Students who want to work in sports often find that the broad, interdisciplinary structure of a bachelor's in sports management provides them with the business foundations needed to pursue jobs across the industry.
Through coursework in subjects like accounting, psychology, and marketing, sports management students gain the skills needed to pursue careers as sports agents and athletic directors. Successful sports management students thrive in collaborative environments and possess strong communication and business skills.
Read on for more information about typical courses, common career paths, and the best online sports management programs.
What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in Sports Management Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top Five:
Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.
|1||University of Florida - Online||Gainesville, FL|
|2||Florida International University||Miami, FL|
|3||Bellevue University||Bellevue, NE|
|4||University of Minnesota Crookston||Crookston, MN|
|5||University of Iowa||Iowa City, IA|
- How We Rank Schools
At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.
Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.
2020 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Sports Management Programs
Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.
University of Florida - Online
|Gainesville, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
The University of Florida delivers distance education to over 5,600 students each year. The university's online catalog contains 24 undergraduate programs, including a fully online bachelor of science in sport management. This flexible program prepares graduates to work in sports media, franchise operations, and intercollegiate athletics.
Coursework explores topics like sport marketing, legal issues in sport and physical activity, and sport facility design and management. Students also develop practical skills for public speaking and financial accounting. They round out the program by completing a full-time internship during their final semester, which requires 40 hours of participation per week.
UF maintains fall, spring, and summer entry dates. To enroll in this online bachelor's in sport management program, incoming first-year students must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores.
Florida International University
|Miami, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
Located in Miami, Florida International University is a public research institution that offers over 190 academic programs. Options include an online bachelor of science in recreation and sport management that prepares students for careers as athletic directors, marketing specialists, and special event coordinators. Distance learners can pursue a general sport management track or a pre-recreational therapy/adaptive recreation option.
Both degree plans contain a required class in leisure and recreation in America. Students in the generalist track take major coursework related to program development, leisure services marketing, and care maintenance and design. Pre-recreational therapy candidates delve into client assessment and complete a required internship.
Both online bachelor's in sport management programs require applicants to possess an associate degree or at least 60 credits of lower-division coursework. FIU offers a variety of institutional scholarships.
|Bellevue, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 0%||
Bellevue University was founded in 1966 as a public access higher education institution. The school now provides over 80 types of degrees, including an online bachelor of science in sport management. This 127-credit program teaches learners the business acumen needed to face the technological and operational challenges of sport-related enterprises.
Major requirements consist of applied statistics, facility and event management, and business communication. Candidates also critically analyze the values promoted by sporting and the ethical dilemmas raised by the industry. Participants end the program by completing an internship under the guidance of a faculty advisor and an on-site supervisor.
Applicants do not need to submit standardized test scores. BU offers a variety of financial aid opportunities, such as scholarships for student athletes and transfer candidates. The university also provides funding specifically for military personnel.
University of Minnesota Crookston
|Crookston, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
The University of Minnesota Crookston serves about 1,800 students annually, half of whom obtain certificates and degrees remotely. The school's academic programs include an online bachelor of science in sport and recreation management that enables graduates to work in community, collegiate, and professional sport organizations. In lieu of a fully remote curriculum, learners can also create a hybrid learning experience by taking some courses on campus.
Classes include athletics administration, sport psychology, and sport law and governance. The curriculum also covers finance and economics, teaching students about budgeting, revenue acquisition, and the broader impact of the industry. Candidates complete remaining credit requirements with elective classes.
UMC operates a holistic evaluation process that considers an applicant's GPA, previous coursework, and professional experience. Prospective students answer a series of short essay questions and have the option to submit recommendation letters.
University of Iowa
|Iowa City, IA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 73%||
The University of Iowa offers more than 600 remote courses through its ICON learning management platform. Distance learners can also enroll in one of the 39 online academic programs, earning degrees like a bachelor of science in sport and recreation management. Through a career-focused curriculum, students gain the skills necessary to pursue careers related to municipal recreation and college athletic administration.
Degree candidates take required classes like sales in sports, managerial operations, and liability in sport and recreation. Participants personalize their curriculum by picking one of eight concentrations, with options like entrepreneurship and journalism/communication public relations. This online bachelor's in sport management program requires students to complete a guided or independent field experience.
UI maintains fall, spring, and summer entry dates. Applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores. In addition to conventional financial aid, the university provides distinct scholarships for online students.
Southern New Hampshire University
|Manchester, NH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Based in Manchester, Southern New Hampshire University enrolls over 100,000 students in its campus-based and remote academic programs. Distance-based offerings include an online bachelor of science in sport management that focuses on a global view of the industry, emphasizing the interrelationships between business and culture. With six start dates each year and eight-week courses, candidates can complete degree work largely at their convenience.
Courses cover topics like sport marketing, brand management, and governance of sport organizations. Students develop the administrative skills needed to oversee stadiums, arenas, and sport complexes. Participants round out the program by gaining on-the-job training through an internship experience.
This bachelor's in sport management program holds specialized accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. SNHU does not require ACT or SAT scores. Additionally, for students who want to expand their education, the university delivers a convenient bachelor's-to-master's pathway.
Toccoa Falls College
|Toccoa Falls, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Toccoa Falls College is a Christian liberal arts institution that serves about 1,700 undergraduate students each year. Learners can pursue a variety of offerings, including an online bachelor of science in sport management program that boasts an exceptionally high success rate. Nearly 100% of graduates gain employment in the field within six months of graduation.
The curriculum includes classes like financial management; first aid, CPR, and life fitness; and sport law and ethics. Students develop coaching and injury prevention skills, resulting in a coaching certificate upon program completion. They can also augment their education by pursuing a minor in marketing, organizational leadership, or nonprofit business administration.
To enroll in this bachelor's in sport management program, applicants should submit official academic transcripts and ACT, SAT, or CLT scores. They must also send in a 200-300-word personal testimony about their spiritual journey.
Averett University - Non-Traditional Programs
|Danville, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Averett University maintains a flagship campus in Danville, Virginia, and offers seven online degrees through its Individually Designed Education for Adult Learners (IDEAL) Program. By enrolling in an IDEAL track, students can combine asynchronous coursework with independent learning experiences to earn a bachelor of science in physical education: sport management.
The curriculum covers topics like sporting good sales, facility management, and conventional and new media marketing strategies. Candidates also learn about law and finance as they pertain to the sport industry. This program enables students to extend their education by minoring in fields like leadership, sociology, and business administration.
Applicants need at least a 2.0 GPA. Averett accepts up to 60 transfer credits. The university provides a variety of financial aid, including institutional scholarships.
|Rome, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
Based in Rome, Georgia, Shorter University offers 19 online academic programs through Canvas, including a bachelor of business administration in sport management. The university prioritizes professional development, connecting candidates with internship and employment opportunities through industry partners.
Distance learners take required classes such as financial accounting, management principles, and leadership in sport. The curriculum allows students to pick from a catalog of advanced coursework, with course options like social media in sports and the Olympic Games. Candidates can also delve into sport psychology to learn about exercise motivation and applied aspects of performance enhancement.
Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA and adequate standardized test scores (i.e., at least 19 on the ACT or 900 on the SAT). This online bachelor's in sport management program is recognized by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation.
|Lebanon, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Founded in 1828, McKendree University is the oldest higher education institution in Illinois. Today, the school enrolls about 2,500 students in 68 academic programs, including an online bachelor of business administration in sport management. Distance learners take asynchronous, eight-week classes through Blackboard.
The curriculum of this bachelor's in sport management includes classes like sport and health psychology, facilities management, and finance and budgeting. Candidates also learn to develop and implement sport marketing campaigns that engage diverse consumers. MCK graduates go on to oversee fitness centers, sport stadiums, and community organizations.
Application materials include official school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. MCK offers ample financial aid opportunities, including scholarships for first-year students, transfer candidates, and international citizens. The university also delivers dedicated career services, with 98% of undergraduates reportedly achieving their post-graduation goals.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Sports Management Program?
Learners pursuing a bachelor’s in sports management need a passion for sports. This competitive field attracts a variety of skill sets, but a desire to work within the sports industry is a must.
As this degree largely focuses on business, an aptitude for math also helps. Nevertheless, since sports management provides a broad array of opportunities, students have the flexibility to take major electives that fit their strengths and interests.
Students must complete approximately 120 credits of coursework to earn their bachelor's degrees. Required coursework includes both sports-specific and general business classes, giving students the chance to delve into specialized courses that fit unique career ambitions like marketing or coaching.
In addition to traditional coursework, degree-seekers typically need to complete an internship in sports management. Internships give learners a chance to gain practical experience while building contacts that could prove beneficial in the future.
