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Best Bachelor’s In Sports Management Online 2021

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Students who enjoy both business and sports can combine their two interests by pursuing a sports management bachelor’s degree. With this degree, there are a wide range of occupations — and accompanying salary ranges — that sports management graduates can pursue once they are ready to enter the workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you become a manager for athletes, the annual wage is about $102,070 per year on average, though it will vary by years of experience, location, and other factors. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can expect an average median salary of about $36,330 per year if you pursue a job as a scout for athletes.

Students generally need 4-6 years to complete a sports management bachelor’s degree. Completion times vary based on factors like personal schedules, credit requirements, and program pace. Learners who want to complete their programs quickly can select a self-paced program with fewer credit requirements, while professionals who must maintain a full-time job during their studies can enroll part-time.

The abundance of sports management degrees means that learners must conduct research to find the best program for them. To aid in that search, we collected data on sports management bachelor’s programs and ranked them based on factors like accreditation status, graduation rates, and affordability. Read on to learn more about the best sports management bachelor’s programs, common courses, concentrations, and scholarships.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Sports Management Degrees


  • What are the career options in sports management?

    Sports managers are often hired by either individual athletes or even by athletic departments. As a sports manager, your job is to help the athletes or clients you work with navigate the business side of the sports world. You can become an athletic director, a sports agent, or athletic facility manager, for example — all of whom help athletes to navigate the business components of sports.


  • Is sports management a good career?

    If you’re passionate about sports and want to share that enjoyment through business practices, community engagement, and public relations opportunities, consider sports management as a viable career path for you. While these jobs can be challenging positions to work in, if you love sports and business, this may be the degree for you.


  • What schools offer sports management degrees?

    You can find sport management undergraduate programs at schools across the country, including Florida International University, University of Florida, Bellevue University, University of Minnesota-Crookston, Averett University, Concordia University-Saint Paul, University of Iowa, Wilmington University, Troy University, and Mercy College. Some programs are available online while others require you to take in-person classes to obtain your degree.


For more details on how we rank schools, see our methodology page.

Top 10 Online Bachelor’s in Sports Management Programs

Rank School Location
1 Florida International University Miami, FL
2 University of Florida-Online Gainesville, FL
3 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
4 University of Minnesota-Crookston Crookston, MN
5 Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs Danville, VA
6 Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN
7 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
8 Wilmington University New Castle, DE
9 Troy University Troy, AL
10 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY

Online Bachelor's in Sports Management Overview

A sports management degree prepares graduates to succeed in multiple roles. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the demand for entertainment and sports occupations to grow 5% between 2018 and 2018. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $45,250 in 2019.

According to the BLS, management professionals earned a median annual salary of $105,660 in 2019 and jobs for these professionals are projected to grow 7% between 2018 and 2028. Some of these positions require a master’s degree in sports management.

Sports management graduates often work as coaches or scouts. The BLS reports that these professionals earned a median annual salary of $34,840 in 2019. The BLS projects jobs for coaches and scouts to grow 11% between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than average.

Sports management graduates who enjoy enforcing game rules can work as officials or referees. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $28,550 in 2019, and the BLS projects the need for umpires, referees, and sports officials to grow 6% between 2018 and 2028.

The exact salary for sports management professionals varies based on geographic location, job type, and years of experience. These professionals can work for large sports organizations, public schools, and colleges. Many sports managers work for just one team, but some oversee multiple teams.

Degree Requirements

In general, it takes about 120 college credits to graduate from a program. This includes meeting the core and degree-specific requirements for your degree plan. If you want to graduate with an online bachelor’s in sports management, you will likely need to have at least a 2.0 GPA to meet program requirements. During your senior semesters, you’ll likely have to complete an internship in sports management to meet the requirements for graduation. 

That said, some programs will require you to meet other requirements or have a much higher GPA, so be sure to research the specific program requirements beforehand. It’s important to know that you can meet the degree requirements before enrolling in a program for this degree. 

Courses in Sports Management

There are a number of courses you may be required to take as part of your degree plan. These can include classes like:

Sports marketing
When you take a sports marketing course, you’ll learn about topics marketing basics, strategy, branding, and public relations. An important part of sports management is being able to maintain your athlete’s or sports team’s brand, and this course will teach you how to do that.
Facility management
Facilities and arenas play a large role in the success of a sporting event. In this type of course, you’ll learn how to plan for an event at a facility, handle ticketing, and how to analyze sporting events.
Sports finance
Your job is to navigate the business side of the sporting world, so you’ll need to have a decent grasp on financing. That’s what a sports finance class can teach you. You’ll learn the concepts and practices of financial management specific to the sports industry in this course, along with other related concepts.
Legal issues in sports
Legal issues in sports play a large role in employment in this field. In this course, you’ll learn the nuances of legal practices and policies as they relate to the sports world. You’ll need to gain an understanding of what legal issues are tied to sports, athlete contracts, and other related areas, and gain insight into how you can navigate the team or athlete you are managing through that system.

