Best Online Master’s in Sports Management Degree Programs

Want to work in sports management? Learn how a master’s in sports management can open new careers in this exciting field.
By
portrait of Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
Read Full Bio

Contributing Writer

An award-winning historian and writer, Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D., has published multiple scholarly articles and a book with the University of Chicago Press. She currently works as a writer and consultant. She holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern...
Updated on May 24, 2024
Edited by
portrait of Valerie Black
Valerie Black
Read Full Bio

Editor, Business Education

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...
Learn more about our editorial process

www.bestcolleges.com 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.

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

Take our quiz and we'll do the homework for you! Compare your school matches and apply to your top choice today.

Best Online Master's Programs in Sports Management

The sports industry relies on experienced professionals to plan marketing campaigns, negotiate athlete contracts, and run sports organizations. With a master’s in sports management, you’ll prepare for exciting careers in sports organizations.

While a bachelor’s in sports management can get your foot in the door, a master’s strengthens management and leadership skills. Keep reading to learn more about how a master’s in sports management can advance your career.

What Can You Do With a Master's in Sports Management?

Many sports enthusiasts dream of landing sports management careers. An online sports management master's program can help prepare individuals for a career in sports. People with a passion for athletics and strong business and problem-solving skills may find this degree intriguing. In such programs, students cover a variety of topics, including management, marketing, and law.

Graduates from online sports management master's programs can pursue various roles, including athletic director, events coordinator, or sports marketing manager. Individuals can also utilize their skills outside the sporting world in sales, marketing, or business development roles.

Featured Online Sports Management Programs

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

We use trusted sources like Peterson's Data and the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com 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. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such.

BestColleges.com 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.

  • Browse programs
  • Discover matches
  • Request info
#1 Best Online Master’s in Sports Management Degree Programs

University of Florida

  • Gainesville, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $586

Out-of-State | $586

Credits to Graduate: 36

UF's MS in sport management develops effective leaders and administrators using a blend of coursework and workplace experience. You'll complete a core curriculum and one of four optional specializations: athlete development, sport law, director of racquet sports, or high performance coaching. 

The athlete development specialization can lead to Professional Association of Athlete Development Specialists certification. You can opt to build workplace experience through practicum or internship opportunities in sports settings. 

You'll also have access to success coaches and GatorToGator, a social networking hub designed for sport management majors. Admission requires a bachelor's degree and a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,477
Out-of-state
$25,694
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,770
Out-of-state
$27,335
Retention Rate
97%
Acceptance Rate
30%
Students Enrolled
55,781
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#2 Best Online Master’s in Sports Management Degree Programs

Old Dominion University

  • Norfolk, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $599

Out-of-State | $623-$1,439

Credits to Graduate: 33

ODU's MS in sport management emphasizes learning flexibility and hands-on experience. You can pursue the MS on campus or online, and choose a one-year or two-year degree completion plan. Key topics covered include sport finance, sport law, strategic marketing, and management and leadership in sport. 

Enrollees can use elective credits for specialized training in an area such as sport entrepreneurship and/or sponsorship and event planning. A semester-long internship gives you practical experience at a sports organization. 

Students culminate the online degree with a thesis or research project. Admission requires a bachelor's degree and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,976
Out-of-state
$31,170
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,519
Out-of-state
$29,851
Retention Rate
74%
Acceptance Rate
95%
Students Enrolled
22,507
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
76% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#3 Best Online Master’s in Sports Management Degree Programs

Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Richmond, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $569

Out-of-State | $569

Credits to Graduate: 36

VCU's master of sport leadership (MSL) is designed for working students. Degree-seekers complete the MSL synchronously, allowing participants to interact with faculty and peers online in real time.

The 36-credit curriculum teaches leadership functions, principles, and techniques. Enrollees explore team dynamics and social behavior in sport. A generous number of elective credits allow participants to explore special topics such as sport consumer behavior or facilities and event development. A notable course prepares students for a career in NCAA coaching.

