The 10 Most Affordable Online Bachelors in Sports Management Degree Programs

According to recent estimates, the sports and recreation industry has a net worth over $422 billion – which probably shouldn’t be a surprise. Even in economic downturns, the sports industry is a bulwark (and in fact often picks up). But it’s not an easy business to break into: job positions are highly competitive, and you may have to toil in lower-level roles for several years. As always, it helps to have the educational background, and a BS in Sports Management offers students the most well-rounded, robust curriculum, combining business fundamentals — accounting, finance, management – with all the necessary know-how and skills relevant to today’s changing sports and recreation landscape, including administration, event management, law, sales, marketing, and more.

Below, we’ve compiled the most affordable online tracks, many of which offer full financial aid, so you can keep costs low and still earn a top-notch degree to get your career on the right path.

  • Estimated out-of-state tuition (if applicable): 50%
  • Percentage of undergraduate students receiving financial aid: 50%

1. American Public University

Founded 1991, American Public University specializes in online education, with an enrollment of over 50,000 students and offices in Charles Town, West Virginia, and Manassas, Virginia. (The APU system is the parent institution of the American Military University.) Nearly 60% of students are active duty or military veterans, and 17,000 are enrolled through the GI Bill. With an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio, APU classes combine the intimacy of a smaller college with the resources and collaborative learning opportunities of a traditional large research research university.

APU’s online BS combines the best of affordability, quality, and flexibility. Consisting of 31 major credits (out of 122 total undergraduate), the degree is designed for students interested in sports management, coaching, and administration at the collegiate, community, or high school levels. Courses include Accounting Fundamentals and Financial Statements, Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, Sports Facilities and Events Management, Athletic Programs Administration and Sports Governance, and Sports Law, Risk Management, and Regulations, among others. Most full-time students complete their degrees in the traditional four-year undergraduate completion time, but students with previous academic experience can transfer up to 91 credits outside of the major. New courses begin every month to accommodate students’ individual schedules, and all online courses are built for a variety of students, including part-time and adult learners.

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  • Tuition: $6,880
  • Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 100%

2. Post University

Founded in 1890, Post University is a private university in Waterbury, Connecticut, with a total enrollment of 7.500. Ranked among the top online schools in the country by US News, Post prides itself as a leader in online and innovative distance education and joined the American Council on Education (ACE) Alternative Credit Consortium in 2015. The school’s 19:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports both intimate and collaborative learning opportunities, and over 80% of classes have fewer than 20 students. (None have more than 49.)

Post’s online BS in Sports Management consists of 54 major credits, including courses like Financial Accounting, Finance, Management, Business Policy Seminar, Sport in Society, Sport Marketing, Sport Law, Sport Economics, Sport Event & Facility Management, and a capstone in Sport Management to demonstrate mastery of material. Electives are imbedded to customize the curriculum, and all courses are designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate students’ unique schedules. Post’s program objectives consist of change adaptation, business integration, global perspective, business ethics, communication, and fundamental business concepts. Graduates have pursued careers in athletic administration, sport marketing, ticket sales, game-day operations and community relations. It is accredited the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

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  • Tuition: $16,510
  • Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 95%

3. Columbia Southern University

Columbia Southern University, founded in 1993, specializes in online education, with over 20,000 enrolled in associate, bachelor, master, doctorate, or certificate programs. A subsidiary of Columbia Southern Education Group, all CSU courses are designed to accommodate a range of students, including full- and part-time learners, adult learners, and working professionals. Faculty work to create intimate, personalized classrooms that combine individualized instruction and collaborative education techniques.

The university offers an online BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Sport Management, which students typically complete in five years. Among the 36 major credits include Introduction to Business, Accounting, Marketing, Business Law, Financial Management, Information Systems Management, Sales Management, Managerial Decision Making, Risk Management, and International Management. From there, students select 12 credits toward the sports management concentration; these include Sociology of Sport, Sport Fundraising, Sport Administration, and Sport Facilities. All students also complete a range of electives to customize their course work. Upon completion of the program, students should be able to analyze financial statements, examine the effect of globalization on business environments, apply managerial decision making, and interpret business concepts, principles, and financial strategies.