Sports marketing

When you take a sports marketing course, you’ll learn about topics marketing basics, strategy, branding, and public relations. An important part of sports management is being able to maintain your athlete’s or sports team’s brand, and this course will teach you how to do that.

Facility management

Facilities and arenas play a large role in the success of a sporting event. In this type of course, you’ll learn how to plan for an event at a facility, handle ticketing, and how to analyze sporting events.

Sports finance

Your job is to navigate the business side of the sporting world, so you’ll need to have a decent grasp on financing. That’s what a sports finance class can teach you. You’ll learn the concepts and practices of financial management specific to the sports industry in this course, along with other related concepts.

Legal issues in sports

Legal issues in sports play a large role in employment in this field. In this course, you’ll learn the nuances of legal practices and policies as they relate to the sports world. You’ll need to gain an understanding of what legal issues are tied to sports, athlete contracts, and other related areas, and gain insight into how you can navigate the team or athlete you are managing through that system. 

Career Path for Sports Management Degree

There are a lot of different directions you can take with a sports management degree. Where you end up will heavily depend on what you want to pursue in terms of a career. 

This is a degree that combines sports and business, which opens up career options in fields like project management, facilities management, sports marketing, sports public relations, or athletic administration. Or, if you want to continue your education, you may opt to pursue a master’s degree in sports management and specialize in an area that makes you more marketable to potential employers. 

Job Outlook & Salary 

While BLS doesn’t provide statistics specific to sports management, there are statistics available for some of the career options you can pursue with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. 

For example, you may want to become a marketing manager for a sports team. The median salary for a marketing manager was $141,490 as of 2019, according to BLS. And, the projected job growth in this field was projected to be about 6% between 2019 and 2029. 

If you want to pursue a career path as a facility manager, the median wage was about $98,890 as of 2019 with a projected job growth rate of about 6% from 2019 to 2029, according to BLS.

Bachelor’s in Sports Management Concentrations

You can pursue a concentration to distinguish themselves from other job candidates. Concentrations allow you to personalize their studies to match your specific career goals.

The sports management field offers multiple concentrations. You should research each school’s concentration offerings before applying. Common sports management concentrations include event management, marketing, sports law, sports media, and sports finance.

Before selecting a concentration, students should consider their ideal job. For example, if you want to work as an event manager for large sporting arenas, you should consider an event management concentration. Learners who want to manage media relations for a team can pursue a sports media concentration.

Bachelor's in Sports Management Scholarships

1. Charles K. Mruk Scholarship

This scholarship awards up to $1,500 to learners studying sports or turf management. The New England Sports Turf Managers Association funds this scholarship and requires that each recipient attends an accredited four-year institution in New England. Applicants must submit a resume, official transcripts, a college budget plan, and a personal essay.

Apply for Scholarship

2. Dr. James Watson Undergraduate Scholarship

This scholarship provides at least $1,250 each year to undergraduate students majoring in sports management. Applicants must submit an electronic application, postsecondary transcripts, recommendation letters from employers and school faculty, a resume, and an essay. Applicants must also enroll in at least six credits per semester.

The Sports Turf Managers Association selects a recipient based on employment experience, academic achievement, and extracurricular activities. The scholarship does not consider financial need.

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3. Kristian J. Rose Memorial Scholarship

The Association of Diversity in Sport (ADS) sponsors this memorial scholarship. The association reserves this award for students studying sports management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who demonstrate financial need and community service involvement. The ADS offers priority to students who have interned at Bay State Games. The award amount varies each year.

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4. Nathan Taylor Dodson Undergraduate Scholarship

The North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, and Sport Management (NCAAHPERD-SM) provides this scholarship to students studying physical education or a related field like sports management. The NCAAHPERD-SM reserves this scholarship for students attending school in North Carolina with a 2.0 GPA.

Each year, the organization alternates between a female and a male recipient from a different school. The alliance only awards one scholarship per North Carolina institution, and applicants must be a member of NCAAHPERD-SM.

Apply for Scholarship

Top 25 Best Value Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Sports Management

  1. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    FIU offers an online bachelor of science in recreation and sport management that prepares graduates for employment in recreation, park, sport, or recreational therapy facilities. Students can choose from tracks in parks management and recreation/sports management.

