Master of Sports Management Degrees

A Masters in Sports Management oversees the business operations of an athletic organization. From educational institutions and professional organizations to non-profits, an understanding of how marketing, event management, and legal decisions impact revenue generation is a cornerstone of a Masters in Sports Management degree.

Many universities offer either online or campus sports management programs, oftentimes with an internship component built into the curriculum. A Masters in Sport Management degree is versatile enough to allow graduates to pursue careers in many different areas within an athletic organization. Many degree programs even offer specializations within specific areas of focus, such as marketing or event management, to give their graduates an edge when job hunting.

A Masters in Sports Management also provides a career network and mentorship opportunities for students to pursue roles in professional, collegiate, or governmental organizations.

Are there online Master of Sport Management degrees available?

Yes, there are multiple high quality universities that offer the opportunity to complete their Masters in Sport Management online while connecting students with internship opportunities in their specialization of interest. The flexibility of an online program is ideal for students interested in working full or part-time while taking classes.

Jump to the list of:

Top program areas within the area of Sport Management Masters

With the many different career paths available to sports management graduates, many schools offer specialized concentrations to help meet the diverse career goals of their students. Most programs offer areas of concentration in:

  1. Collegiate Sports Administration

    Emphasizes logistics of sports administration within an education system such as rules and regulations, community partnerships, event management, and communication strategies. This concentration is geared towards students with the goal of working as athletic directors in most school settings.

  2. Recreation Management

    Focuses on use of public resources for recreational activity. This concentration is ideal for students with the goal of working for governmental or non-profit agencies, as well as private sector fitness companies.

  3. Sport Law and Ethics

    Teaches the legal, sociological, and philosophical history and application within the sports industry. This concentration is designed for students interested in pursuing or whom have already obtained their J.D., as well as students interested in human resources.

  4. Facility and Event Management

    Highlights organizational skills and resources necessary to plan and execute sporting events. While most programs include basic event management education, this concentration elevates those students with the goal of working for annual top sporting events such as PGA or Tennis Majors, Olympic events, elite marathons, and other events of that nature.

  5. Sport Business and Sales

    Utilizes business strategy to increase sales and efficiency within sporting organizations. Students with the goal of working finance or accounting will fit best within this concentration.

List of Top Ranked Online Masters in Sport Management Degrees

#1 University of Florida

Master of Science in Sport Management

The University of Florida offers both online and campus Master of Science in Sport Management degrees. The University of Florida is a public institution with elite NCAA Division 1 athletics in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) college athletic competition. Situated in the College of Health and Human Performance, students can choose a 30-credit thesis or 36-credit non-thesis track with comprehensive examinations. Both thesis and non-thesis track candidates begin their academic curriculum with research intensive core classes followed by 15 credits of required courses. Required courses include sport sociology, sport marketing, sport finance, sport law, and management and leadership in sport. Non-thesis candidates then work with advisors to select 15 credits of elective courses to specialize within their area of interest. Thesis candidates instead begin work on their thesis research for 6 credits.

UF also offers concurrent coursework to complete another degree while pursuing their M.S. in Sport Management, with a Joint Degree program already established for Juris Doctor (JD)/M.S. Sport Management candidates.

Website

#2 Texas A&M University at College Station

Master of Science in Sport Management

Texas A&M at College Station offers both online and campus options of their Master of Science in Sport Management degrees within the College of Education and Human Development. Accredited by NASM and COSMA, Texas A&M offers a 32-credit thesis and 36-credit non-thesis track with comprehensive exams required for both tracks. Both programs start with research-intensive core classes followed by the required courses of management of sport organizations, financial management in sports, ethics in sport organizations, and sport and media communications.

The online program does not have a residency requirement and is still required to complete an internship and practicum approved by Texas A&M.

Website

#3 University of Miami

Master of Science in Education Sport Administration

The University of Miami is a private institution that offers an online Master of Science in Education Sport Administration degree. The NASM accredited 30-credit program can be completed in 20 months and offers internship opportunities while completing coursework. There are 10 required courses that each take 7 weeks to complete. Coursework areas of focus include event and organization management, sport finance, sport marketing and sponsorship, sport law and ethics, leadership in sport, and sport globalization. There is no thesis or comprehensive exam exit requirement.

University of Miami offers mentorship and networking opportunities throughout the 20 month degree.

Website

#4 Georgia Southern University

Master of Science in Sport Management

Georgia Southern University offers an online Master of Science in Sport Management within their Waters College of Health Professions. The 36-credit degree is expected to be completed over two years. There are 24 credits of required courses that cover sport administration, finance and revenue in sport, facility and event management, sport marketing, and sport law. There are 12 credits of elective courses which are guided by an advisor to specialize within an area of the student’s interest. There is no thesis or comprehensive exam exit requirement.

Internship and practicum opportunities are available through Georgia Southern University.

Website

#5 Western Carolina University

Master of Science in Sport Management

Western Carolina University offers one of the few online Master of Science in Sport Management degrees within a business school. Offered within the College of Business, graduates will also earn a certificate in project management. WCU offers a full-time schedule that expects completion of the 30-credit course in 12 months. The part-time schedule expects completion in 24 months. Coursework includes topics such as sport administration, sport finance and economics, sport marketing and communication, and critical issues in sport. The project certificate coursework includes project planning and estimating, project scheduling, risk, and contracts, and project change management. There is a capstone exit requirement.

Students receive credit for their internship experience facilitated by WCU.

Website

Most Affordable Master of Sport Management Degrees

Affordability is an influential factor in the pursuit of all higher education. There are quite a few Masters in Sport Management degrees that offer the best value for their curriculum and practical experience. Below is a complied list of the top 5 most affordable Masters in Sport Management degrees:

#1 Western Carolina University

Master of Science in Sport Management

  • Tuition: $8,720 in-state, $25,348 out-of-state
  • Website

Western Carolina University is a public institution that offers its online Master of Science in Sport Management to in-state students for a total of $8,720. Out-of-state and international students can expect to pay $25,348 total. Military veterans can expect to pay $7,500 total. There is no minimum course load in any semester for students but the program does require graduation within 6 years.

#2 Arkansas State University

Master of Science in Sport Administration

  • Tuition: $11,412 in-state and out-of-state
  • Website

Arkansas State University is a public institution that offers a COSMA-accredited online Master of Science in Sport Management degree for $11,412 total for all students. Students must complete 36 credits total and receive 6 credits for an internship facilitated by Arkansas State. There is no thesis or comprehensive exams exit requirement. Required courses include sport law and ethics, sport marketing and communication, sport finance and budgeting, sport operations, and sport in society.

#3 Indiana State University

Master of Science in Sport Management

  • Tuition: $12,780 in-state, $16,620 out-of-state
  • Website

Indiana State University is a public institution that offers an NASSM-accredited online Master of Science in Sport Management degree for a total of $12,780 for in-state students and $16,620 total for out-of-state and international students. Required coursework includes sport management, sport facility design, administrative theory, sport finance, sport law, sport marketing and communication, sport leadership and a capstone.

#4 Georgia Southern University

Master of Science in Sport Management

  • Tuition: $12,888 in-state and out-of-state
  • Website

Georgia Southern University offers its online Master of Science in Sport Management degree for a total of $12,888 for all students. Students must enroll in 6 consecutive semesters to complete the program in 24 months.

#5 Concordia University at St. Paul

Master of Arts in Sport Management

  • Tuition:$15,675 in-state and out-of-state
  • Website

Concordia University at St. Paul offers an NASSM-accredited online Master of Arts in Sport Management for $15,675 total for all students. Students must complete 33 credits over 18 months. Required coursework includes sport management leadership, sport marketing and communication, sport law and ethics, sport facility and event management, sport finance and sales, and a capstone. Students have the option to study abroad for credit in this program.

Some of the Best Master of Sport Management Degrees: On-Campus Only

The benefits of a campus based program includes spontaneous networking and relationship development within cohorts and with professors. While students trade-in a more flexible schedule, those students that learn best in face-to-face settings may choose to pursue a campus-based Masters in Sports Management degree. The top ranked campus-based programs are listed below:

#1 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Master of Arts in Sport Administration

Often referred to as a “public ivy,” the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the United States. The campus-based NASSM-accredited Masters of Arts in Sports Administration is offered through the Exercise and Sport Science department and features expertly placed graduate assistantships in fields of interests to their students. Coursework includes sport administration, sport law, sport governance and compliance, sport economics and finance, sport marketing, and research statistics. Completion of a thesis is required to graduate. Students are expected to be full-time and finish in 24 months.

UNC offers graduate assistantships that provide a monthly stipend, health insurance, and a waiver for in-state and out-of-state/international tuition. The second year graduate assistantship is within the athletic department as an internship and is required to be completed to graduate.

Website

#2 University of Michigan

Master of Science in Sport Management

The University of Michigan offers a campus-based NASSM-accredited Master of Science in Sport Management that is highly regarded across the country. Facilitated by the School of Kinesiology, the curriculum includes 15 credits of required courses that cover legal aspects of sport, financial management, organizational behavior, and strategy and marketing management. The remaining 15 credits include research and statistics as well as elective courses best suited for areas of student interest. Practical experience includes networking and mentorship opportunities within the Michigan Athletics department.

Website

#3 Columbia University

Master of Science in Sport Management

Columbia University is one of the oldest and most well-regarded schools in the world. Columbia’s campus-based NASSM-accredited M.S. in Sport management expects the 36-credit degree to be completed within 18 months. Required coursework includes four core courses that cover an overview of sport business. Then, students may choose one required course from each of three categories of: Sport Marketing, Sport Finance, and Sports Projects. Finally, the remaining credits will be elective courses within one of three distinct areas of focus: Global Sports, Sports Analytics, and Digital Sports Media and Marketing. The degree concludes with a required internship or project within the athletic department.

Website

#4 Florida State University

Master of Science in Sport Management

Florida State University offers an NASSM-accredited Master of Science in Sport Management on campus. FSU offers either a 34-credit thesis or a 36-credit non-thesis track within their College of Education. The non-thesis track requires completion of an internship within the athletic department to graduate. Both tracks include required courses in sport marketing and media, sport law, and sport operations. The non-thesis track then has the opportunity to choose elective courses based on their area of interest while the thesis track focuses on researching an area of interest in-depth.
Website

#5 Texas A&M University at College Station

Master of Science in Sport Management

Texas A&M at College Station offers both online and campus Master of Science in Sport Management degrees within their College of Education and Human Development. Accredited by NASSM and COSMA, Texas A&M still offers a 32-credit thesis and 36-credit non-thesis track with comprehensive exams required for both tracks in the campus option. Both programs start with research-intensive core classes followed by the required courses of management of sport organizations, financial management in sports, ethics in sport organizations, and sport and media communications.

The campus option continues the requirement of a practicum and internship approved by Texas A&M.

Website

Typical coursework for a Masters in Sports Management

Event Management

Event management teaches the skills necessary to coordinate logistics of resources and staffing of small and large-scale events. Such skills include partnership development, utilization of organizational tools, communication expertise, and risk management. Since sporting events typically include many moving parts, understanding how to plan and execute events is a key component of a Masters in Sport Management degree.

Sport Marketing and Communication

Understanding how to generate excitement surrounding sporting events is a fundamental part of a Masters in Sports Management degree. This includes learning how to design social media strategy, incorporate consumer feedback, and target specific consumer groups. Brand recognition and maintenance helps sport organizations generate revenue and recruit top talent.

Sport Law and Ethics

Legal rules and regulations guide many decisions made by sport organizations. An understanding of historical law rulings in sport helps inform decision-makers and the actions of their organizations. Especially important when working in educational settings, an understanding of legal precedence in sport prevents violations and penalties. Masters in Sport Management graduates act as a consultant in decision-making with this educational background.

Sport Finance and Revenue Generation

Since a Masters in Sports Management utilizes a business perspective in sport, comprehension of accounting and investment is necessary to work to sustain sport organizations. With this course, many Masters in Sport Management learn how to maximize revenue generation and increase efficiency within their organizations.

