Online Sports Management Degrees

Sports is huge business both in the U.S. and internationally, and experts estimate that the industry has grown by over $145 billion in just the last five years. Part of that growth stems from the influx of business expertise in the industry; today, organizations need business-savvy executives as much as they need star athletes. If you’re a sports enthusiast with strong leadership skills, an eye for business development, and a knack for strategic planning, an online sports management degree can give you the expertise you need to land a lifelong career in the field.

Aspiring sports professionals can pursue an associate degree and continue their education all the way to the PhD level. This formal training introduces athletics as a business, delivering complex economic and financial concepts in the context of sports. Specialized academic programs not only allow you to focus on a particular area of sports business, but a degree in the field also enhances your career mobility and marketability in a competitive industry.

Succeeding in sports administration takes passion and focus. It helps to be somewhat competitive, and a strong work ethic can help you stand out from the pack. Professionals in this field should have an affable personality, a willingness to network, and they must be flexible; travel and long hours at odd times are common in many positions in the industry. If you want to turn your passion for sports into a lucrative career, read on and learn about how an online sports management degree can get you there.

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Brandon Schroth Sports Management

“I currently work from home in the digital world, so online learning helped me tremendously with my career.”

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Online Sports Management Degree Overview

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $13,502 17% 2 years N/A N/A 5.6%
Bachelor's $17,171 10.56% 4 years $37,000 $72,000 4.3%
Master's $19,658 7.2% 1+ years $58,000 $94,000 4.5%
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

Many employers in sports administration prefer candidates to have a bachelor’s in sports management, even for entry-level jobs. While it isn’t impossible to break into the industry with an associate degree, the field is very competitive and you’ll need something alluring on your resume to entice a hiring manager. As with nearly all industries, salary levels rise in conjunction with education and experience.

Online Sports Management Degrees


Online Associate’s Degree in Sports Management

An associate degree in sports management can be an excellent introduction to sports administration and management, and in some cases can lead to entry-level employment. While most positions we profile here require a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree can prepare you for four-year study or internships in the field. Sports enthusiasts or student athletes interested in formal training in the business of sports learn basic business principles and their application to sports. Like any associate degree, sports management programs take two years to complete. Accredited online associate degree curricula should transfer easily to a four-year online bachelor’s in sports management program.


    History of Sports, Introduction to Facilities Management, Introduction to Sports Law, Sports Administration, Sociology of Sports


    Associate of Science with Sports Management Concentration, Associate of Arts in Sports Management, Associate of Arts in Sports Administration, Associate in Sports Marketing Management


    Team Manager, Educational-Level Sports, Assistant Team Manager, Professional or Semi-Professional Sports, Manager; fitness center, health club, or athletic center, Associate Agent, Marketing Coordinator, Advertising Sales Associate


    Scout: $31,000, Agent: $97,560


    In general, the career outlook for most sporting management positions is good. Associate degree holders are qualified to apply for a range of internship opportunities and entry-level positions.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management

In sports management and administration, a bachelor’s degree qualifies you to pursue a variety of full-time employment opportunities. Graduates leave school with a well-rounded business background and can apply their knowledge in context. Typical curricula also explore the role of sports in our culture, ethical conduct on and off the playing field, and the sociology of relationships between athletes, organizations, and the public. Internships and other required practical experiences familiarize students with the inner workings of a professional organization. Students can study in a traditional program or take courses online.


    Sports Organizations Governance, Sports Marketing, Ethics in Sports Administration, Fundamentals of Management, Sports Finance, Facility Design


    Sports Management, Event Management, Sports Media, Sports Law, Sports Coaching, Sports Strength and Conditioning


    Media Relations Assistant, Tournament Director, Athletic Director, Sales Manager, Guest Relations Coordinator, Merchandising Manager


    Sports Marketer: $76,000, Public Relations Associate: $56,770, Advertising Sales Manager: $48,490, Merchandising Manager: $59,620


    The BLS projects a 6% increase in jobs throughout the industry over the next few years, which is roughly in line with national averages. In some specialty areas, the projections vary slightly but also reflect trends that cross all industries: careers in marketing should increase by 9%; public relations, by 7% and merchandising by 2%.

