Online Sports Management Degree

More online business schools now offer degrees in sports management. Sports managers are agents, coaches, and reps. They use their PR and contract skills to manage players, events and gyms. To grow the skills needed in this growing field, you might try a flexible online format. 

What is an Online Sports Management Degree? 

Sports management studies the business of sports. As a result, one often takes a series of management courses. Areas such as marketing, finance, staffing and sports law. These classes help one understand how sports organizations run. When looking through online programs, you may find degrees at all levels. Bachelor’s, master’s and PhDs. 

A bachelor’s is an undergraduate degree. It tends to cover key practices and help students decide on a career path. Graduates often get their start in the industry in an entry level job.

Master’s go deeper into leader skills. Many who go for their degree already work in the industry. But may want to step up into a corporate role. Or, grow the entrepreneurship skills to launch their own sports venture. 

PhDs and doctorates are for the serious student. These programs tend to dive into research and senior level decision making. They may appeal to those who want to teach, consult or direct a global sports business.

At any stage, prospective students might check school accreditation. An accredited institution has a quality mark given after a review by an outside party. Many regionally accredited online colleges also take part in federal and state financial aid programs. These schools may also enable a smooth transfer credit process. Checking a school rankings and graduation rate may also help you gain point of view. These things may shed light on student success rate and any honors that a school receives.

Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management

An online bachelor’s in sport management is an entry level degree. That means it is the standard for many careers in the field. Many schools offer one of two forms. An online bachelor of science (BSc) or bachelor of arts (BA). A BSc may include more managerial finance and accounting. While a BA may cover more sports media and public relations. In both BS and BA programs, online bachelor’s degree students may take about 120 credit hours. This tends to take about four years full time. Many programs end with a capstone.

Online courses at this stage cover a range of general college topics. These often touch on business writing, speaking and liberal arts. Students also take a series of core management topics and electives. In these classes one may study theory and come to see how society and sports interact. Other practical topics cover business and management. These areas often frame how to run a successful sports focused business. Whether a gym, tournament, brand, service or company.

To gain admission, the most common prerequisite is a high school diploma. Online colleges want to see your transcripts. So, you should scout schools to match results with their minimum GPA. Tuition rates across public and private online colleges vary in the United States. Per the NCES, public college tuition averaged $17,797 per year in 2017/18. That contrasts $46,014 (private nonprofit) or $26,261 (private for profit) per year.

Master’s Degree in Sport Management

An online master’s in sport management is a graduate degree. To gain entry, you need a bachelor’s degree and in some cases, GRE scores. There are both master of science (MS) and master of arts (MA) programs. A MS may focus on data and its use in decision making. While a MA may focus on sport media, sales and fundraising. 

Both kinds of programs may entail about 30 to 36 credits. Some involve a thesis which is a final research paper. Completing these credits tends to take about two years. As you look through schools, you may notice many offer anchor points. These may help you grow niche skills (like coaching). Or, hone business savvy for corporate leader roles.

Another variable is tuition. If you attend a public graduate school, tuition and fees may average about $11,617. Since it is an avg., some schools may be more affordable or expensive.

PhD in Sports Management

An online PhD in sports management is the highest level award. It is a research focused degree which aims to draw out original ideas that add value to the field. As such, students often spend the first few years taking classes that cover the field from all sides. Then, move into the research phase to prepare their dissertation. This final paper may come up with a new way to solve a complex issue in sports. 

Not every student wants to teach or research. So other doctorates in this discipline exist. Some center on athletic training and are more clinical. And others may draw out C suite skills for those work in amateur or pro athletics. Depending on the program, you might take about 60 credits of classes. With research this does not often take less than three years.

Admission to a PhD tends to require a bachelor’s and master’s. Apart from your transcripts, many online schools ask for a writing sample, statement, resume and references. As there may be moving parts (teaching practicum is one), not all PhDs are 100% online. Some entail one or a few residencies where students network and may grow hands on skills. 

What can I do with an Online Sports Management Degree?

This degree may leave the playing field open to current and new career paths. Social media and mobile tech are creating a range of new opportunities. From interactive spectators. To fantasy sports, e sports gaming and virtual reality. As many careers are evolving, there may be jobs for all levels of experience. For many of these, a bachelor’s is the standard for entry level sports industry roles. While those who work in higher education, research, and the professional sport industry may need a higher degree. 


A sports agent represents an athlete. They negotiate contracts, salaries, endorsement and other business deals. This takes solid finance skills, so some agents also have a master’s.


