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A look at sports-related occupations in advance of the big game

February 07, 2024

As sports fans across the country prepare to watch players clad in red and gold compete, let’s look at some BLS data on sports-related occupations. Employment of athletes and sports competitors was 14,000 in 2022 and is projected to increase to 15,200 by 2032. The job outlook for athletes and sports competitors is a 9-percent increase in employment over the decade, much faster than the 3-percent average for all occupations.

Employment in selected sports-related occupations, 2022 and projected 2032
Occupation 2022 employment 2032 projected employment

Athletes and sports competitors

14,000 15,200

Coaches and scouts

275,200 300,500

Umpires, referees, and other sports officials

20,400 22,400

From 2022 to 2032, employment of coaches and scouts is projected to rise from 275,200 to 300,500, while employment of umpires, referees, and other sports officials is projected to rise from 20,400 to 22,400. The job outlooks for coaches and scouts (9 percent increase) and for umpires, referees, and other sports officials (10 percent increase) are similar to that for athletes and sports competitors. A growing interest in college sports, professional sports, and sports recreation is expected to increase demand for these occupations.

In 2022, the median annual wage for athletes and sports competitors was $94,270, meaning half of the country’s professional athletes and sports competitors earned less than that amount, while half earned more. The median annual wages for coaches and scouts ($44,890) and for umpires, referees, and other sports officials ($36,010) were less than half of the median wage for athletes and sports competitors. For all occupations, the median annual wage was $46,310.

Median annual wages in selected sports-related occupations, 2022
Occupation Median annual wage

Athletes and sports competitors

94,270

Coaches and scouts

44,890

Umpires, referees, and other sports officials

36,010

These data are from the Employment Projections program. To learn more, see Entertainment and Sports Occupations in the Occupational Outlook Handbook and our classroom poster on Careers in Sports.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, A look at sports-related occupations in advance of the big game at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2024/a-look-at-sports-related-occupations-in-advance-of-the-big-game.htm (visited May 28, 2024).

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