The billion dollar sports industry draws millions of spectators to its events. Forbes estimates the North American sports market to exceed $73 billion by 2019. Sports fans flock to stadiums, arenas, and courts to see their favorite sports teams. But, behind all the glamour is a team of working professionals. These workers do everything from marketing to assisting athletes while they play.
Usually, these professionals have a background in sports management. A bachelor’s degree in sports management prepares graduates to work in athletics. Topic focuses include kinesiology, biology, and accounting principles. While some work with athletes, others work in management.
With this knowledge, sports professionals help teams brand themselves and build rosters. The following schools boast sports management programs that instill important skills into students. much-needed tools and techniques into its students. Additionally, many of these schools run successful athletic programs. They also encourage students to intern in their athletic departments
What are the Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Sports Management?
Sports management can happen in many academic spaces. This includes both large research universities and small liberal arts schools. The list below includes the best schools for sports management.
To bring together this list, we researched the reputation of each sports management program.
From there we examined student retention, graduate salaries, and program affordability. What we got at the end was a list of the best programs for providing an education in sports management.
Best Sports Management Degree Rankings
See our rankings methodology page.
University of North Carolina
College Choice Score: 100
Credit Hour Cost: $296
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a 16-school system. The school offers affordable tuition, and students earn six figures upon graduation. The school also boasts a 97% retention rate.
The undergraduate program in sport administration is also one of the best in the country. For one, it already has a graduate program for students hoping to pursue more schooling. The bachelor’s program incorporates exercise science courses with business and marketing courses. This gives students access to high-level sport management experience. Some of these classes include:
- Finance and Economics of Sport
- Legal Aspects of Sport
- Fitness Management
- Sports Business Venture
UNC Chapel Hill excels at connecting sport management students to athletes and professionals. The Carolina Sport Business Club is a completely student-run organization. It helps undergraduates find internships and other resources in the sport industry. Even more, the North Carolina Tar Heels NCAA I sport teams have won 40 NCAA team championships. You’ll be dealing with the greatest!
University of Florida
College Choice Score: 98.5
Credit Hour Cost: $212
The University of Florida is a public research institution based in Gainesville, Florida. It is one of the top-ten largest universities in the nation. UF is home to over 54,000 students, as well as over 150 unique research institutions and centers.
UF’s academic focus is on problem-solving and critical thinking. Students will encounter both concepts in the 120-credit bachelor of sports management. The program blocks off the entire 8th semester to complete the Internship in Sport Management requirement. Here, students get the chance to work in the industry for 13 weeks. However, in previous semesters, they take classes such as:
- Sport and Business Finance
- Administration of Sport and Physical Activity
- Sport Facility Design and Management
- Ethical Issues in Sport
UF is known for its research. Students enrolled in the BS in sport management get access to the Laboratory for Athlete and Athletics Development and Research. The laboratory helps improve innovation in the field. Some current projects are in Youth Sports Program and Physical Literacy Research. Even more, UF has a strong showing in sports with the Florida Gators, who compete at the NCAA Division I level.
University of Michigan
College Choice Score: 96.75
Credit Hour Cost: $494
The University of Michigan (UM) is a public university in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It has the honor of being one of the state’s oldest educational institutions. Alongside their academic excellence, UM’s football program is one of the best in the country. It ranks first in NCAA history for total wins.
The Bachelor of Arts in Sport Management program is refined, well-connected, and competitive. Students choose between two tracks: sport marketing and management or sport policy and analytics. Later, learners complete an internship experience in one of those areas.
UM boasts a 98% job placement rate for their 2015 graduates. Graduates have gone on to work for the NFL, ESPN, Under Armour, and more. Some of the classes that will get you there include:
- Sport Marketing Analytics
- Sport Tourism
- Historical and Sociological Issues in Sport and Fitness
- Sport Real Estate
You can’t go wrong in choosing UM for your Sport Management degree. The degree offers the highest return on investment of any on this list. Early grads earn around $110,000 right out of school. Students can join organizations like the Michigan Women Empowerment in Sport and Entertainment.
