Online Masters Programs in Sports Management

Online Masters Programs in Sports Management

Earning an online sports management degree could prepare you to use effective best business strategies to improve the profitability of organizations in the sports industry. Subject matter might include business development, brand building, and event planning.

By choosing to earn your degree online you may be able to learn from a diverse group of top professors and students from all around the world. This may give you a chance to learn about different sports and how they impact their respective cultures (such as cricket in India or soccer in Brazil). Plus you could access your classes whenever and wherever convenient. This might allow you to pursue your education without sacrificing your lifestyle.

Sports management is the business side of sports and recreation. This includes professional leagues, intercollegiate athletics, recreational sports, clothing, sports marketing, and a number of other sports-related industries. As a result, many sports management graduate programs cover leadership and business acumen, as well as how sports organizations develop strategies for profitability and problem solving.

Online Sports Management Degree

written by Rana Waxman

What You’ll Learn In an Online Sports Management Degree Program

While pursuing an online sports management degree, you might focus on developing analytical, communication, and business skills.  Programs should also help you attain a complete understanding of the ethical conduct, principles, and values of sports.

In order to earn a masters in sports management, most programs will require you to take a number of general business courses. Normally, programs also require you take a number of courses that teach how to use those successful business strategies and apply them specifically to the sports industry.

Some of the specific topics you may study while pursuing an

online sports management degree.

  • Learn how to apply analytical tools to sport business situations.
  • Explore a global view of sport business and the impact on cultures.
  • Apply sport management knowledge to complex and controversial sports issues.
  • Forecast new developments and changes in the rapidly changing sports environment.

Pursuing your degree online may also help develop online communication skills that are becoming more prevalent in the workplace. Many programs use message boards, email and even video conferencing to enable class discussion and interaction with your peers. It may even provide you with more open class discussions, as some students may feel more comfortable sharing their true opinions online rather than in person. 

A general sample of classes could include the following.

  • Strategic Sport Marketing
  • Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Contract Negotiations
  • Moral and Ethics in Sport
  • Professional Sports Leagues

In addition, students might pursue independent research relevant to their interests in the sports industry.

Online Sports Management Masters Degrees

Sports Management is a broad and interdisciplinary field which means Online Sports Management Masters programs come in various shapes and sizes and college swith sports management majors have multiple options. Sports management covers: (a) athletic administration, (b) sports communication and (c) sports studies.

  • Athletic or sport administration programs could cover finance, budget preparation, sales and sports marketing, public relations, personnel and facilities management
  • Sport communication focuses on the methods and techniques used to convey sports information through all the different media platforms. Students could therefore study the ins and outs of sports journalism, sports production, media and public relations and sports promotion 
  • Sport studies tackles the psychological, sociological and historical aspects of sport and physical activity. Students might therefore take courses in sport psychology, or learn more about the theory of sport and its history 

Many sports management programs culminate in a masters thesis or capstone project that allow students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have gained through their coursework. Other programs require students to gain supervised hands-on experience through an internship and/or practicum course.

MBA in Sports Management Online

An online Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Sports Management typically grounds students with solid business skills, a sense of leadership principles and ways to strategize and execute decisions. And that is only the core.

Course Length: Curriculums typically express themselves through compulsory business courses and a student’s chosen area of emphasis. In some online MBA programs of 36 credits, this could roughly break down into 8 credits of concentration and 28 credits in required courses. That said, each school may offer a unique syllabus and cover distinct topics.

Typical Classes: Core courses in an online Sports Management MBA usually add the word ‘managerial’ to courses in accounting, finance, economics, marketing and statistics. Students could learn how operations in an enterprise work, as well as how to administer the various functions.

Concentration courses could look something like the four courses below. As such, an MBA is often regarded as less of a theory and ideas-focused program (think MS). Instead, it could concentrate on the actual best implementation of these theories and ideas.

  • Communication and Fund Raising in Sports
  • Business Strategies in Sport
  • Personnel Management in Sport
  • Sport Mentorship

Online MS in Sport Management

An online Master of Science (MS) in Sports Management might provide an overview of the application of management theory to athletics and sports organizations. There are many variants of the MS to consider as it is often highly personalized to the interests of each student

Course Length: Some schools format their MS with 36 credits of coursework: 24 credits in the core program curriculum; 9 credits of concentration-specific courses; 3-credit capstone. This is not always the case, but is a framework that may be used.

Types of Courses & Typical Classes: Curriculums might introduce students to problems in sports management as well as to contemporary sport industry management analytics and strategies used to implement solutions.

MS programs are structured differently in each grad school, but could provide elements of professional development, a business core, a sports management core, research and an internship. Students may also have some freedom to choose electives and/or an area of emphasis. An overview of some options is provided below.

Online MS in Sports Analytics

A focus in sports analytics could cover emergent areas such as social media, interactive spectatorship, mobile technology, fantasy sports, e-sports gaming, performance data analytics and virtual reality.

Coursework could include specific statistical methods as well as an overview of the sports business marketplace. Therefore, this emphasis might help students develop a grasp of fiscal and budgetary control, ownership and day-to-day operations.

Online MS in Athletic Administration:

A focus in athletic administration could help students apply proven leadership theories to solve management challenges.

Coursework might address diverse organizational theories and may be planned out for athletic administrators who want to enhance operations within their department. Topics of study could therefore include emergency preparedness, rules and regulations, health and safety, budget and finance.

Online MS in Sport Management - Sport-Based Youth Development:

A focus in sport-based youth development could make use of teaching, coaching and administrative approaches. It may help students prepare academically to work with young people.

Coursework could tackle things like how to fund, administer and evaluate youth programs. Students might also take a class to understand how youths develop through sports and physical activity.

Online MS in Sport Management – Coaching:

A focus in coaching could meld theory with applied sports psychology and kinesiology courses. Students might reasonably expect to study the physiological principles of athletic training in addition to compulsory courses in ethics and sports law.

Online MS in Sport Leadership

concentration might provide a framework in topics from operations and finance to media relations and service with an eye towards global sets of stakeholders and fans.

Online MS in Sport Management – Parks and Recreation:

Parks and recreation Masters degree online programs could help students learn about trends in natural resource use and conservation, as well as changes in recreation management policy over time. Students may make use of case studies to address issues such as how to manage visitors to wild-land settings.

Online MS in Exercise and Sports Science:

Somewhat different from sports management programs, a focus in exercise and sports science is usually more concerned with the scientific method and principles of biology, anatomy, and physiology as they relate to human movement and physical activity.

Coursework could therefore examine the role physical activity and exercise play in overall health and wellness. Students might choose to focus more specifically on nutrition or health promotion.

Online MA in Sports Administration

An online Master of Arts in Sports Administration may provide a more social sciences slant to the study of the sports business. As with the MS and MBA, a MA could include a business management core of courses in accounting, economics, statistics and operations or could veer more towards sports marketing degree programs.

Students might also study to gain interpersonal and mass communication skills. These, in tandem with a grasp of critical social, psychological, and philosophical base issues of the sport environment.

Online MPS in Sports Management

An online Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Sports Industry Management might expose students to industry tools and practices. Students might study to gain contemporary digital and entrepreneurial skills and may learn how to apply these abilities to real world scenarios.

Credits & Timeline

To earn their MPS in Sports Industry Management online, students may take about 30 credits, divided between core courses, foundation courses, electives and a concentration. Core and foundation work could discuss applied ethics in sports along with leadership, management and social responsibility.


Some students might pursue a focus in Strategic Marketing, Communications, & Digital Media. This emphasis could help a learner understand how to leverage brands, the internet, market research and public relations to execute targeted marketing and promotional strategies.

Aside from topics such as licensing and sales, students might learn how to build consumer loyalty and engagement.

Others might pursue a concentration in Business, Management, & Operations. This might enable individuals to develop insight into finance, law, facility management and economics. These courses might serve as a backdrop to ones that build analytical and decision skills that are geared to maximize profitability and productivity.

Additional Requirements: Aside from courses specific to their emphasis, students may need to complete internships and externships to build their networks and gain real time experience.

Online MEd in Sports Administration

An online Master of Education (MEd) in Sports Administration might take an in-depth look at athletic administration at the secondary, college, recreational, and global levels. Curriculums might look at relationships between sport, culture, and society through an athletic administrator's lens.

Sample Classes

Required coursework could examine the psychological factors that are most critical to athletic performances(s). Also, curriculums might include some discussion of the history, philosophy and structure of the Olympic movement.

Also, students may study to understand key issues in effective management through topics like the ones listed below.

  • Role of Human Resources
  • Finance
  • Governance and Compliance
  • Operations
  • Administration of Interscholastic and Intercollegiate Competition
  • Recreational Athletics

Career Pursuits: Students who pursue a MEd in Sports Management online might choose an emphasis in coaching, secondary school, collegiate or global sport management. Thus, students might create a degree plan that highlights their specific motivation.

Application Information for Online Masters in Sports Management Programs  

The material needed to apply to online Sports Management Masters programs is a variable, although applicants are presumed to have a bachelors degree from an accredited institution.

GRE/GMAT scores may or may not be required. Prospective students may need to furnish letters of reference, a personal essay and resume along with transcripts. Make sure to check other requirements that may be asked for.

Why Earn an Online Masters in Sports Administration?

Online Sports Management Masters Programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional classroom instruction. Students are able to access class lectures and readings, turn in written assignments, take exams and contact their professors via a web platform.Therefore, one doesn’t need to interrupt a career to earn their degree.

Current educational technology also enables online learners to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone or other device with Wi-Fi compatibility. For added convenience, students are usually allowed to fulfill their internship or practicum requirements at a site in or close to their community.

Some online Masters in Sports Management Programs set students up with an advisor who assists them to tailor the sport management and business electives to target their desired career goals. Otherwise, students interact with faculty and classmates through discussion threads, email, chat and other means.

Online PhD in Sports Management

As the terminal degree in the field, or highest degree that you can earn, online PhD in sports management programs give a complete review of the sports management principles and theories. By focusing on research, writing, and critical analysis, PhD programs typically strive to prepare you to add your own research and theories to the field.

Typically, PhD programs ask that you have earned a masters degree from an accredited university with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Each school may have different admissions requirements, some of which include a resume, letters of recommendation, and minimum GRE scores.

Upon completing all required courses, most online PhD in sports management programs ask students to propose, write, present, and defend a dissertation. Some schools also ask that you complete a comprehensive exam in addition to your dissertation. However, each school may have their own graduation requirements.

Are Online Sports Management Degrees Accredited?

Regionally accredited institutions do offer Masters in Sports Management Programs online. In some cases, the curriculum is a mirror of the campus program. Accredited universities could also have individually approved programs. The Commission on Sport Management (COSMA) is an agency whose purview it is to accredit sport management education programs at the Masters level.

<h2>Top 32 Graduate Schools with Online Masters in Sports Managment Degree Programs</h2>

  • Choose from an MBA in Sport Management, MBA in Athletic Administration or MS in Sport Management
  • Some of the nation's most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • No application fee for April & June terms! Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 
Find Schools