Online Master’s Degree in Sports Management

Whether you are a diehard sports fan, dedicated athlete, or rising sport professional, a master’s degree in sports management can combine your passion for sports with growing career opportunities.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 10% job growth for sports management from 2016 through 2026. A master’s degree ups your game, so to speak, increasing your options and boosting your salary potential. Career paths are available on both the human and business side of sports: Professionals can manage professional or college teams, work in media or public relations, or conduct big data analysis. Sports management alumni can find positions with the Olympic Games, in the fitness industry, and in the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL franchises.

Online education continues to grow, providing cost-effective programs students can complete at their convenience. These online programs afford the same benefits as their on-campus counterparts, such as advising and counseling, interaction with professors and classmates, networking with industry professionals, tech support, and access to libraries and writing and career centers. Continue working in your current position while studying, or explore a new direction through an internship or job in sports.

Check out the schools below to find your path in sports management.


    Psychology of the High-Performance Athlete, Risk Management in Sport, Leadership and Management in Sports, Health and Human Performance, Social Responsibility in Sport


    Sports Analytics, Intercollegiate Athletics, Global Sport, Digital Media & Marketing, Athlete Development, Sport Law


    Director of Marketing, Senior V.P. Advertising & Sales, Promotions & Events Manager, Director of Revenue Development, Recruitment Manager


    Public relations: $104,140, Marketing and Advertising: $124,850, Financial Management: $117,990


    The BLS projects a 6% increase in jobs throughout the industry, which is roughly in line with national averages. Careers in marketing are projected to increase by 9%, public relations by 7%, and merchandising by 2%. Advertising sales positions are projected to dip slightly.

Sports Management
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For the 2016 rankings, has greatly refined its approach to evaluating schools and their respective programs. Our innovative method of assessing schools is what makes our rankings so distinctly authoritative. On the surface, every ranking we produce employs a basic formula: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. This final score determines where a school ends up in our rankings. Of course, there's a lot more than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about our process.

Sports Management Master’s Degree Rankings

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1University of FloridaGainesville$$$$$
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-3261

University of Florida's (UF) online master of science in sport management offers a flexible curriculum which students can tailor to their individual interests. Learners acquire the knowledge and skills to lead a sports organization in the areas of finance, marketing, and law. Graduates pursue career paths as athletic directors, development specialists, contract negotiation managers, event coordinators, marketing consultants, and operations managers.

The 36-credit online curriculum offers specialization options in athlete development, high performance coaching, and sports law. The program follows an asynchronous format, and students can take courses in any order. Learners also complete an optional graduate internship or practicum elective and a required capstone project.

Applicants should possess a bachelor's degree and a 3.0 GPA for undergraduate coursework beyond 60 credits. Prospective students submit GRE scores, unless they earned a graduate or professional degree from a regionally accredited school.

Home to the Florida Gators, UF boasts a vibrant sports program, and is a top-ranked public research university in Gainesville, Florida.

2Georgetown UniversityWashington$$$$$37th and O St NW
Washington, DC 20057-0001
(202) 687-0100

Georgetown University (GU) in Washington, D.C. offers an online master of professional studies in sports industry management. This 30-credit program emphasizes networking and mentoring opportunities, teaching strategic planning, marketing and media, ethics and leadership, and project management and implementation. Students can focus their studies in one of three areas: sports communications, sports business and sales, or college sports administration.

The online, on-campus, or hybrid format allows students to study at their convenience. Most learners complete the degree in 2-5 years. The program requires a capstone project with guidance from program faculty and industry professionals, as well, which prepares learners for positions with professional teams, collegiate athletic departments, and sports agencies. Admission requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and a 3.0 GPA. GU also considers applicants' academic and professional experiences.

GU holds regional accreditation and was founded in 1789, making it the nation's oldest Catholic and Jesuit university.

