2020 Best Master's in Sports Management Online Programs

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 3/9/2020
2020 Best Online Master's in Sports Management Badge

The 16 schools on this list are the best value options for obtaining an online master's program in sports management based on alumni salaries and low tuition rates. At #1, American University charges $24,210 per year for their MS in Sports Analytics Management. University of Florida, ranked #2 on the list, costs $27,105 annually for an online MS in Sport Management, with alumni reportedly earning median salaries of $140,771. Students can choose from the following concentrations: Athlete Development, High Performance Coaching, or Sport Law.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 American University $24,210 $149,900
# 2 #2 University of Florida $27,105 $140,771
# 3 #3 Texas A&M University-College Station $17,064 $112,243
# 4 #4 DePaul University $15,720 $108,700
# 5 #5 Western Carolina University $11,350 $101,800
# 6 #6 University of Kansas $12,492 $97,600
# 7 #7 Drexel University $29,095 $104,000
# 8 #8 Troy University $8,892 $94,200
# 9 #9 Northeastern University $16,698 $88,300
# 10 #10 Liberty University $13,560 $83,600
# 11 #11 West Virginia University $7,635 $80,900
# 12 #12 Southern New Hampshire University Online $11,286 $76,700
# 13 #13 United States Sports Academy $12,240 $67,400
# 14 #14 California University of Pennsylvania $12,624 $66,500
# 15 #15 Ohio University-Main Campus $10,620 $57,200
# 16 #16 Old Dominion University $10,710 $45,700
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering Sports Management Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 American University

  • Annual Tuition: $24,210
  • Median Salary: $149,900
  • Locations: Washington D.C.
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

The online Master of Science in Sports Analytics and Management program at American University equips students with the knowledge and skills to pursue careers in the sports industry. A four-phase curriculum known as the Professional Studies Experience takes students through coursework that covers core requirements, new technologies, intercultural communication, and data-driven decision-making. Students have the opportunity to complete fieldwork or an internship, and a capstone project is required for graduation. Students in this program also have the opportunity to visit the Washington, DC, campus for a two-day networking and professional development experience.

#2 University of Florida

  • Annual Tuition: $27,105
  • Median Salary: $140,771
  • Locations: Gainesville (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Science in Sports Management at the University of Florida was the first program to earn certification with the Professional Association of Athlete Development Specialists (PAADS). This rigorous online sports management program offers three specializations: athlete development, high-performance coaching, and sport law. Graduates of the program have gone on to pursue various career opportunities in sports management at the collegiate and professional levels. Students have access to a team of career coaches at the University of Florida who can help them with their academic and career plans.

#3 Texas A&M University-College Station

  • Annual Tuition: $17,064
  • Median Salary: $112,243
  • Locations: College Station (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Science in Sport Management program at Texas A&M University-College Station is offered through the Department of Health and Kinesiology. The program provides students with the skills needed to pursue career opportunities in both educational/collegiate and professional sports management. Students must submit a degree plan for approval by an advisory committee. The online sports management degree program offers a thesis and a non-thesis option. For those who choose the non-thesis option, an internship or oral exam may be required instead.

#4 DePaul University

  • Annual Tuition: $15,720
  • Median Salary: $108,700
  • Locations: Chicago (IL)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Master of Science in Sport, Fitness, and Recreation Leadership at DePaul University is delivered through a flexible online format to help busy working professionals reach their academic goals. Students will complete a rigorous course of study that covers trends and issues in sports, recreation, and fitness. Graduates may pursue leadership and management opportunities in a variety of settings, including athletic departments, recreation and fitness centers, and collegiate athletic programs. Students are required to complete a two-day on-campus seminar at DePaul each summer.

#5 Western Carolina University

  • Annual Tuition: $11,350
  • Median Salary: $101,800
  • Locations: Cullowhee (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Science in Sport Management degree at Western Carolina University is offered through the College of Business. In addition to a solid foundation in the business of sports, students also complete a certificate in project management. The program can be completed in as little as one year of full-time study or two years of part-time studies. Faculty members have experience in the sports industry and have earned terminal degrees in their respective fields.

