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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Degrees

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

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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.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

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

  • COMMON MAJORS

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

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    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

  • AVERAGE INCOME

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

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    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.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

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

  • COMMON MAJORS

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

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

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

  • AVERAGE INCOME

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

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    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

A master’s of sports management degree is tailored towards students who want to work in leadership roles in the industry. Building on the fundamentals established in a bachelor’s in sports management program, master’s degree candidates focus their studies on a particular segment of the sports business. While honing their leadership and critical analysis skills, master’s students are thoroughly trained in the business concepts that drive decision-making, including marketing, finance, business development, and promotions. Because the sports administration industry is competitive, the additional schooling can help graduates stand out in a crowded field. Traditional campus-based programs can take up to two years to complete; students may be able to graduate in less time through an accelerated online offering.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

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

  • COMMON MAJORS

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

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

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

  • AVERAGE INCOME

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

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    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.

Online Sports Management Degrees
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Sports Management Master’s Degree Rankings

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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

The University of Florida is a large public research university that is renowned for its academic achievements. Among its many accolades are rankings by U.S. News & World Report as a top national university and a top public school. UF is committed to online education and offers over 200 degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. The College of Health and Human Performance offers a fully online sports management master's degree degree.

The 36-credit online program delivers a blend of knowledge, practical skills, and career preparation. Required courses explore current research, evaluation of human performance, the sociology of sports, and the business aspects of the industry; students fill out their schedule by taking electives of their choice . Two concentration tracks are also available. Students in the athlete performance and development specialization learn the research, theory, and skills necessary to work with individual athletes; students who complete this track also qualify for a professional industry certification. Degree candidates in the sport law specialization study the legal and judicial requirements that impact the industry and its individual players; this concentration is ideal for attorneys or collegiate compliance officers.

Though internships are not required, the university offers exclusive opportunities for degree candidates to gain professional experience. Students can complete an advanced practicum at any time, as well as a graduate internship after earning 18 credits. All students must complete a professional development capstone project that requires them to demonstrate their knowledge, assess their personal strengths and weaknesses, and prepare themselves for the interview process. Online study at UF is asynchronous; in many classes, course material is presented in multiple formats, allowing students to choose the learning option that suits them best.

2Texas A & M University-College StationCollege Station$$$$$805 Rudder Tower
College Station, TX 77843-1244
(979) 845-3211

Texas A&M University, known for its academic and athletic prowess, is a large public school based in College Station, TX. Among its numerous accolades, U.S. News & World Report ranks this school 47th among national universities and 21st in best value schools. The sports management program at Texas A&M is a particular source of Aggie pride; having recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, it is regarded by many as one of the industry’s best. Its online master's in sport management program is offered both remotely and in a traditional classroom setting. The online master’s in sports management is focused on the business of the sports industry and the administrative tasks that drive it. Graduates leave school prepared for careers in sports sales and marketing, fiscal management, personnel management, and athletics administration. Typical employers are collegiate and community athletics organizations, professional sports organizations, or health and country clubs.

Distance learners in this 36-hour sports management master's degree follow a non-thesis curriculum grounded in theory and research. Core courses deliver practical knowledge in personnel management, marketing, revenue generation, diversity, and sport law. All classes are conducted asynchronously via Moodle, eCampus, or eLearning platforms. Though the curriculum is delivered online, students must arrange a faculty-approved internship at a facility convenient to their home; a candidate’s current employment does not meet these requirements. Geared toward working students, this academically rigorous program is extremely competitive, as admitted candidates generally have high undergraduate GPAs and at least four years of industry experience.

3Mississippi CollegeClinton$$$$$200 South Capitol Street
Clinton, MS 39058
(601) 925-3000

A small, private, Baptist school in north Mississippi, Mississippi College is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state. Today it offers a range of on- and off-campus graduate programs, including the master of science in athletic administration. Campus-based students may choose either the interscholastic or intercollegiate concentration, while distance learners may follow only the Intercollegiate study track.

This program’s curriculum is designed to prepare sports administrators for careers in higher education. Classes explore legal and financial issues in higher education, and practical skills required of athletic administrators working in that environment. In lieu of a thesis, all degree candidates must complete two on-site, six-week practicums at a facility approved by program faculty. Online instruction is delivered via Moodle, and learning is asynchronous. This 37-credit program is designed to be completed in two years.

4Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond$$$$$910 W Franklin St
Richmond, VA 23284-2512
(804) 828-0100

Seated in urban Richmond, VA, Virginia Commonwealth University is dedicated to educating future leaders of the sports industry. Its Center for Sports Leadership applies a non-traditional approach to the development of practical skills, and its campus-based students are hands-on participants in VCU’s athletics programs. The Center’s graduate-level offerings also include an online master’s program in sports management. Degree candidates in the master of education in sport leadership program explore a range of topics relevant to sports management professionals, including event development, sports business and law, media and communications, coaching, and the European model of sports. All program participants may enroll in an annual course that includes a 12-day, on-site clinic in Europe.

Online students must complete one course on campus prior to beginning remote coursework. Many students choose to meet this requirement with a one-week intensive course during the summer, but other options are available. On-site internships are not required of online learners, but may be arranged at an approved facility convenient to the student. All online classes are delivered via Blackboard and occur in real time; students are expected to engage in class discussion using a headset and microphone. Degree completion time varies, but most distance learners earn the MEd in two to three years.

5Liberty UniversityLynchburg$$$$$1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(434) 582-2000

Lynchburg, VA based Liberty University is a private, evangelical Christian school, the largest of its kind in the world. Liberty was a pioneer in the development of online degree programs, and today over 75% of its student body are distance learners. Contributing to its popularity, distance students enjoy a student-to-teacher ratio of 17 to 1. The master's in sport management prepares graduates for a Christian approach to careers in the sports industry. Thesis and non-thesis options are available.

In addition to the general curriculum, degree candidates may specialize their studies with concentrations in outdoor adventure, tourism, or administration. The core curriculum examines the business of the sports industry, with a focus on marketing, sport law, financial management, and sports ministry. Candidates complete the program with classes in management, finance, development, and sales. The program concludes with a written thesis, while non-thesis students are required to conduct an on-site internship, which may be arranged at the school or at an approved facility. All class instruction is delivered online in eight-week sessions, and study is asynchronous. This 36-credit program can be completed in two years.

6Canisius CollegeBuffalo$$$$$2001 Main St
Buffalo, NY 14208-1098
(716) 883-7000

Canisius College is a small, private, Catholic school in Buffalo, NY. Home to roughly 3,000 students, the school was ranked 23rd among regional schools and eighth in best value schools by U.S. News & World Report. Despite its small size, Canisius offers an impressive array of online master’s degree programs. The master of sports administration (MSA) develops the necessary skills for sports management at professional, amateur, and educational levels. In the core curriculum, students explore the theory and practice that drive all levels of sports administration, from intercollegiate organizational management to individual athlete development. The remainder of the program consists of career-specific electives like facilities management, special events, compliance, or communications.

Online study is asynchronous, however individual instructors may offer classes that require time-sensitive log-ins. In some cases, degree candidates may opt for hybrid courses that combine online study with classroom attendance. Dedicated resources for distance learners include a virtual library, an online bookstore, and a writing lab. While all coursework is delivered online, an on-site internship is required to complete the program. Candidates are expected to arrange internships at approved local athletic facilities. Because the MSA program is housed in Canisius’ education department, graduates who already hold professional credentials in physical education will be eligible for New York state teacher certification.

7Adelphi UniversityGarden City$$$$$South Ave
Garden City, NC 11530-0701
(516) 877-3000

Based in central Long Island, NY, Adelphi University is a small private, liberal arts college that is known for its challenging academics. About 5,000 students per year enroll at Adelphi, and the school’s small size allows for a student-to-faculty ratio of 10 to 1. Several graduate-level degree programs can be earned exclusively online, including the master's in sport management. For students aspiring to sports industry administration, this program emphasizes practical business skills relevant to the field. Graduates leave school prepared for leadership roles in collegiate, community, and professional sports, as well as in facilities management, sports media, and marketing. Online students may choose to specialize their studies in a collegiate athletic administration concentration, which takes a close look at the inner workings of athletic departments, media relations, event management, and compliance. Alternatively, a sports marketing specialization focuses on branding and marketing strategies for teams and individuals. Adelphi offers course material via Moodle; class discussions and assignments are conducted using state-of-the-art distance education tools.

8Troy UniversityTroy$$$$$University Avenue
Troy, AL 36082-0001
(334) 670-3100

Troy University is a public international university based in south central Alabama. Roughly 15,000 students make their home on this rural campus, and more than twice that number attend online classes from around the globe. The master of science in sport and fitness management is accredited by the exclusive Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA). This online master’s offers concentrations in coaching or sport management, with thesis and non-thesis tracks available in each.

The coaching concentration is designed for educators who aspire to coach within the academic setting; graduates of this online master’s program are equipped for K-12 coaching positions. The thesis track prepares students to teach or coach at the collegiate level. The sport management concentration prepares students for leadership roles in sports administration facilities at all levels of competition and skill. To complete the program, students must defend a written thesis or conduct an on-site internship at a faculty-approved athletic facility.

Online classes are taught using Blackboard in nine-week blocks. All study is asynchronous, allowing students freedom to choose study times that best suit their lifestyles. Unlike many schools, Troy has abundant scholarship opportunities for distance learners and graduate students.

9Nova Southeastern UniversityFort Lauderdale$$$$$3301 College Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796
(954) 262-7300

Based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Nova Southeastern University began as a school of technology. Now a full-fledged university, this private college educates nearly 25,000 students per year. Its online offerings at the graduate level are plentiful, including the MS in education with an athletic administration specialty. Designed for educators aspiring to positions in coaching or athletic direction, this program delivers the theory and practical skills required for leadership in a school sports environment. The curriculum is research-based, and core classes explore educational research, personnel management, and organizational ethics. The program includes electives with a focus on the business acumen necessary to run an athletics program. All classes are online, with the exception of an on-site internship that students must coordinate at a local school. Individual classes may require asynchronous or time-sensitive study, depending on faculty preference.

10Concordia University - IrvineIrvine$$$$$1530 Concordia West
Irvine, CA 92612-3203
(949) 854-8002

Though based in southern California, Concordia University-Irvine educates distance learners throughout the world. This private Christian school is ranked among the best regional universities by U.S. News & World Report. Ten postbaccalaureate programs are available exclusively online, including the master’s in coaching and athletic administration.

The 36 credit curriculum is based on a core study of sport law and ethics, current research, and leadership and coaching theory. The remainder of the program consists of classes in business skills, the psychology of sport, and sport-specific theory and practice. Candidates may choose from 12 competitive sports for these electives. The program is entirely online, with the exception of an on-site internship that students must coordinate with school faculty. All students must complete a capstone project prior to graduation, which includes creating a professional coaching portfolio.

Online classes are a mix of asynchronous study and synchronous collaboration with faculty and peers. Classes are conducted in 11-week blocks, and students may choose from among four start dates during the year to accommodate their own teams’ competition seasons. Some classes are offered in short intensive sessions, which may fit within off-seasons. Up to eight hours of credits from another accredited university can be approved for transfer as elective credit.

11Ohio UniversityAthens$$$$$020 Chubb Hall
Athens, OH 45701-2979
(740) 593-1000

Ohio University is a large public university based in Athens, OH, and is ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Top 100 Public Universities. About 30,000 students enroll annually at this school, roughly 6,000 of whom are distance learners. Ohio University has been educating professionals in the academic sports industry since 1966, and the university offers aspiring coaches and athletic directors two options for an online master of sports management.

The master of athletic administration program is geared toward interscholastic athletic administrators. This wholly online program is housed in the university’s college of business, and it seeks to develop effective program directors and administrators. Coursework is focused on a specific skill set and includes study of human resources, facility programming, sport governance, and more. The professional master of sports administration, also housed in the college of business, is a selective, 21-month program that is mostly online. The curriculum focuses on the business knowledge required of leaders in professional sports administration. Online classes are conducted in seven-week sessions, and all study is asynchronous. In addition to online classes, six short on-site practical experiences are required, four of which must be completed on campus.

12University of Southern MississippiHattiesburg$$$$$118 College Drive # 0001
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
(601) 266-1000

Originally a teaching college in historic Hattiesburg, MS, the University of Southern Mississippi is now a public research university offering degree programs across all academic disciplines. Its online graduate school, available to students throughout the U.S. and internationally, is noted for its affordability. The university offers two options for online master’s degree programs in sports management.

The master's in sport management offers an unusual approach to athletics administration with a concentration in sporting event security management. The core of this 36-credit curriculum examines the business side of sports administration. Class topics include governance and policy, financial management, current research, and public relations. Courses in the security specialization track then explore emergency planning, domestic and international threats, risk assessment, natural disasters, and crowd behavior.