3Northwestern UniversityEvanston$$$$$633 Clark St
Evanston, IL 60208
(847) 491-3741

Northwestern University's online master's in sports administration program focuses on marketing, operations, and sponsorship in collegiate, professional, and amateur athletics. The program consists of 11 courses and culminates in a capstone or thesis project. Part-time students typically graduate in 2-3 years.

Students can opt to specialize in sports analytics, which consists of four additional online classes. These courses cover analytical techniques used in evaluating player and team performance and in sports team administration. With courses offered online and on-campus, the flexible program lets students choose between fully online or hybrid delivery. Students can attend online classes synchronously or asynchronously.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school with strong academic credentials. Applicants submit a personal statement and a writing sample. Work experience, research, or an internship in the sports industry is not required, but it may bolster an application.

The program is offered through Northwestern's School of Professional Studies, located in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois.

4Concordia University - IrvineIrvine$$$$$1530 Concordia West
Irvine, CA 92612-3203
(949) 854-8002

Located in Southern California, Concordia University Irvine (CUI) boasts regional accreditation and a Lutheran tradition. The online master's in coaching and athletic administration is available 100% online and as a hybrid program. CUI's online delivery follows a synchronous format, with students and instructors interacting in virtual classrooms. In-person classes take place on the Irvine, California campus.

Five core courses -- principles of coaching and leadership, ethics and sport, research methods and analysis, legal aspects of sport, and culminating project -- plus four electives, make up this 30-credit, 15-month program. Graduates earn either a master of arts in coaching and athletics administration or a master of science in coaching and exercise science, depending on the electives they choose.

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 2.75 GPA. The program accepts up to eight graduate-level transfer credits.

CUI is nonprofit and an NCAA Division II university.

5University of the SouthwestHobbs$$$$$6610 North Lovington Hwy
Hobbs, NM 88240
(575) 392-6561

University of the Southwest (USW) in Hobbs, New Mexico offers a fully online MBA in sports management and recreation. Housed in the College of Business Administration, coursework includes physical education and sports administration, probability and statistics, sports management: economy and finance, and sports marketing.

The 36-credit online program follows an asynchronous format, allowing students to work on their own schedules. Learners may apply professional or military experience toward their total credits, enabling them to earn their degrees in as little as one year. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school and a 3.0 GPA. Their undergraduate degree does not need to be in business. Prospective students should also submit a 500-word essay and professional resume.

USW is a private, nonprofit Christian university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission; its College of Business Administration is a member of the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

6Liberty UniversityLynchburg$$$$$1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(800) 434-9595

Liberty University's (LU) fully online master's in sports management program takes 18 months to complete, on average. LU, a Christian University located in Lynchburg, Virginia, boasts programmatic accreditation for its sports management degree program from the Commission on Sports Management Education.

The 36-credit curriculum prepares graduates for administrative, analyst, and management jobs in sports management and sports medicine. The online delivery follows an asynchronous delivery format, allowing students to complete coursework and progress through the program at their convenience.

Core courses cover social issues, including violence and discrimination against minorities and women in the industry, as well as public relations, marketing, financial, and economic management. Specializations include coaching and athletic administration, outdoor adventure sports, and tourism. Learners may choose between thesis and non-thesis tracks.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited school, demonstrating a minimum 3.0 GPA. LU may permit students to transfer up to 50% of their credits toward required classes. These credits can come from educational, military, or professional experience.

7Texas A & M University-College StationCollege Station$$$$$805 Rudder Tower
College Station, TX 77843-1244
(979) 845-3211

NCAA Division I member, Texas A&M University offers an online MS in sports management. This vast public research institution is the home of the Aggies, who compete in 18 varsity sports. The master's program provides skills in sports industry leadership.

Applicants experience a competitive admission process. The most successful ones demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate work and an average of 4.3 years of sports industry experience. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, including at least two from professors who can speak to the prospective student's academic abilities. Other requirements include a statement of purpose and a resume. Admission does not require GRE scores, but they may help applicants.

