League operations jobs are slightly different from those at the team level. Most sports team operations positions deal with the operations of the facility that the team plays in and/or ticket sales aspects for the team. At the league level operations managers deal with the day to day operations of the league itself, including: fining players for detrimental conduct, hiring and firing umpires, referees and other event officials, and creating and managing league policy.
Those looking to get into operations with the league must have experience in operations with a team. Anyone looking to work for a professional league that is lacking a background from a team or event management company will have a significant uphill climb proving that they are qualified for the position.
Some of the key responsibilities of operations managers at the league level include: policy/rule development and implementation, facility interaction and care in regards to league operations, training and development of staff, minimal work with department finances, scheduling, statistics, eligibility, communications, hiring, delegation of duties and training of department staff, evaluation and reporting on department staff and management of department meetings.
The most important qualifications needed to work as a league operations manager are a four-year degree, a minimum of 5 years facility or operations management with a team or event center, and strong proficiency with Microsoft Office applications. Having a vast knowledge of the sport is imperative as well. Equally qualified candidates can separate themselves with an extensive knowledge of the game and its intricacies.
Compensation at the league level is higher than at the team level in most cases. The main reasons for this are the amount of money leagues are dealing with and the greater level of responsibility. Another key factor is that leagues tend to hire more experienced people that have spent a number of years working at the team level. One other benefit at the league level is that they often pay a portion of relocation costs (something that is rarely if ever done at the team level).
Salary levels vary widely, depending upon the level of managerial responsibility, length of service, education, professional level (minor league versus top professional league), location, and sport.
Major League Baseball: $70,000 – $105,000
National Football League: $85,000 – $100,000
National Basketball Association: $66,000 – $85,000
National Hockey League: $68,000 – $85,000
Please note that positions at the above leagues are all based in New York City, where the cost of living is significantly higher than other U.S. cities.