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Top 7 Sports MS & MBA Programs in the U.S.

Sponsored Article by Tara Jackson

Sports MBA Programs

Photo Credit: SDSU Sports Business MBA students and staff in front of Banco BHD

As Sports Management becomes more complicated and more commercial, the demand for highly educated management is increasing. The sports industry now generates over $400 billion per year in the United States alone. Sports MS & MBA programs include either a Master in Science or a Masters of Business Administration in Sports Management.

These degrees can give you the knowledge to manage a large organization, and establish and meet business goals. Typical jobs for someone with an MS or MBA in sports management include coaches, athletic directors, agents, recruiters, and directors of recreational activities (among other roles).

Up until recently, sports management was not seen as a viable business career choice and sports enterprises were not believed to need the rigor of traditional business management. The perception also existed that one had to have played the sport to be able to be an effective manager.

These beliefs have now changed with teams acknowledging the importance of management training to contribute to the success of the organization. However, you still need to have a genuine passion for the sport in order to understand the structure of these organizations.

As the need for this type of education increases, so does the availability of quality sports MS & MBA programs. The following seven programs all provide an excellent education for a career in sports management.

Top Sports MS & MBA Programs

Franklin Pierce University – Manchester, New Hampshire

This program awards a MBA in Sports Management and can be done completely online, on campus, or using a combination of those settings. The sports community provides active support for this program with frequent input from local sports enterprises and business leaders. An internship or hands-on project is required of each student, often giving them the chance to network with local sports franchises. Attention is given to communication skills, both written and spoken, preparing you to interact effectively with the press, marketing and finance personnel, as well as the front and back office operations.

Columbia University – School of Continuing Education, Sports Management – New York, NY

Columbia University offers a Master of Science in Sports Management. This is a part-time, campus program that provides training in a variety of topics including sports marketing, finance, law, and personnel and facilities management. This program provides students with a comprehensive and in-depth education that will allow you to succeed in the competitive field of sports management.

University of Central Florida – College of Business Administration, Sport Business Management – Orlando, Florida

This school offers a Master of Sport Business Management. This program emphasizes the team effort to manage a sports organization by having students create hands-on projects where you work with other students from beginning to end. It also covers many other social aspects of management that other programs treat lightly such as diversity in sports, ethical and moral concerns, and how sports enterprises relate to community growth.

Indiana University – Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana University offers a MS in Kinesiology with an emphasis in sports management and various courses in sports communications and marketing. Applying business knowledge to the science of sports and exercise, this program prepares you to work in various enterprises. IU’s sports management program is highly rigorous and competitive; only 20 students are admitted each year.

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, North Carolina

A Master of Arts in Exercise and Sport Science can be earned through Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences. This program allows you to focus on sports administration as well as the “hard” science of movement and exercise. Students graduate prepared to manage smaller organizations rather than the larger corporate franchises.

University of Oregon – Charles H. Lundquist School of Business – Eugene, Oregon

The University of Oregon offers a Master of Business Administration in Sports Business degree that has been hailed by Sports Illustrated and the Wall Street Journal as one of the best sports business programs in the nation. It provides in depth coverage of the many of the business aspects of sports management such as marketing, planning, legal concerns, and business strategy. Students also work with professional sports enterprises to create projects that give them real-world experience in sports management.

George Washington University – School of Business – Washington, D.C.

The School of Business at GWU offers a MBA in Sports Management. They provide various program formats to allow you to focus on your education full-time or to go to school part-time while fitting it into your work schedule. There are many opportunities to participate in internships with popular sports events in the area as well.

Career Options with an MS & Sports MBA

Sports MBA ProgramsWhen researching a school to fit your needs, consider your career options with a Sports Management MS or MBA degree. There are many directions you can take within this field, so it is worth narrowing down your options and choosing a school that emphasizes the areas for which you are passionate.

Working as an Athletic Director allows you to coordinate with schools and administrators to create programs for middle and high school students. You may oversee other administrators and coaches, be responsible for budgets, and have valuable input into longer term sports programs.

If your interest is in marketing, then consider the role of Marketing Director or Manager. Sports organizations use these jobs to work with the media, create campaigns to connect with fans, and to create and publicize events. The marketing profession is a great way to build a network with other sports enterprises. As the popularity of social networks in marketing increases, so does the need for educated people who know how to best leverage these tools.

As an Information Officer, you will focus on the media, creating effective and excitng press releases, answering questions about the organization, and other aspects related to a public relations role. Communicating with the media can be a tricky job, so there is a real need for people who understand the various facets of this position and can step into this role.

A Development Director has input into the creative process of defining and orchestrating sporting events for the community, or for a sports franchise. This could be a purely strategic planning role in a large organization where there is a lot of support staff, or more of a hands-on role in smaller organizations which may rely heavily on a volunteer workforce.

Other careers to consider with a sports management MS or MBA degree are a tournament director, fitness club manager, team owner, recreation center manager, and a golf or tennis club manager. Since the education you receive with your MBA gives you skills in management, law, health, public relations, and strategic planning, your career options are many and varied.

The sports and recreation industry continues to grow as an important part of our society, and the opportunities to work in these areas are evolving as is the need for solid business and management skills.

Other Sports MS & MBA Programs – Twitter Mentions

We have had a great response to this article.  Some critical and some complimentary, but all valid. We are always open to hearing everyone’s opinions.  So, with that in mind, here are a list of some of the other Sports MS & MBA Programs that have been mentioned to us via Twitter.

Do you agree with our list of the top 7 Sports MS & MBA programs in the U.S.? Do you think another school and program deserves to be on the list? Tweet us or leave your comments below!

About the Author

Tara Jackson is an education and career prep enthusiast. When she’s not writing about or researching colleges and careers for EduTrek, she enjoys reading classic literature, hiking in the mountains, and traveling. @tjatedutrek

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Sponsored Article by Tara Jackson As Sports Management becomes more complicated and more commercial, the demand for highly educated management is increasing. The sports industry now generates over $400 billion per year in the United States alone. Sports MS & MBA programs include either a Master in Science or a Masters of Business Administration in Sports Management. These…

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53 Responses to Top 7 Sports MS & MBA Programs in the U.S.

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  4. Denise Hazelett January 8, 2013 at 6:54 am #

    Thought NYU and Georgetowb were two of the best. I can’t imagine UCF has a program at the top of any list since it stands for U Can’t Finish..

    Thank you for the new additions we are searching for a Masters program for my daughter right now..

  5. Jim Young March 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    How do you compare the MBA program with concentration in Sport Management at Saint Leo University?

  6. Cody Haynes March 26, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    The career options portion of this post is a little misleading. To me, this post suggest that you will move straight to a management position with a graduate degree in sports. I feel that it is very important to state that in the professional Sports Industry, experience is the most important factor and you will not start your career in a management position just because you have a graduate degree in sports management. You will start at the bottom and have to work your way up no matter how many degrees you have. Some logical career options would be Inside Sales Representative, Marketing Associate, Account Executive, Ticket Sales Coordinator.

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