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A master’s in sports management degree prepares students for a wide range of sports-related career options: coaches and scouts, facilities directors, sports marketing managers, contract negotiation managers, athletic directors, and sports data analysts.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in entertainment and sports occupations is expected to grow by 13% through 2031. For coaches and scouts, who earn a median annual salary of $38,970, the projected growth is 20%. Facilities managers and directors can expect to earn a median salary of $99,290, while those who work in marketing make $133,380.

Students typically need to earn a minimum of 36 credit hours for a master’s in sports management. According to, the average overall cost of a master’s degree is $65,134, although there are numerous factors that determine a program’s cost.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Sports Management Program

Choose your area of study

Defining your goals in terms of what you want to learn and what kind of jobs you want to be eligible for will help focus your search on appropriate schools and programs. Sports management is a broad field encompassing business, law, leadership and management, marketing, event planning, and more. If a specific area interests you, seek out programs that offer elective courses or a concentration in that area.

Students will also see that there are several different types of sports management master’s degrees available, including a Master of Science (MS), Master of Arts (MA), and Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in sports management. Each type of degree offers a different theoretical and practical approach to the study of sports management.

This is also a good time for students to reflect on their individual needs, including whether they want an asynchronous or synchronous program, full-time or part-time enrollment, and any kind of in-person experiential learning. Setting these parameters will help narrow your search to programs that meet your needs.

Research schools and programs

Once students begin their research, they should verify that schools and programs are accredited. For schools, this means accreditation by a recognized regional accrediting agency. At the program level, the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) accredits degree programs. Accreditation is important because it confirms that a school and program meets high standards of quality and also makes students eligible for financial aid and future job opportunities.

Create a list of questions to get answered as you conduct your research, including:

  • What is the interaction level between online students with faculty and other students?
  • What are the program’s core courses? Are there electives or concentrations available?
  • Are courses delivered synchronously or asynchronously?
  • What internship opportunities are available?
  • What kind of support services are available to online students, such as technical support, tutoring, academic and career advising, and counseling?
  • Who are the faculty, and what are their credentials?

Most schools will publish some or all of this information on their websites. Students can also learn more about programs by contacting the department or admissions office. For online programs, find out if there are virtual open houses or information sessions so you can speak to students, faculty, and other program representatives. Many schools and programs have social media accounts where prospective students can also get more information.

Prepare for tests and applications

Find out from the school’s admissions office what the application requirements and processes are, including any eligibility criteria. For a master’s in sports management, this may include a bachelor’s degree in a related field of study, a minimum undergraduate GPA, relevant undergraduate coursework, or professional experience in the field.

In terms of application materials, each school sets its own requirements. A typical master’s application includes the following:

  • Completed application and required fees
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended
  • Letters of recommendation from current or former professors, work supervisors, or colleagues
  • A personal statement or essay detailing interest in the program and why you’d be a good fit
  • Resume/CV highlighting relevant professional and educational experience
  • GRE or GMAT scores

Select your program

As you research various programs, eliminate those that don’t meet your needs in terms of curriculum, cost, or structure. Apply to any schools that do align with your needs and interests. There’s no right or wrong number of programs to apply to, but keep in mind that most schools charge application fees, which can quickly add up.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

There are many different ways to pay for an online master’s in sports management. Students should connect with a financial aid counselor to get an accurate overall cost of the program, including tuition and school fees, as well as learn more about financial aid options.

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will help schools determine what kind of need-based aid, such as loans, grants, work-study, and scholarships, students are eligible for. Schools and external organizations may also offer merit-based aid like grants, scholarships, and fellowships to high-performing students.

If students will be working while enrolled in a program, they should check with their employer about tuition assistance benefits. Likewise, active-duty service members and veterans can inquire with schools about GI Bill benefits and military tuition discounts.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Sports Management Programs

Best Master's in Sports Management Programs

Liberty University

Arkansas State University

Troy University

Ohio University

Louisiana State University

Wingate University

Van Loan School at Endicott College

University of Louisville

Western Carolina University

University of Southern Mississippi

Northeastern University

University of Indianapolis

Texas A&M University

Georgia Southern University

American University

Georgetown University

Old Dominion University

University of Florida

Northwestern University

Campbellsville University

Fresno Pacific University

The University of Texas at Austin

Adrian College

Gonzaga University

Virginia Commonwealth University

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Concordia University at St. Paul

Mississippi College

Wayne State University

Canisius College

California University of Pennsylvania

University of South Alabama

Jacksonville State University

Texas Woman's University

Belhaven University

The University of Miami

University of Northern Colorado

Southern New Hampshire University

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

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How We Rank Schools

This list features some of the best online Master’s in Sports Management programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. Many of the schools on our list have been accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation, which assesses the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of sports management-related programs.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online Master’s in Sports Management programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications, including U.S. News & World Report, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Sports Management Program?

