Best Online Sports Management Degrees

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Sports management professionals represent athletes as agents, create marketing plans for sports organizations, and manage sporting facilities. They also work as athletic directors, coaches, and scouts. In these roles, sports management professionals help collegiate and professional athletic organizations run smoothly.

The field offers several opportunities for career advancement. Sports marketing specialists can become marketing managers with a bachelor’s degree and work experience. Assistant coaches can move into leadership roles like head coach. Contract negotiation specialists can become contract directors for professional franchises.

A bachelor’s degree in sports management prepares graduates for several careers in the sports industry. During an online sports management degree, undergraduates study foundational business areas like marketing, finance, human resources, and operations management. Within the sports management major, they take specialized courses in sports industry strategic planning, organizational leadership, and management. Many programs also incorporate an internship to provide practical experience.

Our ranking lists the top online sports management schools to help prospective students find the best program to reach their professional goals. This page also introduces sports management careers, the salary potential for sports management jobs, and common requirements during a sports management degree.

Top 10 Online Sports Management Schools

Rank School Location
1 Florida International University Miami, FL
2 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
3 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
4 University of Florida-Online Gainesville, FL
5 Eastern New Mexico University Portales, NM
6 University of the Southwest Hobbs, NM
7 McKendree University Lebanon, IL
8 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI
9 Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN
10 California Baptist University Riverside, CA
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What Kind of Online Sports Management Degree Should You Get?

When researching different online sports management degrees, prospective students must consider several factors to find the best program.

Many students begin their research by looking at the total cost of a sports management degree, the length of the program, and graduation requirements like an internship or capstone project. In general, in-state public universities offer the lowest tuition rates, but many out-of-state schools offer tuition discounts for online learners. In addition, students can consider accelerated, part-time, and full-time enrollment options.

Many sports management programs offer concentrations to provide specialized training for different sports management jobs. For example, some programs offer concentrations like coaching, sports law, and athlete development. Programs may also offer concentrations in particular sports. Prospective students with clear career goals can stand out on the job market by earning a concentration.Online sports management programs often incorporate an internship to build hands-on experience. Online learners can complete the internship in their local communities. Prospective students can look into internship opportunities at potential programs, including any connections with local sports organizations. Considering transfer policies can also help prospective students with prior college credits narrow their options. By applying transfer credits, students can save time and money on their 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.

By researching these factors, prospective sports management students can find the right fit to reach their professional goals.

How Much Money Do People Make With an Online Sports Management Degree?

An online sports management degree prepares graduates for in-demand careers in several areas. Many sports management careers offer above-average salaries, including jobs like sports marketing manager, facility operations manager, and sports agent.

with a sports management degree can work as coaches and scouts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), coaches and scouts earned an annual median salary of nearly $35,000 in 2019. A bachelor’s degree meets the minimum educational requirement for most roles. Coaches and scouts must have extensive knowledge of their sport. While many coaches and scouts begin their careers as players, most jobs do not require prior playing experience.

Sports organizations rely on athletics administrators to oversee the organization’s equipment needs, staffing, and other administrative matters. Athletics administrators draw on their knowledge of sports law to make sure organizations comply with regulations.

Sports marketing managers promote their team and its players. They create marketing strategies and oversee the marketing specialists who carry them out. According to the BLS, marketing managers earned an annual median salary of nearly $136,000 in 2019.

Sports organizations rely on facility operations managers to oversee construction contracts, hire employees at athletic venues, and manage ticket sales. A sports management degree, which includes training in operations management, prepares graduates for careers in operations management. The BLS reports that operations managers earned an annual median salary of nearly $101,000 in 2019.

On the finance side of sports organizations, financial and contract analysts monitor an organization’s profitability. They assess available funds, monitor expenditures, and create plans to maximize revenue.

A sports management degree also trains students in representing athletes as a sports agent. Agents act as the go-between linking athletes and sports organizations. They represent the athlete’s interests in contract negotiations and other business matters. According to the BLS, sports agents earned a median annual salary of $66,340 in 2019.

What Can You Do With an Online Sports Management Degree?

Careers in the sports management field require a variety of skills, including organizational, leadership, and management abilities. Within sports organizations, professionals use financial, marketing, and operational skills to help organizations succeed. Sports management jobs also require detailed knowledge of the sports industry and its unique features.

Many sports management professionals strengthen their professional skills by earning a sports management degree. During the degree, undergraduates take courses in marketing, public relations, and advertising. They also study sports law, facility management, and sports communication. By completing an internship, sports management majors build real-life experience in their field.

Coaches train athletes to excel in their sport. They assess the strengths and weaknesses of athletes, design conditioning programs to improve their performance, and instruct athletes on their technique. Coaches also design game strategies and play a role in recruitment. Similarly, scouts identify potential players, evaluate their skills, and connect sports organizations with prospective players.

Coaches and scouts work at every level of the sports industry. They typically specialize in a field where they bring experience as a player or extensive knowledge of the sport.

Sports management organizations rely on managers to keep their organization running efficiently and effectively. Athletic directors oversee operations in collegiate and professional sports organizations.

Success in the sports industry can start with effective contract negotiations. Sports organizations rely on contract administrators and contract negotiation managers to work with athletes and their agents. Contract negotiation specialists must bring a strong background in negotiations and sports law.

On the finance side of the sports industry, sports organizations rely on financial analysts to assess revenues and expenses. Sports marketing consultants help organizations build effective marketing plans, while marketing coordinators and marketing managers oversee an organization’s marketing operations. Sports organizations also hire specialists in public relations, sales, and events.

Depending on their career path, sports management professionals may primarily work in the main office of a sports organization, on a college campus, or in the field.

What Are the Requirements for an Online Sports Management Degree?

The requirements for an online sports management degree include coursework and an internship. Many programs also include a capstone project or internship at the conclusion of the degree. However, each sports management program sets its own requirements, so prospective students should carefully research each potential program before submitting an application.

Sports management majors build core skills during their online degree. The curriculum trains students to plan, organize, and lead sports organizations. In addition to leadership and management skills, the degree emphasizes financial, marketing, and analytical skills. Sports management majors learn to evaluate budgets, revenue sources, and expenses in a sports organization. Finance coursework teaches online learners to create financial strategies to help organizations meet their goals.

Marketing courses provide specialized training in sports marketing plans, understanding consumer behavior, and evaluating marketing strategies. Many sports management programs incorporate courses in sports law, which introduce majors to the legal concepts that govern the field.

Throughout a sports management degree, students strengthen their analytical skills. Business courses in several disciplines train students in qualitative and quantitative analysis. During their final semester, students often apply their knowledge and skills to a capstone project, which may involve designing a sports marketing plan, creating a risk management assessment for a sports franchise, or performing a financial analysis for a sports organization.

Depending on the program, the capstone project may involve an internship or practicum with a local sports organization. Many sports management programs include an internship to build hands-on skills and work under the supervision of sports management professionals. During the internship, undergraduates strengthen their practical abilities and make real-world connections for careers after graduation.

Sports management programs may set prerequisite requirements for entering the major. For example, undergraduates may need to complete foundational business courses in areas like marketing, operations management, and finance before declaring a sports management major. Gaining admission to a college or university also requires a high school diploma or the equivalent and ACT or SAT scores. Students with prior college credit may not need to submit standardized test scores.

2020 Ranking

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Florida International University opened in 1972 with an initial enrollment of more than 5,600 students, the largest in U.S. collegiate history. Today, more than 48,000 undergraduate and graduate students attend FIU, and the university offers more than 190 programs through 10 degree-granting colleges.

    FIU students can pursue an online bachelor's degree in recreation and sport management. The bachelor of science program offers a parks management track and a recreation and sport management track. The sport and recreation track includes coursework in care maintenance and design, leisure services marketing, sociology of sport, and program development. Students complete two internship experiences.

    Transfer applicants must have either a minimum 2.0 GPA in lower-division coursework or hold an associate degree from an accredited school. Applicants with fewer than 60 previous credits must submit ACT or SAT scores.

  2. Southern New Hampshire University
    Location

    Manchester, NH

    Founded in 1932 as the New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science, SNHU currently enrolls nearly 3,800 students. The university offers an online sports management degree that requires 120 credits for completion.

    The bachelor of science program requires 42 general education credits, including classes in statistics, microeconomics, and macroeconomics. Students must complete 30 credits of business core coursework, 30 credits of sports management classes, and 18 elective credits. The curriculum explores subjects including brand management, sport facilities management, sport marketing, and sales within sport.