The 36-credit curriculum offers thesis and non-thesis options. Graduate students may pursue internships in professional, collegiate, and scholastics athletics; campus or community recreation; sports media and marketing; or health and fitness. Online classes follow asynchronous and synchronous formats.

8Concordia University - Saint PaulSaint Paul$$$$$1282 Concordia Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55104-5494
(651) 641-8278

Minnesota's Concordia University St. Paul's (CSP) interactive online master of arts in sport management is available completely online. Students can complete the 33-credit program in under two years. Students log into a virtual classroom setting to learn skills in leadership, decision-making, human resource and facility management, and finance. Online classes meet one night a week, and students complete their coursework in year-round cohorts.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, demonstrating a minimum 3.0 GPA. The school's transfer policy allows students to apply up to six credits from accredited graduate schools, in which students received a "B" grade or better, toward their degree. CSP also offers active duty military tuition discounts.

CSP boasts that 95% of its graduates receive job offers within a year and earn 44% more than the national average salary. The Lutheran faith-based school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

9Saint Leo UniversitySaint Leo$$$$$33701 State Road 52
Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665
(352) 588-8200

Saint Leo University's online master's in business administration with a concentration in sport business degree program readies students for careers with athletics departments, professional franchises, and sporting goods retailers.

The 36-credit curriculum covers topics including business management and analysis, industry-specific communications, effective collaboration, ethical and economical responsibility, and applicable technology. Students take two courses that are each eight-week terms and graduate in 1-5 years.

The flexible online program caters to adult learners. Students attend a virtual open house and can join online campus clubs and associations on a platform that supports remote networking. Saint Leo offers a $6,000 MBA online academic achievement scholarship to qualifying new students.

Graduate application requirements include a bachelor's degree, a resume evidencing two or more years of professional work experience, two professional recommendations, and a statement of professional goals. Saint Leo, a private Catholic university near Tampa, Florida, holds regional accreditation. Its sports business program is accredited by the Commission on Sports Management Education.

10Mississippi CollegeClinton$$$$$200 South Capitol Street
Clinton, MS 39058
(601) 925-3000

Mississippi College's (MC) Department of Kinesiology offers an online MS in athletic administration two-year program, geared especially towards students who want to work in collegiate or secondary school athletics. The program's 37 credits cover all aspects of athletic administration, including ethics, finance, human resources, and legal structures.

Students take classes online anywhere at their convenience, and must complete two on-site, six-week practicums to graduate. Learners can concentrate their degree in interscholastic, which develops leadership skills and personnel management techniques, or intercollegiate, which covers finance, personnel issues, and legal concepts in higher education. The online delivery platform allows for class discussions, communications between students and faculty, and online quizzes.

Established in 1826, MC represents Mississippi's oldest postsecondary school and boasts regional accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The private, Christian university is a NCAA Division II member, situated in Clinton, Mississippi.

11Concordia University - ChicagoRiver Forest$$$$$7400 Augusta
River Forest, IL 60305-1499
(708) 771-8300

Concordia University Chicago (CUC) offers an MBA in sports management on an accelerated online platform, which allows students to complete their degree in one year. Cohorts stay together for the program's entirety. The curriculum focuses on four areas: economics of sports, sports finance, sports law, and diversity in sports. Studies culminate with compilation of a business e-portfolio, which graduates can share with their potential employers.

Graduates find positions as sports agents and events managers or in sports media, administration, operations, and marketing.

Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school and submit an objective statement, two letters of recommendation, and a professional resume. Those with a minimum 2.85 GPA qualify for full admission, while those with lower GPAs or who lack any admission requirements may qualify for provisional or probationary admission.

CUC's graduate programs hold accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The College of Business belongs to the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

12Bryan College - DaytonDayton$$$$$721 Bryan Drive
Dayton, TN 37321
(423) 775-2041

Bryan College's MBA sports management program is International Accreditation Council for Business Education and regionally accredited and delivered entirely online. Tailored to accommodate students with full-time jobs, students can graduate in as little as 14 months.

