What Is a Bachelor Degree in Sports Management?
Sports are an important part of our society. Whether it’s PhysEd in grade school, intramural and pick-up games, or professional sports teams, sports are all around us. For professional teams to have success, they need to have managers that ensure their operations run smoothly.
Sports managers are in charge of the business aspects of sports, like sponsorships, contracts, and communicating with the media.
Most bachelor’s degree programs require a high school diploma or GED, an admissions essay, an interview, and standardized test scores during the application process. Some programs may also require an internship or capstone project to graduate.
What Is the Aim of Sports Management?
An online sports management degree program teaches skills in business communication, marketing, information technology, and more. Sports managers must know how to navigate the media and public relations, the economics of sports, and the laws that affect players.
How Long Is a Sports Management Degree?
Can You Get an Online Sports Management Degree?
Absolutely, online sports management degrees are available online and are just as respected as in-person degrees. As long as your institution is accredited, then potential employers will see your degree as legitimate. Institutions become accredited when an independent association, such as the U.S. Department of Education, determines that a school has the financial resources to provide ongoing education that meets quality academic standards.
Online programs use a learning management system (LMS) to give students access to their coursework. Some programs have live classes, while others provide all the material and allow students to work at their own pace. Speak with an academic advisor to make sure you have all the required technology to get started.
Common Courses for a Sports Management Major
Online sports management degrees provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the field. Along with knowledge of the sport you’d like to manage, there are laws, regulations, and processes that you need to understand. Courses often fall under three categories: (1) business, (2) interdisciplinary, and (3) sports. Since management is a broad category, students typically learn about the skills they need to hone to become successful managers in addition to sports-specific skills.
The following are some typical core courses you'll find in sports management online programs:
Since sports managers run the business side of sports, it’s important to understand an audience's needs, develop a professional communication style, and skillfully write business reports, emails, and memoranda. In general, this course teaches both oral and written communication principles.
This course aims to help students understand the basic principles of organizational leadership and management. Some programs may have students administer and manage an event to test their new skills.
Sports Media and Marketing
An important part of managing a sports team or venue is marketing facilities, programs, and events. Students learn strategies for marketing, improve their understanding of consumer behavior, and implement sports marketing activities.
Facility and Venue Management
Overall, this course prepares students to plan and manage facilities and venues. Since locations shape the experience of a sporting event, sports managers should understand operations, policy, financing, crowd control, risk management, customer service, and budgeting.
The Essence of Sports and Fandom
This is a history course where students study organized sport from a historical perspective, explore social issues in sports, and analyze how digital media affects sports.
Below are some of the most common jobs you can get with a bachelor's degree in sports management, with job data provided from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
Annual Median Salary: $78,410
Job Growth: 15%+
Business managers represent and promote their clients, who are usually athletes, artists, and performers. Many business managers handle contracts, business deals, and sponsorships. They may also interact with promoters, venues, and team owners to ensure their athletes are getting the best deals possible.
Annual Median Salary: $99,290
Job Growth: 7%
Administrative services and facilities managers work directly with an organization or venue to maintain facilities and coordinate with sports teams. They keep records, recommend changes, and oversee all systems and staff, to name a few areas of ownership.
Annual Median Salary: $49,470
Job Growth: 18%+
Meeting, convention, and event planners coordinate a variety of social and professional events. Teams and venues hire planners to facilitate paperwork, organize hiring, and find potential sites for meetings and events.
Annual Median Salary: $119,860
Job Growth: 8%
Public relations and fundraising managers control a sports team or other organization’s public image. They meet with donors, develop an organization’s media presence, and work with the relevant executives and spokespeople.
Annual Median Salary: $133,380
Job Growth: 10%
Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers aren’t specific to sports careers, but most sports teams, leagues, and venues have these kinds of managers. They may be hired to advertise a specific event, work with an organization consistently, or manage a venue. They work to make sure events and games are well attended and that an organization or venue’s successes are promoted.
Is Sports Management a Growing Field?
Sports games continue to draw large crowds, and the popularity of sporting events continues to grow. For this reason, most jobs that graduates of a sports management degree program can seek out have a higher-than-average growth rate, as the data points above indicate.
Is Sports Management a Good Career Choice?
Because the sports industry is continuing to grow and expand, more managers are constantly needed. There are many sports leagues, venues, and teams, so a variety of career options are available to graduates of a sports management program. Schools and colleges also need sports managers, which opens the door for even more opportunities.
Is a Sports Management Online Degree Worth It?
If you’re wondering whether it's smart to major in sports management, know that there are both benefits and drawbacks to pursuing an online sports management degree. While there’s a lot of information to learn and skills to develop, it can be worth it if you’re interested in working with athletes, venues, and/or sports fans.
Before deciding whether to pursue a career as a sports manager, consider some pros and cons:
You’ll meet a lot of people. Because sports are a central part of many communities, many people are interested in attending games and events. Through working with teams, venues, or schools, you’ll likely meet a lot of people with the same interests as you.
Work in a variety of places. Sports managers may work for a league team, a sports venue, their own recreational program, or even an athletic gear start-up. There are as many careers as there are aspects of sports.
Overall, sports managers are projected to have a high job growth, according to the BLS. In fact, even most related careers have a higher projected career growth than the U.S. average.
Your job depends on fans. As a sports manager, your job depends on a team’s popularity. This means that it's crucial that enough people are interested in sports to support your local business, and the public perception of your sport’s industry is relatively high.
A large time commitment is involved. During sports seasons, teams and venues have a busy schedule. As a sports manager, you’re responsible for making sure everything goes well, which can put a lot of pressure on you and potentially disrupt your work-life balance.
Competitive Job Market. While the popularity of sports is good for job growth, it also means that the job market is highly competitive. Many people are interested in working with sports teams, athletes, and event venues, so finding a job in a location you want to live may be difficult.
If you’re concerned about paying for your sports management degree online, seek out financial aid opportunities. Many states and institutions offer scholarships, loans, and grants for sports management students.
An online sports management degree can lead to a variety of careers. Whether you’re interested in marketing, event planning, public relations, accounting, or negotiating sponsorship deals, a degree in sports management can provide the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in this industry.