The master of science in sport coaching program is targeted to working coaches who aspire to advance in team and individual athlete development. Thesis and non-thesis options are available in this 33 credit program. Core classes are devoted to the theory and practice of advanced kinesiology, current research, and coaching methodologies. Online students opting for a non-thesis track will be required to complete an on-site practicum at an approved facility close to home. Online study is largely asynchronous, but individual instructors may require students to log-in for time-sensitive lectures.

13Wayne State UniversityDetroit$$$$$656 West Kirby Street
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 577-2424

Wayne State University is an urban public school seated in midtown Detroit, MI. It is particularly known for its postgraduate offerings, with master’s degree programs available in more than 300 disciplines. The online master of arts in sports administration, housed in the university’s education department, is designed for sports practitioners who seek to advance their careers with higher education. The 30 credit program is available in four concentrations: interscholastic, intercollegiate, professional sports, and commercial sports. Students may choose a thesis or non-thesis track.

The program’s core curriculum is focused on the nuts and bolts of sports administration, and covers such topics as risk assessment, equity and access, and marketing. Remaining electives are based on individual concentrations. This program is designed for working students, and may be attended on a full- or part-time basis. Classwork is conducted online; however, students on a non-thesis track must coordinate an on-site internship at an approved athletic facility.

14Fresno Pacific University$$$$$
, CA
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A small private Christian college in the San Joaquin Valley of California, Fresno Pacific University is ranked among best regional universities in the west by U.S. News & World Report. This academically rigorous school is home to about 3,000 residential students, while up to 10,000 students attend its online classes each year. FPU seeks to prepare graduates for a Christian approach to work, and is well-known for its offerings in education and theology. The online master of arts in sport administration is one of 45 graduate degrees offered to distance learners.

Designed for practicing or aspirational athletic administrators, this master’s prepares students for leadership roles in sports management. Graduates will be equipped for employment in interscholastic, intercollegiate, commercial, and professional sports organizations. The curriculum is composed of nine credit hours focused on kinesiology, plus 24 credit hours of instruction on the business of athletics programs, which cover finance, personnel management, athlete development, and more. In addition to the online curriculum, all degree candidates must complete six credit hours of on-site practical experience at an approved facility.

15Drexel UniversityPhiladelphia$$$$$3141 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 895-2000

Drexel University, based in Philadelphia, PA, is a large private school known for its alternative approach to education. Ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Top 100 National Universities, Drexel was a pioneer in the development of distance learning options. This urban university offers degree programs in over 200 disciplines at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels. Its online master's in sport management degree program is a unique combination of distance learning, individual research, and a residential workshop. Targeted to working professionals, this program is intended for candidates with at least two years of industry experience. Graduates leave school prepared for careers at all levels of athletic administration; typical employers are professional sports organizations, collegiate athletics departments, corporate sponsorship and marketing firms, community organizations, or fitness organizations.

The rigorous curriculum is based on management and organizational theory. Classes explore such topics as ticket sale strategy, fiscal policy, sport law and risk assessment, and development strategy. Online classes are delivered in four 10-week sessions per year. When core classes are completed, degree candidates attend a seven-day summer workshop on campus. Following the residential workshop and completion of any remaining electives, students develop and produce an original research project or thesis paper.

16Concordia University - ChicagoRiver Forest$$$$$7400 Augusta
River Forest, IL 60305-1499
(708) 771-8300

Concordia University-Chicago is a private Lutheran liberal arts university that provides adult learners with a comprehensive array of career-boosting options. In addition to standard baccalaureate degrees, this school offers a vast array of programs that deliver graduate certificates, master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and accelerated undergraduate completion degrees. Its online MBA with a sports management specialization is well-suited to working sports practitioners who plan to pursue careers in sports management.

The program’s core is a classic MBA curriculum exploring management theory, organizational behavior, economics, and financial management. This is supplemented by a closer study of these principles within the sports industry, including sports law and diversity issues. Class materials are distributed through a proprietary digital learning management system, and study is generally asynchronous. Some professors, however, may require time-sensitive log-ins. Courses run in eight-week sessions, and the program takes about two years to complete. Concordia also offers a tuition guarantee provided study is continuous.

17Arkansas State UniversityJonesboro$$$$$2105 E. Aggie Road
Jonesboro, AR 72401
(870) 972-2100

Arkansas State University’s master of science in sport administration is an accelerated graduate program that is conducted entirely via distance education. The 36 credit curriculum is designed for completion in 12 months of full-time study, during which students develop the business skills required of leaders in sports and sports-adjacent industries. Students of this intense online master’s program are equipped for management careers in intercollegiate sports, professional sports organizations, the health and fitness industry, community sports, and athletic facility management.