College Choice Score: 95.5
Credit Hour Cost: $287
Indiana University Bloomington is a beacon of public education in the United States. The school is the flagship campus of the Indiana University System. A member of the Big Ten Conference, Indiana University’s athletic program is one of the strongest in the country.
Students at IU Bloomington take a different approach to sport management. They get a deep understanding of the body and movement as well as the tools to run a business. They do this through a major in the sport marketing and management track. The program is the bachelor of science in kinesiology.
The 120-credit program splits coursework between the School of Public Health and the Kelley School of Business. Classes include:
- Sport in America: Historical Perspective
- Financial Principles of Sport
- Strategic Management in the Sport Industry
- Legal Issues in Sport Settings
Students can collaborate with peers studying sport management through the Sport Marketing Alliance. This was created to develop connections between students and professionals in the sport industry. Students enjoy exposure to dynamic speakers, internship opportunities, resume-building workshops, and more.
University of Texas
College Choice Score: 94.75
Credit Hour Cost: $462
The University of Texas at Austin is one of the biggest universities in the nation. It enrolls close to 51,000 students each year. The school is one of the leading institutions in computer science and engineering studies. Undergraduate students choose from over 100 degree programs.
The bachelor’s program in sport management enables students to apply their learning in many settings. In addition to the 120 required credits, students complete an internship or fieldwork. They can concentrate in sports business, entertainment sports, administrative work, or agenting. Beyond that, students will take some of the following courses:
- Sport Industry in America
- Sport Law
- Media & Public Relations in Sport
- Sociological Aspects of Sport & Physical Activity
UT Austin is ranked 9th in the country among other Division I schools. The Longhorns excel particularly in college football, basketball, and baseball.
University of Connecticut
College Choice Score: 94.75
Credit Hour Cost: $400
The University of Connecticut (or UConn) is a large, flagship research university. It was founded in 1881 as a land-grant university. UConn was also one of the top ten producers of Fulbright Scholars this year.
The program is offered through the Neag School of Education. The BS in sport management program delivers many tools for students in the field. These include topics in youth sports to sport law and ethics. UConn students are required to fulfill a summer-long internship. Even more, students in this program stay connected through the UConn Sport Business Association. This is a built-in network of students, faculty, and alumni in the sport industry. Some of the classes in the program include:
- Financial Management in the Sport Industry
- Sport Based Youth Development
- Sport in Society
- Sport Facility and Event Management
Particularly known for their men’s and women’s basketball teams, the Huskies at the University of Connecticut have a fantastic record. The women’s team has clinched a record-winning 11 NCAA Division I championships. UConn athletes are respected students, too. Statistically, student-athletes graduate at a higher rate than other students.
Florida State University
College Choice Score: 94.25
Credit Hour Cost: $215
Florida State University (FSU) is a public research institution located on the panhandle. The 41,800 students at FSU have access to scholarships, honors programs, and more.
The undergrad program in sport management enables students to continue onto graduate programs. The bachelor of science in sport management degree lays the foundational knowledge. Graduates are encouraged to specialize through the master’s program. FSU also shares a directory of sport management alumni. This encourages students to make lasting, beneficial connections. Some of the unique classes that FSU offers include:
- Cross-Cultural Sport
- Sport and Literature
- Human Resource Management in Sport
- International Sport Venues
FSU’s Seminoles sports teams are a competitive force. They are members of NCAA’s Division I and the Atlantic Coast Conference. The football team has three national championships under its belt. And students always enjoy a good rivalry game with the University of Florida Gators. FSU has had a number of graduates go on to the NFL, MLB, and other top positions in athletic franchises.
University of Minnesota at Twin Cities
College Choice Score: 93.5
Credit Hour Cost: $474
The University of Minnesota Twin Cities holds the distinction of being a “Public Ivy.” It is the oldest and largest school in the state and located in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Its student body of over 48,000 chooses majors from its 19 different schools and colleges. Among these is the College of Education and Human Development, which houses the sport management bachelor of science.