Sociology of Sport

Sometimes referred to as “Critical Issues in Sport,” or “Sport in Society,” classes of this nature aim to contextualize sport within the larger community. Sports have impact beyond the playing field and as representatives of their future organizations, it is vital for Masters in Sports Management to utilize their platform according to the organization’s mission and values. Courses of this nature aspire to humanize sport and inform the rest of the decision-making process through this lens.

Careers and jobs you can have/do

Whether an online or campus degree, a Masters in Sports Management provides a versatile foundation of knowledge that allows graduates to pursue positions in many different areas of the sport industry. From working in the front office of a professional organization to acting as an athletic director of an educational institution, a Masters in Sports Management provides the tools, resources, and network to set students up for successful careers. Popular career tracks that many Masters of Sports Management graduates have pursued include:

Athletic Director

Acting as an athletic director of any educational intuition, from high schools to Division 1 colleges, requires the highest standard for communication and decision-making. The athletic director ultimately impacts every choice in budgeting, marketing, facility and event management, competitive season, and infrastructure changes. Moreover, the athletic director plays a crucial role in the hiring or removal of coaches and other athletic staff. Lastly, but more than likely the more enjoyable aspect of the job, athletic directors are expected to attend many sporting events hosted by their educational institution. In many ways, the athletic director is the “face” of a school’s athletic department.

Athletic Operations Manager

Managing events is a cornerstone skill of any Masters in Sport Management. For an Athletic Operations Manager, it is their area of expertise. This includes developing and maintaining partnerships with community organizations and companies to supply resources such as seating, tents, food, and medical care. Specialists are typically responsible for logistical details such as parking, entry and exit ways, and event scheduling as well. At any sport event, the Athletic Operations Manager is the “go-to” for all other athletic and support staff on where and when to be in the designated places. Delegation and communication are lauded skills in the Athletic Operations Manager.

Sport Marketing and Communication Specialist

Brand recognition and communication is important for any sport organization. The Sport Marketing and Communication Specialist guides the “voice” of the organization. They are responsible for social media strategy and communicating with sports journalists. They also work closely with the finance department to drive consumer engagement and generate revenue. Oftentimes, this includes creating “meet-and-greet” events for fans, designing giveaway contests, or incentivizing ticket buying through loyalty programs. The Sport Marketing and Communication Specialist also plays a crucial role in engaging with the larger community by creating mutually beneficial partnerships between their organization and other respected faces in the community.

Sport Finance and Accounting Specialist

An understanding of budget and revenue generation drives many roles within the athletic department. However, a Sport Finance and Accounting Specialist is responsible for organizing and communicating all monetary information. They are oftentimes consulted by every other department within an organization to support efficient and productive strategies to meet their goals. They work closely with the athletic director or general manager to create the yearly budget. Sport Finance and Accounting Specialists also play a key role in the long and short-term growth of an organization through investment and recruitment strategies. Lastly, their recommendations maximize profit generation to sustain their organization, which typically act a major source of employment within a community.

Sport Legal Consultant

Rules and regulations govern many of the actions of any sport organization. Therefore, the Sport Legal Consultant acts a resource for many decisions within an organization. In collegiate settings, this includes an unyielding expertise in legislation such as Title IX and NCAA sport recruiting regulations. Many Sport Legal Consultants opt to pursue a joint-degree of J.D. and Masters in Sport Management to act as counsel for sport organizations. However, even without a J.D., Sport Legal Consultants play impactful roles within the Human Resources or Recruiting departments by providing expertise in legal precedents or driving recruiting strategies according to the rule of law and regulation.

Player Development Coordinator

A sometimes forgotten but pivotal role within an athletic organization is the position of Player Development Coordinator. A Player Development Coordinator is responsible for the growth and wellness of every player in an organization. They typically support transitions onto the team and coordinate logistical needs of players. Many players agree that the Player Development Coordinator is one of their most trusted allies within a sport organization. This is because they ensure a players’ needs are met both on and off the field through communication with the athletic staff as well as the surrounding community. They also are a go-to consultant for many coaches when coaches develop strategy for specific players or entire position groups. Player Development Coordinators benefit from a Masters in Sports Management because an understanding of the business operations of an organization guides their strategy for meeting their both players’ and coaches’ needs.