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  • Tuition: $5,175
  • Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 100%

4. Bellevue University

Founded in 1966, Bellevue University has a total enrollment of 10,000 students and specializes in flexible, affordable online education for adults and working professionals with a variety of delivery methods, including accelerated cohorts, flex paths, MOOCs, certificates of completion, and course clusters. With an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Bellevue classes are kept intimate to guarantee individualized instruction. Further, Bellevue’s generous transfer policy may accelerate course work, and through the dynamic online learning platform students have 24/7 access to course material, live chat with peers and instructors, collaborate via group discussion boards, and utilize other multimedia. As a Christian university, religious concepts may be integrated into curricula.

Bellevue’s hands-on, online BS in Sports Management combines business and management principles with sports and recreation to provide a foundation of skills, including critical thinking, communication, management, problem solving, and leadership. Among the 36 major credits are Financial Accounting, Business Communication, Sports Public Relations and Communication, Sports Ethics, Sports Facility and Event Management, Legal Aspects of Sport and Physical Activity, and Sport Marketing. In addition, all students must complete a relevant internship to gain real-world experience and fulfill general education and elective requirements. (Students with previous academic credits can waive some credits through the transfer credits.)

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  • Tuition: $7,365
  • Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 92%

5. Shorter University

Founded in 1873 and ranked among the top 25 schools in the region by US News, Shorter University has a total enrollment of about 1,500, the majority of which is undergraduate. Shorter’s 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio gives students the best of both worlds: the intimate, tight-knit educational community of a liberal arts school, plus the collaborative and vibrant learning setting of a larger research university. Associated with the Baptist Church, Shorter integrates Christian concepts across its curricula. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Shorter offers an online BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Sport Management, which covers a broad base of the sports industry — from history to present-day issues — preparing students for careers to manage a variety of sport organizations, including private enterprises, government or public employment settings, and commercial ventures. In addition to the 24-credit business core, students take classes like Legal Aspects of Sport, Leadership in Sport, Ethics in Sport, and Event and Facility Management. From there, students choose 12 sports management elective credits to customize their track, including classes like Sport Governance, Sport Psychology, Sport Communication, and Sport Coaching, among others.

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  • Tuition: $21,730
  • Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 100%

6. Grand Canyon University

Founded in 1949, Grand Canyon University is a Christian university based in Phoenix with a total enrollment over 75,000, including 61,000 online students. Fortune ranks Grand Canyon in the top 5 online schools for entrepreneurs, and U.S. News ranks it among the best schools in the West region. Since 2009, the university has grown at a rapid pace, developed a number of corporate and strategic educational alliances, and become a leader in online education, all of which have reduced operating costs, boosting affordability and maximizing flexibility. The school’s 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio is another boon, supporting intimate, personalized instruction within the school’s larger collaborative atmosphere. As a Christian school, Grand Canyon integrates religious concepts and values across all its programs and has a nationally recognized community service initiative.

Grand Canyon’s BS in Sports Management consists of 120 credits, 56 of which are in the major, and 90 of which can be waived as transfer credits. Courses include Marketing, Sports Law, Sports Event Planning, Business Statistics, Finance, Production/Operation Management, Managerial Accounting, Business Ethics, and more. All courses are career-oriented and help students hone valuable, real-world skills to carry into their professional lives. Further, 7-week delivery means accelerated courses, which can reduce costs and get students back to work as fast as possible. Typical job area include sports business merchandise and retail, sports sales, marketing, media, live events, and athletic administration.

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  • Tuition: $17,050
  • Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 99%

7. Missouri Baptist University

Missouri Baptist University, founded in 1964, is a private institution with an enrollment of 5,300, offering a range of undergraduate, graduate, and certificate tracks. With an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio, students enjoy a collaborative learning environment that also offers individualized instruction. (The average freshman class is 30 students.) In addition to standard student support services, MBU offers remedial services, academic and career counseling, employment services, and placement services. As a Christian school, MBU also incorporates religious concepts into each of its programs.