The sport management program is unique in its graduation requirements. Students only need to complete 8 credits of the core courses. Courses include business of sport, sport marketing, and event management. They then fill in an additional 20 credits of focused electives. In their last semester, students complete a practicum called “The Sport Experience.” Some of the other popular electives include:
- Law of Contracts and Agency
- Sport Sales and Fundraising
- History and Philosophy of Sport
The University of Minnesota Twin Cities is also ranked globally. The Minnesota Golden Gophers are NCAA Division I competitors. They have won numerous national championships in both football and basketball.
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
College Choice Score: 93.25
Credit Hour Cost: $313
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is the largest public university in New England. It has 30,000 students, and found its early beginnings in 1863 as an agricultural school.
Undergrad students in the sport management program enjoy many perks. These include experiential learning through organizing an annual SoccerFest. Other benefits include an upper-internship, and a career fair. These provide students with experience and career pathways. In some cases, students come face-to-face with ESPN and professional sports teams. Some of the classes that students take along the way include:
- Sociology of Sport
- Sport Promotion & Sales
- Sport Economics
- Sport Labor Relations
The McCormack sport management degree has an amazing track record. Many of its graduates land top-level positions. For example, students have gone on to work for Nike, the New York Mets, and CBS Sports. Student organizations include the UMass Sports Analytics Club and the Women in Sport Management Club.
University of Illinois
College Choice Score: 91.75
Credit Hour Cost: $501
The University of Illinois is a public research university that excels in many areas. It is deservedly considered a “Public Ivy” school. Located in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, the school delivers over 150 degree programs to its 44,000 students. It serves as a primary research hub in the Midwest.
The University of Illinois approaches sport management from a broad perspective. It understands that people want a career in sports for many different reasons. These include loving to watch, play, or organize teams. The 128-credit program begins with foundational courses on sport as a “leisure pursuit.” Later courses focus on higher-level topics. A selection of some of the classes students take includes:
- Leisure and Consumer Culture
- Leisure Services Marketing
- Legal Aspects of Sport
- Foundations of Sport Management
Students cannot go wrong with a school like the University of Illinois. Many organizations rank the school nationally and globally.
University of Arkansas
College Choice Score: 91.25
Credit Hour Cost: $316
The University of Arkansas was founded in 1871 and is located in Fayetteville. It harbors six campuses and has the highest research activity classification by the Carnegie Foundation. Students complete work through one of ten different schools and colleges. The university offers a student-to-teacher ratio of 19-to-1, even with a student body of over 27,000.
The University of Arkansas offers a bachelor of science in recreation and sport management. It includes nine concentrations for further specialization. Topics include public recreation, fitness club management, commercial recreation, sport management, and more. The 120-credit degree includes an internship and 54 credit hours in the major core. Some of those classes include:
- Recreation and Sport Facilities
- Program Planning in Recreation and Sport
- Marketing & Promotion in Sport Management
- Leisure and Society
A faculty member at the school founded the Sport Consumer Research Lab. This lab uses the research that students discover to consult sports organizations. This tangible, hands-on field experience is the kind of educational result that students enjoy.
University of South Carolina
College Choice Score: 91
Credit Hour Cost: $406
The University of South Carolina (USC) is a landmark for higher education in the south. The school boasts seven satellite schools throughout the state. USC enrolls nearly 50,000 students, with the largest enrollment on the Columbia campus. The school delivers over 350 unique degrees of study. The school is most well-known for its undergrad international business program.
Students at the USC can take the bachelor of science in sport and entertainment. Graduates have what it takes to jump into the sport and entertainment industries. The program comes with two internships and a heavy course load. Topics include business, economic, and finance electives. This degree enables students to launch careers with professional sports teams. Some of the unique classes at USC prove it:
- The Business of NASCAR
- NCAA Compliance
- Contracts and Negotiations
- College Sports
The degree at the University of South Carolina is one of a kind in a number of regards. It’s a one-stop-shop for everything you need in the sports industry. Ultimately, sports are entertainment, so this program treats it as such. It’s no surprise that it gets good results.
