You don’t have to be an athlete to work for a winning team. There’s a business side to sports, and it’s the perfect fit if you have a love of athletics and an interest in business strategy. An online sports management bachelor’s degree can provide the skill set you’ll need to excel as a sports marketing director, facilities manager, or event planner.
Online sports degrees provide you with flexible options to fit studies into your busy life — without having to take a “time out” from your other obligations. To help you find the right school for your needs, read on to access our list of the top accredited online sports management degree programs at an affordable price. We’ve profiled three of the best online bachelor’s degree programs in sports management for now, but check back later in 2023 for our full list.
University of Louisville
The University of Louisville offers a 100%-online sports management bachelor’s degree. This program is ideal for those who want maximum flexibility built into their studies. This program encourages students to think critically as they approach current issues in the sports industry and within organizations, communities, and the world. Coursework incorporates a combination of instructor-led classes, hands-on industry experience, and a career-focused curriculum. Students emerge from the program prepared to take on jobs as administrators in the sports business.
The core curriculum includes 27 credit hours of study in administration, finance, economics, marketing, and law. Students can tailor their degree with nine hours of electives from specialty courses, including classes in sport and film, athletics in higher education, and data and analytics in sport. Throughout the program, students have the opportunity to interact with industry experts, including distinguished faculty members and guest lecturers from leading sports business organizations.
- Bachelor of Science in Sport Administration
- Credits: 123
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $514 per credit
- Mode: Fully Online
- Accreditation: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Arizona State University
Students interested in online sports degrees should consider the online bachelor of arts in business with a concentration in sports business from Arizona State University (ASU). All classes are available asynchronously, so students can complete required coursework whenever it best suits their unique schedules. Each online course also provides access to a dedicated community forum where students can interact with classmates and professors.
The online sports management bachelor’s degree program is part of ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business, meaning students receive a high-quality business education through the lens of sports. Coursework covers general business principles and theory including communication in business, mathematics for business analysis, and marketing. The curriculum also covers sport-centered business classes like fan behavior and sports marketing. Thanks to Arizona State University’s accelerated online course format, each of the courses in this program takes just 7.5 weeks to complete.
- Bachelor of Arts in Business — Sports Business
- Credits: 120
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $552 per credit
- Mode: Fully Online
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Southern New Hampshire University
The bachelor of science in sports management degree offered by Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers students a flexible way to earn their degree entirely online. SNHU’s mission is to remove common barriers students encounter while working toward a bachelor’s degree. This begins with the admissions process, where applicants are not required to pay fees or submit SAT/ACT scores. Once a student has been admitted to the online sports management degree program, they are not required to attend class at specific meeting times. Instead, they can access class material 24/7 to complete the required coursework. After completing 30 credit hours of core business courses and 24 credits in the sports management major, students may choose a specialized area of study with 18 credit hours in elective courses. Before graduation, Southern New Hampshire University requires sports management majors to complete an internship or online-based experiential course to gain real-world experience.
- Bachelor of Science in Sports Management
- Credits: 120
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $320 per credit
- Mode: Fully Online, optional in-person internship
- Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE); Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
What You’ll Learn in Your Online Sports Management Degree Program
There’s more to sports than what happens on the field. In an online sports management degree program, you’ll learn about the business behind the industry’s teams, events, and facilities. You’ll start with introductory marketing, finance, management, and law classes. As you progress to higher-level coursework, you’ll dive deeper into applying those concepts to sports business strategy, operations, and success.
Careers in sports management are wide-ranging in scope, with graduates taking on diverse roles in everything from sports administration to marketing and sales. When you graduate from an online sports management degree program, you’ll be ready to apply the fundamentals of business and management to any of these roles within the wide world of sports.
Main Topics You’ll Cover
- Leadership and management
- Legal aspects of sport
- Psychology of fan behavior and engagement
- Sports event planning
- Financial principles and accounting
- Sports marketing
Lower Division Curriculum (Years 1 and 2)
During the first two years of an online sports management bachelor’s degree program, you’ll build a foundational understanding of general management, communication, and financial skills. You’ll also take your first introductory courses directly related to the sports management field. During these years, you’ll gain a broad understanding of key business competencies and sport management topics at the beginner level.
