Guide to Schools Offering Sports Management Degrees

15 Jun, 2010  |  Written by  |  under Sports Management Education

The names used to describe sports management degrees often differ depending on the school offering the program. To help eliminate some confusion we have classified sports management degrees by degree level and included a few of the most common alternative degree names.

  • Associates in Sports Management Degree: One is an associates degree in sports management that requires about two years of school. This degree is also sometimes called the Associate of Arts in Sports Management, depending on the university or college’s program.
  • Bachelors in Sports Management Degree: A BA in Sports Management is a bachelors level sports management degree and often referred to as a Bachelor’s of Science in Sports Management. This is a four year degree like any other bachelor’s and can sometimes have an emphasis on business or fitness and wellness. Some programs with a focus on business are called a Bachelor’s of Science in business management with an emphasis on sports management.
  • Masters in Sports Management Degree: The MA in Sports Management is often called a Master in Sports Management, a graduate sports management degree, or if it falls under the school of business it is called an MBA in Sports Management Degree. This is typically a two year degree which emphasizes preparation for leadership roles in the field of sports management.

What sorts of skills might a student expect to learn when obtaining a sports management degree?

Those obtaining a degree of any sort in sports management learn many skills that can be utilized immediately upon landing their first job. Students learn discipline and the connection between subjects like athletics, psychology, nutrition and management skills. Students also learn vital leadership skills through residency or internship programs and are often encouraged to volunteer with little league or local sports for youth programs.

Students also organization skills and how to manage a team or particular sect of sports as a business. Skills in marketing and economics are key tools learned in sports management.

What sort of career is common for someone with a sports management degree?

With a bachelor’s degree, more opportunities are available. Careers range from working with a team as a general manager or in the front office for a team, handling duties such as travel and appearances. Public relations directors are needed for teams, individual players, leagues and sports outlets such as networks and major publications.

Those with a bachelor’s can also go on to work in journalism or broadcasting in sports analysis. Some choose to go on to law school or earn their MBA, which can lead to a promising career as an executive for a sports team or league or a sports agent. In the U.S., college sports is a big business with many career paths similar to those in major league sports.

With an associates degree in sports management, you can obtain similar jobs as listed above, but usually begin at an entry level position. This gives you experience and can sometimes allow for you to continue working towards your bachelor’s part-time, ensuring you are able to land a lucrative position after you graduate.

What types of classes are involved in the sports management degree?

Core classes for those obtaining a sports management degree include micro and macro-economics, marketing and law. Students also study technology and new media, and their relationship to the ever-changing face of sports. Online media has brought forward a new wave of communication for teams and fans, and most cutting edge sports management programs require students be well-versed in the subject.

Students also focus on public relations courses, as some will go on to work in PR for major or minor leagues in some capacity. Some students may also choose journalism or broadcasting courses to gain knowledge they can apply to a career that also utilizes their sports management degree.

What are the average salaries for a someone working with a sports management degree?

With careers in sports, the venue and market size you are working in has a lot to do with the average salary. For example, if you are working as an assistant in the office of a minor league team in middle America, your salary will be drastically lower than someone performing that same job for a major league team in an urban area. Working in the front office for a MLB team averages $50,000 per year, but can rise to $100,000 in larger markets.

This rule of thumb also goes for sports broadcasters and journalists, and can also vary on how popular and in demand the sport they’re covering is to the market. Soccer is not incredibly popular in America, so a journalist covering soccer will be paid accordingly versus the journalist who primarily covers baseball or football. On the lower end of the pay scale, sports journalists earn about $20,000 a year and can earn up to $85,000 for regular contribution to a major publication.

The general manager of a MLB team can make from $500,000 to 5 million dollars.

What are the degree requirements for sports management?

To begin your path to a sports management degree, most programs require a high school diploma or GED. For a sports management degree, a student will need 36 hours of course work with a focus on management and marketing classes. For some programs these will be general and for others, they will focus on sports and utilizing the principles learned in a sports team environment. There will also be a few elective courses in which students can select what they take to fill out the sports management degree curriculum.

For those obtaining an MBA in sports management, you will need a bachelor’s of some sort, usually in communications, marketing or business. Those who studied journalism or broadcasting can also apply for a MBA program in sports management and usually need a 3.0 GPA or higher to be accepted.