Best Online Master’s in Sports Management Degree Programs

If you want a distinctive career in athletic training, coaching or scouting, an online master’s in sports management could be for you. Distance programs in sports management typically explore a variety of leadership and organizational skills needed in the industry, including management of sports organizations, sport marketing, personnel management and sport-related revenue generation. Students looking to become a coach, manager or scout for a professional team or organization should have extensive experience as a player themselves or relevant work experience, in addition to an advanced degree in sports management; degree holders may also be eligible to work in athletic administration or officiating.

The unique world of sports management demands an equally unique set of skills. As distance education grows nationwide, pursuing an master’s in sports management online is becoming an increasingly popular way to get these qualifications. Online coursework provides the theoretical and administrative skills required in today’s booming sports management market; the program also familiarizes students with the computerized systems commonly found across the industry.

The top-ranked master’s in sports management programs in the U.S. for 2016 are listed below.

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description

Texas A&M University

College Station
  • in-state tuition: $8,506
  • out-of-state tuition: $25,126
805 Rudder Tower
College Station, TX 77843-1244
(979) 845-3211

Texas A&M University–College Station offers a master's in sports management online, designed to provide a broad education in this specialized field. The degree encompasses 36 total course credit hours combining research core, sports management core and elective courses, as well as a required field experience. Targeted towards working adults, the scheduling of the program is flexible. Graduates are prepared for positions in sports management involving marketing and sales, personnel management, fiscal management and athletics administration, working in environments like country clubs, health and fitness centers or professional sports organizations.

Admissions is highly competitive, with a tight enrollment cap. The average applicant has an undergraduate GPA in the high 3.0 range, as well as at least 4 years professional experience in the industry. Online courses are delivered primarily through Moodle, with the additional support of online platforms like eCampus and eLearning.


Virginia Commonwealth University

  • in-state tuition: $12,002
  • out-of-state tuition: $29,473
910 W Franklin St
Richmond, VA 23284-2512
(804) 828-0100

Virginia Commonwealth University offers a sport management master's online, comprising a minimum of 36 credit hours in both theoretical concepts and practical experience. The degree is designed to prepare graduates for athlete development and sports program management across all sectors of the industry. Graduates gain a strong understanding of industry knowledge and analysis; interpersonal skills and professionalism; and leadership.

Online M.Ed students complete assignments through Blackboard, with additional academic advising and virtual library access also available through the VCU student portal. All students must attend one on-campus class, commonly completed as an intensive, week-long summer course. Other unique support options for distance learners include links to community engagement and outreach opportunities, an exclusive VCU blog, technical support and a collection of social media accounts.


Canisius College

  • annually: $33,332
2001 Main St
Buffalo, NY 14208-1098
(716) 883-7000

The online MS in sports administration at Canisius College integrates core courses in a broad range of interests, including intercollegiate athletics, facility management and both amateur and professional sports management. Students will gain a firm grasp of the business side of sports, as well as ethical issues and leadership. Coursework encompasses 33 total credit hours in combined core and elective courses, with a required internship experience; internships may be completed in a global sports organization of the student’s choice.

Students access online classes through CC’s student portal, incorporating additional support to develop the whole distance learner. Academic resources include tutoring, mentoring and study center support; student services are provided by the ALANA Student Center, Canisius’ Opportunity Programs for Education (COPE) and a dedicated counseling center.


Concordia University - Irvine

  • annually: $29,630
1530 Concordia West
Irvine, CA 92612-3203
(949) 854-8002

Concordia University–Irvine offers an online master’s in coaching and athletic administration, aligned with the mission of Concordia to integrate faith-based and service learning into the field of sports management. Curriculum in the online master’s stresses a practical approach to coaching and athletics. Students are encouraged to grow both personally and professionally while engaging with peers and professors.

Classes can be taken on campus, online or as a hybrid mixture, allowing students to tailor their education around their personal schedule. Distance learners complete assignments through Blackboard, with a number of support services available, including comprehensive technical support, discussion boards and streaming media. Additionally, online students may use Blackboard via an exclusive mobile app, as well as tap into numerous resources available through the Knowledge Base subsite.