    FIU's sports management bachelor's program requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Core courses include leisure and recreation in America, inclusive recreation services, program development in recreation and sports, and sociology of sports.

    First-year applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Learners with more than 60 college credits should apply as transfer students and submit all college transcripts. Florida residents receive a tuition discount. The university also offers a BS/MS dual-degree program in recreation. It will take about four years to graduate with your bachelor’s degree from this public university.

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

  2. University of Florida-Online
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UF offers an online bachelor of science in sport management that prepares students to apply marketing and business fundamentals to sports organizations. Graduates can find work as athletic directors, facility managers, sports event managers, and fitness directors.

    UF's sport management bachelor's degree requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Core courses include sports and society, sports facility design and management, business finance, and sports marketing. All students complete a 12-credit internship working 40 hours per week at an approved sports organization or facility in their final semester.

    First-year applicants must have a minimum 2.0 high school GPA and satisfactory ACT or SAT scores. Transfer applicants must have completed at least 60 college-level credits and all prerequisite courses with a minimum 2.2 GPA. It will take about four years to graduate with your bachelor’s degree from this public university.

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

  3. Bellevue University
    Location

    Bellevue, NE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    BU offers an online bachelor of science in sports management that provides students with business skills and acumen relevant to the sports industry. Many students pursue a business minor to compliment the sports management major. This degree also prepares students for sports management master's programs.

    BU's sports management bachelor's degree requires 127 credits and takes four years to complete. Major courses include sports public relations and communication, sports facility and event management, sports marketing, and sports finance. Students must also complete an internship in their junior or senior year.

    First-year applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer applicants must submit all previous college transcripts and have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 to receive transfer credit. All students must complete at least 30 credits through BU. It will take about four years to graduate with your bachelor’s degree from this private university.

    BU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  4. University of Minnesota-Crookston
    Location

    Crookston, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UMC offers an online bachelor of science in sports and recreation management for students aspiring to work with professional, collegiate, or community sports organizations. UMC also offers a coaching minor that pairs well with this major. This program is designed for incoming freshmen, transfer students with associate degrees, and business professionals transitioning into the sports industry.

    UMC's bachelor's in sports management requires 120 credits, including 40 major credits, and takes four years to complete. Major courses include sports law and governance, sports facility and activities management, sports marketing and communication, and psychology of sports. Students are also required to complete an internship with a sports organization.

    UMC does not require ACT or SAT scores for admission. The program evaluates first-year applicants based on a holistic review of high school transcripts, extracurricular activities, personal essays, and recommendation letters. Transfer students must submit all previous college transcripts. It will take about four years to graduate with your bachelor’s degree from this public university.

    UMC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  5. Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs
    Location

    Danville, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Averett offers an online bachelor's in sport management designed for learners looking to enter the business side of the sports industry. The university also offers minors in business administration, leadership, and sociology that pair well with this major.

    This program is part of the university's Individually Designed Education for Adult Learners (IDEAL) program, which allows working professionals to design their own flexible curricula by combining independent study and online courses.

    Applicants must submit all previous high school or college-level transcripts. All prospective transfer students need a minimum 2.0 GPA. Averett also evaluates prior learning and professional experience for credit toward a bachelor degree. It will take about four years to graduate with your bachelor’s degree from this private university.

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

  6. Concordia University-Saint Paul
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    CSP offers an online bachelor's in sport management that provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to run fitness facilities, sports teams, and athletic programs. The degree requires 120 credits, including 44 major credits, and takes four years to complete. Core courses include sociology of sports and exercise, law and sports, marketing and fundraising, and exercise physiology. All students also complete an internship and participate in national conferences, workshops, and clinics.

    First-year applicants must submit high school transcripts. ACT or SAT scores are optional. Transfer applicants must submit all previous college transcripts and must have earned a minimum 2.0 GPA. Transfer students with less than 20 credits must also provide high school transcripts. It will take about four years to graduate with your bachelor’s degree from this private university.

    CSP is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  7. University of Iowa
    Location

    Iowa City, IA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UI offers an online bachelor of science in sport and recreation management for students pursuing a career in college athletic administration, municipal recreation, professional sports organizations, or other business-related roles in the field. Students can choose from eight concentrations in areas such as interscholastic activity administration, event management, coaching and sports instruction, and sports and diversity.

