The Top 20 Online Sports Management Masters Degree Programs

Passionate about sports? Can you see yourself involved in the business aspect of the industry? Are you a business savvy individual? Well, an online Master's Degree in Sports Management may just be a perfect fit for you. We have here gathered the top 20 best online programs offering a Masters in Sports Management and ranked them in order of best schools and programs.

The business aspect of athletics is an exciting and fast-growing field and offers quite a variety of career paths once one has obtained a degree. Among the many career trajectories that a Master's Degree in Sports Management may provide you, are occupations in facility management, sales, information technology, sports agency, marketing, corporate partnerships, personnel management, event planning, athletic recruitment, and finance. Also, if you've always dreamed of a job in professional sports (say, NFL, MLB, NHL, and the NBA), this degree could very well be your means to that end. All across the country, highly qualified individuals are needed to carry out the daily operations and the practical/business side of the industry--including the general evaluation of sports programs, improvement of organizational efficiency, overall profit generation, and many other challenging and financially rewarding tasks.

Our rankings here take some items into consideration, including affordability, prestige, academic rigorousness, and quality of instruction. Also, to assist potential students with varying life circumstances, we considered schools that offer any one of a number of unique features, including acceleration programs, extreme flexibility in attending classes, or unique payment options. Lastly, because of the nature of the sports industry, colleges that offer robust internships tend to rank higher. Overall, our list is designed to assist you in deciding which school or program is the best for your life and circumstance.

20. Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University (WKU) offers a Masters Degree of Science in Recreation and Sports Administration, which concentrates on administration, bodily and health training, facility management, media, branding, and collegiate administration. This Masters Degree program is highly individualized, and students may seek to construct their degree to fit their own desired interests and aspirations. Courses offered include specialization in law, research, development, and theory of recreation. From our list so far, WKU is one of the most featured colleges on the U.S. News and World Report rankings list, including the following categories:

  • #176 Best Education Schools
  • #31 Regional Universities (South)
  • #84 Best online MBA Programs
  • #44 Best Online Graduate Education Programs
  • #12 Top Public Schools​

Overall, U.S. News and World Report is highly impressed with this university, and it is not difficult to see why. WKU is highly respected in regards to the prestige of professors hired, and overall academic rigorousness.​

19. University of Southern Mississippi

Due to increased security risks over the couple decades, one aspect of the sports industry that is rapidly gaining interest is the area of safety in regards to event management. The Master of Science in Sports Management degree through Southern Miss. offers a one-of-a-kind sports management degree, with an emphasis on Sports Event Security Management. This emphasis is not provided as a part of any other online Master degree program in the world. So, If security is your interest in the field of sports management, then this school really ought to be your choice.

The Master Degree program at Southern Mississippi also provides areas of emphasis in research and experiential education and offers a choice between an internship or a master's thesis before graduation. Overall, U.S. News and World Report has in the past ranked the University in the Top 20 Most Popular Schools in the Country.

18. Georgia Southern University

Like the predecessor on our list (Indiana State), Georgia Southern University (GSU) also ranks as one of the best online universities in the nation for Part-Time Masters degree programs, by U.S. News and World Report. However, GSU jumps ahead one space because of the prestige of its online master's degree program (#30, U.S. News and World Report). The Master of Science in Sports Management at GSU is highly respected in the sports industry and is sure to land you a job upon graduation. In general, the degree is much like other Sport Management degrees (focusing on professional sports team management, marketing, and event management). However, there are some unique features of this degree, including its "revenue generation in sports" emphasis which has been highly touted. Otherwise, it is the reputation of this Masters degree program that causes it to land on our #18 spot.

17. Indiana State University

The Online Masters of Science in Sports Management degree, offered at Indiana State University, is also geared towards the working professionals--and is focused on marketing, event planning, finance, and governance. But, an outstanding feature of this program is the attention given towards the development of "administrative theory"--which seeks to explain the best processes for the construction of an organization as a whole, create clear divisions of labor, and efficiently delegate authority. Overall, Indiana State University is highly respected, and U.S. News and World Report ranks their online MBA program as one of the best in the nation.

