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25 Best Schools for Online Master’s Degrees in Sports Management 2015


If you are looking for an industry with much heart, passion, excitement, and countless business opportunities, then the sports industry might be a good choice for you. You can use your talents and training from virtually any position and use it in this exciting and lucrative industry. Whether you are trained in facility and event management, marketing, administration, compliance, sales, and fundraising, you can find your place in the sports industry. Forbes states that the sports industry is expected to grow to $145.3 billion between 2010 and 2015. And with this expected growth in the sports industry, there are many opportunities for educated and well-trained managers.

But along with growing options, there is also growing competition. A master’s degree in sport management will give a competitive advantage to move further up the ladder in organizations. And not only can you access the personal, profession, and financial goals within a master’s degree in sport management, but you can also do it within the busy confines of your current schedule with an online degree. Use this ranking as a starting point for finding the right online sport management master’s program for you!

Here is our list of the 25 Best Schools for Online Master’s Degrees in Sport Management. Schools were ranked based on faculty credentials, student services and engagement, admissions selectivity, course delivery technology, student satisfaction, and tuition costs. The data was derived from the most recent and publicly available sources, including U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education and Statistics.

For more information in your online sport education search, also check out our Sports Management Online Resource Guide.

#25 Indiana University-Bloomington – Bloomington, Indiana

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Indiana University-Bloomington is a 4-year public university that was founded in 1820 as the flagship campus of Indiana University’s eight campuses. Indiana University (IU)-Bloomington offers more than 330 undergraduate and 190 graduate degree programs. The School of Public Health at IU-Bloomington offers a Master of Science Degree in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies, and starting in the Fall of 2015 will offer a Major in Recreational Sports Administration. This degree will focus on identifying data, analyzing information, and applying it to decision making situations for management in recreational sport programs.

#24 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, Illinois

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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a 4-year, public university that was established in 1997 to provide coordination and support to the three other campuses of the University of Illinois. Among the many on-campus and online degree offerings at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism in the College of Applied Health offers an online Master of Science degree in Recreation, Sport and Tourism. This 36-credit hour online masters program emphasizes group collaboration, meaningful research, and challenging training for advancement in recreation, sport, and tourism organizations and programs.

#23 Duquesne University – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Duquesne University is a 4-year, private, nonprofit university that was founded in 1878 by a group of Catholic missionaries. Over the past 136 years, Duquesne University has grown to ten schools, offering over 160 degree programs, to over 10,000 students annually. Among the many degrees offered is a 36-credit hour Master of Science in Sports Leadership. This program is designed to teach future sports leaders ethics, leadership, critical thinking, and problems-solving skills that are relevant in the sports industry and will add value to sport organizations and programs.

#22 University of Florida – Gainesville, Florida

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The University of Florida started as a small seminary in 1853 and has grown to a university with 4,000 faculty members and over 6,400 students. The University of Florida (UF) has not only strived to offer exceptional on-campus courses, but also was one of the first schools to offer an accredited online degree program. Among the online degrees available, is an online Master of Science in Sport Management, offered by the College of Health and Human Performance. This 27+-credit hour program offers a comprehensive and flexible program for sport leaders with courses including: Sport Sociology, Sport Marketing, Sport Finance, Management and Leadership in Sport, Sport Ethics, and Management & Planning of Sport and Physical Activity Facilities.

#21 Texas A&M University – College Station, Texas

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Texas A&M University is a 4-year public university that was founded in 1876. Texas A&M University is considered one of the nation’s largest universities with 16 colleges and schools, over 4,000 faculty, and over 58,000 students. Texas A&M not only has a large degree offering to the Bryan/College Station area, but offers online programs including a Master of Science in Sport Management by their Department of Health and Kinesiology. This 36-credit hour degree program is designed for those interested in areas of sport marketing and sales, fiscal management, personnel management and development and athletics administration and control. Courses within this program include: Theory of Research In Discipline, Revenue Generation in Sport, Personnel Management in Sport, Diversity in Sport Organizations, Marketing, Recreation and Sports Law, Administration of Health and Kinesiology, and Administration of Sport and Fitness Organizations.

