Online Master’s in Sports Management 2021

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Professional sports play an integral role in American life as a source of entertainment and big business. Behind the scenes, managers and administrators support their sport’s success. 

A master’s in sports management prepares professionals for a career in the field. Students gain the theoretical and practical skills necessary for success in the industry. Graduates can work in roles like sports agent, league administrator, operations manager, and market research analyst. 

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 7% job growth for entertainment and sports occupations between 2019-2029. Professionals in this sector make a median annual salary of $45,250. However, many sports management professionals make more. For instance, agents and business managers earn a median annual salary of $73,740.

This guide ranks online master’s in sports management programs. It also covers other important information for prospective students, such as common courses and scholarship opportunities for sports management students.

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Learn More about Master's in Sports Management

  • What can you do with a master's in sports management?

    Career options vary depending on the student’s interest, but graduates may pursue roles such as sports agent, athletics trainer, or director.

  • How long does it take to get a master's in sports management?

    Most master’s in sports management programs take around two years of full-time study to complete.

  • How much do sports managers make a year?

    Salaries vary by factors like sport, location, and role. However, agents and business managers earn a median annual salary of $73,740, according to the BLS.

  • How do I get a job in sports management?

    A graduate degree provides the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue sports management careers. Students often gain hands-on experience that prepares them for diverse roles after graduation.

Why Get a Degree in Sports Management?

The following list highlights five benefits of earning a sports management master’s degree.

Specialized Skills
Many master’s in sports management programs allow students to specialize in areas such as athlete development, sports law, and high-performance coaching.
Practical Experience
Many master’s in sports management programs require internships or practicums, giving students hands-on experience in the field.
Transferable Skills
Sports management students gain skills applicable to diverse careers, such as leadership, communication, and management skills.
Job Growth
The BLS projects entertainment and sports occupations to grow 7% between 2019-2029, which is higher than the projected job growth for all careers.
Turn a Passion into a Career
Sports management professionals get the opportunity to turn their love of sports into a successful career.

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Courses in Sports Management

Master’s in sports management programs typically comprise 30-48 credits. Learners study topics such as sports finance, sports law, and sports marketing. Many programs allow students to pursue specialized training in areas such as coaching, sport event management, or college sports administration.

Students develop communication, analytical, leadership, and financial management skills. They also gain hands-on experience through internships and projects.

Courses vary by program, but the following list highlights classes commonly found in master’s in sports management programs.

This course examines the role that managers and executives play within sports organizations. Students explore various leadership theories, styles, and applications. They also study topics such as organizational theory, industrial psychology, and organizational behavior.

This course covers financial concepts such as budgeting and forecasting, project financing, and taxation and regulation. Students learn to apply their financial knowledge to address hypothetical problems or real cases in the sports industry.

This course explores the techniques that sports professionals use to advertise and promote sports events. Students learn how to craft effective advertising messaging and use it in compelling sports marketing campaigns. They also learn how to convert business intelligence, such as analytics, into valuable information.

Students in this course study the legal and ethical challenges that face teams, leagues, and athletes. Learners examine topics like contract negotiations, dispute resolutions, and antitrust cases. Students may use case studies to explore moral and ethical dilemmas that arise in the sporting world.

Students in this course build expertise in the use of methodological approaches, research design, and analysis. Students may engage in a hypothetical or real research project with a partnering sports organization.

Certifications and Licensure for Sports Management

Each professional sports league establishes its own certification requirements for roles such as sports agent and manager. Aspiring sports agents and managers should contact their state’s board of professional regulation for more details. The following list highlights three certifications for sports agents.

NFL Players Association Agent Certification

The NFLPA requires league certification for agents. Candidates need a master’s degree from an accredited college. They must also pay a $2,500 application fee, undergo a background check, attend a two-day seminar, and pass a 60-question multiple-choice exam.

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National Basketball Players Association Certified Agent

Candidates for this credential need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. They must also pay a $1,500 application fee, complete a comprehensive background check, and pass an exam.

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Professional Association of Athlete Development Specialists - Athlete Development Certificate

PAADS offers this certificate for athlete development specialists. Applicants must pay a fee and complete a course that covers topics such as athlete nutrition, fiscal literacy, career development, and physical training.

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Scholarships for Sports Management Students

Scholarships help learners pursuing a degree in sports management pay for tuition and other expenses. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The following list highlights three scholarship opportunities for sports management students.

  • Stadium Managers Scholarship Foundation

    Who Can Apply: The SMA Foundation awards three scholarships each year to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a sport administration/management program. Applicants must submit an essay outlining their career goals, demonstrate community service participation, and possess stadium-related work experience.

    Amount: Varies

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  • Future of Sports Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: offers several scholarships. Candidates must plan to pursue a career in sports entertainment. Applicants must fill out an application that demonstrates their interest in sports or eSports.

    Amount: $1,000

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  • Walter J. Travis Memorial Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The Travis Society awards scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students who classify as amatuer golfers or plan to pursue a career in golf. Applicants must submit academic records, an essay, and evidence of participation in golf-related activities.

    Amount: $1,000

    Explore Here

Most Affordable Online Master’s in Sports Management Programs 2021

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