- Introduction to Sport Management: This is an introductory course to the field of sport management. Students learn about the history and foundations of sport management, different types of sports programs, and potential careers in the industry.
- Principles of Marketing: This class serves as an entry point to fundamental marketing theories, concepts, and competencies. Students learn how to determine target markets and convey value to customers. They also gain practical skills in branding, social media, and promotion.
- Financial Accounting: This course develops students’ understanding of core accounting principles. Topics covered include accounting information systems, accounting concepts, and recording transactions. By the end of the course, students will know how to identify and report assets, liabilities, and equity correctly.
- Sport Ethics: Coursework provides an overview of the current issues and trends within sports administration. You’ll study relevant current events, significant issues of the past, and controversies within sports. Students also obtain a greater understanding of these issues within the larger context of socio-cultural ethics and morality.
- Public Speaking: You’ll learn a foundational skill for any business-related field where students practice the tools of effective verbal and non-verbal communication through giving formal speeches. Throughout the course, students are guided in preparing and delivering impactful presentations.
Upper Division Curriculum (Years 3 and 4)
After the first two years of foundational study, students specialize in sport management courses and topics that translate to job-ready skills. They’ll build on the basic principles learned in lower division management, finance, and marketing courses, transferring those skills directly into sport management settings. As they complete these courses, students learn how to directly manage sports facilities, events, budgets, and teams.
- Sports Facility & Event Management: This is an in-depth course on managing sports events and facilities. Students learn more about the various types of facilities and how they are designed and maintained. Core competencies include event facility management, daily operations, practical skills in sports event planning, and risk management.
- Sports Marketing: This class builds the promotional and marketing skills necessary to support the sports industry, from ticket pricing to marketing strategy. Though students learn these principles in a sports context, they gain experience in branding, marketing, and promotion that can translate to several fields.
- Sports Law: This is a primer on the most pressing legal issues facing sports industries and how to answer them from a managerial standpoint. Students learn about their lawful duties, the rights and responsibilities of sports managers, and the best practices of liability prevention.
- Budgeting & Finance in Sport: This course extends basic accounting practices into the sport management arena. Topics include basic financial concepts, budgeting, and managerial best practices. Students learn to manage cash and assets, make financial decisions, and navigate the budget approval process.
- Sports Management & Leadership: You’ll apply management theories and concepts to the sports industry and its various organizations in this course. Students develop their leadership abilities in creative problem-solving, managerial skills, and strategic planning.
Admissions: Getting into a Top Online Sports Management Degree Program
If you want to get an online sports management bachelor’s degree, plan ahead to make sure you have everything you need for the application process. When applying for online sports degrees, the application is similar to what you’ll find when applying for any traditional or online bachelor’s degree program. In most cases, you’ll need to submit a formal application, standardized test scores, transcripts from your previous schools, and a personal essay.
Here are some of the most common admissions criteria for online sports degrees:
- Complete an online application
- Pay any associated application fees
- Provide ACT/SAT scores
- Submit previous transcripts with a GPA of 2.5 or above
- Write a personal essay
Specific top-tier online sports degrees may maintain higher admittance thresholds for new students. Additionally, keep in mind that online sports management bachelor’s degree programs are often part of a college or university’s school of business. This is important to note because business school degree programs often have higher admission criteria than other programs within the same school.
Target test scores and GPA can vary by school, so double-check admission requirements before applying. Some schools are quite competitive; Arizona State University only admits applicants who were in the top 25% of their graduating class, had a 3.0 GPA, and scored a minimum 22 (in-state) or 24 (out-of-state) on the ACT.
Paying for Your Online Sports Management Degree: Costs and Financial Aid
Obtaining a college education is a costly pursuit. An online sports management bachelor’s degree will take at least 120 credits to complete, and the cost per credit hour typically ranges from $300-$550. Consider your financial options beforehand so an unpaid tuition bill doesn’t stand between you and your online sports management bachelor’s degree.