Still looking for the right fit? Discover similar degree programs.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Sports Management Program?
Online bachelor’s in sports management programs provide an interdisciplinary curriculum. Students often take a mix of business, psychology, and management courses, along with specialized sports management classes. Depending on learners’ career goals, elective courses can act as a helpful introduction to fields like advertising, event management, and client relations.
- Sports Marketing
This course offers degree-seekers an expansive introductory survey to sports marketing. Covered topics include marketing planning process, segmentation and target marking, and consumer demographics and psychographics.
- Personal Management
In this course, students learn how to use effective communication techniques while emphasizing the value of cultivating and sustaining business relationships. They also learn how effective leadership can positively shape sport organizations.
- Ethics in the Sports Industry
Designed to help students make ethical and moral decisions in various sport settings, this course provides learners with the intellectual tools to navigate challenging ethical scenarios. Learners gain the skills to become effective leaders and role models within the sports industry.
- Organizational Behavior in Sports
In this course, students analyze the culture and behavior of sport organizations and learn to apply leadership and management theories to practical problems.
- Legal Aspects of Sports
This course introduces students to the legal issues surrounding intercollegiate and professional sports. This course particularly benefits learners interested in pursuing a law degree. Covered topics include contract law, labor relations and collective bargaining, and intellectual property law.
Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree
- The Student Guide to College Planning
- Your Guide to College Grants and Scholarships
- Your Guide to the FAFSA
What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Sports Management Degree?
Depending on the careers they pursue, sports management graduates can enter many in-demand fields. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 12% job growth for coaches and scouts between 2019 and 2029. While personal interest and experience ultimately dictate salaries, and the field can be competitive, careers in sports management tend to pay well. Sports agents and managers, for instance, earn an average annual salary of $102,300.
As sports management degrees teach skills that easily transfer to other fields, graduates can also pursue careers in other business-related industries.
Learn more about sports management careers on this page.
- Sports Agent
Sports agents interact with sports teams and endorsers to negotiate contracts for athletes. While no formal education, training, or licensure is required to become a sports agent, a bachelor’s degree in sports management teaches graduates to effectively lobby for clients.
- Event Coordinator
A seemingly endless amount of work goes into sporting events, and event coordinators provide the organization behind what appears to be a seamless production. Event coordinators grapple with an expansive list of responsibilities, including security, guest relations, and transportation.
- Athletic Director
Responsible for overseeing the entirety of an athletic program, athletic directors manage budgets, personnel, and facilities. Athletic directors often work at high schools and colleges, sometimes taking on additional coaching roles. Salaries vary considerably from public high schools to elite Division I colleges and universities.
- Sports Marketing Professional
Sports marketing professionals promote teams, leagues, and athletes to fans. Using public relations techniques, advertising campaigns, and events and appearances, these professionals advance their “product” through social media, broadcasting, and various digital platforms.
- Sports General Manager
General managers are responsible for most of the big personnel decisions that sports teams make. These experienced sports managers hire coaches and players, manage budgets, and negotiate player contracts.
Sports management not for you? Check out these related careers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Sports Management Programs
- What skills do you need for sports management?
Because sports management programs are interdisciplinary in nature, students with a variety of talents find success in this degree. Coursework covers diverse topics such as psychology and marketing, and learners develop written and verbal communication skills while honing their business acumen.
- Is a sports management degree worth it?
While sports management is competitive, professionals with enthusiasm and love for sports can succeed in the field. Sports management programs offer a broad, holistic education rooted in business fundamentals. Graduates can apply the skills and knowledge gained through these programs in diverse professional environments.
- What can I do with a bachelor's in sports management?
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in sports management can pursue careers in various settings. Athletic directors often work in academic environments like high schools and colleges, while agents negotiate high-paying contracts. This degree can also serve as a great first step for an MBA or advanced degree in law or sports psychology.
- How much money can I make with a bachelor's in sports management degree?
Annual salaries vary substantially depending on location, title, and experience. Athletic directors earn just over $60,000 on average, but athletic directors at elite Division I colleges often earn seven figures each year. Additional education and experience often boost salaries significantly.
- What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in sports management?
Top agents generally earn the highest salaries, taking a cut of the contracts they negotiate for their clients. For example, NFL agent Drew Rosenhaus has negotiated $1.08 billion worth of contracts.