Sports Management Degree: Overseeing the Business of Sports

Sports Management Degree

Transform your passion for sports into an exciting career by obtaining a sports management degree. Sports management colleges combine a broad business education with industry-specific courses to equip students with the planning, administrative, and leadership skills needed to thrive in this growing field. Learn more about what it takes to pursue a degree in sports management and land a job in this competitive industry.

What You Learn at Sports Management Colleges

Degree Levels

Sports management degrees are available at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level. Sports management can be either a standalone major or combined as part of a specialization within business administration. Students can choose from programs with face-to-face instruction, online instruction or a combination of the two. Bachelor’s degrees are typically the minimum requirement for employment, but a master’s degree may help individuals in securing management positions.

Undergraduate Prerequisites

The admissions requirements for associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in sports management are usually a high school diploma or GED and SAT/ACT scores. Associate’s degrees take two years to complete, whereas bachelor’s degrees will take four-years.

Graduate Prerequisites

The admissions requirements for master’s and doctoral degree programs in sports management are typically a bachelor’s degree, a minimum required GPA, letters of recommendation, relevant work experience, and GRE/GMAT scores. Master’s degrees are usually two years beyond the bachelor’s degree, and doctoral degrees require three to five years of study.

Curriculum of Sports Management Programs


In addition to fulfilling general education requirements, students in sports management programs take a series of core courses that provide a foundation in the business side of the sports industry. Required courses may include the following:

  • Financial accounting
  • Sports marketing
  • Sports communications
  • Sports finance
  • Introduction to sports management
  • Sports leadership
  • Ethics in sports
  • Public speaking
  • Statistics
  • Sports psychology
  • Organizational behavior
  • Sports facility management


Sports management schools typically require students to complete practicum hours and an internship in addition to their coursework. This ensures that students graduate with practical knowledge and work experience in the field.

Career Opportunities in Sports Management


Sports managers work behind the scenes to coordinate the business-related aspects of sports. Their duties may include keeping an eye on a sports team’s budget, making arrangements for uniform and equipment purchases, making travel arrangements, hiring and supervising employees, managing facilities, and setting salaries.

Areas of Employment

The sports industry in the United States generates over $200 billion per year and is the 6th largest industry in the country. Whether your interests lie in professional sports, college sports, high school sports or recreational sports, there are a myriad of career opportunities available to graduates of sports management schools. Areas of sports management in which graduates can work include:

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Operations
  • Finance management
  • Sports facility management
  • Sports merchandising

Employment Outlook and Salary

Competition is fierce for sports management jobs in professional sports, which is why networking and internships are a crucial part of finding a job. It is also a good idea to study sports management in a region with proximity to the sports industry to aid in landing internships and jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salaries specifically for sports management. However, in 2013, managers of athletes earned a median annual wage of $63,370, and general and operations managers earned a median annual wage of $95,440.

Enrolling in a Sports Management School

Even if you are not a superstar athlete, there are still many jobs in the field that allow you to share in the excitement and rewards. While there is no ideal background for a sports manager, a sports management degree can arm you with the business skills and practical experience needed to thrive as a sports management professional. Explore programs in sports management on our site today to pursue your dream of working in the diverse, expanding field.