Bachelor’s in Sports Management Program Guide

Fascinated with the inner-workings of sports leagues and events? Discover how a sports management degree can help you break into this exciting industry.
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Doug Wintemute
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Doug Wintemute is a writer who focuses on higher learning and entertainment. Since 2014, he has contributed to content and editorial work for award-winning publications. He completed his BA and MA in English at York University, graduating summa cum l...
Updated on February 22, 2024
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Valerie Black has over 12 years of experience as a professor and 10 years in journalism. She empowers students to leverage the resources that are available but not easily accessible. Her focus is in online education, rich content, and digital storyte...
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The nation's love of sports may be changing, but it isn't going anywhere anytime soon. In 2023, Americans watched over 1.7 trillion minutes of gameplay from the five major U.S. sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS). A single NFL game captures more than nine million average viewers, according to Nielsen.

While the athletes (deservedly) get the glory, there's a sea of unsung heroes helping sports grow behind the scenes as well. There are agents, managers, event coordinators, media personnel, and business professionals — all necessary industry professions and all possibly within your reach with a sports management degree.

As a sports management graduate, you not only enjoy a strong career growth outlook, but you may also have access to high-paying positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual wage for agents and business managers was over $120,000 as of May 2022.

In this guide, we'll explore bachelor's in sports management programs in detail, including what they cover, what they offer, and where they can lead.

Featured Online Bachelor's in Sports Management Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Is a Bachelor's in Sports Management Worth It?

The BLS projects continued growth for sports and entertainment careers and management occupations between 2022 and 2032, faster than the average projected growth for all occupations. As sports popularity and management complexities increase, professionals who specialize in the intersection of these fields should benefit.

Students interested in receiving sports management training can find a variety of options, such as on-campus and online programs, accelerated and part-time schedules, and specializations that can alter the focus of the curriculum. For example, learners can follow a general management pathway or choose a concentration that helps them pursue a career in one of the field's many related disciplines, including marketing or analytics.

Depending on their in-program choices, sports management graduates may enjoy professional flexibility as well. Their knowledge of management practices gives them access to many different administrative, analytical, and leadership positions. Graduates also have the option to pursue postgraduate certifications to set themselves apart from the competition or qualify for niche roles.

Although this field is projected to grow in the coming years, many learners aspire to work in professional sports, so positions may be quite competitive. To boost their employment chances, recent graduates can also consider careers in community or amateur sports or sports-adjacent fields.

How Much Money Can I Make With a Bachelor's in Sports Management?

As with most professions, a worker's location, industry, specialization, and employer can greatly influence their salary. According to the BLS, professionals in management occupations earned median annual wages of $107,360 in May 2022, but these earnings vary significantly among different professions within the sector.

For example, advertising, promotions, and marketing managers earned some of the highest median annual salaries ($138,730). Financial managers earned a median annual wage of $139,790, and public relations managers earned a median of $125,620 during that same period.

How Do I Get Into a Bachelor's in Sports Management Program?

The admissions process for a sports management program looks very similar to most other programs at this level. According to our undergraduate application guide, these programs usually require high school transcripts, college entrance exam scores, college application essays, and letters of recommendation.

When choosing a college, prospective students should pay close attention to the school's grade and test score requirements — some colleges require applicants to meet minimums, such as a 3.0 GPA or higher. Those pursuing an online bachelor's degree in sports management should also note whether a program has any on-campus or in-person requirements.

What Will I Learn in a Sports Management Bachelor's Program?

The type of training provided in a bachelor's in sports management program largely depends on the school and the student's individual choices. Still, many programs feature similar courses, covering topics like business fundamentals, management principles, and sports organization. Sport-specific courses often go over sports policy, governance, and law.

In addition to general business competencies, such as communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills, sports management students may develop skills related to event management and performance evaluation.