Liberty University

  • annually: $20,768
1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(434) 582-2000

Liberty University offers an online sports management master's, with a concentration in sport administration. Students in this program may choose between a thesis or non-thesis option; both of which provide faith-based training that emphasizes ethics in management practices. Students will be prepared for careers ranging from sports broadcasting to athletic administration. The MS comprises 36 total credit hours, of which six can be transferred from another institution.

Online courses are delivered via an exclusive student portal, that includes live-chat academic and tech support, student-run blogs and a single-sign-on option. Additionally, distance learners are encouraged to take advantage of a virtual network of online communities designed to provide a variety of ways for students to connect and engage.


Concordia University - Chicago

River Forest
  • annually: $27,598
7400 Augusta
River Forest, IL 60305-1499
(708) 771-8300

Concordia University–Chicago offers a online sports management master's, focusing on training in promotion, marketing, resource assessment, organization and financial management in the athletics industry. With cohorts capped at 12-18 people, students get a chance to develop strong interpersonal skills and a tight professional network. The program comprises 33 total credit hours in core and sports electives courses, culminating in a sports leadership capstone.

Students in the online MS in sports leadership may enroll in one of three available start dates per year. Courses are delivered in a cohort model through Blackboard, with links to a variety of student services to support online learning, including a mobile learning app and a blog dedicated to numerous topics in sports medicine and management.


Fairleigh Dickinson University - Metropolitan Campus

  • annually: $34,882
1000 River Rd
Teaneck, NJ 07666
(201) 692-2000

Fairleigh Dickinson University–Metropolitan Campus offers an online master’s in sports administrationdesigned to prepare students for their choice of careers in the industry, including sales or marketing manager, PR rep, sports facility manager and more. With a focus on both practical and theoretical concepts, graduates are ready to assume leadership roles in business and coaching. The degree comprises 12 courses and 36 total credit hours, covering core and elective courses that emphasize leadership skills.

Students focus in one of two areas of specialization: sports administration or coaching theories and strategies, submitting assignments through a WebAdvisor portal. Students must also complete an internship in their concentration. Additional services for sports management master's degree online learners include 24/7 tech support, virtual library access and career development counseling.


University of Southern Mississippi

  • in-state tuition: $6,744
  • out-of-state tuition: $15,024
118 College Drive # 0001
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
(601) 266-1000

The University of Southern Mississippi is the first school to offer an online sports management master's with an emphasis in sport event security management. The 27-credit degree is available in either a thesis or non-thesis format, with both curriculum tracks exploring financial, socio-ethical, marketing and legal aspects of organizational leadership and management in sports. Non-thesis students are required to complete a practicum along with core courses.

Online assignments are delivered through Blackboard, along with resources designed for distance learners via USM’s online Learning Enhancement Center. Though there are no campus requirements, some courses may require you to sit for a proctored exam at an authorized testing center. Online tools include library access, a writing center and a speaking center.


Drexel University

  • annually: $37,505
3141 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 895-2000

Drexel University offers two online sports related master's: an MS in sport management and an MS in Sport Coaching Leadership. The sports leadership program develops the necessary knowledge to become an NCAA coach and is focused strictly on coaching and sports theory. The sports management program is designed to elevate foundational skills in this discipline, including four primary emphasis areas: sport business, sport marketing, sport law and sport media.

Online assignments can be completed via DrexelConnect, a singular portal that provides multi-channel access to numerous resources for distance learners. Drexel offers extensive academic support via its virtual library and writing center, as well as 24/7 tech support and counseling through the Steinbright Career Center.


Washington State University

  • in-state tuition: $12,327
  • out-of-state tuition: $25,409
French Administration Building
Pullman, WA 99164-5910
(509) 335-3564

Washington State University offers an online MA in education with a specialization in sport management. Distance learners must complete 34 total credit hours in required, sport management, research and theoretical and social foundations courses, culminating in a comprehensive exam. Graduates have gone on to be employed in organization such as:

  • The NCAA
  • The Pac-12 Conference
  • The Seattle Sports Commission
  • The United States Tennis Association
  • Professional NFL teams

Assignments for the sports management master's degree online are completed in Blackboard, with a variety of additional online learning resources available via the same one-stop student portal login. Support services available to online students at WSU include supplemental course material delivery, technical support, writing assistance and career counseling. WSU’s Global Campus also hosts its own dedicated FB page, giving distance learners a platform to connect with one another worldwide.


