Most Affordable Online Master’s in Sports Management 2020

| Staff

Most Affordable Online Master’s in Sports Management 2020
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Sports management focuses on the business aspect of sports and recreation. The field encompasses a variety of occupations. Sports management degree-holders may work as marketing agents, publicists, team managers, or recruiters. The nature of sports managers’ duties and responsibilities often depend on their employer, educational background, and professional experience.

Most Affordable Online Master's in Sports Management Badge

Sport managers often take on similar professional responsibilities as advertising, promotions, and marketing managers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for these professionals to grow 6% between 2019 and 2029, which is faster than the average projected growth rate of 4% for all other occupations. Professionals in this sector earn much higher annual median salaries than the national average, earning $135,900 versus $39,810, respectively.

Responding to the field’s increasing popularity, many colleges and universities now offer on-campus and online master’s in sports management programs in addition to undergraduate degrees. Graduates of accredited sports management programs can expect to enter a robust job market with higher-than-average annual salaries and ample opportunities for professional advancement.

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What Are the Goals of Sports Management?



Whether a sports manager works for a professional athlete, a team, or an organization, their main responsibility often revolves around enabling their clients to focus on their performance while they take care of everything else. As sports managers gain professional experience, their duties usually expand as well, and they begin to take on leadership positions in the workplace.

A master’s degree in sports management can also position sports practitioners for top-level occupations. Colleges and universities that hire sports management graduates as recruiters or coaches often require them to hold a master’s degree to qualify for leadership roles with greater responsibilities.

What Are the Benefits of a Degree in Sports Management?



Sports management professionals cite different reasons for pursuing a career in the field. Many are former college athletes or lifelong sports enthusiasts. See below for five common reasons students pursue sports management careers.

Career Flexibility
Sports management is a broad field. Practitioners can work as coaches, recruiters, trainers, marketing professionals, publicists, brand managers, and media consultants.
Growth Industry
The BLS projects jobs in this sector to grow 6% between 2019 and 2029, which translates to the addition of close to 19,000 jobs.
High Salary
According to the BLS, even with just a bachelor’s degree, sports managers who specialize in marketing and advertising can potentially earn six-figure salaries. In 2019, these professionals earned $135,900.
Pursue a Passion
Sports management professionals often pursue a career in the field because they enjoy the industry. Working as a sports manager allows practitioners to get paid for pursuing their passion.
Travel Opportunities
Sports managers who concentrate on managing teams, whether in professional or college-level sports, often travel with teams each season.

Accreditation for a Master’s in Sports Management



Colleges and universities throughout the United States periodically complete the accreditation process voluntarily to signal their commitment to providing quality education. Recognized accrediting agencies evaluate schools’ academic offerings and institutional integrity according to accepted standards and norms. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee the accreditation process.

Nonprofit, degree-centered, private and public institutions usually seek regional accreditation. Career-focused trade or sectarian schools often seek national accreditation. Regional accrediting agencies typically follow more rigorous accreditation standards than national accreditors. For this reason, organizations often prefer applicants who graduated from a regionally accredited school. However, ED and CHEA acknowledge both accreditation types.

Some accrediting agencies focus on specific programs instead of entire institutions. In the sports management field, ED and CHEA recognize the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) as the main accrediting agency. COSMA accredits sports management programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.

FAQ

Question Answer
What can you do with a master’s in sports management? A master’s degree in sports management is typically required for a teaching or high administrative position in a postsecondary institution. National sports organizations also often look for a master’s degree for top managerial positions.
Is a master’s in sports management worth it? In general, master’s degree-holders earn more and enjoy a lower unemployment rate than workers without a master’s degree. Additionally, a master’s in sports management increases one’s career options in a growing industry.
What are the highest-paying jobs in sports management? Some of the highest-paying jobs in sports management include promotions and marketing managers ($135,900), athletic directors ($95,410), and sports statisticians ($92,030).
What is the job outlook for sports management? The BLS projects robust growth for jobs that sports management degree-holders are often qualified to perform, such as promotions managers (6%) and statisticians (33%).

Courses in a Sports Management Master’s Program



Schools that offer on-campus and online sports management master’s degrees typically maintain the same curriculum for both programs. Students enroll in business courses while focusing on the sports industry. Most programs also require students to enroll in at least one research course.

Some sports management programs offer a specialization such as sport law, athlete development, or high-performance coaching. Some online master’s in sports management programs may not offer specialization courses off campus.

See below for common courses in many on-campus and online sports management master’s programs.


  • Sport Marketing, Sponsorship, and Sales

    Students examine the role of corporate sponsorship in an effective brand marketing plan. The course familiarizes enrollees with different types of marketing research and how to integrate relevant data or findings into an impactful sales strategy. Enrollees study various ways to develop, implement, maintain, and evaluate sponsorship programs. Students review case studies of successful campaigns to glean best practices and solutions.

  • Conflict Resolution and Negotiation

    Students examine the dynamics of union/management relationships through various case studies and simulations. Enrollees learn how to use and maximize the impact of various conflict resolution tools and techniques. Students learn about relevant regulatory policies and procedures that govern the collective bargaining process. Course topics include negotiation techniques, relationship-building, conflicts of interest, and creating leverage. Students develop active listening skills during conflict resolution exercises and learn how to use these skills to manage the outcome.

  • Financial Management

    This course covers core financial concepts such as strategic cost management, capital investments, and portfolio evaluation and diversification. Students learn to analyze and create different types of financial statements such as cash flow records, income statements, and balance sheets. The course also allows enrollees to explore the relationship between finance and key management aspects such as human resources, organizational sustainability, and corporate responsibility.

  • Policy and Governance in Sport

    Students examine the policies and structure of sports organizations at regional, national, and international levels. The course traces the development of amateur and professional sports, including the Olympic movement and its various offshoots like the Special Olympics and the Paralympic Games. Enrollees study the different organizational objectives and membership guidelines of sports’ governing bodies and the role they play in the industry’s development and growth.

  • Event and Facility Operations

    This course familiarizes students with the activities involved in managing a sports facility, such as scheduling and operations, maintenance, staff management, and marketing initiatives. Students learn how to generate multiple income streams, evaluate and draft third-party contracts, and implement appropriate security procedures during and outside of events. The course also touches on the impact of sports facilities on the socioeconomic fabric of the surrounding community.

How to Become a Marketing Manager



Entry-level positions in marketing management typically require at least a bachelor’s degree. Most employers prefer applicants with an undergraduate degree in business or finance. Employers also typically look for candidates with basic business acumen, strong written and oral communication abilities, and well-developed interpersonal skills.

Marketing professionals usually pursue postgraduate studies to broaden their knowledge of the field and improve their chances for leadership positions. Popular advanced degrees for marketing specialists include a master’s in finance, an MBA, or a CPA.

Career and Salary Outlook for Sports Management Majors



Sports management includes several professional options. Graduates of an accredited sports management program work in diverse careers as team managers, media specialists, and event coordinators. They can also pursue careers in fields such as advertising and sales, finance, and retail merchandising. See below for four potential positions for sports management graduates.

Public Relations Specialist
These professionals write press releases, manage their clients’ public image, and respond to media requests for information. They also evaluate advertising and promotion campaigns to measure their effectiveness and timeliness. Some public relations practitioners monitor and manage their clients’ social media channels.

Athletic Trainer
These professionals often provide first aid or emergency care during training or field games. They also educate and train athletes on how to avoid injuries and help them perform rehabilitative exercises during training. Some athletic trainers perform administrative tasks such as keeping a record of supplies, monitoring treatment progress, and writing injury reports.

Coach and Scout
Coaches teach and train athletes on proper techniques, sportsmanship, and game strategies to help them succeed in their sport. Scouts look for new players, evaluate a potential athlete’s skills, and arrange for incentives for qualified recruits. Coaches and scouts often work together to make sure they recruit players with skills needed to build a competitive team.

Public Relations and Fundraising Manager
Fundraising managers develop and coordinate campaigns that attract donors. Some fundraising managers work on capital campaigns that focus on raising money for specific projects, such as a new hospital wing or school building. Professionals with specialized training work in planned giving campaigns. They manage large donations such as real estate bequests and gifts of major stocks and bonds.

Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Public Relations Specialist $61,150 7%
Athletic Trainer $48,440 16%
Coach and Scout $34,840 12%
Public Relations and Fundraising Manager $116,180 9%

Source: BLS

Certifications and Licensure for Sports Management Majors



Some professions in the sports management field require practitioners to obtain licensure or certification. The list below presents three such examples. Licensure and certification requirements often vary by state. Prospective students should check with a state’s regulatory board for specific requirements.

Athletic Trainer



As part of the licensure process, most states require athletic trainers to take the exam administered by the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer. States also usually require athletic trainers to hold a degree accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.

Coach



All states require coaches to be certified before they can take on active coaching duties. Requirements for certification vary between states, but most require coaching applicants to be at least 18 years old and trained in first aid and CPR. Some states require coaches to enroll in courses in coaching fundamentals and sports safety.

Sports Agent



To become an agent for the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), candidates must take the NFLPA certification exam. Test-takers need a master’s degree and must attend a two-day seminar in Washington, D.C. prior to the exam. The multiple-choice exam includes 60 questions that cover topics such as NFLPA regulations, NFL player benefits, and performance enhancing substances.

How Can a Master's Student Pay for College?

Many of the scholarships for sports management majors come from colleges and universities offering the degree. However, several regional and national sports organizations also offer financial assistance to students pursuing an undergraduate or master’s degree in the field. Read below for five potential scholarships for sports management students.

Ethnic Minority and Women’s Enhancement Graduate Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Female student-athletes with a bachelor’s degree from an NCAA-member school and who have been accepted to a master’s in sports management program can apply. The program also accepts applications from minority students. Applicants must be pursuing a postgraduate degree that will qualify them for positions like athletics administrators, coaches, or trainers.
Amount: $10,000

Janet B. Parks NASSM Research Grant
Who Can Apply: Administered by the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM), this grant accepts applications from graduate students engaged in field-relevant research projects. Applicants must hold NASSM membership and submit a detailed research proposal describing the theoretical framework and methodology as well as the relevance of the research to the sports management field.
Amount: $5,000-$10,000

Jim McKay Graduate Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Former intercollegiate varsity athletes who have been accepted to a graduate program in sports education with a focus on sports journalism or communications may apply. Candidates must be nominated by the NCAA representative of their schools. The program accepts applications from male and female athletes.
Amount: $10,000

NASCAR/Wendell Scott Award
Who Can Apply: The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) welcomes applicants from undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a HACU-member school. Applicants need a 3.0 GPA and must be pursuing a degree in one of several fields, including sports marketing. The program currently accepts applications only from students enrolled in Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia institutions.
Amount: $1,000-$5,000

Stadium Managers Association Foundation Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in sports management with a focus on stadium management or a related field may apply. Applicants must show stadium-related work experience, be enrolled as full-time students, and have a history of community service. Applicants must also submit a 500-word essay detailing their reasons for applying.
Amount: Varies

Affordable Online Master’s in Sports Management 2020



  1. Southeastern Oklahoma State University
    Location

    Durant, OK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The online sports management master's degree at Southeastern Oklahoma State University comprises 30 credits and offers several start dates throughout the year. Students can earn a general MS in sports administration or choose an emphasis in business, educational leadership, or Native American leadership. Most students graduate from the program within 12 months.

    The curriculum includes courses on topics like sport and society; sport management, finances, and fundraising; applied research and statistics in sports; and facility planning and event management. The MS degree prepares graduates for careers in intercollegiate athletics, professional sports, and sports marketing agencies.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. The minimum acceptable GPA depends on an applicant's other qualifications. The program does not require the submission of GRE scores. Students can transfer up to nine credits toward the degree.

    Southeastern Oklahoma State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  2. East Central University
    Location

    Ada, OK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, offers a fully online master's in sports management consisting of 33 credits. The M.Ed. degree prepares graduates for athletic instruction and leadership positions in postsecondary institutions and professional sports teams. The program features eight-week courses and multiple start dates per year. Most students graduate from the program in 1-1.5 years.

    Students start the program by enrolling in two core classes: techniques of research and modern philosophies of education. The remaining 27 credits include courses in American society and sports, principles of sport finance, leadership and personnel management, and ethics in sports administration.

    Students must complete a 100-hour practicum to graduate from the program. Candidates also develop a portfolio of work, which serves as the culminating activity of the program.

    East Central University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  3. Texas Woman's University
    Location

    Denton, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The School of Health Promotion and Kinesiology at Texas Woman's University offers a master of science in kinesiology with an emphasis in sports management. The fully online program comprises 36 credits. The MS program prepares graduates for careers in high school and collegiate sports, professional and amateur leagues, event operations, and sport marketing firms.

    Learners take courses on topics like sport media and marketing; governance, policy development, and ethics in sports; legal issues in sport; and leadership theory and practice in sport and the health sciences. Students can choose from one of three ways to culminate the degree: complete a 350-hour internship experience with a sports program or organization, write a thesis, or take a comprehensive exam.

