Sports Management College Majors and Degree Programs

Sports management applies business strategies to the operation and management of sports teams, athletes, leagues and student athletic programs. Sports management degree programs can prepare students to work as sports managers, agents and administrators responsible for various financial, promotional, marketing and supervisory responsibilities within sports organizations.

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Associate's Degree in Sports Management

Students interested in entry-level administrative, management or marketing careers in sports management can earn an associate's degree in sports management. These programs typically require two years of study and can allow students to pursue careers with sports teams, leagues, athletic organizations and related sports groups. Usually, students must have a high school diploma or equivalent to enroll in a sports management associate's degree program.

Course Topics

Courses in a sports management program can teach students subjects like promotion, financial accounting and human resources management. Students can also take athletic, sports and exercise-based courses that focus on the scientific, medical and biological aspects of sports. Typical courses may involve subjects such as:

  • Business communication
  • Marketing
  • Sports and society
  • Accounting
  • Information technology
  • Event management

Popular Career Options

Sports management careers require typically require individuals to work with athletes and other sports professionals to meet various short- and long-term business objectives. Common sports management careers include:

  • Sports business administration
  • Park management
  • Event planning
  • Sports promotion

Bachelor's Degree in Sports Management

A bachelor's degree program can prepare students for supervisory and direct management positions with sports organizations. Sports management bachelor's degree programs can offer areas of specialty in areas like athletic development, sports marketing or sports administration. To enroll in a sports management bachelor's degree program, students should have a high school diploma or the equivalent.

Course Topics

A bachelor's degree program in sports management can provide advanced courses in business leadership and sports administration. In addition, many programs provide internship opportunities with local or regional sports organizations. Typical courses can include:

  • Sports leadership
  • Intercollegiate sports administration
  • Sports facilities management
  • Sports sales and marketing
  • Sports event management
  • Industrial trends in sports and exercise
  • Sports finance

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 the mean annual wage for agents and business managers of artists, athletes and public figures was $97,760, while promoters of art and sports events earned a mean annual salary of $66,290 ( The BLS reported that the employment of agents and managers of artists, performers and athletes was projected to grow much faster than average from 2008-2018.

Master of Science in Sports Management

A Master of Science (M.S.) in Sports Management degree program offers students the opportunity to focus on applying sports management to the athletic industry. Graduate students may study sports literature and learn athletic management techniques. M.S. in Sports Management program applicants are typically required to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university.

Course Topics

Graduate students will learn to combine the practical aspects of athletic management with sports theory. Many programs culminate the student's completion of a master's thesis in sports management. Some programs include a sports management internship. Common course topics involve:

  • Sports Industry Management
  • Collegiate Athletics
  • Sports History
  • Sports Finance
  • Sports Marketing
  • Leadership
  • Sports Law

Continuing Education Information

Beyond the master's degree level, students can enroll in Ph.D. programs in sports management, which could offer opportunities to study exercise science or exercise management. These programs may require a student to hold a master's degree for admission, and can lead to a variety of positions, including positions in sports franchises and fitness organizations.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics