Best Online Sports Management Degree Programs

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Contributor, Benzinga
April 17, 2020

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Sports are a major source of entertainment in many households. Whether it’s football, basketball, baseball or soccer, millions find themselves tuning in to watch their favorite teams each week. 

Maybe you’re obsessed with sports and want to take things a step further by working in the field. Consider an online sports management degree to steer you in the right direction. You can go to work in your local community at a school or recreation facility. Or you can pursue a role at the collegiate level or with a professional sports organization. 

There are lots of options from reputable colleges and universities. Even better, you won’t have to leave your job behind or miss out on valuable time with your family. Online sports management degree programs are designed for nontraditional students and allow you to watch lectures, complete assignments and collaborate with your peers when it’s convenient with you. 

Ready to move forward with finding the right degree program? Benzinga is here to lend a helping hand with your search. 

Why Choose an Online Sports Management Degree?

There are many reasons why sports management is an exciting industry to be in. For starters, a degree from a reputable institution helps you get noticed by employers and land the job of your dreams.

Choosing an online sports management degree means you’ll:

  • Make a difference in the communities you serve. If you select a role that requires you to oversee programs at public parks or recreation facilities, you’ll have a chance to interact with children and teach valuable lessons through sports. The life lessons you teach could have a lasting impact. 
  • Earn a competitive salary. Unless you land a leadership role in sport management immediately after graduating, you probably won’t earn a healthy 6-figure salary. However, many sport management roles offer salaries that allow you to live comfortably. 
  • Get up close and personal with the professionals. Imagine coming to work and seeing your favorite football, basketball, baseball or soccer star. That’s the reality for many sport management professionals who work with professional organizations. 
  • Pursue multiple career options. There are many directions you can go with an online sports management degree. If you land a role that doesn’t quite work for you, you can always pursue other options elsewhere. 

Most importantly, you can study and complete coursework when it’s convenient for you. No need to rearrange your entire schedule to attend live lectures — all instruction is provided online. You’ll also be able to log into a distance learning portal 24/7 to access resources and submit coursework. 

How to Choose an Online Sports Management Degree

Not all online sports management degrees are worthy of your time and money. How do you know which ones are best? Consider the following as you evaluate your options: 


You want an online sports management degree from a school that’s accredited. This communicates to potential employers that the programs are held to specific standards. Otherwise, you’ll spend several years of your life earning a degree that doesn’t hold any weight. 

Student Support 

The college or university should also offer support to online students. Distance learning can make it challenging to receive the help you need, so you want a program that features specialized advising, student success, career help and financial aid resources to online students. 

Cost of Attendance

When evaluating your options, be mindful of the cost of attendance. Tuition and fees should all be comparable. Eliminate online sports management degree programs from your list that charge excessive rates. Also, pay attention to the fee schedule for the last 5 years. If you notice steep price hikes, you may want to remove those institutions from your list. 

Jobs Waiting for You with a Sports Management Degree

As a sports management degree holder, you have an abundance of career choices. Here are some of the more popular options: 

Coach or Scout 

Do you excel at a sport and enjoy teaching others the mechanics? Or maybe you know the intricacies of the game and can scope out the competition to lead your team to victory? You can excel in a career as a coach. Some coaches also work as scouts to identify and recruit top talent. 

On average, coaches and scouts earn $33,780 per year. 

Public Relations Manager 

Public relations managers work for athletic departments in colleges and professional organizations. Your primary responsibility in this role is to help organizations build their public image in the eyes of stakeholders. 

In 2018, the median salary for public relations managers was $114,880 per year. This equates to $55.19 per hour. 

Sports Agents 

Sports agents handle business affairs and contract negotiations for clients. The most successful agents also work tirelessly to cultivate relationships with players who can turn into potential clients. 

The average annual salary for sports agents is $90,930.

Best Online Colleges for a Sports Management Degree

We’ve conducted several hours of research to bring you the top online sports management degree programs. You’ll also find a description of what each program offers to help you narrow down your choices and find the best fit. 

1. Davenport University 


Seeking a leadership career in the sport business industry? Consider an online Bachelor of Business Administration in sport management from Davenport University. This program holds the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation. 

