Best Online Master’s in Sports Management Programs

Do you love sports, but aren't cut out for the pros? Work behind the scenes with an Online Master's in Sports Management degree from a top-ranked school. Our higher education experts have analyzed and ranked the best online master's in sports management programs; read on to learn more.

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Published on March 9, 2022 · Updated on May 6, 2022

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Earning an online master's in sports management offers a great pathway for individuals passionate about the business side of the sporting industry. Whether working with PGA players, collegiate soccer stars, or up-and-coming high school tennis champs, a sports management degree provides the training needed to begin various in-demand positions.Students on a budget typically opt to study at a public college in their state, as tuition rates at these institutions averaged $9,000 during the 2021-2022 academic year. Private students paid an average of $29,670 during the same year.

When deciding whether to attend graduate school, prospective learners should note that many jobs in the industry feature expansive projected growth in the coming years. Most professionals earn between $40,000-$70,000 per year, depending on their title, but top workers can earn six-figure and even seven-figure salaries.

Keep reading to learn about the top online schools for sports management, commonly required classes, professional outcomes, and opportunities for continuing education.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Sports Management Program?

Before enrolling in a master's in sports management program, prospective students should think carefully about if their skill sets and personality traits align with jobs for graduates. Sports management professionals tend to be outgoing, engaging individuals who enjoy negotiating and do not feel intimidated by tense situations or confrontational moments.Most programs consist of 30-40 credits and require about two years of full-time study. Part-time learners may need up to three years, while accelerated programs can sometimes be completed in a year. Aside from general core coursework, many programs offer a variety of specializations to help students focus their classes in the areas in which they hope to work. Each school has its own unique offerings, but common options include:

When preparing for graduate school, prospective learners should note that these programs often require an internship. This experience allows them to gain in-demand skills and network with others in the discipline before graduating.

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Popular Online Master's in Sports Management Programs

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

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Sports Management Program?

History of Sports Management

This introductory course looks at the trajectory of sports management. Coursework starts with the English Club system and moves through to the American League structure, the National League, and the creation of sports management as an academic subject.

Entrepreneurship in Sports Management

Designed for students who anticipate owning a sports management firm in the future, this course looks at how to structure and frame entrepreneurial ventures within the sports management world. Students also learn how agent fees work.

High School and Youth Sports

This course provides the knowledge needed for those who plan to work in coaching or scouting. It looks at topics around the history of high school athletics and the role of high school athletic directors.

Collegiate Sport

This class provides an overview of all that goes into college sports. Topics include the various sporting divisions, financing for student athletes, athletes' right to compete, and the role of intramural sports teams.

Sports Broadcasting

After providing a timeline of sports broadcasting, this course looks at current issues and challenges within the discipline. It also covers the role of data and analytics in conducting audience research, forecasting ratings, and widening the share of viewers.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

Financial Aid Guide for Graduate Students The Student Guide to College Loans The Student's Guide to Financial Aid and the FAFSA

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Sports Management Program?

Online master's in sports management degrees set different graduate admission requirements based on individual programs. That said, most look similar. Some programs may look for students with a background in sports or sports management, while others accept students from all academic disciplines. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree. Some will need to sit for an interview when applying to a particularly competitive program.

Application

All master's in sports management programs require prospective students to complete an application, whether they intend to study online or in-person. These can usually be submitted through the department's website. They ask for information such as the candidate's full name, mailing address, date of birth, and citizenship status.

Test Scores

As students review prospective sports management master's programs, they may notice that some require GMAT or GRE test scores. These tests help assess a student's preparedness for graduate-level study. But some schools have canceled this requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Letters of Recommendation

When asking for letters of recommendation, applicants should approach people who can speak to their readiness for the rigors of a master's degree. Those who commonly write recommendation letters include current or former college professors, supervisors, volunteer coordinators, or faith leaders.

Resume and Work Experience

Some master's in sports management programs look for candidates with relevant work experience, as this helps them better understand the topics of study. Others accept students with no relevant experience but a history of working in professional settings.

Essays

Essays provide the opportunity for candidates to express why they want to earn a master's in sports management online. They can also share how they plan to use the degree after graduating and why a particular school or program appeals to them. Essays also allow applicants to distinguish themselves from others.