#6 University of Kansas

  • Annual Tuition: $12,492
  • Median Salary: $97,600
  • Locations: Lawrence (KS)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Kansas offers a 36-credit Master of Science in Education degree in Sport Management designed for working professionals. The program requires completion of 12 courses taught in eight-week modules. Full-time students can finish their online sport management degree in two years. The curriculum of the online sport management degree integrates concepts from sports, business, management, marketing, and law. Students learn about sport marketing, facility management, finance, sport team laws and contracts, ethics in the sporting industry, and fundraising. Admission to the program requires an online application with fee, official transcripts, completion of a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA, resume/CV, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement of goals. The GRE is not required. All classes are 100% online and accessible 24/7 via the Blackboard learning management platform and Blackboard apps. Prior to graduation, students must complete a supervised internship at a sport management facility. Unique to the program is the Jayhawkville virtual learning platform that simulates realistic sporting events hosted in a fictional city. Graduate students have 24/7 technical support, access to online library resources, including chats with librarians, and writing help via phone consultation or videoconferencing.

#7 Drexel University

  • Annual Tuition: $29,095
  • Median Salary: $104,000
  • Locations: Philadelphia (PA)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Drexel University offers a 45-credit online Master of Science in Sport Management that can be completed in two years. Drexel also has several customizable online sport management degrees. For example, students can leverage a Master of Science in Sport Coaching Leadership to advance their career goals by adding a concentration in a specific sport, such as Lacrosse. Other options include dual degrees: MBA/MS Sport Management degree and MS Business Analytics/MS Sport Management. Classes are ten weeks long. Students study leadership, business statistics, sport law, sport marketing, sport media and technology, public relations, contract negotiation, sales, and NCAA compliance. Courses in sport management help prepare students to handle recruiting, finance, marketing, facility operations, sales, sponsorships, and media relations within sports organizations. Asynchronous classes are taught on the Blackboard online learning platform, which offers students 24/7 access to course content, including PowerPoint, audio files, videos, and discussion groups. Prospective students submit an online application, official transcripts, two recommendation letters, personal essay, and a resume. GRE or GMAT scores are optional. Comprehensive student support services for online students include academic advising, career assistance, library resources, and teletherapy provided by Counseling Services.

#8 Troy University

  • Annual Tuition: $8,892
  • Median Salary: $94,200
  • Locations: Troy (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Troy University offers a 36-credit Master of Science in Sport Management with a Thesis and Non-Thesis track. Full-time students can complete the degree in one year. Students take 12 semester hours of core courses, including sport management foundations, statistics, and research methods. Another 18–24 credits are required in the major, depending on whether a student writes a 6-credit thesis. Sport management classes focus on topics such as risk management, leadership, finance, sport communication, facility management, and revenue generation. Students gain hands-on experience through arranged practicums and internships. Flexible online classes are conveniently taught in an asynchronous format, which helps students juggle work and family responsibilities with graduate studies. Prospective students submit an online application, official transcripts, GRE/GMAT scores, and letters of recommendation. The purpose of the master’s degree program is to prepare students for jobs at major and minor league teams, international sport organizations, college athletic departments, event management, and recreation departments. Applicants who do not have three years of sport-related work experience must submit GRE or GMAT scores. Troy University provides online students with many support services like academic advising, counseling, tutoring, and career guidance.

#9 Northeastern University

  • Annual Tuition: $16,698
  • Median Salary: $88,300
  • Locations: Burlington (MA)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

Northeastern University hosts five online sport management master’s degrees that can be tailored to personal interests and career goals. Options include a Master of Science in Leadership – Sport and Social Change, and the Master of Science in Nonprofit Management – Sports and Social Change. Also offered is the Master of Sports Leadership with an optional concentration in Collegiate Athletics Administration or Professional Sports Administration. These online sport management degrees focus on leadership, business practices, laws, ethics, marketing, and management with the goal of preparing graduates for career mobility in the diverse sports industry. Students take courses in the fundamentals of sport management along with courses specific to the concentration, such as Title IX and NCAA in collegiate athletics. Experiential learning is stressed through research opportunities, internships, and a capstone project that includes a web portfolio of program accomplishments. Online sports management master’s courses are accessible via Canvas, a learning management system that supports cloud-based content. Prospective students must submit an online application, transcripts, resume, statement of purpose, and two recommendation letters. Graduates of the program have found jobs in the NBA, NFL, NHL, college athletics, nonprofit sports organizations, and more. Northeastern offers enrollment coaching and academic advising.