College Choice Score: 90.5
Credit Hour Cost: $323
Located north of Baltimore, Towson University is a public university. It began in 1866 as the state’s first school for teachers and educators. The school is now one of the largest universities in the state. It has since expanded its offerings to over 100 different degree programs. About 22,000 students attend the institution.
The bachelor of science in sport management helps students adapt to changes in the field. One of the unique requirements for students is to complete a minor in business administration. The degree culminates in the internship experience. This places students in job locations like Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia. Some of the highlight courses in this program include:
- Sport Culture and Counterculture
- American Women in Sport
- Sport and Globalization
- Cultural Economy of Sport
The school enjoys a strong academic reputation that reflects its 150-year commitment to education. Even more, Forbes and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine include Towson among the top 100 schools for “Best Value” in the United States.
College at Brockport—SUNY
College Choice Score: 90.25
Credit Hour Cost: $222
The College at Brockport is a four-year liberal arts school. It is part of the larger State University of New York (SUNY) system. The school is a tight-knit, competitive college located near Rochester. Brockport is one of the more selective colleges in the SUNY system. The school was recently named in the top 100 “Best Value” public colleges by Kiplinger’s.
Choice and flexibility are key in SUNY Brockport’s bachelor of science in sport management degree. Students complete three mini-internships and an internship. This helps expose students to career options in the working world. Students can also either add a minor or take a semester to study abroad. Minors include business, marketing, kinesiology, and coaching. Here’s a peek at a few classes learners end up taking:
- Problems in Sport Management
- Administration of Intramurals
- Ethics in Sports Contests
- Social Psychology of Sport
The College at Brockport is recognized as one of the most developed programs in the country. It features trips (both semester-long programs and short-term studies) to many countries. Countries include Australia, Chile, Ghana, Greece, Italy, Spain, Vietnam, and many more. These study-abroad programs give students valuable cross-cultural training.
University of Nebraska at Kearney
College Choice Score: 90
Credit Hour Cost: $192
The University of Nebraska at Kearney is the most affordable school on our list. The school stands out for offering a quality education without breaking the bank. Part of the larger, five-campus University of Nebraska system, UNK is home to around 7,000 students.
Many at UNK choose to find a home at the Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences. The program at UNK offers a number of options. These include a BS in sports management, a minor in sports management, and a sports management comprehensive degree. Combined, students learn about business law, public relations, physical education. Some of the highlight classes featured in the sport management comprehensive degree include:
- Programming in Sport, Recreation, and Events
- Marketing in Sport, Recreation, and Events
- Psychology of Sport
- Sports Economics
Many students enjoy the on-campus Greek life and the sports facilities. Those looking for like-minded friends can join UNK’s fourteen sorority and fraternity chapters. The school also offers a wellness center for research and working out. It was built in 2017. Additionally, the Wellness Center, built recently in 2014.
Texas A&M University
College Choice Score: 89.5
Credit Hour Cost: $433
Texas A&M is one of the largest universities on our list. It houses over 60,000 students. The school is a public research institution, and it qualifies as a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant university. These designations reflect its commitment to cutting-edge research. Its main campus in College Station sprawls across 21 square kilometres.
Students enrolled in the bachelor of science in sport management can pursue one of two tracks. These tracks are the internship or non-internship tracks. The former caters to students who want to work on the business side of sport management. The latter caters to students who want to work in administrative or managerial roles in the field. Both follow a 120-credit-hour format and require some of the following classes:
- Marketing Aspects of Sport
- Sport Psychology, Management, and Practice
- Sociology of Sport
- Legal Aspects of Sport
Students who choose the internship track at Texas A&M enjoy a variety of opportunities. These include access to the schools internship program. Students have enjoyed internships in college sports, youth sports, and minor league sports.