Elective credit could also provide participants with externship experience in a sport setting or independent study opportunities. Admission requires a bachelor's degree and all school transcripts.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$12,472
Out-of-state
$33,728
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$12,618
Out-of-state
$25,956
Retention Rate
85%
Acceptance Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
28,082
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#4 Best Online Master’s in Sports Management Degree Programs

Western Michigan University

  • Kalamazoo, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $764

Out-of-State | $764

Credits to Graduate: 30

Students interested in a highly customizable program may want to consider WMU's MA in sport management. The program offers both fully online and hybrid learning formats. Plus, students can choose a 12-month, 16-month, or 20-month degree completion plan.

The 30-credit curriculum supplements general sport management training with specialized knowledge such as human resource management in sport and events and facilities management. A notable course teaches you effective coaching practices.

You can culminate the MA with a thesis, independent research, or professional field experience. Online learners pay the same tuition regardless of where they reside. Admission requires a bachelor's degree, a resume, and two letters of recommendation.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$13,850
Out-of-state
$17,313
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$17,539
Out-of-state
$26,308
Retention Rate
77%
Acceptance Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
17,835
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
72% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#5 Best Online Master’s in Sports Management Degree Programs

University of Iowa

  • Iowa City, IA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $771

Out-of-State | $771

Credits to Graduate: 30

A member of the Big Ten Conference, Iowa is known for academic and sporting excellence. You can pursue Iowa's MA in sport and recreation management (SRM) online. Enrollees receive leadership training for work with professional teams, in coaching, at league offices, and in other sport settings.

The 30-credit curriculum covers topics such as risk management, economics and financing, and marketing and sport promotion. All enrollees complete a sport and recreation management capstone project. 

SRM students may also get placed in internships and jobs with partnering organizations. Admission requires a regionally accredited bachelor's degree and a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,356
Out-of-state
$30,319
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,432
Out-of-state
$29,379
Retention Rate
88%
Acceptance Rate
86%
Students Enrolled
29,909
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#6 Best Online Master’s in Sports Management Degree Programs

Clemson University

  • Clemson, SC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $921

Out-of-State | $921

Credits to Graduate: 36

Clemson's MS in athletic leadership prepares professionals for intercollegiate-level coaching and administration. Clemson has a strong athletics program with an NCAA Division I-level team.

Enrollees in the MS typically already work in intercollegiate athletic sports or work with student-athletes in an educational setting.

The program's asynchronous learning format accommodates the needs of working professionals. You'll explore topics such as leadership development, legal and ethical issues, and social dynamics in intercollegiate athletics.

You'll also study governance and policy in intercollegiate athletics. The program's cohort model facilitates relationship-building among a network of coaches and administrators located across the country. Admission requires a bachelor's degree, a minimum GPA of 3.0, and a resume. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$14,118
Out-of-state
$37,110
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,600
Out-of-state
$22,050
Retention Rate
94%
Acceptance Rate
49%
Students Enrolled
27,341
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#7 Best Online Master’s in Sports Management Degree Programs

University of West Georgia

  • Carrollton, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $449

Out-of-State | $449

Credits to Graduate: 36

UWG's MS in sport management offers concentrations in sport analytics and intercollegiate athletic management. Students can earn the degree entirely online or in a hybrid format. UWG offers among the nation's most affordable tuition rates for a sport management master's degree.

You'll receive training in areas such as sport law, student athlete development, revenue generation, and the strategic management of sports organizations. The curriculum also focuses on the use of big data and analytics in sports business development strategy. 

Some coursework requires project-based learning, and all enrollees complete a sports management capstone. Admission requires a bachelor's degree and a minimum GPA of 2.7.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,464
Out-of-state
$19,282
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$4,338
Out-of-state
$16,830
Retention Rate
73%
Acceptance Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
11,914
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
76% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#8 Best Online Master’s in Sports Management Degree Programs

University of Southern Mississippi

  • Hattiesburg, MS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $535

Out-of-State | $647

Credits to Graduate: 33

Southern Miss's MS in sport management blends online learning and in-depth field experience. You'll complete core courses that focus on areas such as financial management, policy and governance, and sport venue and event management.

