Rankings

Top 15 Online Bachelor's in Sports Management Programs for 2018

With an online sports management degree, you can channel your passion for sports into an exciting career. By leveraging your management, finance, and communication skills, an array of career choices await you across several fields and industries. Students who pursue a sports management degree online can expect to find employment in fields which are growing at faster than average rates. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the number of coaching and scouting jobs to increase by 13%. Read on to learn how an online sports management degree applies general management principles to the sports industry, while teaching students to navigate leadership, legal, and marketing challenges in sports.

What are the Best Online Bachelor's in Sports Management Programs?

1

Midway University Midway, KY

ADMISSIONS RATE 46%
GRADUATION RATE 56%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 60%
RETENTION RATE 78%
DEFAULT RATE 11%

Located in Midway, Kentucky, this private university offers a bachelor of science in sport management. The online sports management degree covers instruction in socio-cultural dimensions, financial applications, legal issues, events, and marketing. The program is offered entirely online in most states. The curriculum includes a business internship. Courses are asynchronous. Students have the opportunity to customize their studies through the 44-credit elective requirement.

Students must earn at least 120 credits. The major has a credit requirement of 39-42 credits. Transfer students can bring up to 80 earned credits from other regionally accredited institutions. This program does not require students to learn a foreign language. Midway University is associated with the Disciples of Christ, an interdenominational Christian group. Online learners have access to student resources, including health services.

2

Toccoa Falls College Toccoa Falls, GA

ADMISSIONS RATE 45%
GRADUATION RATE 47%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 31%
RETENTION RATE 66%
DEFAULT RATE 6%

Toccoa Falls College, located in Georgia, offers a bachelor of science in sport management from a biblical perspective. Students can earn their sports management degree online, but TFC requires students to complete an internship. Online students enjoy access to many campus-based student services, such as career counseling, advising, IT support, tutoring, study abroad programs, and assistance for students with disabilities.

Learners must earn at least 126 semester hours, 30 of which are in Bible and theology. TFC also requires students to complete four semesters of community service. Part of the school's application process asks for a “personal testimony” statement of Christian faith. The TFC online bachelor of science in sport management boasts a 100% graduation rate and offers scholarships to working emergency first responders.

3

University of Florida-Online Gainesville, FL

ADMISSIONS RATE 56%
GRADUATION RATE 0%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 100%
RETENTION RATE 88%
DEFAULT RATE 3%

The University of Florida, located in Gainesville, provides training in marketing, management, finance, and law through its bachelor of science in sport management program. Students earning their sports management degree online are prepared for a variety of careers, including event and facility management, administration, ticket operations, fundraising, player representation, and sponsorship sales.

This university prefers transfer students with more than 60 college credits and a 2.2 GPA within the seven required courses, which include college algebra, macroeconomics, public speaking, and financial accounting. UF recommends that learners complete all prerequisite requirements, but they admit students who have only completed four. The program also includes a semester-long internship after students have completed all coursework.

For displaced students transferring from the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, the University encourages enrollment by waiving tuition and other fees for 2018 Spring and Summer terms.

4

McKendree University Lebanon, IL

ADMISSIONS RATE 63%
GRADUATION RATE 56%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 17%
RETENTION RATE 71%
DEFAULT RATE 9%

McKendree University's online sports management degree focuses on sport marketing, operations of facilities, team management, and financial administration. This program also requires a sport management internship that lasts a full semester. The school allows transfer students to bring up to 90 credit hours into the program. Learners must earn at least 120 credits. McKendree university boasts small class sizes. Online coursework is completed through Blackboard. The school provides valuable services to distance learners, such as IT support, job search help, resume coaching, library support, and advising.

For learners transferring from a community college, the university created a PICU scholarship. The main campus is located in Illinois. Graduates are prepared to manage fitness centers and sports facilities.

5

Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs Danville, VA

ADMISSIONS RATE 55%
GRADUATION RATE 100%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 64%
RETENTION RATE 0%
DEFAULT RATE 11%

Averett University, located in Danville, Virginia, creates an individually designed education for adult learners, also known as its IDEAL program. This bachelor of science in physical education and sports management prepares students for careers in collegiate or professional athletics, sporting goods sales, and facility management. The IDEAL program attracts students who need extra flexibility in their schedule by emphasizing asynchronous coursework. The program is among online sports management bachelor’s degrees that encourage transfer students to enroll by accepting up to 60 credits from regionally accredited universities. The school also accepts credit from validated military experience.

Averett uses Moodle to deliver online coursework and provides free online counseling, tutoring services, and writing review services to distance learners.

6

Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH

ADMISSIONS RATE 92%
GRADUATION RATE 58%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 88%
RETENTION RATE 61%
DEFAULT RATE 8%

Southern New Hampshire University offers distance learners a chance to earn a bachelor of science in sports management. This online sports management degree analyzes the sport business, embraces a global perspective in sport, examines the effect of sport on human culture, and teaches students to respond strategically. The program trains for a variety of positions, including athletic marketer, public relations professional, tournament coordinator, athletic director, and brand manager. This bachelor’s degree supports students through close mentorship. Students must complete a two semester sport internship and a capstone project that evaluates U.S. and international sports corporations.

SNHU welcomes transfer students. The school accepts up to 90 transferable credits. Students must earn at least 120 credits to graduate. SNHU does not require an application fee. The university offers a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members and their spouses.

7

University of Minnesota-Crookston Crookston, MN

ADMISSIONS RATE 77%
GRADUATION RATE 45%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 35%
RETENTION RATE 65%
DEFAULT RATE 8%

Based out of Crookston, this four-year, public university offers a bachelor of science in sport and recreation management. The University of Minnesota nurtures online learners through small class sizes, job shadowing, networking, a required internship, and study abroad opportunities. Online degree-seekers in the SRM program gain valuable work experience through their internship. Curriculum topics include sport ethics, physiological and sociological aspects of sport, finance, ethics, and business writing. Students can also minor in coaching. The program prepares learners for careers in sales, talent scouting, sport event managing, work in university athletic departments, and professional sport coaching.

This school encourages transfer students to apply by offering multiple application deadlines throughout the year and transfer scholarships for learners with high GPAs.

8

Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI

ADMISSIONS RATE 89%
GRADUATION RATE 39%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 41%
RETENTION RATE 74%
DEFAULT RATE 12%

Davenport University, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, offers a bachelor of business administration in sport management program that is taught by experienced faculty members. The sports management degree online balances practical business applications with textbook theory by incorporating asynchronous class interactions, real time virtual gatherings, professional networking, and a 300-hour internship.

DU offers a 20% discount for active members of the armed forces, retirees, and veterans, as well as their partners and dependents under 24. The school also awards academic credit for military experience. Canadian transfer students with a two- or three-year canadian degree can finish an American bachelor’s by earning 10 or 20 more credits through DU.

9

Troy University Troy, AL

ADMISSIONS RATE 92%
GRADUATION RATE 33%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 38%
RETENTION RATE 79%
DEFAULT RATE 14%

Located in Troy, Alabama, this public university prides itself on its educational partnership with the US military. Using a nine-week class schedule, as opposed to the traditional 16-week semester, Troy allows students to earn credits more efficiently. Troy’s bachelor of science in health, sport, and tourism management program offers a concentration in sports management through service learning and one on one instruction. This online sports management degree prepares learners for careers in marketing and promotion, intercollegiate sports, sport law and compliance, facility management, and entrepreneurial sales.

Online students have access to writing tutors, disability services, advising, career services, the library, financial aid, counseling, tech support, and the Trojan Cafe, a virtual student union where learners can share educational experiences, class notes, and provide emotional support.

10

Shorter University Rome, GA

ADMISSIONS RATE 63%
GRADUATION RATE 46%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 30%
RETENTION RATE 58%
DEFAULT RATE 12%

Shorter's sports management degree online requires students to earn six Bible credit hours out of the 120 total credits needed to graduate. Shorter University’s bachelor of business administration in sports management uses online, asynchronous learning and an accelerated schedule. The program emphasizes professional skills in business administration through courses in sport leadership, marketing, ethics, accounting, and sport psychology. The program also covers instruction in ticket sales, community relations, economics, computer applications, and the history of sport. Graduates are prepared for careers in international athletics, coaching, and event planning.

The university extends a 20% military discount and recognizes military experience for academic credit. This school offers the same rate of tuition to in-state and out-of-state students. Shorter is a Baptist institution located in Rome, Georgia.

11

Culver-Stockton College Canton, MO

ADMISSIONS RATE 56%
GRADUATION RATE 52%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 5%
RETENTION RATE 68%
DEFAULT RATE 12%

Based out of Canton, Missouri, and associated with the Disciples of Christ, Culver-Stockton College offers an online sports management degree through an accelerated format. Each term lasts eight weeks. This bachelor of science in sport management degree prepares learners for careers in professional sports, intercollegiate sports, and youth sport organizations. Students can study more than one major simultaneously and may specialize in marketing, accounting, or business administration. The program is entirely online and delivers coursework through Canvas. An internship is not required. The school encourages students to study abroad through program specific trips and travel scholarships.

As a military-friendly college, this school aids service members in transitioning to higher education by using a rolling application deadline. The majority of Culver-Stockton advisers and counselors have military experience.

12

Bellevue University Bellevue, NE

GRADUATION RATE 18% ONLINE ENROLLMENT 78% RETENTION RATE 63% DEFAULT RATE 7%

Bellevue's online sports management degree emphasizes practical instruction through accounting, public relations, marketing, and legal considerations within the field. The program requires learners to complete an internship and encourages students to minor in business administration.

Online students benefit from personalized attention, small class sizes, and continuous tech support. The school offers credit for nontraditional learning experiences, including military experience, and accepts up 60 transfer credits. Students must earn at least 127 credits to graduate. The university provides financial support for military veterans, including the $1000 Wounded Warrior scholarship. The military veteran service center also provides veteran-specific services, such as counseling and housing assistance. The school is located in Bellevue, Nebraska.

