Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials

risk level
Based on 217 votes
by year 2032
or $17.31 per hour
as of 2022

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Automation risk

62% (High Risk)

High Risk (61-80%): Jobs in this category face a significant threat from automation, as many of their tasks can be easily automated using current or near-future technologies.

More information on what this score is, and how it is calculated is available here.

Some quite important qualities of the job are difficult to automate:

  • Social Perceptiveness

User poll

66% chance of full automation within the next two decades

Our visitors have voted that it's probable this occupation will be automated. This assessment is further supported by the calculated automation risk level, which estimates 62% chance of automation.

What do you think the risk of automation is?

What is the likelihood that Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials will be replaced by robots or artificial intelligence within the next 20 years?


The following graph(s) are included wherever there is a substantial amount of votes to render meaningful data. These visual representations display user poll results over time, providing a significant indication of sentiment trends.

Sentiment over time (yearly)


Very fast growth relative to other professions

The number of 'Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials' job openings is expected to rise 31.7% by 2032

Total employment, and estimated job openings

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period between 2021 and 2031
Updated projections are due 09-2023.


Very low paid relative to other professions

In 2022, the median annual wage for 'Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials' was $36,010, or $17 per hour

'Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials' were paid 22.2% lower than the national median wage, which stood at $46,310

Wages over time

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics


Significantly lower range of job opportunities compared to other professions

As of 2022 there were 12,720 people employed as 'Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials' within the United States.

This represents around < 0.001% of the employed workforce across the country

Put another way, around 1 in 11 thousand people are employed as 'Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials'.

Job description

Officiate at competitive athletic or sporting events. Detect infractions of rules and decide penalties according to established regulations. Includes all sporting officials, referees, and competition judges.

SOC Code: 27-2023.00


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Josiah (Moderate) says
There are many objective rules that robots are already being used to replace referees. With time, they may also be able to determine some of the subjective rulings as well, although it seems likely that humans will always be there as a middle man and mediator
May 02, 2023 at 07:20 PM
Tomáš Staroň (No chance) says
As a sports official myself, I think it would be extremely expensive to replace us.

However, I do believe that AI will have a growing impact on our job.
Jan 18, 2023 at 12:40 PM
Old Man Jimmy says
In some sports, like tennis and stuff, it would be easier but other sports like basketball or football are hard
Sep 15, 2021 at 01:39 AM
Jay (Moderate) says
I think it is likely because VAR is all done by technology so refereeing itself I think could be done by technology.
Jun 06, 2021 at 09:15 PM
Csanad (Moderate) says
I think sports have an objective aspect to them with referees, so maybe robots would suck
May 13, 2021 at 12:37 PM
hi says
I don't agree with this, human mistake is part of the game and there would be to many scenarios for the robot to make the correct decision
Mar 13, 2020 at 02:20 PM
Sup says
Human mistake is a terrible part of the game and you only enjoy it if you support the failing team and rely on terrible umpiring
May 31, 2021 at 10:34 AM
dabonemhaters (Highly likely) says
New AI technology will be more accurate on fouls, off-sides etc
Apr 05, 2019 at 10:47 AM
Jacob says
Human referees make sports better
Apr 02, 2019 at 01:21 AM
hello jacob says
I think the same but robots are cheaper and the companies don't care if you prefer humans over robots, all they want is the money and to save as much as they can.
Apr 05, 2019 at 10:53 AM
T says
no they don't, they change outcomes of the game in terrible ways
Aug 16, 2019 at 05:56 PM

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