Depending on the type of degree, students will be expected to earn 30-40 credits for their master’s in sports management degree.

The curriculum for a sports management degree is typically built around core coursework in specific areas, such as:

  • Business management. The basics of business management, human resources management, operations management, and financial management are always a focus.
  • Marketing strategy. This course covers concepts such as market research, promotion, pricing, and product development.
  • Sports administration. The different facets of sports administration include facility management, human resources management, and event management.
  • Communication theory. Students concentrate on the many dissimilar aspects of sports administration and the best ways of managing sports organizations.

Besides this general core coursework, many programs provide a variety of specializations that allow students to focus on a specific area of sports management, such as sports ethics, sports finance, or sports law.

These programs often require an internship, providing firsthand experience and networking with others in the field.

Potential courses you’ll take to earn your online master’s in sports management degree

  • Sports Law, Contracts, and Negotiations. An in-depth analysis of ethical and legal issues in professional sports presents the student with a variety of issues to explore, including labor law, antitrust exemption, free agency, arbitration, athlete representation, collective bargaining, and salary cap administration.
  • Sports Sales, Sponsorship, and Revenue Development. The study of strategies used to sell and generate revenue in the sports business cycle includes sales, sponsor solicitation, licensing rights, new business development, sales proposal development, merchandising, endorsements, corporate partnerships of technology, and corporate partnerships. The class introduces structures, practices, relationships, and current global sports media trends.
  • Strategic Sports Marketing. The course discusses marketing and communication techniques, concepts, issues, and methods related to sports organizations. Content focuses on an applied outline that will leverage sports to connect consumers and brands in a measurable manner. The course’s ultimate goal is to instill the student with a strategic, technical, and conceptual understanding of sports communication and marketing.
  • The Business of Global Sporting Events. Students learn many business aspects of hosting major sporting events like the Olympics, Super Bowl, or World Cup. Competition existing in the global events industry is covered. An understanding is acquired of the practical application of managerial, organizational, and educational leadership.

Online Master’s Degree in Sports Management Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in sports management degree program?

Start by confirming application requirements, procedures, and deadlines with the schools you’re considering. This information is typically available on the school’s website, or you can speak to an admissions counselor.

Maintaining a spreadsheet or checklist of requirements and due dates can be helpful. Most schools accept applications and supporting materials through their website. It’s common for schools to request official transcripts sent directly from other schools you’ve previously attended.

Depending on the program, they may accept applications on a rolling basis or have a hard deadline. Failure to submit applications and other required materials by deadlines can impact a student’s ability to enroll in their desired start term.

How much does an online master’s in sports management degree cost?

On average, the full cost of a master’s degree is $65,134, according to However, there are many factors that influence how much a student spends on their master’s degree. For the most accurate information about program costs, students should always speak to a financial aid representative at their school.

Students should be prepared for costs beyond tuition, including fees for student support services, virtual classroom technology, and academic resources. They may also need to budget for updated computers and reliable internet access.

At the same time, there are some cost savings to be had with an online program. Students who are learning remotely have more flexibility to live in an affordable area, and they don’t have to spend money on gas, parking, or public transportation to attend in-person classes.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in sports management degree?

The length of time to earn a master’s degree in sports management online varies depending on the institution. Most programs are geared toward two years.

The number of credits a student takes each semester will determine the time of completion. Those enrolled full-time with 12 to 15 credits each semester would usually finish in 18 months. A light load of credits, nine to 12, might necessitate 24 months to complete. Some schools offer accelerated degrees online, requiring more credits per term than traditional programs. A lot of sports management programs ask students to fulfill an internship. The length of an internship varies and could increase the amount of time it takes to receive a degree.