In France sport management diplomas are mainly (but not only) delivered by sport sciences faculties or department in French universities (“UFR-Staps” or “Département Staps”). Some of the diplomas are “professional” ones (it means they can be selective and almost are short terms: 2 years long for DEUST[1] and 1 year for professional bachelor degree). 11 sport sciences faculties do propose DEUST diplomas and 23 professional bachelor degrees.

Some other diplomas take part in the LMD system and are part of the general accreditation called STAPS (Sciences and Technics in Physical activities which proposes 4 specialties: Education / Adapted Physical Activities / Performance / Management du Sport -MS).

  • 32 sport sciences faculties propose the bachelor graduation with the MS specialty. In 2017-2018, they regroup 16.5% of bachelor students.

  • 24 sport sciences faculties propose a Master degree in Sport management, which do have a lot of other names (Management of sport organization, Sport tourism, Sport Events, …)

The training course in "sports management" as well as diplomas bearing this name is theoretically only delivered by UFR-STAPS. In fact, we find at the level of short professional training much more precise names. For DEUSTs, several specialties in sports management training programs exist:

-          Animation, marketing of sports services

-          Animation and management of physical, sports or cultural activities

-          Fitness activities

Regarding the architecture of the master training offer, each university being autonomous since the LRU law (2007), the accredited diploma will be a "STAPS, Sport Management specialty" diploma, but may have a name describing more precisely the exact content of the specialization:

-          Sports Tourism Management (Montpellier)

-          Management of events and sports activities - project management (Nanterre)

-          Management of sports organizations (Lyon, Marseille)

-          International tourism, mountain, e-tourism (Grenoble)

-          Commercial and Territorial Development of Sport and Leisure (Dijon)

-          Leisure, tourism and innovation (Rennes)

-          Etc ..

However, we assist to an increasing offer of diplomas in Sports Management outside the UFR-STAPS:  in management faculties, law, marketing, or university institutes (Institute of Business Administration - IAE) or private schools (Business school), sometimes in connection with sport sciences faculties, sometimes in competition. There is no mapping of this training offer that dealt with many changes in recent years. This is a very competitive system especially since universities operate a selection at the entrance of the Master degree.



The unemployment rate of young people (less than 25 years old) in France is 23,7 % (Eurostat, 2017).

Data available about tracking of graduates in France is difficult to obtain because of the important diversity of training courses (see precedent point)

The most recent and complete centralized data at national level are those from the french ministry of higher education and research (MEESR) which collect from each university comparable data about graduates of a master degree[1]. The last enquiry concerns the 2014 master degree graduates (n = 109 193). The field of the enquiry concerns people graduated in master in 2014, french nationality and who doesn’t continue studying. Data were collected by each university with a similar frame, in december 2016 and examines the situation of the graduates 18 and 30 month after the graduation. The situation of masters degree students in Staps (wider than sport management) is quite good regarding the unemployment rate which is lower that all master degress LMD (9% for female – 10% for all master degrees ; and 6% for male – 9% for all master degrees)

Source : MEESR 2017 : Enquête d’insertion professionnelle des diplômés de l’Université 2014 (enquête Master)

Man Running


In France, the results shows that 2 big categories of expected core competencies can be done :

The so called “Cross curricula professional competencies”: have to be enhanced

  • Digital technical skills : digital marketing, use of virtual media, big data, IT skills

  • Language skills : Second language and ability to work in an international and interdisciplinary context

And the training programs should increase the ability to analyze a specific context to allow performance of employer organization (with a specific ethical and values point of vue)

  • Customer relations management

  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

  • Stakeholder management

These two points have to be enhance in our and in perhaps in all training programs. Problem still exist in the level in foreign languages for our students in France. But the ability to work in an international context needs to be thought more broadly than the mere acquisition of a foreign language (cultural skills ... open minded approaches ...)



For the” future”, the so called ”soft skills” and self work organisation abilities (flexibility, autonomy, social intelligence) but also collective work organisation (team work, project design, planning skills) are dominant. This is a real challenge for universities more used to transmit contents and knowledge (hard skills) often stemming from research. How to train to soft skills and develop abitilty to work with a group, to be creative be able to work in an interdisciplinary context : undoubtedly by multiplying the opportunities of scenarios, case studies, group projects .... but also by developing the general culture that gives the possibility of the dialogue with others.

The key ideas that emerge from the qualitative analysis can be summarized as follows:

Internationalization but reconnection to the local:


Surfer - Top View


Indeed, federal sports organizations see international, high performance as the ultimate showcase of their activity, but insist on the future of their action, which is more, for the interviewees, in the ability to meet the needs of practitioners who are increasingly distant from the traditional institutional approach. These are athletes outside clubs or people who are away (public) from physical activity due to illness, disability or unfavorable social conditions. For the interviewees, it is in reconnecting with the local level, working with all public and private partners dealing with these issues that most federal action will take place, in a context of rationalization of public spending and considering the challenges of sustainable development. In this sense, public health policies are a great opportunity for sports organisations, whether they are private (associations or companies) or public.

In this more complex environment, the manager's skills will have to be to be able to:

- anticipate societal challenges (public health, sustainable development) and build partnerships to give an answer to this challenges ;

- understand and analyse the complexity of the issues, roles and interests of each actor;

- develop, manage, monitor and complete a collective project in a multidisciplinary context;

- use modern communication methods to reach and stay in touch with increasingly volatile practitioners, but above all to collaborate with project partners (multi-site and occupying different professional positions)

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Thus we were able to highlight a questioning on the notion of "specialist" which is understood in a different way according to the actors and still seems to be a matter of debate (sports specialist or professional specialist?)

It was also possible to highlight that many actors seemed to refer to qualities intrinsic to people (relating to the qualities of personalities or "savoir être" = to be curious, inventive, positive, to have empathy, to know how to listen to the other, to know how to question oneself, to adopt a position of doubt) when others (sometimes the same ones) listed technical skills ("savoir faire") on which concrete training needs were identified: organization of work (one's own and others') and priorities, seeking information, analyzing, synthesizing, sharing information, writing in a synthetic way, being able to express oneself orally and in writing, being rigorous.

For the interviewees, there seems to be a need for a balance between hard skills (many actors continue to mention the need for in-depth knowledge of systems: history and political science in a main way) and soft skills (human skills and collaborative work in a dominant way).



The French project partner is a sport sociology researcher from the Faculty of sport sciences of the University of Montpellier.

  • Nathalie Le Roux, Head of master degree in Management of sport tourism, Sport Management Department, Faculty of sport sciences, University of  Montpellier (