.

A Stadium Manager or Sports Facility Manager is like a building superintendent or a resident innkeeper. This is the job of taking care of the physical venue day-to-day. The Manager may be the one in charge of booking the stadium to make sure it’s used as much as possible by paying customers. This may also be the person who’s responsible for turning a basketball court into a hockey arena in three hours flat. In addition to supervising all the people who work there, the Manager has to hire and fire them; contract for special services like plowing snow from the parking lots; and work with specialists in advertising, marketing and public relations. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of paperwork and administration to balance the financial books. The pay for a sports facility manager can range from twenty-something a year to as much as $125,000, depending on the facilities and the owners, as well as on whether there’s an Executive Director there.

A Sports Events Coordinator is the person who makes all the things happen to suddenly transform a football field into a huge concert at halftime. Everything that happens on the field or court is the responsibility of this one person. Whether it’s keeping the hockey ice at exactly the right temperature, getting the marching band to yield to the players or dealing with a wardrobe malfunction, the buck stops here.

For a coordinator, this involves working with a lot of different departments and staffs in a sports venue, and among different facilities, whether as an employee of the stadium or working for a promoter.

The job involves everything going on, and everything that’s needed to make it all work: parking, seating capacity, facility modifications, traffic, media, public relations, players accommodations, concessions utility hookups and hooking up with the press at cocktail parties; whatever it takes to bring it all together. If you like to take charge and run the show, making all the arrangements from start to finish for a special event, you can love this job. Hopefully so, because you can expect to put in some very long days to make around $50K per year.

An Equipment Manager job is perhaps in more of a Player Personnel position, but this person is in charge of the locker room, as well as all the players’ and sport equipment. On the road, this is the person who packs and transports all the gear. Home or away, this is who maintains, adjusts and repairs everything. The salary for this job can approach $50,000 a year with a major league team.

Scoreboard Operator jobs have grown with the technology of today’s electronic scoring and entertainment system. The job at a big stadium actually takes a whole team of perhaps a dozen people. Along with knowing the sport and gaining experience on the field, you should have training in computer graphics and data management. You can make $35K – $50K per year as a Head Scoreboard Operator in the major leagues.

Public Address Announcer jobs may not be high-visibility in terms of your face, but is equally able to make you famous or notorious. This is not broadcasting, it’s public speaking. Bob Sheppard, who started as the Public Address Announcer in the last year that Joe DiMaggio played in Yankee Stadium – also the first year that Mickey Mantle was there – started out with a Master’s Degree in speech and became a Professor of speech at St. John’s University before he started announcing ball games. In the major leagues, a Public Address Announcer can earn up to $500 per game.

In addition to getting a good education, preferably at least some college, and getting started as an intern or entry-level worker in Stadium Operations, you can check out these resources to learn more about running the house of sports:

International Association of Auditorium Managers

Stadium Managers Association

Athletic Business Magazine

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