Best Online Sports Management Programs

Earning an online degree in sports management can lead to many opportunities. Here, we list the best programs available.

Best Online Sports Management Programs

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Sports management focuses on the organization and operation of sporting events, facilities, teams, and companies. Sports managers typically work behind the scenes, ensuring that events and athletic organizations operate properly. While there are no set educational requirements to enter the field, an online sports management degree builds valuable skills that can help candidates progress to more advanced positions.

The sports management field offers strong career opportunities and salary potential. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that event planners will see above average job growth from 2019-2029. While a degree in sports management typically leads to careers in the sports industry, most programs build broad business skills applicable to various management careers.

This page offers an overview of sports management programs, including admission requirements, course content, and professional organizations for sports management students.

What skills do you need for sports management?

Sports management professionals need skills in business, communication, administration, and organization. They also need knowledge of the sports and recreation industry.

What do sports managers do?

Sports managers take responsibility for the business and administrative side of sports. These professionals oversee the operations behind facilities, events, teams, and other athletics-based businesses.

Are sports management majors in demand?

The BLS projects careers for event planners (a common career path for sports management graduates) to grow 8% from 2019-2029, a rate much faster than the national average.

How long does it take to become a sports manager?

While exact completion times vary among programs, most sports management bachelor's degrees take about four years to finish. Master's degrees take 1-3 years to complete.

Sports management focuses on the administrative aspects of sports. Courses typically cover topics including business administration, finance, sports marketing, ethics, and social issues in contemporary sports.

At the undergraduate level, online sports management degrees may take a more broad approach, building general business and management skills applicable to various sports operations. Students may also specialize their degree with a concentration in an area such as event management, sports marketing, athletic development, or athletic program administration. Most graduate degrees take a specialized approach, preparing graduates to pursue specific career paths in the sports industry.

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Why Get a Sports Management Degree?

Students pursue sports management for both professional and personal reasons. This list highlights five of the most recognizable benefits of earning an online sports management degree.

Prospective students should always check a school's accreditation status. Accredited schools meet the highest standard for academic excellence, and accreditation benefits students in several ways. Credits earned at an accredited school are more likely to transfer, and students must attend an accredited school to qualify for federal financial aid. Sports management students can also look for business schools that hold programmatic accreditation.

Increased Career Opportunities
College degree-holders enjoy a distinct advantage when job searching, and sports management graduates may be able to apply for an assortment of positions in the field.
Increased Salary Potential
Along with more job opportunities, earning a sports management degree often leads to more advanced positions that feature higher salaries.
Networking Opportunities
A sports management program surrounds students with peers and professionals from the industry, offering many opportunities to make important professional connections.
Opportunity to Work in the Sports Industry
Most sports management students possess a passion for sports. Earning an online sports management degree offers the chance to work in the industry.
Hands-on Experience
Many sports management degrees offer students the opportunity to complete internships or capstone projects, gaining real-life experience in a professional sports management setting.

What Are the Requirements for a Sports Management Degree?

Sports management program requirements vary among schools and degree level. At the bachelor's level, all programs require at least a high school or GED diploma. Many programs may also require SAT or ACT standardized test scores, though schools often waive these requirements for applicants who are several years out of high school.

At the graduate level, all sports management programs require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Many programs accept candidates of all backgrounds and do not require applicants to hold a bachelor's in sports management. However, some programs may require relevant professional experience in sports management or a related field. Many graduate programs may also require GRE or GMAT standardized test scores.

Sports management students and degree-holders rely on professional organizations to network with peers, share knowledge, and stay current on new developments in the field. Many organizations offer discount memberships for sports marketing students, along with resources that serve degree-seekers both during college and after graduation. This list highlights two prominent professional organizations for sports marketing students.

Dedicated to research and professional development in the fields of sports management, leisure, and recreation, NASSM hosts professional conferences and publishes two sports management journals. Members receive discounts on conference fees, access to specialized job listings, and subscriptions to the NASSM's publications.

The country's leading professional organization for sports marketers, SMA stresses the relationships between sports management professionals, academics, and students. The organization emphasizes networking, career development, and scholarly research. Member benefits include a subscription to the SMA's Sport Marketing Quarterly and discounts on conference fees.

