Apply Business to Athletics with a Sports Management Degree
Football quarterback

There are Sports Careers Outside of Being an Athlete

As the world becomes more globalized, sports management has become a growing industry. It used to be that you could only be a sports manager in your home country, but then it became a cutthroat business.

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While there is still a lot of competition among sports managers to land the best clients, thanks to technology, sports managers can recruit all over the world. This has become such a popular position in sports that the sports management degree is now offered by some universities.

Who Would this be a Good Degree For?

According to the sports management degree guide, though this field looks like it is highly specialized, it is actually a combination of the fields of professional sports, business management, public relations, and marketing. You must have business savvy, creativity and charisma, financial acumen, familiarity with the legal aspects of business and finance, and experience in talent representation.

This job calls for coordinating and implementing functions including scheduling, resource management, advertising and promotions, social media engagement, and other administrative concerns. You could potentially find yourself in high-level negotiations on one hand and efficiently managing facilities and schedules on another. Verbal and written communication skills are mandatory because these jobs require interaction with diverse groups of people with widely different agendas.

If you are a sports fan, know the history of many sports, follow player careers, have business acumen, can negotiate fairly, and have an eye for talent, this could be the career for you.

Colleges that Offer Sports Management

The College Choice website offers information on the top schools for sports management degrees:

The University of North Carolina

The undergraduate program in sport administration is one of the best in the nation. It already has a built-in graduate program for students who want to pursue further schooling in the field. The bachelor’s program incorporates a blend of exercise science courses with business and marketing courses to give you premiere access to a high-level sport management position. The core courses of the program include Finance and Economics of Sport, Legal Aspects of Sport, Fitness Management, and Sports Business Venture.

The University of Florida

At the University of Florida, the academic focus is problem solving and critical thinking, two concepts that students will encounter in the Bachelor of Science in sport management. The program blocks off the entire 8th semester to complete the internship in sport management requirement. During this placement students get the chance to work in the industry for 13 weeks. Core courses include Sport and Business Finance, Administration of Sport and Physical Activity, Sport Facility Design and Management, and Ethical Issues in Sport.

The University of Michigan

The Bachelor of Arts in sport management program at the University of Michigan is refined, well-connected, and competitive. Early in the degree, students choose between two tracks: sport marketing and management, or sport policy and analytics. Later, students complete an internship experience in one of those areas. The University of Michigan boasts a 98 percent job placement rate for their 2015 graduates of the program. Graduates have gone on to work for the NFL, ESPN, Under Armour, and more. Core classes include Sport Marketing Analytics, Sport Tourism, Historical and Sociological Issues in Sport and Fitness, and Sport Real Estate.

These top three schools offer students a great opportunity to not only earn a sports management degree, but also to experience internships and possibly move on to graduate programs.

Online Sports Management Degree

If you aren’t interested in the brick and mortar university experience, there are plenty of online options as well.

Southern New Hampshire University

Those who earn the sport management Bachelor's Degree can tap into Southern New Hampshire University's network of graduates working in sports-related organizations. They offer multiple term starts throughout the year, so you can complete your degree at your own pace. The courses are available online 24/7 so you can attend classes at your convenience. This school also has one of the lowest tuition rates in the country, and the sport management program includes an internship experience. Core courses for the degree include Sport Business, Sales Within Sport, and Sport, Society, and Ethics.

Grand Canyon University

The Bachelor of Science in sports management prepares students for careers in the sports industry. The core curriculum emphasizes the development of effective business leaders, and the major courses prepare students to become professional managers in areas such as sports marketing, sports media, amateur and professional athletics, and sports and entertainment event planning.

Program Requirements

Whether you attend a traditional university or take an online degree program, the program requirements are similar:

General Education

  • Communications
  • Introduction to Economics
  • Statistics
  • Various Electives

Core Courses

  • Introduction to Sport and Recreation Administration
  • Sport Sales and Revenue Production
  • Emergency Care of Athletic Injuries and Illnesses
  • Fundamentals of Sport Marketing
  • Sport Facility and Event Management
  • Finance and Economics of Sport
  • Legal Aspects of Sport
  • Field Experience in Sport Administration

While this is just a brief overview of the course programs and coursework needed, you should be able to see what this degree has to offer and how it can be the basis for a lucrative career.


No matter how you earn your degree, a career in sport management will be fast-paced, exciting, and intense. It will give you the opportunity to experience sports from a new perspective and develop an appreciation for those who work behind the scenes.

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