PR managers are promoters. Their role is to keep their client’s public image up and create “buzz”. So, they may be in charge of a speech writing, media relations and advertising. Some employers may prefer master’s prepared candidates.


A coach scouts, recruits and trains intercollegiate or professional sports teams. To do this, coaches need to know the rules of the game. And how to bring out the best of their athletes through practice sessions. 


A director oversees athletic programs. They do not tend to work with athletes. Instead, they may set budget, manage coaching staff and policy. Many also arrange sports conferences and track team progress.


Managers take care of all the operations for stadiums, buildings and grounds. They ensure teams have all the proper equipment and supplies. And take care of security, insurance, ticket and merchandise sales. These tasks help games and events run smoothly and safely. 


Event management is all about logistics. Those working in the sports business may have to line up dates, teams, media, staff and finances. Then bring the plans together to ensure clients enjoy the event and that it makes a profit.


An athletic trainer understands bones, muscles and movement. They know how to assess injury and understand the legal aspects of sports. For example, how to create a football program that lines up with concussion rules. 


Marketing specialists in general run campaigns, ads and social media. With sports players and teams, they may also need to understand how to comply with sports laws. Their bottom line efforts may help to drive profits for collegiate and pro sports.

Is an Online Degree in Sports Management worth it?

Expertise in sports mgmt. may yield usable skills, prospects and above average earning potential. Jobs in management are growing faster than average. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that should amount to over a half million new jobs by 2029. Median annual salaries for these paths was $105,660 in May 2019. That’s well above the national norm.

There are a range of jobs that make the sports industry successful. Whether it is running a gym, marketing promo items or selling tickets and memberships. Typical employers may include,

  • Sports leagues, and teams
  • Governance agencies
  • Sports firms
  • Athlete representation 
  • Sporting goods companies
  • Fitness studios
  • Sports PR firms 

Making decisions in all these areas often takes a specific skill set. So, some careers may appeal to those who want to highlight a marketing, media or finance background. While others may enjoy working directly with athletes, teams and fitness programs. 

Online Sports Management Jobs & Salary

Occupation Average Salary Jobs
Sports Agent $97,110 17,060
Public Relations Manager $116,180 8,100
Coach $34,840 34,300
Facilities Manager $96,940 21,200

Top States for Jobs as a Advertising and Promoting Manager

State Jobs Annual Mean Wage
New York 7,840 $184,920
New Jersey 360 $170,040
Delaware N/A $157,510
California 2,670 $149,320
Washington 410 $148,140

What classes will I take with an Online Sports Management Degree Program?

Sports management classes are business focused. Topics may touch on sports merchandising, sales and marketing, and planning for media events. Students may also learn how to make data driven managerial decisions through topics such as:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Sports Law and Risk Management
  • Brand Management
  • Sports Facility Operations
  • Athletic Administration
  • Human Resources (schedule, staffing etc.)

Online students may take many similar classes when going for their degree. But each level is likely to do this in a different way. Here are some of the classes you may find in bachelor’s, master’s and PhD programs. 


The aim at this level is to introduce basic concepts and career opportunities. So, the course work tends to include both theory and its practical uses. Many course plans study business administration ideas and skills. These may dive into managerial themes. How to plan programs, drive sales, lead teams, and market a product, service or venture.

Here are a few samples of other classes you may find at the bachelor’s level.


A survey of management tactics. Plus ways to apply them in physical education and fitness settings. For instance at high schools, private sports clubs and in professional sports.


This class takes a broad look at sports event logistics. How to schedule, run box offices and ticket sales, and concessions. Plus issues like security, safety, medical and cleaning services.


A money matters class. Learners may study costs, assets and how to manage capital. Topics such as short-term financing and budgets are also common. 


This course looks at strategic sport marketing concepts. Including product, price, place, promotion, and PR. These areas may help you understand how to develop a sales marketing plan for a sport product or business.


At these levels, one may refine strategic decision skills. These are often useful in corporate roles. So, classes may explore the tools and savvy used to take the lead in marketing, promotions, finance and PR campaigns. If going for a PhD, expect to round class material out with research methods. These help students delve into an area of interest, write and prepare findings.

Here are several other topics you may find at the graduate level. 


About the link between sport and corporate sponsors. How to align marketing and communication. As well as ways to determine the value of sponsorship activities.


Learn about the sports marketplace. Including the financial and accounting skills needed to draw up a budget. You may also study ownership and what it means to run day to day operations.


This class may look at audio, video, and text capture as well as media analytics. These metrics assess messaging and social engagement. You may study these areas in context of amateur, college and pro sports. 


About sport industry, media, and technology. Learners may look at radio, television, online forums, blogs, and social media. Including their history, function, impact, and ethical issues.

How long does it take to get a Sports Management Degree online?

The time it takes to earn a degree in sports management online varies. As a rule, a bachelor’s is a four year degree. Those with transfer credits from an associate degree may have less time. From there, a master’s or MBA may take anywhere from one to two more years. But time frame depends on enrollment status as many choose a part time format. After a master’s, a PHD or DBA may take close to four years. Many online schools do give longer. 

University Level of Degree # of Credits Required Starts Per Year Minimum Months to Complete
University of Minnesota – Crookston Bachelors 120 3 48
University of Florida Online Bachelor’s 120 3 48
Southern New Hampshire University Bachelor’s 120 6 24
American Public University Master’s 30 12 12
University of Miami Master’s 30 3 20
American University Master’s 30 3 20
Temple University Doctorate 36 3 24
Grand Canyon University PhD 60 Every 8 weeks N/A
Walden University Doctorate 49+ 12 36

15 Schools with Online Sports Management Degrees

Many online colleges offer degree programs in sports management. As a resource guide, start your school search with these 15 schools with online degrees in sports mgmt. at all levels. 

  1. University of Minnesota- Crookston
  2. University of Florida Online 
  3. Southern New Hampshire University
  4.  Mercy College 
  5. Bellevue University 
  6. American Public University 
  7. University of Miami
  8. American University
  9. Concordia University St. Paul
  10. Drexel University 
  11. Temple University
  12. Grand Canyon University 
  13. Walden University 
  14. Troy University 
  15. Northcentral University


We have ranked our top 15 schools based on the number of graduates from the program in 2019. Our process looks at 2019 data from the NCES. And, it may help you narrow your search down.


University of Minnesota – Crookston

Bachelor of Science in Sport and Recreation Management  

Fully Online

U Minnesota’s SRM program entails 120 credits and requires summer terms. As a learner, you study general business areas. Like management, marketing and finance. Then study how they relate to the industry. While taking online courses, there is also an opportunity to build team skills. Some of the classes you might take are,

  • Wellness
  • Sport Law
  • Financial Accounting

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,116
Grad N/A
Special rates available for military students.

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University of Florida 

Bachelor of Science in Sport Management  

Fully Online

UF’s program entails 120 credits. It covers sport management from many areas. Including ethics, marketing, leadership and finance. Learners also take a law class. This may grow a deeper grasp of how tort, contract and constitutional law relate to sports. A few sample topics are,

  • Sport and Society
  • Marketing 
  • Legal Issues

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $5,656 / $18,786
Grad $9,684 / $24,116
Special rates available for military students.

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Southern New Hampshire University

Bachelor of Science in Sports Management

Fully Online

SNHU’s 120 credit program includes two internships. It also features management focused course work. Like how to manage brands and sports facilities. Along side, there is a class in governance which looks at issues of today. Learners in this program may also study,

  • Marketing
  • Sport, Society, Ethics
  • Intro to Sport Mgmt.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $31,136
Grad $18,810
Special rates available for military students.

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Mercy’s program entails 120 credits of which 30 are in business admin. These areas survey finance, accounting, business law and marketing. For the sports mgmt. specialization, learners also study key areas to grow decision skills. A few examples are, 

  • Law (Sports)
  • Finance (Sports)
  • Sport and Society

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $19,594
Grad $16,146
Special rates available for military students.

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Bellevue University 

Bachelor of Arts in Sports Management

Fully Online

Bellevue’s program entails 127 credits. Students take business classes as well as sport industry specific ones. Like marketing, ethics, and legal aspects of sport and physical activity. Along with all your courses, there is one internship. According to the school, it is with a sport or recreation business. A few sample course topics are,

  • Intro to Sports Mgmt.
  • Facility and Event Mgmt.
  • PR and Communications

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $3,866 / $9,246
Grad N/A
Special rates available for military students.

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American Public University

Master of Science in Sports Management  

Fully Online

APU’s 30 credit program offers 8 week long classes. Students take sports law, marketing, PR, finance and event mgmt. classes. There is also the choice of three anchor points. Coaching, Interscholastic Athletic Admin and Sports Leadership. A few examples of the kinds of courses you might take are, 

  • Coaching Theory
  • Sales and Promotion
  • High School Athletic Admin.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $7,324
Grad $6,615
Special rates available for military students.