Candidates are required to take 10 online courses in consecutive seven-week sessions. Content will emphasize not only key economic and business concepts, but their application within the athletics industry. Class material also includes coverage of research methodology and current industry trends. The program culminates with two on-site internship experiences that are seven weeks in length. Students must coordinate internship placements and ensure they are faculty-approved; current employment does not meet this requirement.

18Gonzaga UniversitySpokane$$$$$E 502 Boone Ave
Spokane, WA 99258-0001
(509) 328-4220

Based in Spokane, WA, Gonzaga University is a small private Catholic school that is renowned for its NCAA Division I basketball program. In addition to its prowess on the court, Gonzaga is known for its academic rigor; U.S. News & World Report ranks it fourth among regional universities in the west and 13th among best value schools in the U.S. Students planning a career in athletic administration have much to gain from Gonzaga’s online master of arts in sports and athletic administration. This 31 credit program is highly competitive, admitting only 20 to 25 candidates per year.

The online master’s degree curriculum offers a close examination of the sports industry, and explores organizational behavior, management theory, and economics within the context of competitive sports. Additionally, students acquire the business skills and best practices that define great leadership. All classes are delivered online in eight-week blocks, and class study is asynchronous. Distance learners are responsible for setting up and conducting required internships at approved athletic facilities. After completing all class requirements and practical experiences, the program culminates in a capstone project.

19Jackson State UniversityJackson$$$$$1440 J R Lynch Street
Jackson, MS 39217
(601) 979-2121

This public research university located in urban Jackson, MS educates about 9,000 students each year. JSU’s options for distance learning include a hybrid of traditional and online classes, or exclusively online classes. JSU’s master of science in sport science is available as a traditional seated program or wholly online. Targeted to candidates who aspire to leadership roles in sports management, this 36 credit graduate program is offered in thesis or non-thesis tracks.

The core curriculum exposes degree candidates to the psychosocial theory and practice that drives the sports industry, as well as current industry research. The remainder of the program explores broad business and economic concepts in the industry. Online students who choose a non-thesis track must complete a six-hour on-site practical experience at an approved athletic facility. Course content at JSU is delivered through Blackboard and follows a semester-based schedule. Most class study is asynchronous, but some professors do require time-sensitive log-ins for class discussion.

20California University of PennsylvaniaCalifornia$$$$$250 University Ave
California, PA 15419-1394
(724) 938-4400

Based in rural Pennsylvania, California University of Pennsylvania is a small private school serving the Pittsburgh area. Cal U’s online master's in sport management studies program is designed for coaches who aspire to leadership roles in collegiate sports programs, or recent college graduates planning an executive career in the sports industry. Degree candidates may choose to specialize their studies in intercollegiate athletic administration, sport management, or strategic sport analysis. This is an accelerated program designed to be completed by a full-time student in 13 months.

The core of this program consists of 24 credits of study, and includes the social and psychological foundations of sport, current research methodology, management theory, and the application of business concepts fundamental to the athletics industry. Students in the athletic administration concentration round out their studies with courses in governance, compliance, and legal issues relevant to intercollegiate sports. Degree candidates in the strategic sport analysis track explore the development and management of athletics programs at the community, professional, or commercial level. Students in the online sport management track complete the program with a study of mentoring and athlete development. Online study at Cal U is completely asynchronous and does not require attendance on campus.

21Midwestern State UniversityWichita Falls$$$$$3410 Taft Blvd
Wichita Falls, TX 76308-2099
(940) 397-4000

Located in Wichita Falls, TX, Midwestern State University is a small public liberal arts college. MSU’s education college hosts a master of education in sport administration degree program targeted to teachers or coaches aspiring to executive management positions in the sports industry. Graduates of this program are well-equipped for administrative careers in interscholastic sports, intercollegiate sports, community sports programs, and within the health and fitness industry. The curriculum provides students with a broad understanding of business skills crucial to the sports industry, supplemented by an examination of current research and best practices in an academic athletic environment.

All courses in this 36 credit program are delivered exclusively online; however, students are responsible for the arrangement and completion of an on-site practicum at an approved athletic facility. After all course and internship requirements have been met, the program culminates in an original research project. Distance education at MSU is managed through the D2L platform, and class study may be asynchronous or synchronous, depending on instructor preference.