California University of Pennsylvania

  • in-state tuition: $9,239
  • out-of-state tuition: $13,091
250 University Ave
California, PA 15419-1394
(724) 938-4400

California University of Pennsylvania offers a sports management master's degree online, with an optional concentration in either sport management or intercollegiate athletic administration. Sport management students focus on building the skills needed to enter the public, nonprofit and private sectors of the sports world. Those in the athletic administration track learn about sports management in a university setting. The degrees comprise 36 credit hours in a combination of core courses and either a mentorship, for sport management majors, or additional course work, for intercollegiate athletic administration majors.

Online assignments are delivered through the singular Vulcan Information Portal, alongside numerous student support resources designed to provide holistic care for distance learners. Academic support services include a tutoring center, math lab, reading clinic and writing center. For more personalized support, Cal U offers a special department exclusively for commuter and nontraditional students.


United States Sports Academy

  • per credit hour online: $595
One Academy Drive
Daphne, AL 36526-7055
(251) 626-33037141

United States Sports Academy offers an online MS in sports science with five available majors: sports coaching, sports health and fitness, sports management, sports studies and recreation management, with available thesis, non-thesis and mentorship tracks. Those who choose not to write a thesis must sit for a comprehensive examination to graduate. The program comprises 33 course credits, all of which will focus and leadership and management skills in addition to the student's specialization.

Assignments may be completed online via a central student portal, hosting a variety of digital resources, including online writing labs, library access, live chat options and accounts on nearly every major social media platform.


Fresno Pacific University

  • annually: $25,716
1717 S Chestnut Ave
Fresno, CA 93702-4709
(559) 453-2000

Fresno Pacific University offers an online MA in kinesiology, with an emphasis in sport administration. As a Christian school, FPU promotes physical, personal and spiritual growth in this master's program studying the science and mechanics of body movement. Curriculum in the 36-credit professional program is designed to prepare graduates for sports management employment at all levels and in all sectors, from high school to private-sector jobs.

Online assignments are delivered via Moodle, with additional resources specifically for distance learners, available through the Center for Online Learning (COL). Support for online students is provided by staff with extensive experience in developing and delivering distance programs for FPU in their respective field of expertise.


Troy University

  • in-state tuition: $7,276
  • out-of-state tuition: $13,612
University Avenue
Troy, AL 36082-0001
(334) 670-3100

Troy University offers an online MS in sport and fitness management, with a concentration in sport management. The school's sport management program distinguishes itself by being one of the few programs accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation. The degree comprises 36 credit hours of combined core and concentration courses, culminating in a thesis or internship experience. Coursework focuses on addressing practical problems in today's sports industry and graduates have continued on to work for professional organizations, including the NBA and NFL.

Online courses at Troy University are delivered through Blackboard as part of the eTroy platform, along with numerous student services for distance learners. Academic tools include access to an exclusive network of learning communities in eTroy, as well as a writing center, study skills instruction and counseling and career exploration services.


Ashland University

  • annually: $29,836
401 College Avenue
Ashland, OH 44805
(800) 882-1548

Ashland University offers an online MBA in sport management, well-suited to those looking to develop strong business skills that can be incorporated into a unique athletics career. Course work in the MBA program is delivered in an immersive format, designed to provide training in management of resources and personnel, as well as explore financial, legal and ethical issues in sport marketing. Curriculum totals 36 credit hours, comprised of core, focus and electives courses, culminating in a required capstone project.

Delivered through Blackboard, coursework incorporates student resources via the myAU portal. Distance learners may participate in virtual student activities through Student Affairs in Drupal and WebAdvisor, as well as take advantage of numerous opportunities to connect with other students on the Eagles’ Landing subsite.


Missouri Baptist University

Saint Louis
  • annually: $21,790
One College Park Dr
Saint Louis, MO 63141-8698
(877) 434-1115

Missouri Baptist University offers an online MS in fitness management, as well as an MS in sport management. Both programs focus on skill-building in practical areas of management and leadership in the sports industry. The fitness degree focuses more on private recreation, while the sport management degree looks at teams sports and large professional associations. Coursework comprises sport psychology, marketing, finance, research methods and more, in addition to management classes. Students must complete an internship during the course of their studies.