A Christian school, Bryan College emphasizes leadership development and career advancement in the sports industry, along with spiritual growth. The 36-credit curriculum encompasses nine weeks of accelerated classes, including courses in the biblical/worldview principles of management and business in a global environment. The flexible, asynchronous program allows students to start at the beginning of any nine-week period and take up to two classes at a time.

Active military members or veterans and their immediate families can apply to receive a $1,000 scholarship. The college's Credit for Prior Learning program may allow transfer credits based on an assessment of an applicant's prior learning portfolio.

Bryan College is located in Dayton, Tennessee, in the Smoky Mountain foothills.

13Canisius CollegeBuffalo$$$$$2001 Main St
Buffalo, NY 14208-1098
(716) 883-7000

Canisius College in Buffalo, New York offers a hybrid master's in sports administration program. Described as flexible and hands-on, the curriculum covers emerging industry trends, communication skills, and sport administration technologies. Students in the one-year program can work on a project within the college's Institute for Research in Sport, and potentially publish their research.

They also can find internship opportunities through a network of alumni and professional associations in the sports industry. Program graduates currently work in positions such as: events manager for Penn State football, sales director for the Chicago White Sox, ticketing client group international sales director for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, and scout for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree and submit a personal essay, two letters of recommendation, and a resume. A Jesuit and NCAA Division I school, Canisius holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

14Gonzaga UniversitySpokane$$$$$E 502 Boone Ave
Spokane, WA 99258-0001
(509) 328-4220

Known for its success in NCAA Division I basketball, Gonzaga offers an online master's in sport and athletic administration. The program builds skills and leadership in facilities management, marketing and communication, risk management, team-building, and title IX competency.

The two-year curriculum comprises 31 credits, which learners can earn entirely online. Most classes follow an asynchronous format. Students interact with professors on the virtual platform. On-site internships are available with professional and collegiate teams and specific events, such as bowl games and local athletic and sport organizations.

Admission requires a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school, along with two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a video in which applicants explain why they want to attend Gonzaga and how they plan to follow the school's mission. Gonzaga is a Jesuit university located in Spokane, Washington, and holds regional accreditation from the Northwest Commision on Colleges and Universities.

15California University of PennsylvaniaCalifornia$$$$$250 University Ave
California, PA 15419-1394
(724) 938-4400

At this state university in California, Pennsylvania, students can earn a degree in MS sports management studies online. Cal U boasts the first online graduate program in sport management. The program is available entirely online, with the exception of an in-person mentorship. It features three concentration areas: intercollegiate athletic administration, sport management generalist, and strategic sport analysis. Students can graduate from the accelerated cohort program in as little as 13 months.

A flexible delivery platform uses videos and PowerPoint presentations, along with interactive online forums, discussion groups, and chat rooms. Notable classes in the 36-credit curriculum include research methods in sport and socio-cultural aspects of sport. Students receive supervision from a sports industry leader during on-site mentorships. Program graduates pursue jobs as athletic directors, head football coaches, and fitness center directors.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA. Those with lower GPAs may gain conditional admission.

16American UniversityWashington$$$$$4400 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20016-8001
(202) 885-1000

Graduate degrees available at American University in Washington, D.C. include an online master of science in sports analytics and management. Students learn sports industry analytics and evaluative technologies, which prepares them for opportunities including e-sports gaming, fantasy sports, interactive spectatorship, and virtual reality.

American University's online delivery model -- called professional studies experience -- comprises a four-phase curriculum: core, working with a cohort; innovation through new technologies; intercultural communication for professionals; and data-driven decision-making. Students work on their own schedules for most classes, but some synchronous sessions may also be included.

Classes in the 20-month, 30-credit program center on social networking and messaging, emerging technological trends, strategic and ethical decision-making, outreach, and business plans. Students also participate in hands-on workshops, field work, and a capstone project.

American University is an NCAA Division I school and regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

17Jacksonville State UniversityJacksonville$$$$$700 Pelham Road North
Jacksonville, AL 36265
(256) 782-5781

Jacksonville State University's (JSU) online MS in sports management program prepares graduates for jobs in organization management, sports journalism, and athlete management and talent development. Students can also opt to earn a class A teacher certification, which opens opportunities to train coaches, sports practitioners, and trainers.

