Online MBA Program in Sports Management

Sports management professionals work with major and minor league athletes all over the world. While many choose a career in player representation, graduates who have earned an online MBA in sports management have a wide range of exciting career possibilities to choose from. In addition to athlete representation, MBA graduates are qualified to work in team management, player recruiting, sports marketing and publicity, sporting goods manufacturing and distribution, and facilities management.

While the demand for qualified professionals in the sports industry is high, the competition among those vying for sports management jobs is fierce. Obtaining an MBA in sports management online is a good way to show employers that you have the skill and knowledge necessary to take on a sports management job and the drive and potential to excel in the industry.

What is an Online MBA in Sports Management?

An online MBA program in sports management helps students develop the skills they need to do well in a fast-paced, highly competitive industry. Negotiating is an important part of sports management, so communication skills focus on online MBA programs in sports management. On top of communications skills, students who earn their online MBA in sports management typically graduate with advanced knowledge of the inner workings of sports complexes, sports leagues, and sporting goods manufacturing. Additionally, students enrolled in an online MBA program in sports management must enroll in masters-level business courses, including business law, ethics, accounting, human resources, and marketing.

Before applying to online courses, many students compare other programs to the online MBA in sports management. Students commonly find themselves wondering if it’s better to obtain an MBA or a master’s degree. While both programs offer similar courses for sports management, an MBA is the only program that provides students with the opportunity to learn about their specific field while obtaining additional instruction that prepares them to take on top-tier management positions during their careers.

Before applying to any online MBA program, it’s also important for students to consider the major differences between learning online and studying in a classroom setting. The conveniences of online study are vast and can be the top deciding factor for students who work full time or have busy home lives. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that obtaining a degree at home requires an extremely high discipline level. Students learning at home aren’t offered many opportunities to work with peers and must set their own study schedules while ensuring they meet their course deadlines.

Online MBA in Sports Management Curriculum

Just as with any online MBA program, an online MBA in sports management features a curriculum that’s rich in business administration courses blended with master’s-level sports management courses. The program’s business administration courses include a variety of topics that help students understand the ins and outs of successfully managing a business. These topics include:

  • Business Law
  • Ethics
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management
  • Financial Management and Accounting
  • Inventory Management
  • Human Resources

When the online MBA features a specialization in sports management, students can expect to be required to enroll in some version of the following courses:

  • Leadership in Sports: Students in this course discuss the psychology, economics, and organizational behavior and theory that comes with sports management. Management theories and issues are thoroughly studied and compared both in the sports industry and out of it.
  • Athlete Development: This course focuses on creating positive images of represented athletes and helps students learn to coach athletes to portray themselves positively in the media. Students are also taught to provide financial advice to athletes to ensure long-term financial security.

  • Sports Events Management: Students who enroll in this course are taught the ins and outs of event management, particularly large sporting events and conventions. Topics include financial planning, media relations, and management strategies.
  • Sports Mass Media Relations: This course helps students develop the skills they need to manage media relations. Students learn to justify their sport’s importance to media representatives and the best ways to manage poor publicity in the mass media.

  • Enhancing Athletic Performance: With a heavy focus on psychology, this course helps students learn to develop the athletes they work with to perform to the best of their abilities.

Online MBA programs in sports management usually have strict prerequisites in place. Students are often required to have a minimum of one year of work experience in a sports-related role and a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as sports management or business management. Some schools also require students to have high GMAT scores; however, there are schools that have recently chosen to waive the GMAT requirement2 so that more eligible students can apply to their online MBA programs.

What Unique Career Paths Can I Pursue With an MBA Specializing in Sports Management?

Earning an MBA in sports management online can lead to a variety of lucrative career opportunities. Sports management professionals are employed by minor and major league sports organizations such as the NFL or the NHL and sporting goods manufacturers and arenas and stadiums. Some of the jobs held by those with an online MBA in sports management include the following:

Sports Marketing Manager

Students who graduate with an MBA in any specialization have highly developed marketing skills, and those who specialize in sports management make particularly good candidates for careers in sports marketing. Individuals in this profession generally work with sports teams, facilities, or star athletes to create and promote a recognizable brand and increase event sales. Sports marketers usually spend part of their day in an office and are required to take on meetings daily. They may be required to travel and work overtime.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports on salaries and job trends throughout the United States, marketing managers3 earned an average of $134,290 per year as of May 2018.