Scholarships for Sports Management Students

Most candidates see their sports management degree as a professional investment, weighing the cost of tuition against future earnings. Students can further benefit from various scholarships that serve candidates enrolled in sports management programs. Some scholarships specifically serve students from diverse backgrounds. Others offer funding to all eligible students attending sports management programs.

Janet B. Parks NASSM Research Grant

Who Can Apply: NASSM awards the grant to graduate students pursuing sports management research. Applicants must submit a research proposal and an itemized list of projected expenses. All research work must be completed within one year of the awarded grant date.

Amount: Up to $5,000

Walter J. Travis Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Travis Society offers this scholarship to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate an exceptional academic record, volunteer in the community, and show an interest in golf or golf-related activities. Applicants should include a recommendation letter, and hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. Past winners are eligible to apply for scholarship renewal through the same process and criteria.

Amount: $1,000

Best Online Sports Management Degrees 2021

  1. University of Florida

    Gainesville, FL



    A public research university based in Gainesville, UF offers an online bachelor of science in sport management. The program trains students to market, manage, finance, and understand the legal aspects of sports organizations.

    Students take sports management-focused courses such as sport and society, sports facility design and management, sports marketing, and business finance. Electives include the legal environment of business and entrepreneurship. Students must also complete a sports internship — a 12-credit, full-time (40 hours per week) experience to apply skills and receive hands-on training.

    Students must complete at least four of five prerequisites with a 2.2 GPA before admission. Prerequisites include macroeconomics, financial accounting, general psychology, statistics, and college algebra. Applicants must possess a minimum GPA of 2.0 and 60 or more undergraduate credits to begin the application process.

    UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  2. Shorter University

    Rome, GA

    A private Baptist college in Rome, Georgia, Shorter offers an online bachelor of business administration in sport management.

    The program includes general core and elective work. Students take 39 credits of business core before moving on to sports management-specific courses. The 36-credit program includes courses such as sport psychology, sports governance, leadership in sports, and event and facility management. A senior capstone course provides students with the chance to demonstrate skills mastery in the field while exploring real-world challenges.

    First-year applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA and a minimum score of 900 combined on the SAT (ACT 19). Transfer students must possess a minimum 2.0 GPA for all college credits attempted.

    Shorter is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation.

  3. Concordia University-St. Paul

    Saint Paul, MN

    A private Lutheran-affiliated university located in St. Paul, Minnesota, CSP offers an online bachelor of arts in sport management. Core program topics include kinesiology, exercise, and sport management. The concentration requires just 45 upper-division sports management credits.

    Students begin with research methods to prepare them for the modern world of data. Additional course topics include marketing and fundraising, planning and managing sport facilities, exercise physiology, and the sociology of sport and exercise. A senior seminar helps provide career preparation skills, while an internship allows students to gain real-world experience.

    Applicants do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students with fewer than 20 college credits need to send high school transcripts as well as college transcripts. CSP is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  4. McKendree University

    Lebanon, IL

    A private university located in Lebanon, Illinois, McK offers an online bachelor of business administration in sport management. The program prepares students to solve problems and grow organizations in the sports industry. Possible career outcomes include management roles in fitness centers, community organizations, and sports facilities.

    Students focus on just one or two courses per eight-week session. Courses include budgeting and financing of sports, sports marketing, sports facilities and events management, and the legal aspects of sport management. Students take part in a semester-long, full-time internship designed to help students apply critical-thinking skills, receive expert instruction, and gain experience for later career choices.

    Applicants do not need to meet a minimum GPA or submit standardized test scores to apply. Students may send ACT or SAT records to bolster an application. McK is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  5. Missouri Baptist University

    Saint Louis, MO

    Located in Saint Louis, MBU offers an online bachelor of sport management. Students can also pursue an 18-credit minor in business administration in conjunction with the program.

    Required courses for the 45-credit major include sports facility management, introduction to sport management, tournament and event management, and governance and leadership in sports. Students must also complete lower-division general education core and electives to complete the degree.

    A sports practicum allows students to demonstrate real-world skills and build experience through a 200-hour supervised professional placement. Students explore legal issues and learn how to recruit volunteers. Students end the program with a 400-hour, full-time internship at an approved location.

    Applicants do not need to submit ACT or SAT scores. Missouri Baptist University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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