Depending on the level of degree you are seeking, there are 20+ sports degree program tracks available, many of them listed below, located in the state of California. While the majority of undergraduate and graduate degrees in California are administered on-campus, there are a few select online Masters degrees in Sport Management offered from universities and their accompanying campuses based in California.
All accredited by one or more accreditation body, these programs all have the ability and tools to elevate your understanding of the sports business and sports industry management landscape and prepare you to either enter the job market for the first time or move up to a higher rung on the corporate ladder. With their hands-on experiences and connections to university athletics departments, sports agencies, professional teams and beyond, students will leave these programs prepared for competition.
Consider an online program currently accepting applicants.
|University of West Florida
|Bachelor||Online Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences
100% online, become an occupational therapist, nutritionist or physician assistant with further education.
|University of West Florida
|Bachelor||Online Master of Movement Sciences & Health – Physical Education and Sports Performance
Two specializations: Exercise Science, and Physical Education and Sports Performance.
|University of Saint Mary
|Bachelor||Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science
CAPTE Accredited, ACE and NSCA Certification Prep.
|East Central University
|Master||Master of Education in Sports Administration
Prepares professional educators for athletic leadership positions such as head coach or athletic director.
|East Central University
|Bachelor||Online Bachelors in Kinesiology
100% online, 80-hour practicum.
Jump to the complete list of sports degrees in California:
- California Associate and Bachelors in sports programs
- California Masters and Doctorate in sport programs
In Depth Review of the Best Sports Degrees in California
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo - B.S. with Concentration in Sport & Recreation Management
Because this degree falls under Cal Poly's Experience Industry Management program within the College of Agriculture, Food, & Environmental Sciences, it has one of the most robust options for elective courses of any Sport Management concentration on the market. Students have unique course selections to choose from such as: Specialized Operations for Golf Courses and Athletic Fields, Turfgrass Management, Directed Field Experience, Festival and Event Management, Visitor Services in Experience Industry Management, Parks and Public Spaces, Responding to Emergencies and many, many, more! This is a NASSM accredited program. Additionally, tuition and all associated room, board, meal plan, and fees at Cal Poly run around $47,000 total per year for those students residing outside the state of California. With just over 21,000 undergraduate students enrolled last year, San Luis Obispo's ranking in their region, according to the 2022 edition of Best Colleges, was #2.
California State University, Fresno - B.S. & M.S. Kinesiology with Emphasis in Sport Administration
This NASSM accredited university offers an undergraduate and graduate option in Sports Administration under the Department of Kinesiology umbrella. Because of that association, these degrees dip heavily into movement science and exercise principals. A subsection of activity courses are offered as electives, of which students in these degree programs must complete 12 hours. Activity classes are dynamic and diverse (aquatics, dance, team sports., etc.), not to mention fun and a quality workout. Worth noting, Fresno also offers degree emphasis in Exercise Science and Sport Psychology, as well as a minor in Sports Coaching if a student's interests reach outside of Sport Administration. The facilities at Fresno offer a gymnasium; 12 tennis courts; tumbling/gymnastics modalities; a weight lifting and cardio room; two dance/yoga studios; an all-weather track; multi-purpose fields for softball, soccer, football, ultimate Frisbee, and golf; and a swimming complex. These well-equipped, instructional, and research labs offer students a very in-depth and hands-on bio-metrics education and experience.
Pepperdine University - B.A. in Sport Administration
While also NASSM accredited, Pepperdine is uniquely known for it's foundation rooted in the Christian faith. Their Sport Administration mission statement states, "This major is designed to provide a strong Christian foundation of moral and ethical behavior combined with quality academic preparation to immediately enter the industry or continue academic preparation in graduate school. As sports administration majors study this process, they discover the fundamental influence sports have on social justice issues. Christians look to God's teachings and Christ's example to encourage redemption, peace, harmony, justice and love in all aspects of life, including one's profession. Sports can be a significant contributor to the betterment of humanity. Christians may approach specific issues of operations or public policy differently, but they maintain a fundamental calling to do God's will. This major will challenge students to assess how their faith is foundational to their leadership." This religious component paired with a small 13:1 student to professor ratio provides an intimate environment to learn. Global experience is also a central theme to the Pepperdine education as 80% of students participate in a university sponsored international program. A demanding program with accountability measures built in, graduates from Pepperdine enter the workforce with confidence not just in their work, but in who they are becoming as people.