Public Relations Manager

In the sports industry, public relations managers represent athletes, large corporations, sports teams, and venues. They’re responsible for enhancing their client’s public image through media relations, online presence, and in some cases, advertising campaigns. Many public relations managers work long hours and are expected to be available round-the-clock to deal with crises. In most cases, they are required to travel and speak publicly.

As of May 2018, public relations managers4 earned an average of $114,800 per year. Those who represent elite clients such as star athletes or major venues can usually expect to earn more than the profession’s median wage.

Sporting Goods Manufacturing Manager

Individuals with an online MBA in sports management are highly qualified to take on management roles in the manufacturing industry, particularly when it comes to sporting goods. Manufacturing managers typically work regular office hours and spend part of their days at a desk and the remainder touring and supervising plants and other facilities.

According to PayScale, manufacturing managers5 earned an average of $85,148 per year as of August, 2019.

Facilities/Stadium Operations Manager

Facilities and stadium operations managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations within sporting venues such as stadiums, arenas, and recreation centers. They oversee all departments, including security, ticket sales, janitorial, and event management. Depending on the venue’s size and the caliber of events held in it, stadium operations managers may be required to work long hours. In most cases, they’re required to attend events that occur outside of regular business hours.

As of May 2017, facilities and stadium operations managers6 earned an average annual salary of $100,410. In many cases, those who are at the head of larger organizations are granted above-average salaries.

Sports Agent

Sports agents represent athletes and are responsible for managing their careers. They typically negotiate contracts on their clients’ behalf and manage their finances and other businesses, including sponsorships and schedules. Sports agents usually work in an office but are frequently required to take meetings offsite and travel regularly.

As of May 2018, sports agents7 earned an average wage of $94,750 per year. The biggest opportunities for those seeking a job in this profession are available in California, New York, Florida, Tennessee, and Texas.

Sports Event Management

Sports event managers plan, coordinate, and direct all major sporting events such as games and tournaments. They may spend part of their days working in the office, but for the most part, sports event managers are required to meet with vendors and visitors and be in attendance throughout all aspects of the event set up and takedown, and of course, during the event itself.

As of May 2018, sports event managers8 earned an average of $49,370 per year. Demand for this job is increasing faster than average, with 7% growth expected by the year 2028.

Should I Get an Online MBA in Sports Management?

Any prospective student considering an online MBA in sports management should take time to carefully consider their chosen career path and the academic path they need to take to get there. It may help for them to ask some of the following questions when deciding if an online MBA in sports management is the right choice,

What’s the difference between an online MBA in sports management and an online MBA in management?

While both of these programs offer a similar curriculum, only a sports management MBA provides students with courses focused on sports management and sporting goods manufacturing. An online MBA in management can be useful to a graduate who is embarking on a sports-based career; however, the education they’ll have received is more general and could apply to almost any industry.

Are you a sports fan?

If you’re passionate about the sports industry and are hoping to make a career for yourself within it, an online MBA in sports management is probably a good choice for you. However, if your interest in sports is limited, you may find this career too challenging or uninteresting.

Do you usually work well under pressure?

The sports industry is fast-paced, especially if you choose to work in events management or athlete representation. Contract negotiations are often attached to short deadlines, and decisions need to be made on the fly. You must be able to keep calm under pressure if you’re embarking on a career in sports management.

Are you comfortable with public speaking?

Most sports management professionals are responsible for representing athletes or major sports organizations, which usually means speaking to the press or large crowds at conferences and media events. It’s necessary to be comfortable speaking in front of large audiences if this is a profession you’re considering entering.

Is an online MBA as good as one earned in a traditional school?

Online education has come a long way in the last couple of decades. Many online schools are now fully accredited and hold the same certifications as traditional schools. Students who are unsure of a school’s status can check whether or not it’s accredited online at the United States Department of Education’s database of accredited programs9.

Will earning my online MBA help me to advance in my career?

Individuals who earn an online MBA while working for an employer are often among the first considered for advancement when opportunities arise. Most employers prefer to promote from within and choose from employees whose habits and skills they’re already familiar with. By obtaining an online MBA in sports management, you’re showing your employer that you possess the skills and drive to reach your organization’s top.

How long does it take to earn an online MBA in sports management?

The amount of time it takes to earn an online MBA in sports management varies depending on the school, but in most cases, students are allowed a period of up to two years to complete their program. However, some fast-track programs provide students with the tools they need to earn an online MBA in two months or less and part-time programs that allow students to earn their degrees over a period of up to six years.

References
1https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes112021.htm
2https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm
3https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Manufacturing_Manager/Salary
4https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes111021.htm
5https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131011.htm
6https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm
7https://www.ed.gov/accreditation