Class delivery is completely online and asynchronous, though students may participate in on-site internships. To graduate, students complete 31-34 credits, depending on whether they pursue teacher certification. All students take a class that introduces graduate education and technology.

Admission requires an undergraduate degree. Applicants also benefit from holding a bachelor's in marketing, public relations, communications, or business. Prospective students submit GRE scores, three references, a resume, and a letter of application outlining their interest in the program. Located in Jacksonville, Alabama, JSU holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and boasts an NCAA Division 1 athletic program.

18Texas Woman's UniversityDenton$$$$$304 Administration Dr
Denton, TX 76201
(940) 898-2000

Texas Woman's University (TWU) in Denton, Texas, offers a fully online, one-year MS in kinesiology (sport management). The interdisciplinary program focuses on business, marketing, communication, and law, balanced with the concept of sport as a means of social and individual improvement. It aims to empower women to become positive change agents in the sports industry.

Online course delivery follows a primarily asynchronous format, and the university describes it as highly interactive, including synchronous elements. The 26-credit program culminates in the student's choice of internship, thesis, or comprehensive examination. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree demonstrating a minimum 3.0 GPA in their most recent 60 credits of undergraduate study. They must also submit two reference letters and a resume.

Denton is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. TWU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and is an NCAA Division II school, with student-athletes participating in basketball, gymnastics, soccer, softball, and volleyball.

19Belhaven UniversityJackson$$$$$1500 Peachtree St
Jackson, MS 39202
(601) 968-5940

Belhaven University's online master of sports administration emphasizes the development of strong leaders who understand both the corporate and human sides of the sports industry.

The 36-credit online program follows a fully asynchronous format, with video lectures. Students post weekly assignments to a discussion board, work on team projects and activities, and complete a capstone. Most graduate within two years, unless prior transfer credits from other accredited schools allow them to finish earlier. On-campus attendance is not required.

Graduates are prepared for careers in marketing, negotiations, research, retail, and sports regulation as athletic directors, associate or assistant directors, advertising sales representatives, and sports writers. Applicants must submit evidence of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school, an essay, and two letters of recommendation.

Belhaven provides Christian liberal arts and sciences education in Jackson, the capital of Mississippi. The university holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

20Arkansas State UniversityJonesboro$$$$$2105 E. Aggie Road
Jonesboro, AR 72401
(870) 972-2100

Arkansas State University's (A-State) online master of science in sport administration prepares students to become sports managers in the professional, collegiate, or secondary school athletic departments. The 36-credit program serves working professionals, featuring accelerated coursework, allowing completion in one year. Students can access all their classes at any time, and do not have to visit campus. Supervised internships take place in the summer.

Course topics include sports law, research design, sport governance and operations, and current readings in physical education and sport science.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited school and submit a statement of goals, a resume, and two letters of recommendation. One letter must come from a faculty member, and one from a supervisor. Some applicants may have to undergo an interview. A-State may accept up to nine graduate transfer credits toward the degree.

A-State is located in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and the sport administration master's program is accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation.

21University of Northern ColoradoGreeley$$$$$Carter Hall - Rm 4000
Greeley, CO 80639
(970) 351-1890

The University of Northern Colorado's (UNC) Extended Campus offers a 12-month online sport and exercise science MS: sport administration emphasis program, which covers events and facilities, finance, fundraising and development, law, marketing, and current issues in sports. Alumni work at organizations including the Denver Broncos, the New York Yankees, and the Air Force Academy.

