Germany has a total of 51 sport management programs with various different titles. The department of sport management specific programs is sometimes integrated in the Sports Science Faculty or Institute and sometimes within Economics. In special cases (Colleges of Applied Sciences) the department stands for itself.

A total of 27 institutes of higher education offer a bachelor degree in sport management. 17 of these also offer a Master degree in sport management. There are 7 programs devoted to a MBA in sport management. So far no specific PhD Program (graduate school or similar) exists. A Bachelor program usually consists of 180 ECTS while the Master and MBA programs are comprised of 90-120 ECTS. Abiding the regulations of the doctorate title all eleven Universities offer the possibility to attain a PhD Degree in Germany.

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To date no reliable data specific to the sport management labour market exists as it is a very heterogeneous market and the federal structure of the state does not emphasize the necessity of employing field specific graduate studies. The unemployment rate in Germany was 4.9 % in June, 2019 and 5.5 % for youth unemployment (Statista, 2019).

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Digitalisation, commercialisation and internationalisation are mega-trends. However, their importance varies between the four examined sectors. Furthermore, we see an increasing awareness about aspects of sustainability and good governance in sport organisations in some sectors. Digitalization of the sport market in Germany can be regarded as a major finding of the present study. This is documented by the nearly uniform perception of the respondents, who stated that the development of the IT sector affects their future working environments considerably. Half of the respondents believe that within the next ten years new professions and occupations will be created within the information technology sector (especially social media and online marketing). A bit more than half of the respondents state that their organisations currently cooperate with an institution of higher education. When it comes to recruitment processes, the respondents name personal contacts and word-of-mouth as important means of finding new employees.

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It is an interesting finding from our (qualitative) interviews that a Master’s Degree alone means no benefit for the various sport organisations from the four sectors. What weighs more for these organisations is previous work experience (for example internships) in setting applicants apart from each other. Furthermore, the employers in the field ascribe no meaning to the type of institution of higher education from which future sport managers graduated. Likewise, they gave only little or no importance at all to the type of degree they have earned from these institutions. In addition, there seem to exist no binding preferences of a specific programme from which future sport managers needed to graduate in order to meet their job requirements.



The study demonstrates that the so-called “soft skills” gain in importance for sport managers in Germany. Out of the 72 different competencies examined within the quantitative survey, networking, teamwork, oral communication, and decision-making and leadership skills are considered very important future competencies for professionals in the area of sport management. Competencies in the area of IT (in particular digital marketing, virtual media and social media) will increasingly be needed in the future. These findings were validated and highlighted in the interviews as well.



The fastest growing functional areas are related to PR and (social media) marketing. Apart from the public sector organisations, all other sectors report a growth of such positions, in particular in professional sports clubs and non-profit sport organisations. There is also a strong need for new positions in project management, administration and coaching/teaching in non-profit sport organisations, which can be referred to an intensifying professionalisation of non-profit sport organisation on all hierarchical levels, from national federations to individual member’s association sports clubs. In professional sports clubs, we find fast growing positions in the area of sales. In addition, we see an increasing job growth in positions related to digitalisation and IT, in particular with professional sports clubs and private sports businesses. Public sector institutions report growth in the areas of administration and project management.



The German project partner comprises of sport management researchers from the Leipzig University

Gregor Hovemann, Professor in sport management,   

Sandy Adam, PhD candidate in sport management,   

Olivia Wohlfart, PhD candidate in sport management,