On the upside, online sports degrees cost less overall than going the traditional route for your bachelor’s degree. Online tuition costs are often lower overall, and many schools extend in-state tuition rates to all students, regardless of residency. Plus, online students have the added financial benefit of skipping out on on-campus costs like housing and dining.
Below, we’ve gathered tuition data from five real-life online sports management degree programs. A glance at this table can give you a clearer idea of the overall cost associated with online sports degrees. In general, public university tuition is slightly lower than private school. However, each of the following schools offers one flat tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state students alike.
|School Name||School Type||Total Credits||In-State||Out-of-State|
|McKendree University||Private not-for-profit||123||$405 / credit||$405 / credit|
|Eastern Kentucky University||Public||120||$421 / credit||$421 / credit|
|Grand Canyon University||Private for-profit||120||$485 / credit||$485 / credit|
|Bellevue University||Private not-for-profit||127||$440 / credit||$440 / credit|
|Louisiana State University||Public||120||$379 / credit||$379 / credit|
It’s a good idea to start researching financial aid as soon as you’ve decided to apply for an online sports management bachelor’s degree. Government loans and scholarships are available to undergraduate students. Plus, you might be eligible to receive additional funds from an individual school, like The University of Louisville’s Spencer Gavin Aiello Scholarship. Independent organizations in your field may also award scholarships, such as the Lineups.com Future of Sports Scholarship.
FAQs About Earning Your Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management Online
Are online sports management degree programs offered 100% online?
Yes, you can earn a bachelor’s degree in sports management entirely online. Online programs are designed for maximum student flexibility, so choose a program that best fits your needs. While some programs meet in real-time virtual classrooms, others consist of pre-recorded lectures that students can complete at a time of their own choosing. Students complete assignments on their own time but must meet deadlines set by the course instructor.
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in sports management?
Sports management is a diverse field, and there are numerous career possibilities for those who earn an online sports management bachelor’s degree. You can apply the skills you learn during your degree program to a number of positions, from managing sporting facilities to marketing the events that take place in them. Some potential job titles you could have include:
- Sports director
- Event manager
- Recreation program director
- Marketing director
- Facility manager
Is earning a sports management degree worth it?
If you want to work as a professional in the sports industry, online sports degrees are worth exploring. Payscale.com reports the average base salary is $56,000 per year for those with a bachelor’s degree in sports management, but you could earn considerably more depending on your job title and experience. Plus, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment in entertainment and sports occupations is expected to grow 13% by 2031, which is much faster than average.
What accreditation should I look for in a sports management degree program?
Always check a school’s accreditation status when applying for an online sports management bachelor’s degree. National or regional authorities may accredit schools; regional accreditation holds schools to a more rigorous standard and is a reliable indicator of a quality school. Generally, online degrees are accredited by the same regional accrediting body as on-campus programs. If an online sports management degree is part of a college’s business school, it may also hold programmatic accreditation from the AACSB, ACBSP, or International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).
How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s degree in sports management?
It depends. For students who attend classes full time, most programs will take four years to complete. However, if you opt for part-time study, it could take five to six years to graduate. Some programs offer accelerated courses that are seven to eight weeks in length. By combining shorter course lengths with accelerated formats, you may be able to graduate in fewer than four years.
Employment Outlook with a Sports Management Degree
Sports management-related careers boast a high growth trajectory over the next 10 years. Many jobs are projected to experience rapid growth, with some expected to increase as much as 18-20%.
Depending on your chosen career path, you could earn a six-figure salary. Those who capitalize on marketing and public relations skills earn the highest wages among sports management grads, with administrative services and facilities managers coming in a close third place. Check out the table below for in-depth data on salary and growth potential for five representative careers in the field.
|Career||Median Annual Earnings (2021)||Job Growth (2020-2030)|
|Coaches and Scouts||$38,970||20%|
|Administrative Services and Facilities Managers||$99,290||7%|
|Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers||$133,380||10%|
|Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners||$49,470||18%|
|Public Relations and Fundraising Managers||$119,860||8%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics