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Sports management games are big business. Several of the genre’s leading titles are listed among the most successful game franchises of all time.
The problem is sorting the wheat from the chaff, as there are good and bad titles out there. Here are the best sports management games you can play today.
1. Football Manager 2019
Football Manager is one of the world’s best-known sports manager games. Originally called Championship Manager, the franchise’s first title hit the shelves in 1992. Each annual release is consistently one of the best-selling PC games of the year, especially in Europe.
In the 2019 edition, users can take charge of teams from 116 leagues across 51 nations. There’s also a mountain of community-made content that adds more leagues, players, staff, and clubs.
New features in 2019 include a revamped training tool, a new tactics module, the introduction of VAR (video assistant referee), and—for the first time in a decade—a fully licensed German Bundesliga.
Buy: Football Manager 2019 on Steam ($49.99)
2. Tennis Elbow Manager 2
Tennis Elbow Manager 2 sees you assume the dual role of a tennis coach and a tennis player. As a coach, you can manage up to nine players. The aim is to get one of them to the world number one spot, then keep them there.
The depth of the game is impressive. It features more than 3,500 players (starting in 1973 in the men’s game and 1983 in the women’s game) with careers progressing up to 2042. The game also offers more than 400 global tennis tournaments from the ATP and WTA tours, and junior tours.
As a coach, you need to plan training sessions, bring in sponsors, organize your team members’ schedules, and more. If you want, you can even play in the games yourself. The game has a complete 3D match engine.
Buy: Tennis Elbow Manager 2 on Steam ($29.99)
3. Out of the Park Baseball 20
Out of the Park is to baseball what Football Manager is to soccer. The stats-driven game lets you assume control of your favorite baseball franchise and lead the team to glory.
The game is licensed by the MLB, MiLB and the MLBPA, so you’re going to see up-to-date rosters, real players, logos, staffs, and team names. When playing the game, you can either take control of a team from the current season or dig through 150 years of baseball history and assume control of one of the many classic teams.
New features in the latest release include a revitalized 3D match engine, the ability to start a new game based on the current real-life mid-season league positions, and four new international leagues (Germany, France, Spain, and the Czech Republic) with real teams and players.
Buy: Out of the Park Baseball 20 on Steam ($39.99)
4. ESport Manager
There’s something very meta about a computer game in which you manage people playing computer games. It’s certainly a sports simulation game with a difference.
In ESport Manager, you create a team of players then take responsibility for their training, social media presence, sponsorship contracts, and overall development. You also have a training base that you can improve with new facilities, training tools, and buildings.
All of the esport competitions you will play in revolve around first-person shooter (FPS) and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) gameplay. Ahead of each competition, you need to prepare your tactics, select your weapons, and pick your players.
We know it won’t be everyone’s ideal game, but for anyone interested in esports, it’s a fun way to spend a few hours.
NB: MOBA is one of the niche video game genres worth playing.
Buy: ESport Manager on Steam ($9.99)
5. Rugby League Team Manager 2018
Rugby League Team Manager 2018 is in the same mold as Football Manager and Out of the Park Baseball. It’s primarily a stats-driven game in which you can manage your favorite rugby league sides from around the world.
The game is licensed by the most significant leagues in both hemispheres, meaning you can control 226 clubs, have access to 7,000 senior players and 2,000 alliance players, and can play in official domestic and international competitions. You also have complete control over your staff and can upgrade your stadium and training facilities.
The latest 2018 version of the game includes a new 3D match engine, a new player progression system, better training options, and more in-depth club finances.
Buy: Rugby League Team Manager 2018 on Steam ($39.99)
6. Motorsport Manager
Motorsport Manager has been available since 2016, but it’s still comfortably the best F1 management simulation game on the market. It’s arguably the finest game in the sector since MicroProse released the timeless Grand Prix Manager 2 in 1996.
The only downside is that the game does not have official licensing, but if you can look past that, it’s a game that racing fans will love.
You are responsible for an entire motorsport team, including all the staff, the R&D process, and in-race strategies.
Some of the extra downloadable content is worth buying. There’s an endurance series add-on and a GT racing add-on.
Buy: Motorsport Manager on Steam ($34.99)
7. Total Extreme Wrestling
We could recommend some newer games, but if you’re a fan of the WWE and enjoy playing the best sports management games, Total Extreme Wrestling is a sure-fire winner.
Don’t let the slightly cheesy graphics fool you; this is a full-featured game that can sustain you for months.
The goal is to build a wrestling company from the ground up; there are hundreds of wrestlers to choose from, and their stats develop over time. You’re responsible for booking events, you can influence the storylines, develop the prestige of a belt, work with referees and announcers, and enjoy dozens of different match types.
Backstage characters are also supported, and there’s a character editor for additional customization.
Buy: Total Extreme Wrestling on Steam ($19.99)
Share Your Favorite Sports Management Games
Sports management games and sports simulation games are huge genres. There are dozens of hidden gems out there, so feel free to let us know about your favorite sports management games in the comments below.
If this list has made you nostalgic for an older game, here are the best remastered video games worth playing again.