Hard Skills for Sports Management

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    Sports managers may need to know how to gain consumer insights and communicate specifically to them. Marketing skills also allow managers to expand their audience, solve problems, and make better decisions.
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    Financial Management

    Finance skills enable sports managers to handle the revenues and expenses required for running teams and events. Managers may use finance skills for making forecasts or handling the financial terms in contracts as well.
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    Sports organizations use analytics to better understand player performance, consumer behaviors, and event and program development. The development and analysis of mathematical models can be used in many other business contexts as well.
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    Public Relations

    Public relations skills allow sports managers to create and control the stories that drive public and consumer interest. These skills help managers keep communications entertaining while still on brand.
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    Facility Operations

    Some managers oversee the day-to-day operations of sports venues and facilities. Managers with facilities operations skills can take care of staffing, policy development, logistics, and inventory management.

Soft Skills for Sports Management

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    Sports managers use decision-making skills in countless ways, such as when team building, making event choices, implementing new strategies or policies, or changing processes.
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    Time Management

    Sports managers rely on time management skills to stay on top of tasks, boost productivity, and meet goals. These skills allow them to work smarter, not harder.
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    Organization skills help managers set priorities and delegate resources more efficiently. Organized leaders can also reduce stress for everyone working with them.
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    Teamwork and Team Management

    Sports managers lean on teamwork and team management skills to create cohesion and inclusivity within their organization. This, in turn, helps with the organization's culture, success, and retention.
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    Sports managers may oversee contract discussions, personnel conflicts, and logistics agreements. Negotiation skills can help managers reach more suitable and faster resolutions.

BA programs, for example, may take a more interdisciplinary approach to management theory, whereas BS pathways often delve into more practical and analytical approaches. The department offering the program can also influence the curriculum. For example, some schools run sports management programs through their business departments, while others run them through their kinesiology departments.

Featured Online Bachelor's in Sports Management Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Common Sports Management Courses

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    Organizational Management

    In this concentration, students learn how managers control and balance organizational dynamics. They look at different methods for overseeing and improving operations and how to lead in positive and innovative ways.
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    Sports Project Management

    This concentration focuses on the different types of projects in sports management and the strategies for approaching and completing goals effectively. Training may emphasize financial, leadership, and organizational skills, along with event management and marketing duties.
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    Sports Media

    Students in this concentration explore the worlds of sports journalism and communication. They may also look at different subfields, including reporting, promotions, public relations, and sports commentary.
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    Sports Marketing

    In this concentration, students develop an understanding of how marketing works in sports, learning about the different tools and strategies available to professionals. Coursework may explore event marketing, advertising, promotional materials, and social media and analytics.
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    Intercollegiate Athletics

    This concentration focuses on the world of intercollegiate athletics. Students learn how college sports are governed, the laws and policies involved, and the compliance regulations placed on schools and athletes.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Sports Management?

While most students pursuing a bachelor's degree in sports management aim for a career in the professional sports industry, many other options are also available. Graduates can, for example, pursue careers in collegiate, international, amateur, and community sports. They can also look at positions in related fields, such as media, finance, and health and safety.

Sports management graduates can also pursue management careers in many other fields. They can apply their business and operational expertise and communication and leadership skills to business positions in most industries. Below are some of the most popular career and continuing education pathways for graduates.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor’s in Sports Management Programs

Do people in sports management make a lot of money?

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Sports management professionals can make a lot of money, depending on their location, organization, education, and experience. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes was $82,530 as of May 2022.

Is it hard to get into sports management?

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While you can apply your sports management degree to many related fields, breaking into the sports management industry at a high level may be difficult. In May 2022, there were just over 13,000 agents and business managers in total, as per the BLS.

Is there a lot of math in sports management?

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Your sports management degree will likely include some math, such as the math in finance, statistics, and data analytics courses. Most math-based training will focus on operational analysis and decision-making rather than complex equations and calculations.

What is a sports management degree?

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Sports management degrees help prepare you to manage different operations related to sports events and organizations at various levels. These multidisciplinary programs often focus on the business and administration side of sports, such as event planning, marketing, and tourism.

Why do people choose sports management?

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People choose sports management for different reasons, but many pick it because of their love of sports. Sports management also attracts people who see promise and profitability in live sporting events, along with those who want to bring positive change to sports. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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