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Top 15 Best Sports Management Master’s Degree Programs 2020

Also see: 25 Best Affordable Online Master’s in Sports Management “The economics of the game have never been better, [which] proves that investment in players, star players, is the way to go. The fact is if an owner wants to win there are premium players out there. And we know the revenues are there for them to pursue them.” ~Scott Boras, sports agent

Sports-Management-Degree-Guide-Top Programs
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Sports are big business. It is estimated that the sporting industry in the United States is worth over 71 billion dollars. Some experts project that figure will grow to over 83 billion dollars by 2023. The demand for qualified sport managers and administrators is expected to increase as both professional and amateur sport authorities seek qualified professionals to run their organizations, their finances, and their brand. For individuals with a passion for sports and a sense for business, a master’s in Sports Management is an excellent way to enter the sports industry. There are a large number of career paths available including compliance, facility/operations management, ticket office management, sales, public relations, business office management, and human resource management.

When choosing a master’s in Sports Management degree, the first thing to remember is that all schools are not created equal. There are over 200 schools offering some sort of master’s degree in Sports Management or a related field. How can you find the best choice for your personal and professional goals? Some things to look for include:

Internships/Networking: Completing an internship or networking with industry professionals are ways for students to gain valuable and practical experience in a real-world setting. Top programs will offer these experiences to their students to prepare them for success in the field. Many employers hire first from those applicants who have served as interns in the field. All schools in our ranking require an internship experience.
Cost: Cost is always a big factor when choosing a master’s in sport management. Students should look at the overall cost including scholarship opportunities, tuition assistance programs, and military discounts that may reduce their out of pocket expenses.
Student to Teacher Ratio: Class size is an important factor when it comes to the overall quality of an education. It is important that students feel supported by their professors. Many graduate students level educators also serve as mentors to students which can be helpful when determining the right career path and networking opportunities.

Methodology

To determine our top 15 master’s in sport management, we needed to narrow our choices from over 200 master’s programs related to sport management. Similar to NCATE for education programs or the ACBSP for business programs, schools can seek accreditation for their sport management programs through the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation or COSMA. Schools with COSMA accreditation have completed a self study that was reviewed by sport management faculty and industry professionals against eight principles believed necessary for a quality educational experience including Outcomes Assessment, Strategic Planning, Curriculum, Faculty, Scholarly & Professional Activities, Resources, Internal & External Relationships, and Educational Innovation. All schools selected for this ranking hold COSMA accreditation. We then applied our ranking methodology to determine the top 15.

Student/Faculty ratio:

  • 15:1 or less- 3 points
  • 16:1 to 19:1- 2 points
  • 20:1 and above- 1 point

Average Net Price:

  • Less than $13,000- 3 points
  • $13,000 to $20,000- 2 points
  • Greater than $20,000- 1 point

Concentration Areas:

  • 2 points for each concentration area

This list can serve as an excellent starting point for anyone wishing to pursue a career in the exciting and lucrative sports industry.

#15 – Central Michigan University – Mount Pleasant, Michigan

M.A. in Sport Administration

Program Website


Average Graduate Student Tuition: $16,700/year
Student/Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Points: 3
The Program at Central Michigan University
Central Michigan University features a top-value master’s in sport administration with a hands-on curriculum. Students work together, applying theoretical concepts to actual sport management functions. This COSMA accredited, low-cost, sport management master’s degree program is comprised of 36 credit hours of coursework. Students have access to innovative facilities and recreational opportunities. Sport management students can participate in the local chapter of the Sport Management Association. Hands on learning opportunities are available in areas like athletic training, coaching, teaching, and sport administration.

For More Information: Central Michigan University

#14 – University of Indianapolis – Indianapolis, Indiana

M.S. in Sport Management

Program Website


Average Graduate Student Tuition: $37,514/year
Student/Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Points: 4
The Program at the University of Indianapolis
The high-value master’s in sport management from the University of Indianapolis is a COSMA accredited master’s degree program offered in a flexible hybrid format. Students have the opportunity to engage in relevant real-world projects and research efforts. Much of the program can be completed online and students only need to meet face-to-face a few times a semester. Students can choose to follow the fast track and complete their degree in 12 months or the standard track and finish in 21 months. Both full and part-time program options are available. Full-time students are part of a dedicated cohort while part-time students move in and out of their cohort. Courses include:

  • Event and Facility Management
  • Revenue Generation in Athletics
  • Risk Management

All students have the opportunity to complete an internship, gaining valuable hands-on experience.
For More Information: University of Indianapolis

#13 – Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge, Louisiana

MS in Kinesiology Sport Management

Program Website

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $9,132/year
Student/Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Points: 4
The Program at Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University features a low-cost master’s in sport management available online. This 36 credit hour, online master’s degree program offers an extensive curriculum covering a variety of areas including:

  • facilities management
  • governance and policy development
  • sport law

Students can complete this economical, online master’s degree  program in just 12 months of full-time study. There are no on-campus residency requirement. Not only does LSU offer an outstanding sport management program, but they also have top-tier NCAA recognized sports teams.
For more information: Louisiana State University