#20 Gonzaga University – Spokane, Washington

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Gonzaga University is a 4-year, private, nonprofit, Jesuit university that was founded in 1887. Gonzaga offers 75 fields of study to over 7,800 students annually. Gonzaga is nationally known for NCAA sports, ranked as one of the best value schools, and one of the best in the west. Included in within this nationally ranked school is an online Master of Sport and Athletic Administration. This 34-credit hour interdisciplinary program is grounded in educational and organizational theory and emphasizes training leaders in the best professional practices. Courses within this program include: Sport & Athletic Promotions, Sport Media and Communications, Ethical/Legal Aspects in Sport, Sport and Athletics in Social Context, Sport and Athletic Finance, and Facility Management in Sport and Athletics.

#19 Northcentral University – Prescott Valley, Arizona

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Northcentral University is a 4-year, private, for-profit, online university that was founded in 1996. It was inspired by the Oxford Learning Model and adopted a one-to-one teaching model that partners one student to one faculty member. Northcentral University offers a Master’s of Education with a specialization in Sports Management. This 30-credit hour degree program focuses on leadership skills, administrative abilities, ethics, and current problems and opportunities in athletic programs. Courses within this degree include: Leadership and Administration of Athletic Programs, Legal Aspects in Athletics, Ethics in Sports, Sports Governance and Policy Development, Event and Facility Management and Programming, Marketing in Athletics, and Financial Administration of Sports Facilities and Programs.

#18 Western Kentucky University – Bowling Green, Kentucky

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Western Kentucky University is a 4-year public university that was established in 1906 as the Western Kentucky State Normal School. Western Kentucky University not only offers quality on-campus degree programs but also offers the wider public degree plans online. Among the online offers is a Master of Science in Recreation and Sport Administration. This 33-credit hour masters program offers two online concentrations: Facility & Event Management and Athletic Administration & Coaching. The Facility & Event Management concentration trains recreation and sport professionals in topics including aquatic management, crowd control, playground safety, accessibility, risk management, construction standards, turf management, emergency action planning, green design and sustainability. The Athletic Administration & Coaching concentration emphasizes training in the economic, political, legal, and marketing concerns in the professional and Interscholastic field of athletics.

#17 Lynn University – Boca Raton, Florida

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Lynn University is a 4-year, private, nonprofit university with over 3,500 students annually. In the effort of working to become one of the most innovative, international, and individualized universities in the nation, they offer an online MBA that can be complete in as little as one year. Within this MBA is an option of seven specializations, including Sports and Athletic Administration. This program is for the future athletic managers to be trained in leadership and financial topics for the sport and fitness organizations of today. Courses within this specialization include: Sports Administration, Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics and Professional Sports, and Beginning or Advanced Internship in Sports and Athletics Administration.

#16 Washington State University – Pullman, Washington

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Washington State University is a public nonprofit university that was founded in 1890 as Washington’s original land-grant university. WSU teaches over 26,000 students every year through traditional on-campus courses and virtual classrooms. WSU offers an online Master of Arts in Education with a specialization in Sport Management. This 34-credit hour program is designed to develop the sport management professional to advance within the sport industry through training in finance, management and organizational theory, marketing and sponsorship, law, media communication, and ethics. Courses within this specialization includes: Sport Finance and Economics, Marketing Sports Events & Programs, Ethical Perspectives in Sport & Physical Activity, Social & Cultural Issues in Physical Activity & Sport, Administrative Concepts in Sport Organizations, Sport in Higher Education, Law & Risk Management in the Sport Industry, and Sport Media and Communication.

#15 Tiffin University – Tiffin, Ohio

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Tiffin University is a 4-year, private, nonprofit university that was established in 1888. Understanding that the working adult student is faced with many demands, Tiffin designs their programs to be flexible, practical, and readily available. Tiffin boasts that their faculty not only teaches academic theory but also brings first hand knowledge from their time working in the field. Tiffin offers a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Sports Management. This NCACS accredited program includes core business coursework, a mentorship program, sport specific courses, as well as unique partnerships with the Olympic Games and the Horizon’s University in Paris.

#14 Missouri State University – Springfield, Missouri

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Missouri State University is a 4-year public university that was founded in 1905 as the Fourth District Normal School. What started as educating teachers for the public schools in southwest Missouri, has grown to six colleges, 4,000 faculty and staff teaching over 23,000 students annually. Missouri State offers a 33-credit hour Master of Science in Administrative Studies with a 15-credit hour emphasis in Sports Management. This program prepares future sport leaders for management positions in professional, collegiate, international, campus, and community wellness/sports organizations. Courses with this emphasis include: Current Problems in Sports Administration, Principles of Sports Management, Legal Aspects in Sports, Physical Ed., Recreation, and Wellness Programs, and Field Experience in Sports Management.