Associate and Bachelors Sport Degrees in California
|Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo||Bachelor's with a concentration in Sport Management|
|California Lutheran University||Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Sports Management|
|California State University, Fresno||B.S. Kinesiology: Emphasis in Sport Administration|
|California State University, Northridge||B.S. in Tourism, Hospitality, and Recreation Management|
|Concordia University Irvine||B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Sport Management|
|Hope International University||B.A. Business & Management - Sports Management|
|Menlo College||Bachelor's in Management with concentration in Sport Management|
|Pepperdine University||B.A. in Sport Administration|
|University of Pacific||B.A. in Sport Sciences - Concentration in Sport Management|
|Whittier College||Bachelors in Kinesiology and Nutrition Science with an emphasis in Sport Management|
Graduate: Doctorate and Masters Sport Degrees in California
|California State University, Dominguez Hills||Online Certificate in Sport Management|
|California State University, Fresno||M.A. Kinesiology: Sport Administration|
|California State University, Long Beach||MA in Kinesiology: Sport Management|
|California State University, Long Beach||Master in Sport Management|
|California State University, Northridge||M.S. in Tourism, Hospitality, and Recreation Management|
|Fresno Pacific University||Online Masters in Sport Administration|
|San Diego State University||MBA in Sport Business Management|
|San Jose State University||M.A. in Kinesiology - Concentration in Sport Management|
|University of Pacific||M.A. Sport Sciences - Concentration in Sport Management|
Top Organizations for Sports in California
With headquarters in San Francisco, The Athletic is a subscription-based model sports website that provides ad-free local, regional, and national coverage in 47 of North America’s biggest cities as well as in the United Kingdom. Born in 2016, The Athletic is a private company with over 600 employees and was very recently purchased by The New York Times. National sport coverage is a central theme of The Athletic’s content, from top professional and college sports (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, NASCAR, NCAA Football & Basketball, MLS, MMA, and association football (U.K.). The site’s coverage aims to achieve the perfect mix of long-form journalism, original reporting, and in-depth analysis while reaching those non-local fans who aren’t reached by their local newspaper or primary news source.
California Parks and Recreation Society
More focused on the parks a recreation side of sport management, The California Park & Recreation Society’s mission is to push the education, networking, resources and advocacy for the parks and recreation industry forward. At their core, CPRS members are committed to improving people’s lives. But also, CPRS strives to educate policy makers so they are more well-informed and motivated to vote with the underlying knowledge that parks and recreation is an essential community service. Founded in 1946, CPRS is a non-profit, professional and public interest organization with over 4,000 members – a membership that is well-distributed in that 86% of parks and recreation agencies in California have at least one CPRS individual member represented. Their website includes a job board that houses a wide variety of parks and recreation career opportunities at locations all across the state.
Professional Sports Teams
California is one of the most robust landscapes in the world of professional sports. Amongst the 5 most popular leagues (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS) the state alone is home to these 18 teams; this does not even include their female counterparts!
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Los Angeles Rams
- San Francisco 49ers
- Anaheim Ducks
- Los Angeles Kings
- San Jose Sharks
- Los Angeles Angels
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Oakland Athletics
- San Diego Padres
- San Francisco Giants
- Golden State Warriors
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Sacramento Kings
- LA Galaxy
- Los Angeles FC
- San Jose Earthquakes
From internships while still enrolled in a degree program to full-time work, each of these teams has a large team working tirelessly behind the scenes. From concessions and merchandise sales associates, to sponsorship sales, game-day promotions, fan experience and equipment management, to sports information, directors of operations, turf crews, and a full C suite of financial and strategy gurus, each of these teams runs with a full corporate structure similar to many other, more traditional, corporations.
A Career in Sports in California
It’s clear – California covers a large area and with its beautiful scenery and mild climate, sports (and professions within them) are continuing to grow and thrive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are roughly the number of employees currently working within sectors tied to sports business and their mean salary. These numbers, of course, vary widely by company or team and level of work and experience.
- Entertainment and Recreation Management – $71,000 at $154,000
- Athlete Agents and Managers – $13,000 at $102,000
- Facilities Managers – $41,000 at $115,000
- Marketing and Advertising Managers – $44,000 at $160,000
- Coaches and Scouts – $21,000 at $50,000
- Media and Communications – $7,000 at $60,000
Source: BLS Website