    Students also complete a capstone seminar course and two internship experiences. Learners can apply up to 90 transfer credits toward the bachelor's degree. SNHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

  3. Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale
    Location

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Established in 1977 as a career-focused institution, Keiser offers programs designed for busy adult learners. The university comprises 10 academic colleges, offers more than 100 programs, and enrolls nearly 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

    Students can pursue the university's online sports management degree as a full 120-credit program or as a 60-credit degree completion program. Students take introductory classes in sports management, along with general business and accounting courses. The upper-division curriculum includes coursework in sport economics, risk management, sport consumer behavior, and strategic sport marketing and sponsorship.

    The program requires internship experiences, and online learners must obtain approval from the program head to fulfill internship requirements within their community.

  4. University of Florida-Online
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Established in 1853 and enrolling more than 55,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the University of Florida is one of the largest postsecondary institutions in the Sunshine State. The College of Health and Human Performance offers an online bachelor's degree in sports management.

    The curriculum covers sport facility design and management, ethical issues in sport, administration of sport and physical activity, and sport and society. Prior to enrolling in major courses, transfer students must have completed classes in macroeconomics, financial accounting, statistics, general psychology, and college algebra.

    During their final semester, students earn 12 credits through a 40-hour internship experience. Learners must complete all required coursework before beginning the internship. Online students can complete their internship locally.

  5. Eastern New Mexico University
    Location

    Portales, NM

    ENMU began accepting students in 1934, operating as a two-year college until becoming a four-year institution in 1940. The university comprises five academic colleges and enrolls more than 5,600 learners. ENMU students can pursue more than 90 certificate, undergraduate, and graduate programs.

    The College of Education and Technology offers a bachelor of science in physical education with an emphasis in sport and recreation management. Students earning the online sport management degree complete at least 37 general education credits and 20 credits of health and physical education core coursework. The remainder of the curriculum comprises 40 credits of sports and recreation management classes and 21-23 elective credits.

    Sport management students take classes in sport governance, fundamentals of sport management, professional and technical communication, and media and public relations in sports. Learners also complete an internship requirement, which online students can fulfill in their community.

  6. University of the Southwest
    Location

    Hobbs, NM

    Founded in 1956 as the two-year Hobbs Baptist College, USW became a four-year college in 1958 and a university in 2008. The institution enrolls more than 1,000 students and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, including one of the best online sports management degrees for students interested in business.

    USW offers a bachelor of business administration with a specialization in sport management. In addition to general education classes and business administration coursework, the 120-credit curriculum includes 30 credits of sport management courses and 12 elective credits.

    Sport management courses explore topics in sociocultural dimensions of sport, administration of physical education and sports, and sport consumer behavior. Graduates of the program can apply for certification with the National Association for Sport Physical Education and the National American Society of Sport Management.

  7. McKendree University
    Location

    Lebanon, IL

    Founded as the Lebanon Seminary in 1828, MCK boasts a student population of nearly 2,500. The university comprises four schools and colleges and offers more than 60 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.

    MCK offers a bachelor of business administration with a sport management track. The online sport management degree requires 64-65 major credits, in addition to general education courses. Learners take classes in budgeting and financing of sport, principles of sport management, sport and the media, and sociology of sport. Students must complete a semester-long internship experience.

    The university accepts up to 90 transfer credits from a regionally accredited institution. Students must have earned transfer credits with a "C" grade or better, and learners must complete at least 30 credits through MCK.

  8. Davenport University
    Location

    Grand Rapids, MI

    One of the oldest higher education institutions in Michigan, Davenport University enrolls more 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students across 14 campuses and online. The university comprises four academic colleges and offers one of the most comprehensive online sports management degrees available.

    Learners can pursue a BBA in sport management through the Donald W. Maine College of Business. The 120-credit curriculum includes general education classes, foundational business coursework, sports management classes, and open electives.

    Students explore sport analytics, sport governance and regulation, global sport industry, and sport operations and facilities management. Students complete a capstone course and a 300-hour internship experience worth six credits. The sport management program holds accreditation from the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation.

  9. Concordia University-Saint Paul
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Established in 1893 as a Lutheran seminary, CSP now enrolls more than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university delivers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs in more than 80 academic areas.

    The College of Health and Science at Concordia offers on-campus and online sport management degrees, with the online program designed specifically for adult learners. Recent high school graduates generally pursue the on-campus program.

