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.
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
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.
Best Online Sports Management Degrees 2021
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