You will develop the skills needed to flourish in a sports management role by completing the following courses: 

  • Athletic Leadership and Coaching 
  • Digital Marketing 
  • Financial Analysis for Business Majors
  • Global Sport Industry  
  • Human Resource Management
  • Professional Selling 
  • Sport Analytics
  • Sport Communication and Promotion 
  • Sport Governance and Regulation 
  • Sport Operations and Facility Management 

As a distance learning student, you can join the Sport Management Student Organization (SMSO) to connect with alumni and industry professionals. You will also complete 2 internships to gain real-world experience and apply some of the knowledge acquired in the classroom. 

Students need 120 credit hours to earn a degree. 

2. University of Minnesota Crookston


Consider a Bachelor of Science in sport and recreation management from the University of Minnesota Crookston. It’s a good fit for individuals with associate degrees and business professionals. 

The program requires you to complete core courses and 3 electives: 

  • Principles of Marketing 
  • Foundations of Sport and Recreation Management
  • Sport Facility and Activities Management
  • Event Planning and Management (elective) 
  • Supervision and Leadership (elective) 
  • Sport Marketing and Communication (elective) 
  • Sport Ethics and Leadership (elective) 
  • Psychology of Sport (elective) 
  • Socio-Cultural Dimensions in Sport (elective) 
  • Sport Finance and Economics or Sport Law and Governance (elective)

Sport and management majors are also required to complete an internship to gain real-world experience before entering the field. 

When you complete the coursework, you’ll be prepared for a career in community, collegiate or professional sports organizations. 

3. Wilmington University 


Offered by the College of Business, the online bachelor’s degree program in Sports Management from Wilmington University grants you a behind-the-scenes look at the business of sports. It’s accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. 

Instruction is very hands-on, and the curriculum covers coaching, facilities management, fundraising, marketing, media relations and team operations. The knowledge acquired can be implemented in high school, collegiate, professional, recreational and nonprofit sports programs. 

To earn a Bachelor of Science in sports management, you must successfully complete these core courses: 

  • Financing Sport Operations 
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Sports
  • Sociology of Sport
  • Sport Facilities Management and Planning 
  • Sports Management I and II
  • Sports Marketing and Promotions 
  • Sport Media Relations 

A sports management internship is also required. 

You can also enhance your degree by completing electives that grant certificates in Nonprofit Sports Management, Sports Analytics or Sports Media.

4. Toccoa Falls College


Aspiring sports leaders could also consider the Bachelor of Science in sport management degree program from Toccoa Falls College. It delves into the best practices concerning business and sport management. 

Curriculum also touches on the ethical and moral standards you should comply with to effectively market and manage facilities, events, sports organizations and media. Courses for sport management majors include: 

  • Coaching Techniques 
  • Event and Facility Management in Sport and Entertainment Sport 
  • Financial Aid, CPR and Life Fitness
  • Organization and Administration of Sport
  • Prevention and Care of Injuries 
  • Sport Financial Management 
  • Sport Law and Ethics

Students can also minor in nonprofit business administration. 

When you finish the program, you will also receive a National Coaching Certificate. And you shouldn’t have trouble landing a job as 100% of alumni find work in the industry within 6 months. 

5. Midway University 


The online sports management program from Midway University prepares individuals for an exciting career in the sports industry or graduate school. Students also receive individualized attention through face-to-face online support and benefit from small student-to-faculty ratios. 

You will gain invaluable experience by completing an internship. Experienced faculty will also share nuggets of wisdom when instructing core courses, which include: 

  • Communication in Sport 
  • Facility Management/Design 
  • Financial Applications in Sport 
  • Introduction to Sport Management Theory and Practice
  • Legal Issues in Sport 
  • Management and Leadership in Sport 
  • Managing Sport Events 
  • Principles of Management 
  • Principles of Marketing 
  • Socio-Cultural Dimensions in Sport
  • Sport Marketing 
  • Sport Psychology

Alumni work as athletics administrators, athlete agents, athletic directors, coaches, fitness and recreation managers, sports event managers, sports information directors and sports marketing specialists. 

The program requires 120 credit hours and can be completed in 4 years. 

6. Bellevue University 


Earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in sport management from Bellevue University. Both options have the same focus — mastering the business of sports through in-depth coursework and an internship that gives you real-world experience. 