13

Columbia College Columbia, MO

GRADUATION RATE 46% ONLINE ENROLLMENT 57% RETENTION RATE 49% DEFAULT RATE 12%

The online sports management degree, which emphasizes business management and sports administration, includes practical instruction in marketing, accounting, ethics, public relations, and business law. Courses are asynchronous and offered through accelerated, eight-week terms. In this bachelor of arts in business administration with a sports management major, students may take up to two internships for credit. This program requires students to earn six foreign language credits out of the 120 credits required to graduate.

CC, a private, nonprofit school in Columbia, Missouri, offers multiple enrollment dates throughout the year. Columbia is a military-friendly school and offers scholarships and discounts for service members and their spouses.

14

Wilmington University New Castle, DE

GRADUATION RATE 23% ONLINE ENROLLMENT 31% RETENTION RATE 60% DEFAULT RATE 8%

Wilmington University, located in in Newcastle, Delaware, offers an online sports management degree through a combination of 15-week, semester-long courses and accelerated, seven-week courses. Wilmington University offers a bachelor of science in sports management program. Coursework is delivered through Blackboard, and instructors expect students to interact with peers online. This career-focused degree offers additional educational opportunities through a certificate in athletic administration and a sports management internship.

Wilmington University accepts credit for prior learning, including military experience, and allows students to transfer up to 90 credits. Learners must earn at least 120 credits to graduate. The school also offers discounted tuition to active-duty servicemembers. Online support includes career, library, disability, and tutoring services.

15

University of Northwestern Ohio Lima, OH

GRADUATION RATE 54% ONLINE ENROLLMENT 9% RETENTION RATE 65% DEFAULT RATE 16%

Combining sports and recreation with business and marketing concepts, UNOH's online sport marketing and management program prepares students for careers in a rapidly growing industry. The curriculum covers a range of subjects, including finance, sports law, facilities management, sports psychology, and marketing. Both an associate degree and bachelor's degree are available completely online.

UNOH's online learners benefit from a simple and affordable tuition structure, with the same rates for both resident and non-resident students. Classes take place in eight six-week sessions throughout the school year, and students pay tuition based on the number of credits they take.

Sport management and marketing graduates go on to embark on sports-related careers in accounting, ticketing, sales, advertising, and financial operations. In fact, 94% of recent graduates are currently employed or continuing their education through an advanced degree.

UNOH is located in Lima, OH, and is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

What Will I Learn in an Online Sports Management Program?

Students in sports management apply general management principles to the sports industry. While courses vary across programs, students should check with their school to learn the exact curriculum. However, a student can generally expect to complete some of these courses as a part of an online sports management degree.

  • Financial applications and accounting

    This course introduces finance and budget decision-making processes. Students learn analytical techniques for interpreting financial statements and explore the economic impact of sports in society.

  • Legal and ethical issues

    An introduction to theoretical and concrete understandings of how the sport industry interacts with law, ethics, moral reasoning. Legal concepts include regulation, compliance, liability, contracts and antitrust, and commercial law.

  • Management and leadership

    This course provides a foundation in the principles of decision-making in the field. Through case-studies, students explore sports business planning, organizing, and skills in supervising and leading personnel.

  • Sport marketing and communication

    Students apply marketing principles like targeting, pricing, and communication to the sports industry. They evaluate marketing research and learn to create marketing plans for international and domestic sports.

  • Facility and event management

    This course covers on-the-ground operations in areas like the box office, concessions, and merchandise. Students learn the mechanics of event design and planning, and how to manage liability and risk in sports venues and at sporting events.

What can I do with an Online Sports Management Degree?

Graduates with online sports management bachelor degrees are employed with many different organizations, including professional sports teams and associations, colleges and universities, fitness facilities, sport venues, and sporting goods businesses. Many careers allow graduates to apply their passion for sports to their job while also receiving a great salary. The following is just a sample of possible careers for sports management graduates. Others tracks may include sports information directors, sports analysts, coaches, and marketing and sales managers.

Job Outlook and Salary for Sports Management Graduates

Students who complete a sports management degree online gain management, finance, and communication skills that apply to careers in the sports industry and beyond. These graduates are particularly suited for careers that involve building partnerships with communities, but this can also lead to more specialized positions in the sports industry.

While salaries depend on factors like industry and location, graduates find employment in fields that are growing at a higher than average rate. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2026 employment growth athletic directors in post secondary education settings will be 10%; 13% for coaches and scouts; and 10% for meeting, convention, and event planners.

Employment Growth for Sports Management
Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026
572,900 637,700

Salary Growth by Experience for Sports Management Professionals

For some sports management careers -- like professional sports scouting or event planning -- employees typically move on to other careers after approximately 10 years. For many other fields, a career can last much longer. In all cases, the more experience one has, the higher the pay rate one can expect. Athletic directors, for example, see a moderate salary increase as they gain more experience.


To determine the best online bachelor's in sports management programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school's commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online bachelor's in sports management programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school's ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category's ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.