The 30-credit, fully online curriculum serves working professionals and offers a thesis and non-thesis track. Those who opt for the thesis intend to pursue a doctorate. Those who elect the non-thesis direction take a comprehensive examination instead. Internships are optional.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school, plus a 3.0 GPA. They do not have to submit GRE scores. Transfer students may apply up to six prior graduate credits to their degree. UNC is based in Greeley, Colorado, and is an NCAA Division I school, accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

22Wayne State UniversityDetroit$$$$$656 West Kirby Street
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 577-2424

Detroit's Wayne State University (WSU) offers an online MA in sports administration. The program comprises 30 credits, including a required internship or master's thesis. In addition to core classes, students take electives in the following specializations: interscholastic, intercollegiate, professional, or commercial. Courses follow a primarily asynchronous format, though specifics may vary between classes and professors.

Prospective students should possess an undergraduate degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA. WSU admits students with a variety of degrees, such as those in business administration, communications, economics, journalism, marketing, and physical education. Program alumni include an NBA sales consultant with the Detroit Pistons and the head basketball coach at Roosevelt University.

The program is housed in the College of Education, which was granted probationary accreditation for two by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. WSU is a public land grant, NCAA Division II school.

23Fresno Pacific UniversityFresno$$$$$1717 S. Chestnut Ave.
Fresno, CA 93702
(559) 453-2000

Classes in Fresno Pacific University's master in sports administration are available entirely online, teaching advanced topics in sports leadership and administration. Students can volunteer or work in sports administration positions while working toward their degree. Career opportunities exist at the high school, college, and professional levels, and in the private sector.

Courses in the 30-credit curriculum include sport career development, sport revenue and finance, sports marketing, and sport sales and sponsorship. The program culminates with a comprehensive exam. Applicants must submit official transcripts demonstrating a bachelor's degree in business, kinesiology, physical education, or sport administration or management. Other requirements include a letter of recommendation, a statement of intent, and a minimum 2.75 GPA or current resume and letter of explanation.

The main campus is located in Fresno, California. Fresno Pacific, a Christian university, holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

24Southern New Hampshire UniversityManchester$$$$$2500 North River Road
Manchester, NH 03106
(603) 668-2211

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), based in Manchester, offers an online master's degree in sports management that combines experiential learning and business administration. Program goals include developing strong skills in communication, critical and creative thinking, problem-solving and decision-making, strategic analysis, and business.

Online classroom delivery is asynchronous, and students taking two courses per 10-week term can graduate in 15 months. Course options include sport and society, internationalization of sport business, and research methods in sport management. A capstone project and 36 credits are required to graduate.

Admissions takes place on a rolling basis. Prospective students must contact an admissions counselor who can assist with the application process and financial options. Active military service members and their spouses receive a 25% tuition discount. SNHU is nonprofit and regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. The sport management program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

25Drexel UniversityPhiladelphia$$$$$3141 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 895-2000

Drexel University's online master of science in sport management is business-focused and prepares graduates to work with big data, negotiate on behalf of athletes, and manage sports franchises.

Core courses in the 45-credit program include measuring and maximizing financial performance, negotiations for leaders, and business statistics. After completing 15 credits, students can opt to add a dual degree track, such as an MBA or MS in business analytics. The online program follows an asynchronous format, and Drexel's summer webinar series introduces the online business courses and provides information and support for prospective students.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school, preferably with a minimum 3.0 GPA and two years of work experience. Competitive applications include GRE or GMAT scores.

Drexel is a private nonprofit university and NCAA Division I member, located in Philadelphia. The sport management program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Online Doctorate Degree in Sports Management

A PhD in sport management is the highest level of formal education available in the industry. Geared towards aspiring researchers and academics, the degree can also benefit senior executives seeking additional career mobility. In addition to rigorous coursework, doctoral candidates are expected to conduct and defend an original research project in the form of a dissertation. Students examine policy in sports decision-making, the social and cultural impact of sports, and risk management in sports administration. As with most doctoral degrees, these programs should take between two and six years to complete.