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University of Miami

Master of Education in Sport Administration

Fully Online

U Miami’s program entails 30 credits. It aims to grow cross functional skills through a pre set series of classes. Learners take classes in many of the key areas needed to lead in the industry. From ethical decisions to finance, marketing, and legal liability. Other potential topics are,

  • Sport Sponsorship
  • Issues in Kinesiology
  • Principles of Sport Mgmt.  

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $51,930
Grad $38,908
Special rates available for military students.

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American University 

Master of Science in Sports Analytics and Management

Fully Online

AU’s 30 credit program focuses on data and using it in strategic ways. Learners study the impact of social media to expand a business’ outreach. And, study to craft business plans that engage people and boost brand visibility. To round things out you may study,

  • Cost Benefit
  • New Technologies
  • Teams and Virtual Teams

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $49,889
Grad $30,351
Special rates available for military students.

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Concordia University St. Paul

Master of Arts in Sport Management  

Fully Online

CSP’s program spans 33 credits. It focuses on effective decision making. So, learners study leadership, finance, and staff and facility resource mgmt. There are also classes that look into concepts of management in a general way. Including strategic planning, marketing and law. A few examples of other course topics are,

  • Sport Finance
  • Ethics and Sociology
  • Sports Sales

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $22,800
Grad $8,550
Special rates available for military students.

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Drexel University

Master of Science in Sport Business

Fully Online

Drexel’s program entails 45 quarter credits and a summer residency. It weaves analytics, strategy and leadership with a sport business core. These cover a range of managerial themes. Marketing, sport law, media/PR and social issues. There are also practical experiences and electives that may span areas such as,

  • Global Marketing
  • Sports Ticket Sales
  • NCAA Compliance

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $54,516
Grad $35,181
Special rates available for military students.

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Temple University

Doctor of Athletic Training  

Fully Online

Temple’ DAT 36 credit program highlights clinical decision skills. It is for current and certified athletic trainers who want to further develop. One of the key areas is concussion and mild traumatic brain injury. There is also an option to earn a teaching certificate at the same time. A few sample classes might include,

  • Evidence Based Decisions
  • Emerging Issues
  • Advanced Sport Concussion

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $16,970 / $29,882
Grad $16,956 / $23,346
Special rates available for military students.

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Grand Canyon University

PhD in Performance Psychology

Online / 2-3 Residencies

GCU’s program entails 60 credits. It is for learners who want to research how and why people think, believe, feel and act certain ways. Then be able to apply this research to the study of peak performance. Aside from courses, students come to campus to work with faculty and peers. Here, they take classes related to their dissertation. Other possible course topics are,

  • Behaviorism
  • Performance Enhancement
  • Psychoanalysis

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $17,800
Grad $11,704
Special rates available for military students.

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Walden University 

Doctor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship

Online / 2 Residencies

Walden’s 49 credit (+) program studies the skills needed for start ups. Along with theory, learners study practical strategies. Including how to identify a market opportunity. There are also classes that discuss risk and how to manage it as well as raise capital. Two residencies put a face to face component to fully online classes. Some of these might explore,

  • B2B Marketing
  • Innovation Mgmt.
  • Business Strategy

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,150
Grad $12,039
Special rates available for military students.

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Troy University

PhD in Sport Management

Fully Online

Troy’s 60 credit program is for the working sport practitioner. It aims to grow research based skills that the modern sports industry uses. These areas help students think in a more analytic way as well as learn how to teach. The course plan includes core topics and advanced statistics. There is also  freedom to anchor your studies in an area of interest. Some of the courses you might take are,

  • Sport Finance
  • Marketing for Sports
  • Organizational Behavior

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $8,908 / $16,708
Grad $8,506 / $16,156
Special rates available for military students.

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Northcentral University

PhD in Sport and Athletic Management

Fully Online

NCU’s program entails 60 credits. It stacks science based classes with research and practical ways to apply these concepts in college athletics. Above all in the areas  of finance, legal, politics and promotions. These areas may help you understand compliance, Title IX, and advertising for the student athlete. You may also explore areas such as,

  • Psychology of Athletic Injury
  • Marketing in Athletics
  • Legal Sides of Coaching

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $11,604
Grad $16,963
Special rates available for military students.

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