An optional sport event security management emphasis covers emergency response planning and threat and risk assessment at sport venues. All students complete 150 hours of practicum field experience in the sports industry. You'll have access to study abroad opportunities that may include British and Italian studies programs.

You can pursue the MS entirely online or in a hybrid format with some coursework taken on campus in Hattiesburg. Admission requires a bachelor's degree and a minimum GPA of 2.75.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,094
Out-of-state
$11,094
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,094
Out-of-state
$11,094
Retention Rate
70%
Acceptance Rate
96%
Students Enrolled
14,146
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#9 Best Online Master’s in Sports Management Degree Programs

University of Louisville

  • Louisville, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $791

Out-of-State | $791

Credits to Graduate: 36

Prepare for leadership roles in the sport industry with UL's online MS in sport administration.

The curriculum develops well-rounded administrators skilled in areas such as sport finance and economics, sport analytics, and strategic sport marketing.

You'll get about 300 hours of supervised practical experience at a sports organization or business. Participants learn from guest lecturers with expertise at top sports organizations.

Students have access to an extensive network of employers. All enrollees pay the same affordable tuition, and active-duty personnel receive a tuition discount. Admission requires an accredited bachelor's degree and a minimum GPA of 3.0 for unconditional admission.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$12,324
Out-of-state
$28,670
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,524
Out-of-state
$28,906
Retention Rate
78%
Acceptance Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
22,017
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
58% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#10 Best Online Master’s in Sports Management Degree Programs

Indiana State University

  • Terre Haute, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $462

Out-of-State | $601

Credits to Graduate: 30

Indiana State's MS in sport management equips working professionals with in-demand skills employers value. Plus, the degree only requires a 12-month commitment.

Key topics covered include sport facility design, sport finance, sport media relations, and sport law and risk management. Enrollees finish the MS in sport management with an internship, research project, or a semester-long project. 

The program's five-week and eight-week classes can help students finish the degree faster. Students in the United States and Canada can enroll. Admission requires a minimum GPA of 2.75-3.0.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,452
Out-of-state
$20,880
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$438
Out-of-state
$861
Retention Rate
64%
Acceptance Rate
92%
Students Enrolled
8,658
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
61% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

How We Rank Schools

To create this ranking, BestColleges sourced the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard. We then ranked each school according to the top variables college students selected in our College Choice and Admissions Survey. To learn more, check out our full rankings methodology or read the summary below.

Ranking Methodology Summary

Chevron Down

To qualify for our rankings lists, each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution. Each eligible school was then ranked based on a formula measuring:

  • Affordability (30%)
  • Student outcomes (30%)
  • Reputation (20%)
  • Diversity and social mobility (20%)

In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

Why Should I Get a Master's in Sports Management Degree?

A master's in sports management program is a great pathway to becoming a leader in all things business in the sports industry. You'll learn the concepts, theories, and best practices around sports, entertainment, and products.

Getting a master's degree can also boost your career. Research by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that a master's degree can lead to higher pay and job stability.

Benefits of a Master's in Sports Management

  • Check Circle
    Gain insight into the business aspect of sports.
  • Check Circle
    Become a manager or leader in the sports industry.
  • Check Circle
    Earn a higher salary with better job opportunities.
  • Check Circle
    Apply your skills to related fields such as finance, marketing, or sales.

Reasons to Get Your Sports Management Degree Online

  1. 1
    Earn your degree in 2-3 years.
  2. 2
    Maintain a healthy school-life balance.
  3. 3
    Choose from flexible learning options.
  4. 4
    Avoid commuting.

Is an Online Master's Degree in Sports Management Worth It?

Many online master's programs provide the same education as in-class programs. Studying online gives students extra flexibility to balance their education and personal commitments better. Many online programs offer asynchronous classes, allowing students to study anytime.

Online sports management master's programs can help students gain the necessary skills to pursue roles in the sports industry. Graduates can utilize their newfound knowledge in sales, marketing, operations, and more.