    Texas Woman's University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  4. Minot State University
    Location

    Minot, ND

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The online sports management master's degree at Minot State University comprises 30 credits and accepts students during the fall and spring semesters. Due to course rotation schedules, the length of time it takes to earn the MS degree varies according to a student's start date. Enrollees who enter the program in the fall semester can graduate after nine or 18 months. Students who begin in the spring finish in 15 or 30 months. All online students pay in-state tuition regardless of where they live.

    The MS program prepares students for leadership roles in areas like high school and collegiate athletic administration, coaching, professional leagues, and community recreation. The curriculum covers subjects like strategic marketing, foundations of sports and exercise psychology, managerial communications, and sports media and event planning.

    During their final semester, students complete an applied research project for a real client in a sports management field.

    Minot State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  5. Midwestern State University
    Location

    Wichita Falls, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, offers an online master's in sports management through the Gordon T. and Ellen West College of Education. The M.Ed. degree prepares graduates for administrative and coaching positions in high school and collegiate athletics and community-based recreational programs.

    The curriculum comprises 36 credits. Learners take classes on topics like ethics and legal issues in sport management, introduction to educational research, media and community relations in sport, and research methods in sport management.

    To culminate the degree, students can write an applied research paper, complete a capstone project, or engage in a comprehensive independent study of a topic relevant to sport administration. Students must meet specific GPA and credit requirements before beginning work on their culminating activity.

    Midwestern State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  6. Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus
    Location

    Portales, NM

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The College of Education and Technology at Eastern New Mexico University offers an online master's in physical education with two emphasis areas: sport administration and coaching. The 36-credit program includes core courses in the social and psychological aspects of sports, management and leadership, ethics in sport, research methods, and sport law and risk management.

    To culminate the degree, students can write a thesis, complete a project, or take a comprehensive exam. Online students can defend their thesis or present their capstone project without going to campus through the university's media-equipped classrooms. Students who take the comprehensive exam can also complete this requirement online. Non-resident online students enrolled in six credits or fewer per semester pay in-state tuition.

    Eastern New Mexico University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  7. East Tennessee State University
    Location

    Johnson City, TN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At East Tennessee State University, students can pursue a master's in sports management online consisting of 33-36 credits. The total number of credits required for the MS degree depends on a student's culminating experience. Learners can choose between a thesis or non-thesis option. Non-thesis students complete a total of 36 credits and thesis students complete 33 credits.

    All students take core courses on topics like legal issues in physical education and sport, facilities and event management in sport and recreation, sport communication and media relations, and sport management research. Non-thesis MS candidates must complete a 400-hour internship in a sport management agency.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in sport management, physical education, or a similar field, with a minimum 2.7 GPA.

    East Tennessee State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  8. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At the University of Florida, students can pursue a master's in sports management online through the College of Health and Human Performance. The MS degree comprises 30 credits for enrollees who choose to complete a thesis and 36 credits for students who pursue the non-thesis track. The program offers specializations in athlete development, higher-performance coaching, sport law, and director of racquet sports.

    All students begin the program by enrolling in six credits of research coursework. Thesis candidates must take an additional research class approved by the supervisory committee. The 15-credit core curriculum includes courses in sport sociology, sport finance, management and leadership in sport, issues in sport law, and sport marketing.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or higher during the last 60 credits of undergraduate enrollment. Enrollees can transfer up to nine graduate-level credits toward the degree.

    University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  9. Indiana State University
    Location

    Terre Haute, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The College of Graduate and Professional Studies at Indiana State University offers an online sports management master's degree comprising 36 credits. The MS program covers key competency areas established by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and the North American Society for Sport Management.

    The curriculum includes courses in organizational management, sport law and risk management, governance and compliance, and sport media relations. MS candidates can culminate the degree with an internship or a research project.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, preferably in sport management or a closely related field. They also need a minimum 3.0 GPA. The program does not require the submission of GRE or GMAT scores; however, applicants must submit a statement of purpose along with other application documents.

    Indiana State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  10. Troy University
    Location

    Troy, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The online master's in sports management at Troy University consists of 36 credits and holds accreditation by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation. Students can pursue a thesis or non-thesis track.

    All students begin the program by enrolling in 12 credits of foundation coursework in statistics and research. Non-thesis candidates complete an additional 24 credits of sports management electives. Thesis candidates complete 18 elective credits and six credits of thesis research and writing courses. The curriculum includes courses in the sociological aspects of sport; physical education, sport, and the law; revenue generation in sport; and sport psychology.

    Candidates must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA throughout the program and pass a comprehensive exam to graduate. Students can transfer up to 12 credits from another accredited school toward the MS degree.

    Troy University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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