    The bachelor of arts requires coursework in exercise physiology, planning and managing sport facilities, biomechanics, and sociology of sport and exercise. Students complete 45 major credits, along with a seminar course that culminates in a comprehensive exam. Learners also undertake an internship experience, which online students can complete locally after obtaining site approval.

  10. California Baptist University
    Location

    Riverside, CA

    Founded by the Los Angeles Southern Baptist Association in 1950, California Baptist University enrolled 42 students during its first year of operation. Today, the university boasts a population of approximately 10,500 undergraduate and graduate students. CBU delivers on-campus and online programs through 10 academic schools and colleges.

    CBU offers an online bachelor's program in sport, recreation, and fitness management. The BA requires general education coursework and at least 49 major credits. The curriculum includes classes in public health nutrition and physical activity, facility planning and design management, care and prevention of athletic injuries, and ethical considerations in sports and recreation.

    CBU's offering is one of the best sports management degrees for learners who want to graduate quickly. The university delivers online courses in an eight-week format. Transfer students can apply up to 70 previous credits toward the degree, including up to 30 upper-division credits.

  11. University of Iowa
    Location

    Iowa City, IA

    Established in 1847 as the state's first higher education institution, the University of Iowa currently enrolls more than 32,500 students, including learners from all 50 states and 114 countries. The university consists of 13 colleges and academic units and offers more than 200 programs.

    Students can pursue a BS in sport and recreation management through the Health and Human Physiology Department. One of the best degrees in sport management for students, the program offers eight concentration options. Learners can focus on areas like event management, coaching and sport instruction, entrepreneurship, or interscholastic athletic administration. The curriculum includes 48 major credits comprising foundation courses, concentration classes, and fieldwork.

    The curriculum covers topics in sport business practices, managerial operations in sport and recreation, and design and management of sport and recreation facilities. Online students can complete the field experience in their community.

  12. Missouri Baptist University
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Based in Leadington, MBU enrolls more than 5,500 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and pre-professional degrees in various academic disciplines.

    The online sport management degree from MBU requires an 18-credit minor in business administration. Students also complete 42 credits of sports management courses, in addition to general education requirements. The curriculum explores topics in sport psychology, legal issues in sport and physical activity, governance and leadership in sport, and sport facility management.

    The university maintains a generous transfer credit policy, allowing learners to apply up to 96 previous credits toward the degree. MBU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  13. Toccoa Falls College
    Location

    Toccoa Falls, GA

    Founded in 1907 as a Christian liberal arts college, TFC currently enrolls nearly 1,700 students. The college offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through four academic schools.

    The School of Professional Studies offers an online sport management program. The 127-credit degree requires 69 general education credits, 43 credits of sports management courses, and 15 credits of open electives. The curriculum includes coursework in sport financial management, sport marketing, coaching techniques, and event and facility management in sport and entertainment.

    Students complete an internship requirement, which online learners can fulfill locally after receiving departmental approval. Sports management students can pursue a minor in marketing, organizational leadership, or physical education and coaching.

  14. Shorter University
    Location

    Rome, GA

    Established in 1873 as the Cherokee Baptist Female College, Shorter University now enrolls both men and women. The university offers associate, bachelor's, pre-professional, and master's programs through six academic schools and colleges.

    Students can pursue an online BBA in sport management through the Robert H. Ledbetter College of Business. The 123-credit curriculum comprises general education requirements, business foundation coursework, and sport management courses. Learners explore subjects in ethics in sport, event and facility management, sport psychology, and legal aspects of sport. Students also complete an internship experience in their community.

    Shorter's sports management program holds candidacy status from the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation.

  15. University of Northwestern Ohio
    Location

    Lima, OH

    Founded in 1920, the University of Northwestern Ohio currently enrolls approximately 4,000 students. The university offers more than 50 associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees through five academic colleges.

    The College of Occupational Professions offers an online sport marketing and management program comprising 180 quarter credits. In addition to general education coursework, students complete sports management and core technical classes. Learners can customize the degree through 18 quarter credits of electives.

    The curriculum includes classes exploring the history of sport in the U.S., principles of sport management, sport and public policy, and psychology of sports. Students also complete a capstone course and an internship. Online learners can fulfill the internship requirement in their community after securing site approval from the department chair.

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