Official Transcript

Admission officers use official transcripts in many ways. These documents help confirm stated GPAs and that all prerequisite coursework has been completed. They also help in admitting transfer students. By reviewing official transcripts, registrars can identify which classes will transfer to the new program.

What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Sports Management Degree?

Career Outlook

Jobs in the sports administration world are projected to grow expansively based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In fact, jobs for coaches and scouts are expected to grow by 26% between 2020-2030. The BLS projects jobs for sports competitors to grow by an astounding 38% during the same years. The amount that master's in sports management program graduates earn can vary widely based on their title, clients, location, and the type and level of sports they represent. For instance, someone managing a professional golfer on the PGA tour can make more than an athletic director for a local high school.

See where a master's in sports management degree can take you. Learn more about sports management careers.

Career Paths

Athletic Directors

Athletic directors usually work at high schools or universities, overseeing the institution's athletic activities. Rather than focusing on individual sports, they oversee the various coaches of individual sports, set budgets for the sports department, and handle staffing issues as they arise. They may also handle disciplinary measures for student athletes.

Median Annual Salary: $61,270

Sports Competitors

Sports competitors play amateur and professional sports across various games, including golf, football, tennis, soccer, and baseball. While a master's in sports management is not required, some athletes decide to pursue these degrees to better understand their career and management approach.

Median Annual Salary: $50,850

Coaches and Scouts

Coaches and scouts work with amateur and professional athletes to develop their playing skills. They also seek out new players for amateur, collegiate, and professional teams. Coaches organize practice sessions, create strategies for gameplay, and offer motivation. Scouts travel to recruit new players and keep track of their stats.

Median Annual Salary: $36,330

Athletic Trainers

Athletic trainers work with athletes to create rehabilitative programs and those that help prevent muscle and bone injuries during play. They develop individualized training programs for each client. They also use devices such as braces, tape, and bandages that can either help prevent injury or manage an ongoing injury.

Median Annual Salary: $49,860

Athlete Agents and Business Managers

These professionals manage a portfolio of athlete clients and negotiate contracts between the client and their team. They act as a business manager by keeping track of earnings from both playing and endorsements. They also work to gain new athletes as clients to expand their portfolio.

Median Annual Salary: $75,420

Sports Management Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

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Continuing Education

While most professionals in this arena finish their education with a master's in sports management, a select few may decide to pursue additional degrees. Those who work towards a doctorate in sports management typically either want to conduct academic research in the field or teach the discipline to the next generation of sports managers at a college or university.

How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Sports Management Program?

Cost

The amount a student pays for an online master's in sports management degree can vary, making it important that they understand the true program cost before enrolling. Learners should also compare costs between online and on-campus programs to see which one works best for their budget.

Program Format

Because many students work while completing their master's in sports management, most schools provide synchronous and asynchronous learning formats to support busy schedules. Students can also commonly choose between full-time and part-time options based on how much time they can devote to their studies.

Location

Fully online master's in sports management programs allow students to choose from more schools, since location does not play a determining factor. When deciding whether to go to school online or on-campus, prospective students must consider what role location plays in their decision-making process.

Accreditation

In addition to finding an online college that holds proper institutional accreditation, students should also look for a master's in sports management with programmatic accreditation. Within this discipline, the Commission on Sports Management Accreditation (COSMA) accredits programs. Learners can find a list of currently accredited options.

Student Support

The best sports management master's programs provide student support services. Top-tier programs offer access to mentorship opportunities with successful sports managers, and meaningful internship opportunities. If studying through distance learning, degree-seekers should ask about online-specific student services.

Best Accredited Online Master's in Sports Management Programs

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Best Online Master's in Sports Management Programs

  1. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $11313

    UF Online's master of science in sport management trains students to plan, organize, lead, and evaluate the goals of sports organizations. Students learn to develop financial strategies, apply fundamental marketing concepts, and understand legal issues important to the field.

    Required courses include evaluation and research methods in health and human performance, sport event management principles, and mass media. Students may select a specialization in athlete development, high-performance coaching, sport law, or director of racquet sports. The program also offers two certificate options in social media and event management. The curriculum includes a practicum or internship opportunity and a required capstone.