#12 – University of Louisville – Louisville, Kentucky

M.S. in Sport Administration

Program Website

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $13,000/year in-state and $27,114/year out-of-state
Student/Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Points: 5
The Program at the University of Louisville
The College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville offers an affordable sport management master’s degree program for students planning careers in the sport industry. Most students can complete the program in 18 to 24 months. The top-value master’s program is offered in a traditional classroom format and a online format. The economical online program requires no on-campus residencies and is a great choice for working professionals. Courses include:

  • Sport Analytics
  • Sport Marketing
  • Sport Policy

Admission is competitive. In a typical year, there are 100-125 applicants and 25-30 students are admitted to the program.
For more information: University of Louisville

#11 – Wingate University – Wingate, North Carolina

Master of Arts in Sport Management

Program Website

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $11,430/year
Student/Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Points: 5
The Program at Wingate University
The best-value COSMA accredited master’s in sport management from Wingate University is an online program that allows students to attend class on-the-go. Students can complete the low-cost, online degree program in just three semesters of full-time study. There is no entrance exam needed to apply to the program, saving students additional dollars. Courses include:

  • College Athlete Development & Wellness
  • PR & Social Media in Sport
  • Sport Marketing & Promotions

This affordable, online master’s degree program also offers two distinct specialization tracks including Sport Marketing and Athletic Administration and Compliance. Students gain a unique perspective into organizations like the Big South and the Carolina Panthers. All courses are taught by full-time faculty and sport industry professionals.
For more information: Wingate University

#10 – Bowling Green State University – Bowling Green, Ohio

Master’s in Sport Administration

Program Website

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $8,017/year in-state and $14,009/year out-of-state
Student/Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Points: 5
The Program at Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green State University features a cheap master’s in sport administration through the College of Education and Human Development. This COSMA accredited, high-value master’s degree program includes a variety of courses in areas like:

  • business administration
  • marketing
  • mass communication

Courses are taught by distinguished faculty with experience in the industry. Students can complete their degree over two years. All students have the opportunity to complete a project, thesis, or pass a comprehensive exam.
For More Information: Bowling Green State University

#9 – University of Southern Indiana – Evansville, Indiana

M.S. in Sport Management

Program Website

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $9,486/year in-state and $18,528/year out-of-state
Student/Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Points: 5
The Program at the University of Southern Indiana
The Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education at the University of Southern Indiana features a high-value sport management master’s program for students with a passion for kinesiology and sport. The program is offered 100% online and is both affordable and flexible. Courses include:

  • Sport Facility and Event Management
  • Sport Budgets & Fiscal Practices
  • Research Methods and Statistics in Sport Management

All courses are seven weeks long. Students will learn to work with a variety of groups and organizations in the sport industry. Full-time students can complete this high-quality, 33 credit hour, online master’s degree program in about one year.

#8 – Ohio University – Athens, Ohio

Dual MBA/Master’s in Sport Administration or Exclusive Master’s in Sport Administration

Program Website

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $9,444/year in-state and $17,436/year out-of-state
Student/Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Points: 5
The Program at Ohio University
At the forefront of sport business education is Ohio University. The College of Business at Ohio University features a low-cost, COSMA accredited master’s in sport management through their dual MBA/MSA program. This unique and inexpensive master’s program combines the business education of an MBA with the sport-specific knowledge of the master’s in sport administration. Students benefit from hands-on experience such as the annual symposium and the Darren Butler Sports Forum. Courses include:

  • Sponsorship in Sports
  • Facility Management
  • Revenue Generation in Sports

During the final semester, students complete an internship in their area of interest within the field of sport management. Previous internships have included work with the UUs Tennis Clay Court Championships and the NCAA Soccer Championships.
For more information: Ohio University

#7 – Troy University – Troy, Alabama

Master of Science in Sport and Fitness Management-Sport Management Concentration

Program Website

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $7,650/year in-state and $15,300/year out-of-state
Student/Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Points: 5
The Program at Troy University
Troy University offers a COSMA accredited, inexpensive management master’s program designed for students with a passion for sports and the desire to learn the skills needed to be successful in the sport industry. This economical master’s degree program is available online and on-campus. Courses are taught by student-centered faculty with professional industry experience. The curriculum includes courses in:

  • Organizational Behavior and Leadership in Sport
  • Sport Facility and Event Management
  • Sport Consumer Behavior

Students can choose to complete a thesis or non-thesis option, both are 36 credit hours. Program applicants should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and an overall undergraduate GPA of a 2.5 on a 3.0 scale in the last 30 credit hours of study.
For more information: Troy University

#6 – Wichita State University – Wichita, Kansas

Master of Education in Sport Management

Program Website


Average Graduate Student Tuition: $5,435/year in-state and $13,348/year out-of-state
Student/Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Points: 5
The Program at Wichita State University
The College of Applied Studies at Wichita State University offers an inexpensive Master of Education in sport management that provides students with the practical skills and professional connections needed for success in the industry. This high-value, 30 credit hour master’s degree program includes a six credit hour internship. Internships can be completed at a variety of sports organizations including the MLB and Disney Sports. Courses include:

  • Sport Leadership and Socialization
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Sport
  • Analytics and Decision Making In Sport

All students complete an applied learning or research experience and pass a final written exam.
For More Information: Wichita State University

#5 – Arkansas State University – Jonesboro, Arkansas

Master of Science in Sport Administration

Program Website


Average Graduate Student Tuition: $4,986/year in-state and $9,972/year out-of-state
Student/Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Points: 5
The Program at Arkansas State University
The College of Education and Behavioral Science at Arkansas State University offers a high-quality COSMA accredited master’s in sport administration. This cheap, full-time, 36 credit hour master’s degree program offers an equal balance of theory and practice to prepare students for success in the field. Courses include:

  • Sport Finance & Budgeting
  • Ethical Issues in Sport
  • Sport in Society

All students complete an internship or thesis. Previous internship sites have included the University of Memphis Athletics and the St. Louis Rams.
For More Information: Arkansas State University

#4 – Endicott College – Beverly, Massachusetts

Sport Leadership Program (M.S.)

Program Website


Website

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $12,555/year
Student/Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Points: 6
The Program at Endicott College
The Van Loan School at Endicott College offers a best-value master’s in sport leadership taught by some of the nation’s best practitioners. The inexpensive master’s degree program is offered in a flexible 100% online format. Designed for working professionals, students complete courses that are either four or six weeks long. All students receive personalized advising and job placement support. Courses include:

  • Strategic Management and Leadership in Athletic Administration
  • Financial Resources Management
  • The Impact of Technology in Sport

There is no GRE required for admission. Over 95% of graduates secure employment in the industry.

#3 – Northeastern University – Boston, Massachusetts

Master’s in Sports Leadership

Program Website


Average Graduate Student Tuition: $24,793/year
Student/Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Concentration Areas: Professional Sports Administration; Collegiate Athletics Administration
Points: 8
The Program at Northeastern University
Northeastern University offers a best-value master’s in sports leadership for students at all skill levels with in the sport industry. Both full and part-time program options are available and most students can complete the program in two years or less. This economical master’s degree program is available online and students only need to come to campus for a one-week summer institute in Boston. Courses include:

  • Leadership and Organization in Sport
  • Sport Media Relations
  • Ethical Leadership

New students are admitted during the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Students have the opportunity to participate in integrated experiential learning throughout the program.
For more information: Northeastern University

#2 – Lasell University – Newton, Massachusetts

M.S. in Sport Management

Program Website

 

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $10,800/year
Student/Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Concentration Areas: Sport Leadership; Sport Tourism and Hospitality Management; Parks and Recreation; Athletic Administration
Points: 14

The Program at Lasell University
The high-value master’s in sport management from Lasell University is a robust program that delivers a highly individualized curriculum in a flexible online format. Students can complete the low-cost master’s degree program in 12 to 24 months depending on their schedule. Class size is capped at 23 students to allow for individualized attention. Courses include:

  • Sport & Recreation Leadership to Shape the Future
  • International Sport Management
  • Research & Design in the Sport Industry

The inexpensive master’s degree program can be completed 100% online, making this a great choice for working professionals. Faculty are highly qualified sport management professionals who use their first hand knowledge to give students a relevant educational experience.

#1 – Liberty University – Lynchburg, Virginia

Master’s in Sports Management

Program Website


Average Graduate Student Tuition: $7,980/year
Student/Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Concentration Areas: Coaching and Athletic Administration; Outdoor Adventure Sport; Sport Administration; Tourism; General
Points: 15
The Program at Liberty University
Our top master’s in sport’s management program is offered by Liberty University. With affordable tuition and a variety of concentration options, this COSMA accredited degree program is a great choice for a master’s in sport management. Students complete 36 credit hours and can earn their degree in about 18 months. Courses are eight weeks long and cover areas like:

  • Social Issues in Sport Management
  • Sport Marketing and Public Relations
  • Economic and Financial Management of Sport

Students can network with other sports minded peers from across the country. Graduates are prepared to work in a variety of management roles in all sports-related industries including professional sports and recreation.
For more information: Liberty University

By SMD Staff April 2020

Other Articles of Interest:

  Sources Value of the Sports Industry: http://www.plunkettresearch.com/sports-recreation-leisure-market-research/industry-statistics Values of Other Industries: http://www.firstresearch.com/ Projected Growth Rate of the Sports Industry: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomvanriper/2013/11/13/thanks-to-mediasports-industry-growth-set-to-accelerate/ Number of Available Sports Jobs: http://www.jobsinsports.com/ Average Salaries and Growth Rate for Sports Management Degrees: http://www.allbusinessschools.com/business-careers/sports-management/salary Level of Sports Degrees Offered by School http://www.nassm.com/InfoAbout/SportMgmtPrograms/United_States College Costs: http://money.cnn.com/tools/collegecost/collegecost.html Student/Teacher Ratio: http://www.stateuniversity.com/universities College Rankings: http://www.usnews.com/education