University of Kansas
College Choice Score: 89.5
Credit Hour Cost: $330
The University of Kansas is a public research institution well-known for its medical studies. The school is located in Lawrence. Founded in 1865, the university has since grown to host two branch campuses. It also boasts many research centers and institutes.
Housed in the School of Education, KU’s Sport Management degree offers expertise, flexibility, and variety. Learners can use their summer breaks to take online courses in order to graduate earlier. All students must complete an internship in sport management at a nearby organization. Some of the classes involved in this program include:
- Applied Sport and Performance Psychology
- Sport Marketing
- Personnel Management in Sport
- Sport Finance and Economics
The Amateur Sport Research Center at the University of Kansas allows students to conduct fieldwork. Another bonus to attending this program is the chance to network with other professionals in the industry. The program hosts events to talk with people from Sporting Kansas City, the Kansas City Royals, the Kansas City Chiefs and more.
College Choice Score: 89.25
Credit Hour Cost: $673
Temple University is a large institution that enrolls close to 40,000 each year. Beyond its Philadelphia campus, Temple maintains seven other statewide campuses. It also boasts international locations in London, Tokyo, Rome, and Singapore.
The bachelor of science program at Temple University delivers a degree in sport and recreation management. Students can select one of three concentrations. These options are governance and policy, sport and recreation promotion, and event leadership. Students can also collaborate with the Fox School of Business and Management. With a total credit requirement of 124 units (including a 12-hour internship), students jump into core classes such as:
- Athletics Administration
- Advanced Marketing for Sport and Recreation
- Sustainable Event Management
- Sport and Society
When it comes to athletics, men’s basketball at Temple University is a team to beat. The NCAA Division I team is actually ranked 6th in the nation for overall wins. The international study abroad program at Temple is also a strong point for the school. In fact, students enrolled in the School of Sport, Tourism, and Hospitality Management can travel to Singapore to study.
Louisiana State University
College Choice Score: 89.25
Credit Hour Cost: $268
Louisiana State University was established in 1853 initially as a military academy. The school is based in Baton Rouge. It has since grown into a thriving, interdisciplinary research center. LSU has launched studies with the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. It was recently ranked 16th for “most popular university” in the country.
The bachelor of science in sport administration gives students two concentration options. These are sport commerce and sport leadership. Both tracks have the goal of navigating the world of sports with an eye toward business and management. The sport commerce track focuses on marketing. The sport leadership track focuses on communications. Students receive a well-rounded education that will support them in their professional careers. Some of the classes include:
- Sport Strategies and Planning
- Facilities Management
- The Olympic Games: Ancient and Modern
- Financial Issues in Sport
Sport management students get to interact with the athletic department and student athletes. It helps too that they work with one of the best teams in the country. LSU has won almost 50 national championships. Because of this, students often have top-notch opportunities for internships in the area.
Michigan Technological University
College Choice Score: 88.25
Credit Hour Cost: $492
The final school on our list is Michigan Technological University. It is a public research institution in rural Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Initially founded in the late-1800s for engineers, Michigan Tech has maintained its science focus. The school broadened its scope to include five unique colleges and schools. These include science, forestry, technology, engineering, and business.
At Michigan Tech students can find the perfect marriage of science and business. The school offers a bachelor of science in sport and fitness management. This degree prepares students to work at every level of the field. For example, they can work one-on-one with professional athletes or oversee sports facilities. Graduates of the program are qualified to take national certification exams. They can also become personal trainers or strength and conditioning specialists. Along the way, learners take classes such as:
- Exercise Pharmacology
- Sports Nutrition Seminar
- Legal Issues in Sports and Fitness Management
- Sports Administration
Michigan Technological University stands up to its regional peers in overall academic performance. For example, The Princeton Review recently included Michigan Tech in its list of the “Best in the Midwest.” In terms of sports, the Michigan Tech Huskies are best known for their NCAA Division II hockey team.