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Masters in Sports Management

Masters Degree (MS) in Sports Management

Best Universities in the world for Sports Management Courses


What is Sports Management?

Sports Management, as the name suggests, mainly revolves around the business aspects behind smooth running of a sports organization. From college tournaments to A-Star professional teams, a lot many things need to go well behind the scenes for the “match” to go on. The purview of the typical roles and responsibilities of a sports manager is fairly wide (the role of Tom Cruise in the Hollywood flick Jerry Maguire serves as a nice example).

While the most publicized role in the industry usually revolves around talent scouting and team management (ask any football fan), there is a multitude of people running the show behind the scenes. Playground curators, facility managers, nutritionists/trainers, PR executives etc. are a vital part of the industry.

A typical job description might include things like negotiating contracts, handling media relations, organizing promotional events, hiring staff, drafting players, managing budget etc.

In many cases, a sports management degree is offered in combination with another degree program with a focus on finance, marketing, health, law, business or some other related field. The initial classes typically revolve around principles of management, accounting, economics, general psychology, statistics etc.

The advanced classes touch on topics such as ethics in sports, the role of sports in a society, sports facility design, sports legalities, sports marketing etc. The degree is geared towards inculcating critical-thinking skills in candidates that would help in solving real-life problems.

The studies involve a blend of sports and business education, and one can pursue a specialization in certain areas such as sports media/marketing, sports analytics, facility management, or sports tourism.

Why is Sports Management in demand?

According to a report published by Plunkett Research, the total revenue driven by the sports industry in the US is estimated to be somewhere around $450 billion per year. To put that in perspective, the entire automobile industry has a figure less than $250 billion.

Super Bowl advertisements have a reputation of being the costliest, and for a good reason. The electrifying atmosphere is the result of people invested emotionally in their teams, which ensures ‘engaged eyeballs’. The majority bump in revenues is attributed to media deals, specifically sports media rights.

What is the scope of Sports Management?

Sports management professionals handle aspects related to marketing, finance, leadership, and budgeting of events. The future of sports analytics is particularly bright, with most sports enterprises moving towards data-driven decision making.

Baseball was the first arena where sports analytics was applied successfully, and increasingly teams are leveraging data to understand team and player patterns.

Moneyball is a famous book (and a movie) in which the General Manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team joined forces with a Yale graduate to make decisions based on player statistics instead of following the conventional route.

What are the top colleges for studying Sports Management?

Sports Management is a fairly new field, though it is growing fairly fast. There are primarily 3 masters degree options to choose from: an MBA with a specialization in Sports Management, an MS in Sports Management, and an MS in Sports Medicine. Some dedicated students go on to earn a doctorate too, mainly concerning the psychological aspect of sports.

Here are the top 10 global institutes based on EdUniversal Masters Ranking 2019:

Rank University/Program Degree Offered Country
1 AISTS (International Academy of Sport Science and Technology Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Sport Administration Switzerland
2 KEDGE Business School MS International Sport & Event Management France
3 University of Cape Town – Faculty of Commerce PG Diploma in Sports Management South Africa
4 Audencia Business School MS Management of Sport Organizations France
5 University of Ljubljana: Faculty of Economics Master in Sport Management Slovenia
6 University of Virginia – Darden Graduate School of Business MBA: Media, Entertainment & Sports Management Elective USA
7 Arizona State University Sports Law & business USA
8 Keio University Master of Sports Management Japan
9 University of Alberta Master of Arts in Physical Education and Recreation Canada
10 Emlyon Business School MSc in Sports Industry Management France

For the top 50 programs, check the complete rankings for Masters in Sports Management here The top institutes are scattered around the world, hence the candidate needs to arrive at the right college by looking at the curriculum, faculty, and location.

For instance, having lots of professional sports organizations in the vicinity of a college usually leads to better internship and job opportunities.

What are the salary figures for Sports Management Professionals?

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (2016-2017) issued by the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median salary for a manager of an artist/athlete is $64,200. The top quartile of the same group earned in excess of $120,000. The salary is highly dependent on the individual skill, location, and years of experience. People who have a love for the sport usually go on to make a fabulous living as a Sports Manager.

MBA vs. MS in Sports Management

An MBA with a focus on Sports Management will give you a detailed overview of what it takes to run and manage a sports organization, especially from a business viewpoint. Subjects like marketing, finance, operations, accounting etc. will comprise the core curriculum.

Though the subjects taught in an MS degree are almost the same, it is much more specific. You will study those subjects firmly embedded within the context of sports. MBA usually offers the option to choose 3-5 electives on sports related subjects.

Similarly, an MS usually offers options to dive deeper into a certain area of interest (sports ethics, coaching, media management, psychology etc.) through offering electives.

You might also be better-off doing an MS considering the networking opportunities. There is a much higher possibility of finding peers who are in it for the long haul while pursuing an MS degree. An MS takes the cake for internship opportunities too, given the fact that they usually have much deeper connections with local and professional sports organizations.

In a nutshell, it is wiser to choose an MBA if you want a chance to peek into the sports industry, but also want to keep your options open. But if sports is the only place where you see yourself down the line, MS should be the way to go.

Here is a story of an Indian aspirant studying Sports Managementin Australia –> link.

Learn more about other specialized Masters programs and how to get into the top MS universities in the world.