    Located in Gainesville, Florida, UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its sport management program is one of the first in the U.S. to receive accreditation from the Professional Association of Athlete Development Specialists.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name Master of Science in Sport Management
    School Status Public
    Tuition $586 per credit
    Credit Requirements 36 credits
    Program Length 1 year
    Format Online
    Instruction Style Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA Minimum 3.0 recommended
    Standardized Tests Not specified

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  2. Texas A & M University-College Station
    Location

    College Station, TX

    Tuition

    $19118

    Located in College Station, Texas A&M's online master of science in sport management teaches students the skills needed to succeed in administrative and leadership roles in sports organizations. Graduates may qualify for positions in athletics departments, health clubs, and professional and youth sports organizations.

    The program comes with thesis and nonthesis options. Core courses focus on research methods and statistics. Other required classes include sport marketing, sports sales and revenue generation, communications, and personnel management. The program also features an internship.

    Texas A&M is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Master of Science in Sport Management
    School Status: Public
    Tuition: $454 per credit (in-state, 12 credits per term); $984 per credit (out-of-state, 12 credits per term)
    Credit Requirements: 36 credits
    Program Length: 1-2 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: No minimum specified
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  3. University of Miami
    Location

    Coral Gables, FL

    Taught by experienced faculty, UM's online master of education in sport administration program prepares students for administrative and management careers in scholastic sports, professional athletics, or youth sports.

    Learners complete 10 required courses, and studies focus on topics like sport leadership skills, ethical decision-making, and fiscal management. Courses last seven weeks and students take one class at a time. Distance learners may attend the UM Sport Conference to connect with industry leaders and meet their classmates.

    Based in Coral Gables, Florida, UM is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Master of Education in Sport Administration
    School Status: Public
    Tuition: $2,170 per credit
    Credit Requirements: 30 credits
    Program Length: 20 months
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 3.0 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: GRE required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  4. Georgia Southern University
    Location

    Statesboro, GA

    Tuition

    $15435

    Georgia Southern's online master of science in sport management provides academic preparation and practical experience for those interested in the sports business and leisure fields. Graduates can pursue roles with professional or collegiate teams, in sports marketing and promotion, or with regional leagues and commissions.

    Studies focus on core topics like sport administration trends, law and risk management, and marketing. The program also includes 12 credits of guided electives. There is no thesis or capstone requirement. Students take two classes each semester, including during summer terms, and graduate in two years.

    Georgia Southern, located in Statesboro, is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Master of Science in Sport Management
    School Status: Public
    Tuition: $358 per credit
    Credit Requirements: 36 credits
    Program Length: 2 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 2.5 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: Not specified

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  5. Drexel University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Taught through its LeBow College of Business, Drexel's online master of science in sport business program integrates sports-related applications of law, economics, finance, marketing, and media with a strong business curriculum.

    Along with business core requirements, classes cover topics like financial performance, sports economics, and media and public relations. Students must also complete an experiential component, choosing from options like a graduate internship, business consulting project, or international business seminar and residency.

    An optional summer residency program features tours, guest speakers, and industry networking opportunities. It is recommended that applicants have at least two years of professional experience.

    Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Master of Science in Sport Business
    School Status: Private
    Tuition: $949 per credit
    Credit Requirements: 45 quarter credits
    Program Length: 24 months
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 3.0 minimum preferred
    Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT optional

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  6. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Based in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty oversees a master of science in sports management program that prepares students for new developments in sports. Faculty incorporate biblical principles into the curriculum.

    Classes cover sports marketing and public relations, ethics, and economic and financial management. Students may select thesis or nonthesis track specializations in coaching and athletic administration, outdoor adventure sports, administration, or tourism.

    Liberty — an evangelical Christian institution — is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its sports management program holds accreditation from the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Master of Science in Sports Management
    School Status: Private
    Tuition: $565 per credit
    Credit Requirements: 36 credits
    Program Length: 1.5 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 3.0 minimum
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  7. Western Carolina University
    Location

    Cullowhee, NC

    Tuition

    $15021

    WCU's online master of science in sport management helps students understand the business of sports. Participants learn to administer sports programs, manage organizations and people, and plan and execute projects. The program includes a certificate in project management.

    Studies focus on topics like economics and finance, sport administration and governance, sport marketing, and project planning. Students must also complete a 200-hour sport management internship within the industry. Full-time learners can finish the program in a year, while part-time students typically take two years to graduate.