Major coursework is comprised of the following: 

  • Business Communication: Professional Writing, Speaking and Research 
  • Contemporary Issues in Sport 
  • Financial Accounting
  • Introduction to Sport Management 
  • Legal Aspects of Sport and Physical Activity
  • Sport Ethics 
  • Sport Facility and Event Management 
  • Sport Finance 
  • Sport Management 
  • Sport Marketing 
  • Sport Public Relations and Communication 

You need 127 credit hours to graduate and transfer credits are permitted. 

7. Columbia College


Columbia College features a sports management degree program through the College of Business. It prepares you for a career as an athletic trainer, coach, event planner, marketer, public relations specialist, scout, social media coordinator or sports finance professional. 

Choose from a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science to learn all levels of the sports industry. The following core courses are required: 

  • Organizational Behavior 
  • Social Media 
  • Sports and Event Marketing
  • Sports Finance
  • Sports and Society 

You will also complete 3 electives. Choose from a medley of topics, like human resource management, coaching theories, diversity in organizations, advertising and sales promotion or psychology of sport. 

To reach the finish line, you need 120 credit hours. Columbia College allows transfer credits from accredited colleges and universities. 

8. Florida International University


Are you a sports enthusiast who wants to work behind the scenes in the industry? The online Bachelor of Science in recreation and sports management program from Florida International University can help turn your career goals into a reality.

You’ll become a subject-matter expert in recreation and sport management. Core and major courses include: 

  • Care Maintenance and Design 
  • Human Resource Management in PRS 
  • Inclusive Recreation Services 
  • Leisure and Recreation in America
  • Leisure Services Marketing 
  • Liability and Law in Leisure, Recreation and Sports
  • Marketing Management  
  • Principles of Parks, Recreation and Sport Management
  • Progress Development in Recreation and Sport 
  • Public Sector Budgeting 
  • Sociology of Sport 

Beyond coursework, you’ll complete 2 internships to acquire real-world experience. They count toward the 120-credit hour requirement for this degree. 

As a distance learning student, you’ll also have a success coach in your corner to help you meet your education goals and graduate on time. 

9. Southern New Hampshire University 


Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Sport Management. This degree program is suitable for aspiring sport management professionals who want to learn what it really takes to succeed in the sports business industry. 

Candidates for this degree must complete an internship, capstone and pass the following courses: 

  • Brand Management 
  • Governance/Management of Sport Organizations 
  • Introduction to Sport Management
  • Sport Facilities Management 
  • Sport Marketing 
  • Sport, Society and Ethics 

Interested in a graduate degree in sport management? Consider the accelerated BS-to-MS pathway. It allows you to complete 2 graduate courses while enrolled as an undergraduate. You can earn your Master of Science in sport management as little as 1 year. 

SNHU permits up to 90 transfer credits from a qualifying institution and you need 120 total to complete the program.

10. Grand Canyon University


Get a bachelor’s degree in sport management from Grand Canyon University. The program is housed in the Colangelo College of Business and caters to both current and aspiring sports professionals. 

It equips students with the tools they need to thrive as athletic administrators, event planners for sports organizations, guest relation managers, sports marketers and sports merchandisers. 

You’ll study essential business concepts, like accounting, finance, management, marketing, economics and statistics. The curriculum then dives into courses tailored toward sports management, such as: 

  • Organizational Behavior and Management
  • Sport Event Planning 
  • Sports Marketing 
  • Sports Retail Management and Sales 

Sport management majors must earn 120 credits to graduate. However, up to 90 credit hours can be transferred from another institution. 

Get Started with an Online Sports Management Program

Are you ready to land a rewarding career in sport management? Consider an online program to help you learn the ropes of the industry. Our top recommendations are offered by leading distance learning providers that lend a wealth of resources to help you succeed. 

Rates are competitive, so you won’t spend a fortune to continue your education. These programs also feature small class sizes and you’ll have the opportunity to network with your peers and faculty members to expand your professional network. 

Find the perfect online sports management program today. It’s a worthwhile investment in your future that can pay dividends for several years to come. 

Southern New Hampshire University Online

SNHU Online Offers:

  1. Flexible schedules
  2. Affordable tuition
  3. Online tutoring
  4. Access to electronic research materials
  5. Specialized academic advising
  6. Supportive online community