#13 Canisius College – Buffalo, New York

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Canisius College is a 4-year, private, nonprofit, Jesuit college that was founded in 1870. Today, Canisius College teaches over 5,000 students through over 100 majors. Canisius’ School of Education offers an Online Master of Sport Administration program, ideal for students working on balancing their education with work other commitments. This program focuses on the skills and knowledge for managers in sport-related organizations. Courses within this program including: Leadership in Sport, Strategic Sport Marketing, Moral and Ethical Issues in Sport, Sport Communication, Risk Management/Contract Negotiation, Intercollegiate Athletics, Professional Sport, Sport Finance and Business, Management Sport Facilities, Organizational Behavior, and Rules Compliance.

#12 Liberty University – Lynchburg, Virginia

Liberty University
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Liberty University is a 4-year, private, nonprofit university that was established in 1971 and is said to be the largest Christian university. Liberty University offers more than 250 online certificate, associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees to more than 95,000 students around the world. The Business School at Liberty offers an online Master of Science in Sport Management. This 36-credit hour program offers a concentration in Sport Administration focused on educating future leaders of sport and athletic organizations. Courses within this program covers topics including marketing, public relations, education, ethics, economics, financial management, leadership, and social and legal issues in sport management.

#11 Ohio University – Athens, Ohio

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Ohio University is a 4-year, public university that was opened in 1808. What started as a college for three students has grown to educating over 38,000 students with over 6,000 students online. With over 100 years of distance learning experience, Ohio University offers a wide array of online degree programs. Among them is an online Master degree in Athletic Administration, as well as a Professional Master of Sports Administration. The Master of Athletic Administration degree offers a program focused on interscholastic sports and can be completed in as few as two years. The Professional Master of Sports Administration offers an online program with a Sports Administration Core that requires three on-campus residencies.

#10 American Public University – Charles Town, West Virginia

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American Public University is a 4-year, private, for-profit university system founded in 1991 as the American Military University. Together with the American Military University, they make the larger American Public University System. This large system employs over 1,400 employees to provide 180 100% online undergraduate and graduate degrees to over 100,000 leaders around the world. The American Public University offers distance learning that provides over 180 undergraduate and graduate degrees. APUS strives to offer the best career-relevant programs including homeland security, intelligence, education, emergency management, and business. Among the 180 online programs is an online Master of Science in Sports Management. This program covers industry fundamentals including law, marketing, promotion, public relations, finance, and economics as well as the impact of sports on historical and modern society.

#9 Concordia University-St. Paul – Saint Paul, Minnesota

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Concordia University-St. Paul is a 4-year private, nonprofit, Christian liberal arts university founded in 1893. Concordia University-St. Paul states to offer a quality and unique education with an experiential learning environment, a liberal arts education, over 100 years of higher education experience, a flexible online format, competitively priced programs, generous financial aid packages, and supportive faculty members. Among the many degree offerings, Concordia University-St. Paul has a Master of Arts in Sport Management. This 33-credit hour program covers important sport management industry topics including effective decision-making, leadership, finance and human and facility resource management. Courses included in this program include: Foundations of Sports Management, Ethics & Policy in Sport Management, Organizational Leadership & Development, Human Resource Management, Sports Marketing, Managerial Finance, Managing/Planning Sport Facilities, Legal Aspects of Sports, and Management and Leadership.

#8 Saint Leo University – Saint Leo, Florida

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Saint Leo University is a 4-year, private, nonprofit Catholic university that was founded in 1889 by the Order of Saint Benedict of Florida. The online learning program at St. Leo University provide rigorous classes, to over 3,000 students, that meet the same academic standards as the on-campus class. St. Leo University offers an online Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Sport Business that is accredited by the International Assembly for collegiate Business Education (IACBE). The classes in this program provide foundational courses covering business and operations topics and then dive into concentration courses: Foundations in Sport, Risk Management and Legal Concepts in Sport, Facility Planning and Management in Sport, Sport Marketing, and Financial Aspects of Sport.

#7 Southeast Missouri State University – Cape Girardeau, Missouri

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Southeast Missouri State University was founded in 1873 as a teacher’s college, and has since grown to a 4-year public university that offers over 150 degree programs to over 10,000 students annually. Southeast Missouri State offers an AACSB accredited Master of Business Administration with an option in Sport Management. This 33+-credit hour program is designed for the student who needs flexibility because of their full personal or professional schedules. This MBA program equals the on-campus program offered at Southeast Missouri State. It offers a solid foundation of business classes with courses uniquely focused on educating future leaders sport management.