    Located in Cullowhee, North Carolina, WCU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Master of Science in Sport Management
    School Status: Public
    Tuition: In-state: $291 per credit (in-state); $845 per credit (out-of-state)
    Credit Requirements: 30 credits
    Program Length: 1 year
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 3.0 minimum recommended
    Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT optional

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  8. Baker University
    Location

    Baldwin City, KS

    Located in Baldwin City, Kansas, BU offers an online master of science in sport management. Experienced faculty create an experiential learning community centered on the industry's current trends. Graduates can pursue many leadership positions in the field, including roles with colleges and sports marketing organizations.

    Core classes cover topics related to sport leadership, marketing strategies, and facility and event management. Other coursework focuses on human resource management, policy and governance, and organizational culture. The program also includes an internship requirement, helping participants gain hands-on experience.

    BU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Master of Science in Sport Management
    School Status: Private
    Tuition: $618 per credit
    Credit Requirements: 33 credits
    Program Length: 18-20 months
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: No minimum specified
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  9. Arkansas State University
    Location

    Jonesboro, AR

    Tuition

    $13459

    A-State's online master of science in sport administration program prepares students for leadership roles at all levels of sports organizations, as well as for careers related to parks, recreation, and leisure. The program links students with experienced faculty and provides strong networking and internship opportunities.

    Required courses include research design, sport finance and budgeting, and sport communications. Participants can also take advantage of internship opportunities with athletics or recreational organizations.

    A-State is based in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Its sport administration program is accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Master of Science in Sport Administration
    School Status: Public
    Tuition: $317 per credit
    Credit Requirements: 36 credits
    Program Length: 12 months
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 3.0 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  10. Jacksonville State University
    Location

    Jacksonville, AL

    Tuition

    $12243

    Based in Alabama, JSU's master of science in sport management program prepares students for various careers, from athlete management and development to advertising, journalism, and facility management. The program has partnerships with several professional sports organizations, including the Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers, and Nashville Predators.

    Classes cover topics like sport finance, human resources management, and law and ethics. The program also requires an internship. Students have the option to prepare for a Class A Teacher Certification Option as part of the program.

    JSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Master of Science in Sport Management
    School Status: Public
    Tuition: $400 per credit
    Credit Requirements: 30-33 credits
    Program Length: 1-2 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 2.7 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Sports Management Programs

Is a master's in sports management worth it? true

When deciding whether an online master's in sports management is worth it, prospective students should think carefully about what they want from their advanced education and whether this particular degree leads to their anticipated outcomes. Those who know they want to work specifically with athletes as managers, agents, trainers, or coaches often find this program provides the training and credentials needed.That said, someone who wants to manage various well-known figures, including athletes, may find that another program more closely aligns with their aspirations. Think carefully through this question and more before making a final decision.

What can I do with a master's in sports management? true

Graduates of a master's in sports management program can take their careers in many directions based on their interests and professional goals. Some decide to work as scouts, finding the next generation of great athletes to represent at the collegiate and professional levels.

Other graduates feel most drawn toward the business side of the industry and want to negotiate contracts and endorsements for their clients as a sports agent and business manager. This degree provides versatility within the sports world.

Are sports management graduates in demand? true

Sports management master's degree graduates are projected to be in demand over the coming years, with jobs for coaches and scouts projected to grow by 26% between 2020-2030. Meanwhile, jobs for athletic trainers are projected to expand by 23% by the end of the decade, leading to 7,000 new positions.

Given that the BLS projects that athlete and sports competitor jobs will grow by 38% over the coming years, many jobs for managers, agents, coaches, trainers, and other sports professionals should continue to expand to meet these needs.

How much money can I make with a master's in sports management?

Earnings for master's in sports management graduates vary based on occupation and title. Athletic trainers earned median annual wages of $49,860 in May 2020, while those in the top 10% of earners made over $75,810.

Meanwhile, athletic directors at high schools and colleges currently earn an average base salary of $61,270 as of Feb. 2022. That said, Payscale reports that bonuses for these professionals can reach up to $24,000 annually based on winning statistics for their teams.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in sports management?

The highest-paying jobs for sports managers can vary widely based on the types of athletes they work with, at what level they work (e.g., amateur, collegiate, professional), and how long they have been in the business.

For instance, the BLS reports that sports agents and business managers earned median salaries of $75,420 in May 2020. That said, sports agent Scott Boras earned $160 million in commissions in 2020 alone. How much experience an agent possesses, and who they have on their client roster, goes a long way in determining earnings.

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