22Georgia Southern UniversityStatesboro$$$$$Brannen Hall, Room 2015, 2670 Southern Drive
Statesboro, GA 30460-8126
(912) 478-5391

NCAA Division I athletics are a popular draw for students at Georgia Southern University, a large public liberal arts school in Statesboro. Graduate students interested in professional careers in the sports and leisure industry may benefit from the university’s successful sports program. GSU’s online master's in sport management degree program, hosted by the school’s college of health and human sciences, is for working professionals who want to advance their careers in sports administration. Graduates of this online sports management master's program are equipped for leadership positions across sporting industries, including collegiate, commercial or professional athletic organizations, media, marketing and promotions, or facilities and event management.

This 36 credit curriculum emphasizes the financial aspects of sports administration. Core courses explore revenue generation, strategic financial management, and risk assessment and management. Degree candidates complete their education with the study of research methodology and current trends in the industry. This program is designed to be completed in two years of full-time study, but part-time study is an option. This program does not require a thesis or an on-site internship. GSU’s distance education is managed on the D2L learning management platform, and class study is 100% asynchronous.

23Missouri Baptist UniversitySaint Louis$$$$$One College Park Dr
Saint Louis, MO 63141-8698
(877) 434-1115

Missouri Baptist University is a private Baptist liberal arts college located in St. Louis, MO, and strives to make its students Christ-like in every discipline. MBU supplements traditional campus degree programs with a comprehensive range of online degree programs at the baccalaureate and postgraduate level. The online master's in sport management prepares graduates for executive careers in the administrative side of the sports industry. Graduates will be eligible for management positions in intercollegiate or interscholastic athletics, amateur or professional sports organizations, facility and special event management, or sports marketing and promotions.

This fully online program consists of 31 credits of study. The core curriculum begins with sport psychology, current research, and sport law; degree candidates then explore the practical application of key business concepts within athletics administration. The program culminates with either a written thesis or an on-site practicum experience, which the student must arrange and conduct at a faculty-approved facility. Full-time students can expect to complete the program in 18 to 24 months; part-time study is also available. Online courses are delivered in eight-week blocks, and class study is asynchronous.

24Northeastern University - Global NetworkBoston$$$$$360 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2000

Northeastern University’s main campus is located in historic Boston, MA, but this private research university boasts extensive offerings for graduate students at a number of satellite campuses and online. The university’s master of sports leadership degree program is designed to serve as a foundation for professional careers in sports administration, management or communications. Available entirely online, the curriculum covers organizational and management theory, sports law, leadership development, and media relations. Remaining electives are based on either professional sports or collegiate athletics concentrations. Degree candidates in the professional sports track may opt to study event management, sponsorships, risk management, or sports marketing; students in the collegiate athletics track may choose electives that explore gender and diversity, fundraising, compliance, or academic advising.

All online degree candidates complete either a written thesis or on-site practicum at an approved facility. This 45 credit program is generally completed in one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study. Online courses at Northeastern are delivered through the university’s proprietary learning management platform, and all course content is delivered asynchronously.

25Indiana State UniversityTerre Haute$$$$$210 N 7th St
Terre Haute, IN 47809
(812) 237-6311

Indiana State University’s campus in Terre Haute, IN enrolls roughly 14,000 students per year. As an adjunct to its traditional brick-and-mortar degree programs, Indiana State Online offers dozens of programs at the baccalaureate, postgraduate and doctoral levels. The master of science in recreation and sport management was developed for working professionals in sport management who aspire to further their careers. Though the program is designed for students who majored or minored in sport management or a related field, applicants with other undergraduate degrees may take additional classes to meet program requirements.

This program’s emphasis is on the governance, compliance, finance, marketing and management aspects of the sports and recreation industry. Graduates of this online sports management master's program are qualified for leadership roles in commercial, amateur or professional sports organizations, collegiate sports programs, military recreational sports, and facilities and event management.

Indiana State’s program emphasizes research methodology, leadership development, organizational behavior, financial management, marketing and promotions, and sport law. The 36 credit program concludes with an on-site internship, which students are responsible for coordinating and completing in a school-approved facility. All coursework is delivered through Blackboard and campus visits are not required. Online degree programs follow the standard semester calendar, and class study is asynchronous.

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.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

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

  • COMMON MAJORS

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

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

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

  • AVERAGE INCOME

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

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    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

$124,850
$30,080
$104,140
$95,810

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.