Online assignments are delivered through Canvas, with a number of supplemental student services available on the same student portal site. The myMBU subsite hosts an interactive academic calendar as well as multiple avenues of online student support, including myMBU Access, tutoring, library services, career counseling and more.


Georgia Southern University

  • in-state tuition: $6,071
  • out-of-state tuition: $16,136
Brannen Hall, Room 2015, 2670 Southern Drive
Statesboro, GA 30460-8126
(912) 478-5391

Georgia Southern University offers an online MS in sport management through its College of Health and Human Sciences. The 36-course-credit program is designed to promote business-based aspects of the sports management industry, comprised of coursework in current trends, revenue generation and sport law and risk management. Graduates are prepared for employment in:

  • Professional teams or collegiate athletic departments
  • Sport facilities and event management
  • Sport marketing, promotion, or advertising
  • Sports information, media, or communications
  • The Olympic Movement

Distance learners can access assignments via GoVIEW, the university’s collaboration-based online learning platform. In addition to extensive online counseling options and academic support from Georgia’s numerous statewide college learning initiatives like Georgia On My Line and the Electronic Campus consortium, GSU offers a mobile app feature for students working on a mobile device.


Indiana State University

Terre Haute
  • in-state tuition: $8,256
  • out-of-state tuition: $17,992
210 N 7th St
Terre Haute, IN 47809
(812) 237-6311

The online MS in recreation and sport management with a concentration in sport management was developed in regards to seven primary areas of competency according to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM). These areas include: leadership, law, research, marketing, sociology, finances and ethics. For students looking to advance their skills in sports administration, the program offers an optional National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) articulation. The MS in recreation and sports management at ISU boasts a nearly 100% graduate-placement rate since its inception in 1991.

Online courses are facilitated through Blackboard, with a link to extensive resources for graduate students through ISU’s Sycamore Express portal. Student services include advising and counseling options, assistance with thesis and dissertation projects, technology support and more.


Southern New Hampshire University

  • annually: $28,884
2500 North River Road
Manchester, NH 03106-1045
(603) 668-2211

Southern New Hampshire University offers an online international MBA in sport management, designed to provide intensive business training and give students a competitive edge in the field. The program encompasses 39 total credits in core and specialized courses, featuring a global business focus with topics like sports and society, sport marketing and media and financial management. The program may be completed in as little as 18 months.

Courses are delivered through Blackboard, which is linked to numerous student support resources via the mySNHU portal. Communication between distance learners is facilitated primarily through social media, encouraged by the university’s unique social media directory, which points online students toward the best social media outlet for tutoring, career services, writing advice and more.


Concordia University - Saint Paul

Saint Paul
  • annually: $19,700
1282 Concordia Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55104-5494
(651) 641-8278

Concordia University–Saint Paul offers an online MA in sport management, designed to provide a vibrant virtual learning experience centered on collaboration and interaction. This program is offered in an accelerated format comprising 33 credit hours over 18 months, or less, of study. Sport management curriculum stresses hands-on, practical coursework in ethics and policy, organizational leadership, personnel management, marketing, finances and more.

All online assignments are accessible through Blackboard by way of CSP Connect, which provides a singular location for a variety of distance learning resources. In addition to library access, subpages for student interest groups and comprehensive tech support requests, online students can personalize their student portal to accommodate their individual support needs.


Tiffin University

  • annually: $20,700
155 Miami Street
Tiffin, OH 44883
(800) 968-64466446

Tiffin University offers an online MBA with a concentration in sports management. The streamlined six-course degree reflects the department’s long-standing connections with high-profile professionals in the athletic industry. Tiffin has a history of educating students in this discipline, and graduates continue on to successful careers as team vice presidents, tournament directors and collegiate coaches. The curriculum explores financial accounting, business strategies, operations management and more. Students are required to complete a sport mentorship along with the traditional coursework.

Online assignments at TU are delivered through Moodle, now available via PC or through the official Tiffin University mobile app for remote students. A variety of student resources can be accessed through the MyDragon portal, including the ITS help desk, career services, personal counseling and the Murphy Academic Support Center. Additionally, students may follow the university’s president on Twitter via a direct link on the school Website.


Belhaven University

  • annually: $19,970
1500 Peachtree St
Jackson, MS 39202
(601) 968-5940

Belhaven University offers an online MBA with a concentration in sports administration, well-suited to those who are interested in the business aspects of the industry. The program comprises 42 credits in eight-week terms. Core courses cover basic business principles as well as electives in sports administration topics, culminating in a capstone course in the final semester. The curriculum will stress strong business foundation grounded in a Christian perspective.

Online students complete assignments in Canvas, with the support of additional student services available through the university’s BlazeNet portal. Virtual support options include academic tutoring, career counseling and other services provided by the Think Center for student success, as well as a live chat feature for Web and technical assistance.


Jackson State University

  • in-state tuition: $7,092
  • out-of-state tuition: $13,884
1440 J R Lynch Street
Jackson, MS 39217
(601) 979-2121

Jacksonville State University offers an online MS in sport management, with concentrations in teacher certification and non-teacher certification. The program comprises 31-34 total semester hours, depending on the course of study, and may be completed in as little as two years. Graduates are prepared for unique positions within collegiate athletic departments, sport media organizations and sport management firms, among others. Those who complete the teacher certification track will be eligible for employment in K-12 education.

Online assignments are delivered through Blackboard, facilitated by instructors who are also experts in the field of sport management. Additional resources including tutoring, technical help and multimedia communication are available through the university’s virtual Guide for Online Students, as well as a menu of direct links to distance learner support services.


Lasell College

  • annually: $30,000
1844 Commonwealth Avenue
Newton, MA 02466
(617) 243-2000

Three sports management concentrations are on offer in Lasell's MS in sport management degree: sport leadership, sport hospitality management and sport nonprofit management. No matter which track they are enrolled in, students develop an advanced understanding of theories and concepts related to marketing, finance and leadership. Online faculty all are sports professionals with decades of industry experience, including athletic directors and sports attorneys.

This fully online program was designed with working professionals in mind, meaning students are afforded maximum flexibility through the Moodle platform. Coursework is asynchronous, with the majority of classes taking place in an 8-week, accelerated format. The school is passionate about investing in its students both during and after their time at school, providing services such as career counseling, academic advising and enrollment counseling.


Franklin Pierce University

  • annually: $31,000
40 University Drive
Rindge, NH 03461-0060
(603) 899-4000

An MBA in sports management from Franklin Pierce University provides the skills and training needed to pursue a career in almost any sports-related setting. All students will build the core skills needed to excel in a business setting through MBA classes focused on communication, collaboration, critical analysis and leadership. Beyond this foundation, students may choose to narrow their focus into management of sport organizations, operation of sport facilities or development of sport merchandising programs.

Franklin Pierce offers the option of completing this program 100% online, or as a hybrid degree; students may choose which classes they take on campus or online. The school hosts a suite of online resources on its eRaven platform, through which students will also access the virtual classroom hosted by Canvas. In addition multiple online support avenues, students in this program benefit from an advisory board with high-level representatives from the Boston Red Sox, New Hampshire International Speedway and other large sport organizations in the region.

Graduates of a master’s program in sports management may be qualified for top-tier jobs involving management and administration in the athletic industry, which is today valued at over $400 billion. Though not the minimum requirement for entry-level jobs in the field, a master’s can increase eligibility for employment in athletic scouting, sports-oriented program development or marketing. Additional career opportunities include work as a sports agency representative, athletic trainer, fitness club manager and facilities manager. As participation in high school and college sports increases in the U.S., the BLS estimates the need for qualified coaches and scouts will also increase through 2022, with job growth favoring professionals educated in sports management.

An online master’s in sports management can give career candidates a competitive edge in the sports workforce. Unlike many campus programs, distance degrees in sports management often require a practicum or internship in order to understand the physical, social and participatory aspects of team sports. The digital element of classes combines administrative skills in organization and management with a comprehensive understanding of athletic activities as a developmental tool. For distance learners completing the master’s in sports management online, they can explore theoretical concepts in the virtual classroom while gaining real-world experience in the field.

After graduation, prospective sports management professionals should seek further work experience in their particular area of interest. Though requirements vary, scouts, for example, do not necessarily need to have experience playing sports themselves, but should exude a sense of passion and determination to seek out exceptional prospects. Additionally, it is recommended that students continue to develop “people” skills throughout their career, as improved communication, leadership, decision-making and interpersonal competencies are of the utmost importance in this industry.

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