    UI's sport management bachelor's degree requires 120 credits, including 48 major credits, and takes four years to complete. Core courses include sales in sports, managerial operations in sports and recreation, liability in sports and recreation, and sports business practices. Learners must also complete nine credits of a guided or independent field experience. The program offers scholarships to outstanding students. It will take about four years to graduate with your bachelor’s degree from this public university.

    UI is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  8. Wilmington University
    Location

    New Castle, DE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    WilmU offers an online bachelor's in sports management that provides students with an understanding of marketing and media relations, fundraising, facilities and activities coordination, and team operations related to sports and recreation. This program incorporates an internship that helps students gain hands-on experience and make connections in the field.

    WilmU's BS in sports management requires 120 credits, including 39 major core and elective credits, and takes four years to finish. Major courses include sociology of sports, sports media relations, financing sports operations, and science of coaching. Students can pursue an optional concentration in nonprofit management. The program offers a degree-completion track for transfer students with an associate degree from an accredited institution. Applicants must submit transcripts from all previously attended schools. It will take about four years to graduate with your bachelor’s degree from this private university.

    WilmU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  9. Troy University
    Location

    Troy, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Troy offers an online bachelor of science in hospitality, sport, and tourism management with a concentration in sports management. Graduates find work as coaches, scouts, fitness trainers, wellness coordinators, and sports officials.

    This degree requires 120 credits, including 48 major credits, and takes four years to complete. Major courses include leisure in society, sports marketing, governing agencies, case studies in sports management, and facility management. All students must also complete an 18-credit minor of their choice.

    To qualify for unconditional admission, applicants must have a minimum 2.0 high school GPA and minimum 20 ACT score or 1030 SAT score. Prospective students may qualify for conditional admission if they have a 2.5 GPA and 17-19 ACT score or 910 SAT score. Alabama residents receive a tuition discount. It will take about four years to graduate with your bachelor’s degree from this public university.

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

  10. Mercy College
    Location

    Dobbs Ferry, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Mercy offers an online bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in sport management to students who want to work in the sports industry. This program is available entirely online and offers courses in eight-week terms.

    The program's curriculum requires 120 credits, including 30 business administration core credits and 18 sports management specialization credits. Full-time students graduate in four years. Specialization courses in sports management include sports marketing, sports law, sports facility and event management, and sports finance and administration. All students can complete a relevant internship.

    First-year applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer applicants must submit transcripts from all previously attended colleges. Mercy accepts up to 75 transfer credits from two-year schools and up to 90 credits from four-year schools. It will take about four years to graduate with your bachelor’s degree from this private university.

    Mercy is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Related Degrees

Curious about what degrees are similar to a bachelor’s in sports management? Related degree options include:

  • Rehabilitation and sports science: If the health and science aspect of the sports world fascinate you more than the business side, a rehabilitation and sports science degree might be the right choice for you. With this type of degree, you’ll turn your focus toward athletic training, injury prevention, and sports psychology. After graduation, you may find opportunities in athletic training or working for organizations such as universities, fitness centers, and rehabilitation centers.
  • Marketing/public relations: If you like the idea of showcasing a team or athletes to the public, you may want to consider a degree in marketing or public relations. This degree track teaches you about how to best strengthen the brand for sports organizations (and any other organization) you’re working for. With this type of degree, you can become a marketing manager or public relations specialist.
  • Business: If you want to work on the business side of sports, chances are you’ll be handling the business side of things for the sports organization you work for, so it makes sense to go to school to solely focus on business. If you feel you have a good grasp of the sports industry, you might consider pursuing a degree in business. As an undergraduate student, you could even make sports management your concentration and get an internship with a sports team or organization. With this degree, you could become a financial and contract analyst or athletic administrator.

Methodology: Here’s How We Rank Schools

At Best Value Schools, we help students of all ages get the best possible value for their education. When choosing the best schools and programs, we prioritize tuition rates, student debt, financial aid opportunities, graduation rates, and the availability of online programs. 

We source unbiased data from government and educational databases like the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 6,374 schools across the U.S. We organize that data into five weighted categories to compile our school rankings.

MetricData UsedPercentage
Academic QualityFull-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates25%
AffordabilityTuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid35%
ReputationAdmission and enrollment rates15%
Program OfferingsNumber of program options10%
Online Enrollment ScorePortion of learners taking at least one online course15%

You can read more about our comprehensive evaluation process on our methodology page

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Amanda Push

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Amanda Push is a freelance writer who covers education topics for Best Value Schools, Grad School Hub, and Criminal Justice Degree Schools, and others. Her writing has also been featured at TheSimpleDollar.com, Interest.com, MyMove.com, and Safety.com.

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