16. Southeast Missouri State University

This school ranks #30 in the category of Top Public Schools, according to the U.S. News and World Report--and also ranks highly in Best Colleges for Veterans, and Best Online MBA programs. The Masters of Business Administration degree With an Option in Sports Management focuses especially on leadership and communication in the sporting industry. The program also encourages real-world experience by the means of their applied research projects. Many graduates from this program have gone on to pursue careers in professional sports including minor league baseball, and the National Hockey League.

15. University of Memphis

The University of Memphis is a research-focused institution and enrolls about 21,000 students. In Sports Management the University offers a Masters of Science in Health and Sports Science with a Sports Commerce concentration. If organizing rosters and planning events isn't your forte, and you think that you'd much prefer the business/finance side of the industry, then the University of Memphis ought to be highly appealing to you. The U.S. News and World Report ranks the university in the top 150 in the categories of Part-time MBA, and Best Online MBA Programs.

14. Liberty University

Liberty University is the single largest Christian college in the world, with over 113,000 students worldwide. U.S. News and World Report ranks the university's online master's degree program as one of the best in the nation (#110), and the Master's Degree of Science in Sports Management is designed to instill competency in participating students. The Degree seeks to model a Biblical worldview for graduates that can be taken into the world of sports management and focuses on ethics, social issues, marketing, public relations, finance, and research. Overall, Liberty is one of the best online schools in the country, as they have for many years sought to offer value degrees at reasonable prices.

13. Adelphi University

If small class size and more individualized attention from professors is your preference, then consider putting this university at the top of your list of potential schools. The university is an industry standard in the field, and yet maintains a "small-town" feel, which encourages strong student relationships with faculty. Courses at Adelphi are geared towards passing down the first-hand experience to graduates--thereby, the faculty at Adelphi consists of highly experienced professors in the field of sports management. The 36-credit-hour Masters in Sports Management degree focuses on technology, marketing, research, and contemporary issues. Also, graduating seniors are required to complete a capstone project.

12. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is one of the best overall colleges in the South, and their School of Business features a fantastic sports management program. Interestingly, Saint Leo is the first national college to be accredited by the Commission on Sports Management Accreditation (COSMA, which is one of the first specialized accrediting agencies with a focus on a sports management). Also, the school has been recognized by many independent institutions--including SportBusiness, and the Alliance for Sports Business (ASB)--as offering one of the best programs in the field. Overall, U.S. News and World Report ranks Saint Leo's business school in the top 100 colleges in the category of Best Online MBA programs.

This school is also known for its internship program and general association with many companies in the sports industry--all of which has worked to the advantage of many graduating students in finding sports management employment upon graduation.

11. Drexel University

Drexel is a highly renowned program. With its Master's degree in Sports Management, this university is a high-octane educational environment designed to make you the best organizer and manager that you can be. Receive a Masters degree from Drexel and you will be receiving the same degree that many respected athletic directors, head coaches, general managers, and marketing directors have received all around the nation. The program requires no internship--instead, a research thesis will need to be produced before graduation. It should be stated, however, that the course is not entirely online. A week-long summer residency will need to be completed in Philadelphia.

10. Temple University

Philadelphia is one of the few cities in the country with a sports team involved in every major sports league (NFL, NBA, NHL, and the MLB). With that said, this could be a great town for any prospective student excited to dip his or her toes into professional waters. With Temple University, which is located in the city of brotherly love, and their Master of Science in Sports Business Program, you'll get just that opportunity. The school features a heavy internship requirement (two internships of 180 and 600 hours each are prerequisites for graduation, and over 250 hours of experience in the industry are required as well). Overall, U.S. News and World Report ranks Temple University #1 in overall Online MBA Programs.

9. Washington State University

U.S. News and World Report Ranks Washington State University #30 in Part-time MBA Programs, and 22nd in Beste Online MBA programs. This university seeks to make attending college for working professionals, whether on-campus or online, as seamless an experience as possible. The school is also well-known for their highly helpful (and encouraging) advisors and staff, who are always ready to jump at the opportunity to assist you in your academic goals. Overall, The Masters in Education with Sports Management Specialization degree focuses on sports finance, economics, trending topics in sports management, collegiate management, ethics, culture issues, and law.