#10 Liberty University

  • Annual Tuition: $13,560
  • Median Salary: $83,600
  • Locations: Lynchburg (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Liberty University offers many customizable online 36-credit Master of Science degrees in Sport Management that can be completed in two years. Students may add an area of emphasis to their Sport Management major that aligns with their career objectives. For example, Liberty University offers a Master of Science in Sport Management with an Outdoor Adventure Sport emphasis. Further, these online sport management degrees provide a thesis and non-thesis track. Other possible specializations include Sport Marketing & Media, Tourism, and Coaching and Athletic Administration. Students gain expertise in sport management by studying leadership, marketing, public relations, sports ethics, legal issues, financial management, outdoor recreation, and tourism. Liberty is a faith-based school, and classes are taught from a Christian perspective. Asynchronous classes enable students to access their courses 24/7 and juggle graduate studies with career and family responsibilities. Admission to Liberty requires an online application and official transcripts. The purpose of these online sport management degrees is to help prepare students for jobs in coaching and administration, outdoor adventure sports, tourism, and sport administration. Student services for online graduate students include access to library resources, tech support, and academic advising.

#11 West Virginia University

  • Annual Tuition: $7,635
  • Median Salary: $80,900
  • Locations: Morgantown (WV)
  • Accreditation: HLC

West Virginia University offers flexible online sport management master’s degrees suitable for both new and experienced professionals in the sports industry. Degree options include a Master of Science in Sport Management with a concentration in Comprehensive Sport Industry Management or Interscholastic Athletic Administration. The online sports management degrees at WVU require completion of 10 courses and 30 credits. The curriculum consists of eight sequential core courses followed by two courses in an area of concentration. Core courses focus on marketing, legal issues, finance, fundraising, facility planning, and more. Students can access their classes 24/7 via eCampus, a Black-based learning management system. Prospective students should submit an online application, two recommendation letters, transcripts, and a 2-page goal statement. The Interscholastic Athletic Administration track prepares graduates to sit for the National Interscholastic Athletic Administration’s CAA certification exam. Internationally acclaimed faculty scholars have extensive experience in all sectors of the sports industry. Students have access to a team of enrollment coaches and academic advisors who are trained to answer a student’s questions from application to graduation.

#12 Southern New Hampshire University Online

  • Annual Tuition: $11,286
  • Median Salary: $76,700
  • Locations: Manchester (NH)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

Southern New Hampshire University Online offers a 36-credit Master of Science in Sport Management. Another option is the 36-credit Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Sport Administration. Both online sports management master’s degrees can be completed in 15 months. Courses are offered in 10-week terms, and students generally take two classes each term. Part-time options are also available. Sports management classes cover topics such as business accounting, management of sport organizations, sports in society, marketing, public relations, finance, facility operations, and information technology. An internship provides students with hands-on experience and networking opportunities. Courses are taught in a flexible asynchronous format that allows students to conveniently juggle their coursework around career and family responsibilities. Prospective students can apply anytime and receive an admission decision shortly after all required materials are received. Graduates of the program can compete for jobs as facility directors, operations managers, sport marketing directors, athletic directors, and more. Academic advisors and tech support can be accessed 24/7 to support student success.

#13 United States Sports Academy

  • Annual Tuition: $12,240
  • Median Salary: $67,400
  • Locations: Daphne (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The United States Sports Academy offers an online Master of Sports Science (MSS) Sports Management with a thesis option. Students can finish this online sport management degree in 15 months. Admitted students may enroll anytime in self-paced classes that must be completed within 16 weeks. Active-duty personnel are allowed an extra two weeks to finish their courses. The curriculum covers many important areas of sport management, such as sports finance, NCAA compliance, public relations, facility operations, marketing, sports administration, revenue generation, sports law, and personnel management. All classes are asynchronous, giving students control over when and where they work on their courses. Prospective students must submit an online application, official transcripts, completed recommendation forms with signed FERPA disclosure, and an autobiographical personal statement. Admitted students enroll on the 1st or 15th of the month. Students may tap resources such as electronic library databases and scholarly writing assistance through the Academy Center for Collegiate Excellence and Student Success (ACCESS).

#14 California University of Pennsylvania

  • Annual Tuition: $12,624
  • Median Salary: $66,500
  • Locations: California (PA)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

California University of Pennsylvania offers four 36-credit online sport management degrees that lead to a master’s degree. Options include the Master of Science in Sports Management Studies generalist degree with three concentrations: Intercollegiate Athletic Administration, Sport Management, and Strategic Sport Analysis. Full-time students in the accelerated track can finish in 12 months, and students in the traditional track take 17 months. Students pursuing an online sport management master’s degree study subjects such as sport marketing, research methods, finance, ethics, and leadership. Depending on the track, students may take classes in economic analysis, sport regulatory compliance, and public relations. Unique to the program is a 300-hour sport mentorship that pairs students with an experienced professional mentor in a sports-related setting. Faculty enhance the online learning experience through PowerPoint presentations, videos, discussion groups, and chat rooms. Regular admission to the program requires an online application and an undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA. Graduates can compete for jobs working with professional sports teams, intercollegiate athletics programs, and sports leagues. The Global Online Office is a “One-Stop” service that connects students to support program coordinators who can assist students with concerns ranging from financial aid to advising to program information.

#15 Ohio University-Main Campus

  • Annual Tuition: $10,620
  • Median Salary: $57,200
  • Locations: Athens (OH)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Ohio University-Main Campus has two online sports management degrees, including a 30-credit Master of Athletic Administration (MAA) with sport management courses. Students earn a degree by passing 11 courses in interscholastic sport administration. Required courses focus on leadership, personnel management, data analysis, finance, sport marketing, facility management, and event planning. Also offered at Ohio University is a 36-credit Professional Master of Sports Administration (MSA) that focuses on leadership, facility operations, sport law, fundraising, and sports analytics. Students generally take one class every seven weeks, followed by a one-week break. Classes are delivered through the Blackboard platform in an asynchronous format that allows students to access recorded lectures and discussion boards at convenient times. Occasional synchronous class periods create a virtual classroom experience. To meet admission standards, prospective students must hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and possess at least three years of work experience in the sports industry. Applicants should submit official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a resume, and a professional goal statement. Instructors have years of real-world sport management experience and maintain close ties with professional sport organizations. Students receive advising, mentoring, and career guidance throughout the program.

#16 Old Dominion University

  • Annual Tuition: $10,710
  • Median Salary: $45,700
  • Locations: Norfolk (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Old Dominion University offers a 36-credit Master of Science in Sport Management degree that can be completed in one to two years. Admitted students take classes in marketing, facility operations, finance, sales, public relations, ethics, and event management. The program culminates in a thesis or a 12-credit capstone internship. Thesis research is recommended for students considering a doctoral program. Asynchronous courses are provided through the online Blackboard platform that gives students on-demand access to recorded lectures, discussion boards, and course materials. The program helps prepare students for jobs within professional sports teams, military MWR programs, corporate sport management offices, college athletic departments, community recreation programs, and more. Courses are taught by professors with PhDs and close connections to leaders in the sports industry. Old Dominion offers online student resources, including academic advising, tutoring, and mentoring tools, online tutorials, 24/7 technical support, and access to the Student Outreach and Support office.

Online Master's in Sports Management Overview

Completing a sports management master's degree can take one to three years, depending on the structure of the program and the commitment of the student. Most schools offer sports management as a concentration within their MBA program.

Sports management students will learn about the general structure of collegiate and professional sports. They will study recruiting, rules and regulations, marketing sports teams, team contracts, player contracts, and athletics finance. Many students complete either a thesis on a topic of their choosing or a related cumulative project that showcases what they have learned and trains them to apply it in the real sports management world. Those who are studying sports management in a school of business will probably be required to satisfy general business course requirements in addition to their specialized courses.

Sports management is a very competitive arena, but having a master's degree in sports management can make a candidate stand out. Often, people start out in entry-level management positions in collegiate sports and work their way up over the years, leveraging their connections to find new opportunities. Having a sports background and either volunteer or professional experience is key. Managers sometimes work in high schools maintaining and ordering equipment, creating schedules, keeping tabs on players, securing funding, processing legal paperwork, and marketing their sporting events.

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