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Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Sports Management

Finding the Right Sports Management Program & Exploring Careers

Updated on: 12/12/2018
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Bachelor's in sports management programs help students develop an interdisciplinary skillset. Classes run the gamut from finance to legal ethics, encouraging students to apply these principles to sporting events, teams, and facilities. In each course, students explore common challenges for sports management professionals, such as brand-building and handling municipal recreation. With these skills, graduates go on to manage facilities and start their own agencies.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) places sports in the same category as entertainment and the arts. As with other entertainment-related careers, sports management professionals' salaries range depending on their experience. In the sports industry, managers, agents, and coaches who work with professional athletes can earn millions of dollars each year. However, according to the BLS, coaches and scouts make an average annual salary of $32,270, while umpires, referees, and other sports officials earn $26,800. This guide provides information regarding typical bachelor's in sports management curricula, scholarships, and program and school accreditation. It also delves into online bachelor's programs in sports management, and their benefits.

How Much Can You Make in a Sports Management Career?

Students must remember that a bachelor's in sports management does not guarantee a particular career or salary. Graduates with sports management degrees may pursue a variety of careers that involve marketing, communications, and management. Many graduates go on to work in offices for professional sports teams, while others prefer to work at sports agencies, managing players and assisting with public relations duties. The BLS projects that every occupation listed below will see job growth within the next decade.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: 8%
Job Description

These officials regulate games and other sporting competitions. They ensure players follow game rules, and make calls as necessary. They use their judgment to issue rule violations based on the industry's rulebook. Officials sometimes check sporting equipment to verify its safety and reliability. They also settle player disputes and address concerns coaches have.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: 13%
Job Description

Coaches work at all different levels of the sports industry. They coach at schools and with independent leagues and professional organizations. Coaches analyze players to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Coaches help players improve and develop game strategies to utilize their best assets. They also schedule practice sessions and workouts to prepare players for the game.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: 23%
Job Description

Athletic trainers rehabilitate athletes and prevent injuries. They can work independently or for an organization. Trainers work with coaches and other team officials to monitor and train athletes during workouts and practice sessions. They help athletes with strength training and conditioning. When accidents happen, trainers perform emergency care and apply first aid.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: 10%
Job Description

Fitness trainers assist athletes during their routine workouts. They have a deep understanding of the human anatomy, and know which exercises athletes would best condition athletes' bodies to help them reach their goals. Trainers develop fitness plans to target areas that need improvement. They also provide general health and nutritional advice.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: 11%
Job Description

Financial analysts aid businesses in financial decisions and investments. In the sports world, they help organizations with major financial decisions, including mergers and player trades. They help teams negotiate player contracts and allocate resources to build a roster and hire staff. On the other side, analysts work with athletes to help them build investment portfolios and manage their assets.

Sources: BLS 2018

When pursuing a sports management bachelor's degree online, students may wonder about their career prospects after graduation. Sports management affords graduates the opportunity to work directly with athletes, or manage their careers behind the scenes. Job growth and salary data varies for these positions based on education, skill level, and job demand. In the sports industry, umpires and referees compete for jobs in collegiate and professional sports. Per the BLS, Arkansas tops the list as the highest-paying state for sports officials.

What Courses Can be Taken for an Online Sports Management Degree?

The bachelor's in sports management curriculum features courses in marketing, brand management, and ethics. Students learn industry basics, such as pitching clients and negotiating sales. As learners progress through the program, they understand how to conduct themselves in different situations with members of the press and other business entities. The sample curriculum lists common courses in an online sports management degrees. Students usually take a mixture of core and elective courses.

Introduction to Sports Management

This course lays the program foundation. Students learn basic management principles, as they relate to the sports industry. Learners examine the media, marketing tactics, and financial management.

Sport Marketing

Students explore marketing techniques that impact the world of sports. The class encourages students to develop an effective marketing strategy and record their plans.

Sport Business

This class emphasizes the industry's business side. Students analyze sales, financing, sponsorships, and human resources, and identify and categorize sports products based on industry and level.

Brand Management

By the end of this course, learners can help sports organizations build their brand through advertising, social media, and traditional marketing. They also study market shares and learn to build a loyal consumer base.

Sport Facility Management

The course prepares students to manage sports facilities, such as stadiums or arenas. Students analyze common issues and concerns regarding facility management.

How to Choose the Best Online Sports Management Program

The following questions address common concerns for sports management majors regarding programs, requirements, and potential outcomes. When choosing a program, students must consider factors including school reputation and faculty quality. These factors affect students' overall school experience. While reviewing these issues, prospective students should brainstorm other questions regarding particular programs and course offerings.

How do I select a concentration?

Some bachelor's degree in sports management programs allow students to select a concentration, while others only offer a general major. Ultimately, the student must decide which sports-related career they want to pursue based on coursework, research, and interests. Usually, concentrations lean toward facilities management or finance. Internships may help students gain real-world experience and explore career options.

What is the difference between an online bachelor's degree in sports management and a traditional program?

Schools deliver online classes either completely online or as hybrid courses. Hybrid courses require occasional in-class meetings, as opposed to the regularly scheduled in-class meetings required by on-campus courses. Some schools charge per-credit tuition for online courses, but a flat tuition or course range rate for on-campus courses.

Where can I intern while pursuing my bachelor's in sports management?

As a sports management major, you should intern at organizations that make sports the central focus, such as exercise facilities, sports camps, and league offices. On the technical side, marketing agencies that represent sports teams and brands will help you learn the business aspects of the industry. Students should also look into their school's athletics department to find internship and job opportunities.

Why do I need an online sports management degree to work as a coach?

A bachelor's in sports management can benefit coaches and scouts by teaching them business logistics. As a coach or scout, you understand the game and how to identify good players, but you may not understand the business of building a team. Sports management courses cover the business practices coaches and scouts need to know to successfully find and keep players that benefit an organization.

What are the signs of a good faculty?

Sports management majors should seek out faculty members with years of industry experience. They should have credentials as former coaches, trainers, agents, and scouts. Schools employ adjunct professors that currently work in the industry and teach part-time. Research your school's program to find any adjunct professors and register for their classes. They provide the most current information regarding the business, and help students with job and internship placements.

Scholarships & Financial Aid for Sports Management Programs

Financial aid largely affects students' ability to enroll in a bachelor's in sports management program. Students who need additional aid may look to the government for aid in the form of grants and loans. Grants are need-based aid, and do not have to be repaid. Students must repay loans, but usually only after they graduate or leave school. Scholarships represent another form of aid that does not have to be repaid. Typically, they are merit-based awards.

Ethnic Minority and Women's Enhancement Graduate Scholarship

This scholarship is a joint effort by the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics and the Committee on Minority Opportunity and Interests. Thirteen female and ethnic minority college students receive $10,000 toward their education. Applicants must plan to enroll in a sports administration program. Student-athletes may receive the scholarship if their school nominates them. Eligible applicants must maintain a 3.2 GPA and attend a NCAA member institution.

Jim McKay Graduate Scholarship

The NCAA created this scholarship to honor Jim McKay, a legendary sports journalist. Each year, two students (a male and a female) receive $10,000 in financial aid. The faculty athletics representative or chief academic officer nominates students for the scholarship. Qualified candidates must maintain a 3.5 GPA, attend an NCAA member institution as a graduating senior or graduate student, and show interest in sports communications.

Rob Labinski SMA Foundation Sports Scholarship

Founded in 1974, the Stadium Managers Association offers guidance and support to the nation's facility managers. They launched the SMA Foundation to help fund students pursuing a sports management education. This scholarship honors Rob Labinski and his contributions to the sports architecture industry. It is open to student members of the SMA, who also receive job and internship opportunities through the organization.

David J. Stern Scholarship

The NBA joined forces with the Thurgood Marshall fund to present this award to a sophomore student with a 3.0 or higher GPA. The candidate must be considering a career in sports. The winner receives the chance to intern at the NBA headquarters, under the tutelage of commissioner David J. Stern. Applicants should submit a resume with internship and community service experience, plus their most recent FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) report, transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and an essay.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. Advancement of Women in Sports and Entertainment Scholarship

The Floyd Mayweather Jr. Foundation awards scholarships to eight women who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate-level program. Applicants should be enrolled in a media or sport media-related program, and plan to pursue a career in sports or entertainment. To qualify, applicants must enroll full-time at an accredited four-year institution. They must also demonstrate financial need as citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. Applicants should also maintain a 2.75 GPA.