8. Central Michigan University

Michigan is a state renowned for collegiate athletics and in the area of sports management, Central Michigan University doesn't let the reputation down. If you learn best with attentive professors and a personalized online classroom, you may fit in perfectly here. The staff and advisors at Central Michigan go out of their way to give as much one-on-one attention to their students as possible. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school #36 in Best Online MBA programs and #17 in Best Online Graduate Education Programs. So, attend this school and attend one of the best places to get a master's degree in general, and a Sports Management degree in particular.

7. University of Florida

With a #1 ranking in Best online Graduate Education Programs, and a #4 in Best online MBA Programs, from U.S. News and World Report, it is little wonder that this university's Master's degree of Science in Sports Management is so highly sought after. The University has produced some of the most renowned financiers in the sports industry and is likely the college for you if your interest is primarily in finance. Both an internship and a capstone project are requirements for graduation--most universities usually require one or the other of these options. In other words, this school is one of the most rigorous in the nation.

6. Northeastern University

This school may just be the most truly unique university on our list. U.S. News and World Report ranks Northeastern University as the #6th Most Innovative School in the nation--and for all the buzz that they've created in their unique approach to education, it is hardly difficult to see why. Other schools offer real-world experience as part of their approach, but with Northeastern, and the Master of Sports Leadership degree that they offer, it is made the foundation of all they do. With an emphasis on the relationship between social issue's and leadership in business practices, anyone attending Northeastern will find it an unparalleled experience.

5. Texas A&M

The online Master of Science in Sports Management offered at Texas A&M, offers all of its 36 credit hours online, and also offers graduation without a thesis requirement (for those who dread such). The program focuses on research and field experience, and can be obtained either as a full-time, or part-time student. The course curriculum is specifically designed to equip fully those who are pursuing careers working in Country clubs, athletic departments, fitness clubs, or professional sports. U.S. News and World Report ranks this program as the #44th best Online Graduate Education Program, which makes it one of the highest ranking sport education masters degrees' one can obtain online.

Perhaps no other school on our list is featured in as many categories of the U.S. News and World Report college rankings. Among the categories that the University of Miami excels at are Best in National Universities (#51), Best Colleges for Veterans (#41), Best Education Schools (#69), Best Global Universities (#155), Best Business School (#68), Best Online Graduate Business Programs (#56), and Best Online Graduate Education Programs (#184). So when one attends the University of Miami, one knows that they are receiving a highly respected education. This is no less true in the case of the online Masters of Science in Education in Sports Administration, which focuses on sports management through a globalized perspective. Also, the entire degree can be completed in 20 months.

The Master of Business Administration With a Focus on Sports Management degree is one of the best degrees that one can achieve in the sports industry and comes from one of the most prestigious business schools in the nation: Isenberg School of Management. Isenberg is home to a think-tank of professors, who seek to incorporate the latest and greatest research in the field. The professors at Isenberg (and Umass in general) are among the most respected in their field, and it is this resource that Isenberg offers that make them an undeniable force in the field of sports education. The college is also home to many, year-round, guest lecturers--who are usually some of the most respected leaders in the industry.

The University of San Francisco ranks #2 on or our list mostly because of prestige. U.S. News and World Report ranks the university as one of the top colleges in the country, and if you are interested in a career in college athletics, then this is the university for you. The school's Master in College athletics is by far and away the best Masters degree one can achieve online with the hopes for a career in planning college athletic programs. Part of the reason for this is that the professors at the University of San Francisco seek to help you build an experience based portfolio, which should catapult you into the industry after graduation (it is likely the best college for portfolio development and garnering real-world experience before graduation). The university also uniquely focuses on technology and social media development, fostering essential skills in our modern age.

No other college could rank number #1 on any sports education list, besides Ohio University (OU)--The school essentially invented the category, and has remained an industry giant since its inception. The school seeks to train future leaders in sports management enterprises and is unprecedented for educating many highly respected individuals in the field of professional sports like the NFL, NBA, and the MLB. Also, its Alumni network is considered one of the most prestigious in the country. U.S. News and World Report ranks OU as one of the best overall universities in the nation, and one of the best places to get an online master's degree. But it is their highly touted sports education program that cannot be denied.

If you are interested in Sports Management, this is the university that you will want to attend. Employers will be clamoring over themselves to hire you upon graduation, and a degree from OU will streamline your career into the most exciting places to work.