Top Online MBA Programs in Sports Management

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Top Online MBA Programs in Sports Management

An online MBA in sports management blends business knowledge and skills with concepts related directly to the sports industry. An MBA in sports management covers marketing, finance, and strategic planning, all applicable to the business side of sports.

Sports management MBAs prepare students to lead within sports organizations, companies, and programs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects business occupations will experience a 5% increase in employment from 2019-2029. Advertising, promotion, and marketing managers — essential to sports business profitability and success — will experience comparable gains.

What Is an MBA in Sports Management?

Top online MBAs in sports management train learners to apply business concepts to the sports industry. An online MBA in sports management prepares business professionals for managerial positions within sports organizations. Graduates with sports management MBAs can advance into leadership roles with sports companies and teams.

The BLS expects management professions to experience a 5% increase in employment from 2019-2029. Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers — including those in sports-related positions — can expect 18,800 new positions in the field from 2019-2029 as well.

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What Can You Do With an MBA in Sports Management?

  • General/Operations Manager

    General/operations managers oversee daily business activities in companies and organizations. They supervise personnel and physical structures, interacting with executives, employees, and clients to ensure efficacy and efficiency. These managers hire and train new employees, enforce policies and procedures, and supervise inventories as needed. They often provide detailed, data-driven reports to regional or corporate managers.

    Entry-level general/operations managers, according to PayScale, earn a median annual salary approaching $49,000. With 20 years or more in the position, general operations managers earn more than $82,000 annually.

  • Revenue Manager

    Revenue managers develop strategic plans for their organizations’ profitability. They establish revenue goals, providing advice and guidance to finance and sales colleagues in the process. Revenue managers may oversee teams of budget and financial analysts, as well. Many revenue managers work in the hospitality industry, providing services to hotels, resorts, and sports-related facilities. Sports revenue managers supervise pricing, scheduling, and promotions at stadiums, golf courses, and other sports locations.

    Tasked with revenue oversight, revenue managers hire, train, and dismiss employees. They work closely with human resources to coordinate cost-effective on-boarding, evaluation, and termination practices.

  • Director of Operations

    PayScale reports that directors of operations earn an average annual salary of $92,390. Directors of operations supervise daily activities in organizations or at specific locations. They develop and implement employee and operational policies and processes in line with organizational goals.

    Directors of operations manage budgets and timelines as they relate to the production of goods or presentation of services. Operations managers at sports facilities focus on game and event policies and procedures. They also work with teams and vendors and monitor facility safety.

  • Financial Manager

    Expected to see a 15% growth in employment from 2019-2029, financial managers oversee an organization’s financial activities. They produce financial reports, monitor trends, and provide investment guidance to meet short- and long-term organizational goals. Financial managers in the sporting industry may work with individuals and organizations alike. These professionals review contracts, set up marketing deals, and oversee personal budgets for clients, while also arranging loans and financing within larger sports-related companies.

  • Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager

    Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers work with sales agents, artists, and marketing analysts to sell goods and services. They supervise budgets, develop strategic campaigns, and assess market research to meet consumer demand.

    Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers engage with digital, print, and visual media. Top industries for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers include public relations and information services. Within the sporting industry, these professionals focus on events, team and player image, and brand development.

Online MBA in Sports Management Curriculum

Curricula within online MBAs in sports management degrees vary by institution and department. Core coursework emphasizes business concepts such as finance, strategic planning, and marketing. Sports management classes integrate business with sport, exploring topics like facility and event management, sports law and ethics, and sports analytics.

Sports facility and event management coursework emphasizes principles and processes, alongside facility design, risk management, and marketing. Students also explore the role of sports facilities and events from economic, social, and cultural perspectives.

Coursework in sports law and ethics examines regulations, policies, and best practices within the sports industry. Topics include intellectual property, sports broadcasting, and diversity in sport.

By emphasizing data collection, assessment, and evaluation, sports analytics coursework trains students to effectively analyze player and team performance, sales and marketing, and administrative practices in a sports setting.

How to Choose the Right Online MBA in Sports Management Program

Sports management master’s degrees and master’s degrees in sports administration and leadership apply a multidisciplinary approach to sport. In contrast, MBA students focus on the sports industry through a business lens. Learners earning MBAs in sports management apply advanced business concepts like marketing, finance, and data analytics in sports organizations.

Online MBAs in sports management offer convenient, flexible options for students earning graduate degrees in the discipline. Traditional MBAs take roughly two years to complete. Students pursuing accelerated online sports management degrees can complete their programs in as few as 18 months.

Part-time students benefit from online coursework, as well. Working professionals and learners with busy schedules can take courses on a timeline that meets their needs and goals, earning their MBAs in sports management over several years.

When choosing an online MBA in sports management, students should consider coursework and degree requirements, such as classes, internships, and research requirements. Many programs allow students to complete the practical components of an MBA at their current place of employment.

An online MBA in sports management may also provide a more affordable path for learners. Colleges and universities offering the same online tuition for resident and nonresident students eliminate potentially prohibitive tuition expenses. Students also avoid on-campus costs, including room and board, commuting, and parking.

Scholarships for Sports Management MBA Programs

Students earning sports management MBAs can apply for financial aid available to all students. Loans, scholarships, fellowships, and grants provide essential support for college and university students. Business administration and sports management learners enjoy additional funding opportunities, as well, designed for individuals specializing in those fields.

  • Mary Elizabeth Lockwood Beneventi MBA Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Awarded by the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Mary Elizabeth Lockwood Beneventi MBA Scholarship supports students earning business administration degrees from accredited colleges or universities. Applicants need a minimum 3.25 GPA to apply.

    Amount: $2,000

    Apply for Scholarship

  • Janet B. Parks NASSM Research Grant

    Who Can Apply: The Janet B. Parks NASSM Research Grant supports members advancing scholarship in the sport management discipline. Applicants must hold membership to the North American Society for Sport Management for two years before receiving the award and submit a formal proposal for consideration.

    Amount: Varies

    Apply for Scholarship

  • Jim McKay Graduate Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) provides funding to one female and one male student each year who demonstrate potential in sport communication or public relations or show interest in contributing to the sports industry. Applicants need a minimum 3.5 GPA, must be in their final season of NCAA eligibility, and should demonstrate leadership, superior character, and integrity.

    Amount: $10,000

    Apply for Scholarship

  • National Black MBA Association Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: Partnered with academic institutions around the world, NBMBA offers scholarships to support educational and career opportunities for historically underrepresented students, entrepreneurs, and professionals. Application requirements vary by scholarship.

    Amount: Varies

    Apply for Scholarship

  • Ethnic Minority and Women’s Enhancement Graduate Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: To support opportunities among minority and female candidates in intercollegiate athletics, the NCAA awards 26 ethnic minority and women’s enhancement graduate scholarships each year. Applicants must plan to enroll or be enrolled in a sports administration-related graduate program. Additional application requirements include a minimum 3.2 GPA and demonstration of undergraduate distinction in the classroom and community alike.

    Amount: $10,000

    Apply for Scholarship

Professional Organizations for Sports Management

Professional organizations for sports management unite individuals from the industry’s many facets. Those working in sports organizations make connections with their counterparts in sporting goods companies, educational institutions, and research positions. Professional organizations for sports management also provide valuable continuing education programs, job boards, and advocacy opportunities for members.


  • North American Society for Sports Management

    NASSM unites sport, leisure, and recreation professionals to promote, stimulate, and strengthen the sport management discipline. Members receive discounts on NASSM conference fees, bimonthly and biannual publications, and job resources. It also offers awards, grants, and advocacy opportunities for members.


  • Sports Marketing Association

    The SMA, founded in 2002, serves practitioners, academics, and students by developing and expanding knowledge in sport marketing. Alongside publications and discounts on conference fees, SMA hosts offers awards, honors, and partner benefits to members.


  • National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics

    Established in 1965, the NACDA promotes educational opportunities and fosters networking among individuals in the field of athletics administration. The association holds an annual conference and intern program, and offers job information. The NACDA Foundation provides clinics, workshops, seminars, and scholarship opportunities to members.


  • National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association

    Preserving, enhancing, and promoting education-based athletics, the NIAAA provides professional development and networking opportunities to interscholastic athletic administrators. Members gain access to quarterly publications, discounts on educational programs and events, and career resources.


  • National Sporting Goods Association

    Serving retailers, manufacturers, sales agents, and industry associates, the NSGA serves as a repository of industry contacts, resources, and services. Founded in 1927, the association offers research materials, marketing tools, educational programs, and business solutions resources to members.


Top Online MBA Programs in Sports Management for 2020





How We Rank Online MBA Programs

Want to know how we create our rankings? We assess schools based on academic quality, affordability, online flexibility, and student success.






  1. Azusa Pacific University
    Location

    Azusa, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Azusa Pacific University is a California Christian college with a strong business program. The 42- to 43-unit MBA offers eight specializations. Full-time students complete the online MBA in sports management in just 12 months.

    The curriculum emphasizes the technical business expertise and practical skills MBA students must master to become ethical leaders. The MBA core covers topics such as operations management and corporate finance. Students review key aspects of sports management focusing on facility and event management and athletics and the law.

    Participants complete two field experiences, which apply their learning in sports settings. The MBA features eight-week terms with six start dates each year. Learners may switch between online course delivery and on-campus programming as necessary. All students pay the same tuition, regardless of residency. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA and GMAT scores.

    Other Concentrations

  2. Misericordia University
    Location

    Dallas, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Misericordia University, a Pennsylvania-based Catholic college, offers an MBA in sport management for nontraditional learners with busy schedules. Students complete the 36-credit MBA on a part-time basis in 2.5 years on average.

    The program cultivates business professionals who can manage and lead organizations, advance to senior managerial positions, or start their own sports-focused businesses. The MBA core cultivates business professionals skilled in marketing management, accounting finance, and other areas that make them assets in any sports enterprise.

    The specialization focuses on the business of sport, including how to master public relations, communications, and the media in sport. Students acquire marketing expertise and complete an integrative capstone that applies their learning to address authentic business challenges.

    Misericordia offers affordable tuition and a tuition deferment plan. Admission to this top online MBA does not require GRE or GMAT scores.

    Other Concentrations

  3. East Carolina University
    Location

    Greenville, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    For more than 75 years, the college of business at East Carolina University has empowered learners with the technical expertise for success in the business world. Its MBA with a certificate in sport management requires no prerequisite business experience, and students can choose between fully online and hybrid formats.

    The program requires 18 courses, but many students receive waivers for the seven-course foundation. All students complete a common body of knowledge, which gives them expertise in areas such as financial management, management science, and marketing strategy.

    Students use business electives to earn their certificates. They examine contemporary sport and the legal aspects of sport management, both required courses supplemented by two electives such as management and leadership in sport.

    MBA students receive assistance from the career center and can attend the annual business student leadership conference for professional development and networking. Admission to this top MBA requires a minimum 2.7 GPA and GMAT scores.

    Other Concentrations

  4. Northwest Nazarene University
    Location

    Nampa, ID

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    One of the best Christian colleges in the Northwest, Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, also manages one of the nation's best MBA programs. Faculty with extensive business experience teach the 33- to 48-credit program online, on campus, and in a blended format.

    Faculty recently added a sports management emphasis, so students can learn to apply business theories and concepts in the lucrative field of sports management. The 48-credit MBA in sports management requires a core covering topics such management law and corporate finance. The nine-credit emphasis examines sports finance, economics, and management and compliance.

    Students may opt for an internship to gain real experience in sports business settings. Enrollees take two courses at a time to complete the degree in 16 months. NNU charges lower tuition rates than other programs, making this one of the nation's most affordable master's in sports management. Admission requires school transcripts.

    Other Concentrations

  5. Nova Southeastern University
    Location

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Nova Southeastern University maintains a significant impact on higher education in Florida, featuring a main campus in Fort Lauderdale and satellite campuses across the state. Distance learners can earn the 40- to 49-credit MBA with a major in sport revenue management.

    Enrollees develop advanced business administrative skills through an MBA core. The business school may waive core courses in accounting, business finance, and business statistics for experienced students. The major focuses on how MBAs can boost sports organizations' profits.

    Faculty teach students to use sponsorship deals, implement events and fundraisers, and develop new streams of income to accomplish that goal. A sport revenue generation internship provides an elective option for students to acquire hands-on experience. Students complete this online MBA in 18-21 months. NSU boasts affordability, charging the same online tuition for all MBA students. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA.