    Olympic Games: Structure and Function, Psychology of Elite Performance, Advanced Coaching Theory, Labor Relations in the Sports Industry, Organizational Theory & Behavior


    Human Performance, Kinesiology, Educational Leadership, Sports Leadership, Consumer Behavior


    Principal Researcher, Professor, Assistant Professor, V.P. Collegiate Athletics, Director of State or Regional Services, Public Health Officer


    Public relations: $104,140, Marketing and Advertising: $124,850, Financial Management: $117,990


    The BLS projects a 6% increase in job growth throughout sporting administration industry, which is roughly in line with national averages. In some specialty areas, the projections vary slightly but also reflect trends that cross all industries: careers in marketing should increase by 9%; public relations, by 7% and merchandising by 2%. Advertising sales is projected to experience 3% fewer jobs than currently exist.

Online Sports Management Choose Your Career

Average Sports Management Salaries


Sports Marketing Manager

Salary: $124,850
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
9% 225,200 Bachelor's N/A

Sports marketing can take many forms in this business, whether promoting an individual team, a particular event, a league, a sport, an individual player, or a retail product. By combining the popularity of sports with savvy marketing strategy, these professionals drive much of the industry’s growth. Sports marketers sell advertising space, airtime, athlete endorsements, team merchandising, and corporate sponsorships. Success in sports marketing requires not only enthusiasm for the industry, but also a background in business, sales, or marketing.

Sports Broadcaster

Salary: $30,080
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
-11% 52,500 High School Diploma or Equivalent N/A

Broadcasting is a popular career choice for retired athletes and people with a background in communications. Requiring an extensive knowledge of sports, broadcasters work in news media as announcers or reporters. Color commentators or sports hosts conduct game analysis in real time, explaining the intricacies of particular game plays or strategy, and offering their professional opinions on the game. Other broadcasters are employed by news agencies that cover spectator sports, providing after-the-fact coverage of sporting events. Most sports broadcasters work in television, though a growing number are branching out into internet-based outlets. Broadcasters must know the sport(s) they call intricately, and should feel comfortable working in the public eye. It’s worth noting that there’s a projected drop in growth rate in the field over the next decade.

Public Relations Manager

Salary: $104,140
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
7% 65,800 Bachelor's N/A

By serving as the liaison between a team and the media members who report on it, sports PR managers control the flow of information between an organization and the public. PR managers generate public interest by increasing the team’s visibility. In some cases, the job includes an element of damage control when unsightly behavior from within the organization comes to light. PR managers should expect to work long hours during the season, and they’ll need to work hard to develop amiable relationships with local media members. Other duties include overseeing print materials like game programs and press guides, arranging press conferences, and issuing press releases. An effective PR manager is able to work well with many professionals in different roles and is skilled in writing and marketing.

Sports Agent

Salary: $95,810
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
5% 8,750 Bachelor's N/A

A sports agent represents professional athletes. An agent may identify an athlete based on their performance or statistics, and they operate independently of teams and their management. Agents help their clients maximize their earnings by negotiating contracts and recruiting endorsements. A successful agent communicates well and is adept at forming relationships with athletes, families, coaches, and professional representatives from teams and brands.

Online Sports Management Degree in Action

Brandon Schroth Sports Management

Brandon Schroth graduated from James Madison University with an online degree in Sports and Recreation Management. He is currently a Digital Analyst on behalf of Florida Virtual School.

Why did you pursue sports management coursework online?

A large contributing factor for me doing online courses was the ability to maintain my full time employment. This ensured that my student loans would be minimal since I could pay most of each semester upfront without needing financial assistance.

What were the biggest advantages to studying online?

The hours were very flexible and based on my own schedule. While I did have deadlines and due dates for coursework and projects, I could learn and study at any hour of the day. Another great benefit was that all my lectures were recorded, so I could pause, rewind, and take notes without having to interrupt anyone. Lastly, I feel like I got more one-on-one time with the professors than I would sitting in a packed lecture hall. I was able to freely ask questions and receive detailed answers.

What challenges or obstacles did you face when taking online coursework?

Collaboration with other students was difficult because everyone’s schedule was different. But with good planning, it was still possible to have group meetings with other students through Skype.

How did the online format help prepare you for your career?

I currently work from home in the digital world, so online learning helped me tremendously with my career. The use of technology to effectively communicate with people all over the world is something that will continue to become more advanced and utilized by successful companies.