How Much Does a Master's in Sports Management Degree Cost?

Total Average Cost of a Master's Degree (Two Years)

Public Institution
$59,440

Private Institution (Nonprofit)
$85,400

Source: BestColleges

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master's Degree in Sports Management?

Most programs require 30-40 credits or about two years of full-time study. Part-time learners may need up to three years. Students can sometimes complete accelerated programs in a year.

When preparing for graduate school, note that these programs often require internships. Internships allow you to gain in-demand skills and network with others in the field before graduating.

Required Course Credits
30-40*

Field Study Requirements (Y/N)
Yes*

*Depending on your program and specialization

Concentrations for a Master's in Sports Management Degree

Aside from general core coursework, many programs offer various specializations to help you focus your classes on the areas where you hope to work. Each school has its unique offerings, but common options include:

  • Minus

    Sports Project Management

    In this concentration, you gain planning and project management skills focusing on the sports industry. You’ll learn how to develop and implement projects for sports organizations or in consulting roles.
  • Minus

    Sports Law

    Explore the legal side of sports, including contract and business law. You’ll also learn about collective bargaining, publicity regulations, and licensing. The sports law concentration can lead to roles advising athletes on legal decisions.
  • Minus

    Athlete Management

    Learn how to manage negotiations for athletes and advocate for their business interests. You’ll gain management skills with a focus on personal representation. A concentration in athlete management prepares graduates for careers as a sports agent.
  • Minus

    Sports Marketing

    Prepare for careers in sports marketing, advertising, and event management with a concentration in sports marketing. During this concentration, you’ll learn marketing principles and research methods to promote sports organizations and athletes.
  • Minus

    Sports Media and Communications

    Strengthen your communication skills with a focus on sports. You’ll gain public relations and media skills while developing successful communications strategies. With this degree, you can work in sports communications for diverse organizations.
  • Minus

    Event Management

    Hone your sports planning and promotion skills with an event management concentration. You’ll study operations management and event planning in the sports industry. The concentration can lead to opportunities as an event manager, operations manager, or program manager.

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

Median Annual Wage (2023)

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers
$156,580

Agents and Business Managers of Athletes
$84,900

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

How much money you make depends on how you use your master's in sports management. According to the BLS, advertising, promotions, or marketing management professionals earned more in median annual salary than agents and business managers of athletes. In comparison, general and operations managers — the sector with the most available jobs — earned a median annual salary of $101,280.

What Jobs Can I Get With a Master's in Sports Management Degree?

Sports management programs prepare you to become a sports administrator. For example, you could manage a fitness facility or leverage your skills in finance and sales. Or you could work in professional sports, college athletics, or sports and entertainment. Common careers include:

  • Sports marketing manager
  • Operations manager
  • Athletic director
  • Business development specialist
  • Compliance manager
  • Facility director
  • Athlete agent
  • Business manager
  • Events coordinator
  • Contract negotiation manager

Featured Online Sports Management Programs

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

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Master’s Degrees in Sports Marketing

Can you make a lot of money with a sports management degree?

Chevron Down

Yes, you can work in high-paying roles with a sports management degree. For example, sports agents earn a median annual salary of $84,900, while general and operations managers earn $101,280.

Is it hard to get a job in sports management?

Chevron Down

The sports industry is a popular field, so getting a job in sports management is competitive. However, many management careers report strong demand. Researching the specializations with the highest demand can help you break into the field.

What is the highest-paying job in sports management?

Chevron Down

The highest-paying job in sports management makes over $100,000 in median annual salary. Marketing managers earn a median salary of $156,580, while general and operations managers earn a median annual salary of $101,280.

What kind of experience should a sports manager have?

Chevron Down

Sports managers typically hold a degree in management and experience in their sport. A master's in sports management strengthens specialized skills for careers in sports marketing, event management, project management, and athlete management.

BestColleges.com 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.

Compare Your School Options

View the most relevant schools for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to finding your college home.