Missouri Baptist’s online BS in Sports Management is designed to prepare students to organize, administer, and facilitate sport programs at all levels. Major course work includes Sport Facility Management, Tournament and Event Management, Communication in Sport, Governance and Leadership in Sport, Sport Marketing, Sport Finance, Financial Accounting, Communication Strategies in Business, and Management Concepts and Practices, among others. All students must also complete practicum and internship requirements to gain real-world experience, plus an array of electives to customize the curriculum. As an accelerated program with a generous transfer policy, students can expect to complete the degree in as little as 24-36 months. Possible careers include sports administration, agencies, public relations, broadcasting, media, and more.

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  • Tuition: $24,924
  • Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 100%

8. Davenport University

Founded in 1866, Davenport University is a Tier 2 national institution with a total enrollment of 8,400. Davenport places an emphasis on innovative, practical, and affordable education, with faculty that have professional experience that implement dynamic curricula addressing in-demand careers. Davenport’s 12:1 student-to-faculty guarantees individualized instruction, but also intimate and collaborative classes that allow for a tight-knit educational community. Three-quarters of all classes have fewer than 20 students, and none have more than 49.

Davenport offers a Bachelor of Business Administration in Sports Management that is designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate a variety of students, with course work available 24/7. Among the 43 credits in the major are Human Resource Management, Social Media Strategies, Athletic Leadership and Coaching, Legal Aspects of Sport Management, Sport Operations and Facilities Management, Sport Analytics, Sport Governance and Regulation, and Global Sport Industry. From there, students must also complete two internships and capstone to gain real-world experience and 9 credits of open electives. The program is accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation, whose purpose is to promote and recognize excellence in sport management education worldwide in colleges and universities.

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  • Tuition: $16,726
  • Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 98%

9. Concordia University – Chicago

Concordia University – Chicago, founded in 1864, is a private school of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod with a total enrollment of 5,300 (1,500 undergraduate). Recognized for academic excellence by the Chronicle of Higher Education and National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, Concordia’s 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports personalized instruction and one-on-one learning alongside a collaborative approach. Nearly 80% of classes have fewer than 20 students, and none have more than 49.

Concordia Chicago offers an online BS in Sports and Recreation Management, which includes 37 core credits: Intro to Sports and Recreation, Legal and Ethical Issues in Sports and Recreation Administration, Managing Lifetime Fitness, Facilities and Events Management, Research Design and Methodology, Principles of Management, Personal Values and Organizational Ethics, Managerial Marketing, and Managerial Accounting. All students must also complete a Senior Project, which is an intensive, process-oriented capstone that allows students to apply classroom learning to real-world environments. As an accelerated degree (designed for students with up to 32 transferable credits), course work is highly flexible and tailored to individual students. In particular, the track is a designated path toward CUC’s MA in Sports Leadership.

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  • Tuition: $30,630
  • Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 100%

10. University of Minnesota Crookston

Founded in 1966, the University of Minnesota – Crookston ranks 3rd in the region among public schools according to US News. With an 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Crookston students benefit from small classes that combine individualized instruction with collaborative learning opportunities. Over 60% of classes are less 20 students, and just 1% have over 50. The university also emphasizes an experiential learning approach, and many students complete applied internships, research projects, and service learning activities. In 1993, Crookston became the first college in the country to issue laptop computers to every full-time student and faculty member, and it remains a leader in ed tech efforts.

Crookston offers an online BS in Sport and Recreation Management, flexible enough to accommodate adult learners, working professionals, and a range of other students. Among the 62 major credit requirements are Managerial Finance, Personal Selling, Supervision and Leadership, Sport Law and Governance, Sport Marketing and Communication, Sport Finance and Economics, Socio-Cultural Dimensions in Sport, and Psychology of Sport, among others. Students also must complete an internship to gain real-world experience and relevant electives to customize the track. For those interested, UMC also offers a Sport and Recreation Management certificate online.

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  • Tuition: $11,700
  • Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 91%