    Other Concentrations

  6. St. Thomas Aquinas College
    Location

    Sparkill, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Dominican Sisters of Sparkill established St. Thomas Aquinas College as a teaching college. This New York-based school continues a tradition of academic excellence with its MBA program. Faculty developed this degree with working professionals in mind, offering an online program that allows students to continue working.

    The 39-credit MBA in sport administration blends lectures with group discussions and projects completed with business organizations. Separate tracks accommodate the needs of business and nonbusiness majors. The MBA core for both degrees covers topics like managerial economics, operations management, and business analytics.

    Aspiring sports managers use 15 credits to develop their expertise in areas such as sports finance, sports management analytics, and sports leadership and management. A seminar provides supervised fieldwork experience in the industry. Nine-week sessions accelerate degree completion. Admission to the master's in sports management requires a minimum 2.8 GPA, plus GMAT scores.

    Other Concentrations

  7. Bryan College-Dayton
    Location

    Dayton, TN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Chartered in 1930, Bryan College develops Christian servant leaders. The Tennessee college administers an accelerated MBA in sports management, which students complete in just 14 months. Faculty teach this fully online 36-credit MBA from a Christian worldview.

    The MBA core covers topics such as financial management and managerial economics. The rest of the curriculum mostly applies core administrative skills to sports business. Learners study sports finance, sports marketing, how to lead sports organizations, and sports facility and event management. All MBA students complete a course that examines a biblical worldview of management principles.

    The MBA develops students' capacity for moral decision-making. Graduates leave the program equipped to use quantitative and analytical tools, and they can engage in strategic planning to achieve organizational outcomes. Bryan College offers competitive tuition rates and comprehensive financial aid. Admission to this top online MBA requires school transcripts.

    Other Concentrations

  8. Concordia University-Chicago
    Location

    River Forest, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Part of a nine-college system, Concordia University - Chicago is a private college with academic programs rooted in the school's Lutheran heritage. This MBA offers an extensive portfolio of specializations, including a one- or two-year MBA in sports management.

    Faculty imbue the 36-credit curriculum with CUC's four pillars of knowledge, including social responsibility and critical thinking and an entrepreneurial mindset. The MBA core covers topics such as economics for managers and accounting for decision-making. Through 12 credits, MBA students master sports finance, economics, law, and using diversity to level the playing field.

    Participants culminate every course with a business ePortfolio highlighting their talents in a completed project. Unlike many programs, CUC's MBA offers dual specialization options. All MBA students pay the same affordable tuition, regardless of residency. Admission requires a minimum 2.85 GPA and no GMAT scores.

    Other Concentrations

  9. Gardner-Webb University
    Location

    Boiling Springs, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Situated on a 200-acre campus in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, Gardner-Webb University offers programs integrating Christian ethics and maximizing personalization. Students in the 30-credit MBA with an emphasis in sports management master key business functions such as accounting, marketing, and economics.

    Students use two elective courses to complete specialized training in sports administration. They acquire real experience through internships and service opportunities. Faculty supplement lectures with projects and course simulations. A capstone course allows learners to apply their knowledge of the various functional areas in strategic management.

    Business clubs such as the Student Investment Club and Entrepreneurial Action By All of Us provide professional developing and networking opportunities. Graduates leave the master's in sports management with fine-tuned skills in analysis, problem-solving, and communication. All students pay the same tuition rates, regardless of residency. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA and GMAT scores.

    Other Concentrations

  10. Southern New Hampshire University
    Location

    Manchester, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Southern New Hampshire University is one of the nation's fastest-growing colleges thanks to distance learners. SNHU offers an MBA accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, featuring a large portfolio of specializations. Students complete the MBA in sports management in just 15 months.

    The curriculum covers functional areas such as operations management and accounting and financial analysis. MBA students use nine credits to acquire advanced understanding of sports and society, how to manage sports organizations, and the internationalization of sport business. They supplement lectures through real projects, which may incorporate learners' professional experiences.

    Graduates leave the program with a business plan they can market to potential employers and investors. This top online MBA allows learners to transfer up to 12 graduate credits. All students pay the same tuition, regardless of residency. Admission requires school transcripts and no GMAT/GRE scores.

    Other Concentrations

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