#6 Georgia Southern University – Statesboro, Georgia

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Georgia Southern University is a 4-year public university that was founded in 1906. Georgia Southern offers over 120 degree programs to over 20,000 students annually. The College of Health and Human Sciences offers an online Master of Science in Sport Management program. This 36-credit hour program provides theory and practice for future leaders in the Sport Business and Leisure fields. This program is designed to be completed in 24 months and includes courses including: Management of Personnel in Sport, Current Issues in Sport Administration, Sport Consumer Behavior, Sport Sponsorship, Revenue Generation in Sport, Social and Ethical Issues in Sport, Sport Administration, Sport Facility and Event Management, Research and Analysis in Sport, Sport Law and Risk Management, Sport Marketing, and Financial and Strategic Management in Sport.

#5 Old Dominion University – Norfolk, Virginia

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Old Dominion University is a 4-year public university that was founded in 1930 as the Norfolk division of the College of William and Mary. Old Dominion University offers high quality on-campus programs, and is also one of the largest providers of distance learning in the country. Among the online offerings is a Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in Sport Management. This 36-credit hour program is 100% online and is designed to be completed in two years. This degree educates future leaders on business skills, critical thinking, marketing strategies, event planning, ethics, legal issues, sport facilities management, and organizational theories for sport organizations.

#4 Northeastern University – Boston, Massachusetts

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Northeastern University is a global, experiential, research university that was founded in 1898. Northeastern offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs in nine colleges and schools at three campuses across the US. The College of Professional Studies at Northeastern offers an online Master of Sports Leadership. This 45-quarter credit hour program provides a foundation of business topics in management, ethics, facility management, marketing, finance, and communications with a focus of sport-related organizations and programs. Courses within this program include: Developing Your Leadership Capability, The Ethical Leader, Sports Management, Sport in Society, Leadership and Organization in Sport, Sports Law, Sports Media Relations, Event Management, Gender and Diversity in Sport, Fiscal Practices in Sports, Sports Marketing and Promotions, Athletic Fund-Raising, Ticket Sales and Strategies, and Risk Management in Athletics.

#3 Fort Hays State University – Hays, Kansas

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Fort Hays State University is a 4-year, public university that was founded in 1902 as the Western Branch of the Kansas Normal School. Today Fort Hays State University is noted for being the entrepreneurial university of the Midwest, and offers a myriad of nationally ranked programs in traditional on-campus classes and online to over 13,000 students annually. Among its many online graduate degrees, FHSU offers a 34-46-credit hour online Master of Business Administration that has a strong core curriculum that covers the most important business topics in our global economy. Within the MBA program, FHSU offers concentrations tailored around personally and professional preferences, including Finance, Health and Human Performance/Sports Management, Human Resource Management (HRM), Information Assurance, Management Information Systems, Marketing, as well as a general MBA. The Health and Human Performance/Sports Management Concentration includes courses in Sports Marketing, Planning and Promotion, Legal Issues in Health and Human Performance, and Facilities in Physical Education and Athletics.

#2 North Carolina State University-Raleigh – Raleigh, North Carolina

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North Carolina State University-Raleigh was founded in 1887 as the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts with the belief that all should have access to high education. Today, North Carolina State University employs over 2,000 faculty in 12 colleges teaching over 34,000 students which makes it the largest university in North Carolina. North Carolina State University-Raleigh offers relevant and high-quality on-campus programs, as well as online programs that provide the same education and quality teaching. Among the many programs available is an online Master of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Management. This 31-credit hour degree program focuses on career development and allows students to finish the degree in two years.

#1 Central Michigan University – Mount Pleasant, Michigan

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Central Michigan University is a 4-year, public university that was established in 1892 as the Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute. Since opening its doors, Central Michigan has grown to now offer 200 academic programs to over 20,000 students annually. Among the degrees offered is an online Master of Arts degree in Sport Administration. This flexible 36-credit hour program provides theoretical and practical experience in communication skills, legal issues, sport marketing, event planning, and finances for sports programs. Courses include: Sport Event Management: Theory & Application, Administration of Sport, Facilities for Sport and Physical Education, Sport and the Law, Financial Management of Sport, Sport Marketing, Research Methods for Physical Education and Sport, Health and Recreation, Statistics for Physical Education and Sport, and Health and Recreation.

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