The sports industry in the US and worldwide is a multi-billion dollar business, and a degree in sports management is one of the most reliable ways of breaking into the business side of athletics. With career opportunities like marketing and promotions, sales and merchandise management, or even becoming a sports agent, a sports enthusiast or former athlete can make sports management a rewarding career path.
Earning a degree in sports management would provide many more options for an inspiring student interested in sports. For working adults who are looking for promotion or a career change, though, money is often the main sticking point in going back to school (even more so than time). Finding an affordable online sports management degree can help prospective students get past that block and make a change in their lives. The top 10 sports management colleges for affordability ranked by Bachelor’s Degree Center can help students get the credentials they need without breaking the bank.
Methodology: Ranking the Most Affordable Online Sports Management Degree Programs
For ranking the most affordable online sports management degree programs, on criteria stands above all others – cost. Even though the ranking is arranged from lowest to highest tuition rate (based on current IPEDS data), schools still had to meet the basic standards of Bachelor’s Degree Center – accreditation, reputation, and proven job market success for graduates.
1. Bellevue University
A Bellevue University online BA or BS in Sports Management degree provides the student with a strong foundation in sports terminology and sports law. Some courses include accounting, public relations, event management, and sports marketing. The BSSM or BASM prepares the student with professional business acumen for the very competitive field of study. Skills needed for the degree are communication, critical thinking, leadership, and problem-solving. Bellevue University also is an affordable online sports management degree, with low tuition and strong financial support.
Bellevue, founded in 1966, is a nonprofit institution in Bellevue, Nebraska. The college ranks as one of the top institutions for military students. Their goals are to provide an innovative and market-focused school that builds on the integrity of its students. Bellevue University is also a regionally-accredited school.
Degree: BA or BS in Sports Management
2. Troy University
Troy University’s online BS in Hospitality, Sport, and Tourism Management degree with a concentration in Sport Management. The degree puts emphasis on strong values and gives students a competitive advantage as they prepare for the job market. The coursework required will prepare students for interscholastic, intercollegiate, professional, and recreational sports jobs. Skills that may benefit each graduate are skills, like oral, interpersonal, and written communication. The BS-HSTM degree recommends students to be proficient in IT systems as well. Troy University’s affordable online sports management degree is one of the best-ranked in the nation.
Troy University, home of the Trojans, was founded in 1887. The University offers degree programs at four campuses in the State of Alabama. The university is also a military-focused school; in fact, there is a teaching center right on Fort Rucker base. As a public institution, Troy is well known for its affordability and outreach, especially through its growing online programs.
Degree: Bachelor of Science, Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management – Sport Management Concentration
3. Columbia Southern University
Columbia Southern University’s online BS in Business Administration Sports Management concentration works to provide each student with fundamental business principles applied to the sports industry. Courses for the BSBA-SM degree include sports tourism, franchise management, and business law. In addition, risk management and health and fitness classes are also recommended. Students who graduate with the BSBA in Sports management will go on to careers, like sports managers, sports directors, or sports administrators. The program is 120 credits; however, up to 90 credits can be transferred in.
Founded in 1993 in Orange Beach, Alabama, Columbia Southern University is dedicated to distance education, and has made its reputation on offering low-cost educational options to all, including their affordable online sports management degree program. The school not only has low tuition, but a flexible enrollment procedure, giving working adults more convenience in earning or completing their degree.
Degree: BSBA in Sports Management
4. Columbia College (MO)
The Bachelor of Arts in Sports Management at Columbia College is an affordable online sports management degree. The college provides students in courses that will build up their knowledge of the sports industry. The program is 120 credits with courses of study in sports finance, social media, and sports and event marketing. Some common electives are public relations, sales promotions, and organizational behavior. Classes are available online and on campus. For the BA-SM degree, Business ethics is required as well.
Columbia College was founded in 1851 and is affiliated with the Disciples of Christ. Its location between the big cities of St. Louis and Kansas City have made it a great choice for job placement. The school has a low student to faculty ratio and provide several clubs or organizations to get involved in as a new student. Regularly ranked a top regional college for the Midwest by publications like U.S. News & World Report and Forbes, Columbia College is also well known as a best value for its reasonable tuition costs.
Degree: BA in Sports Management
5. Eastern Kentucky University
The Eastern Kentucky University’s online Bachelor in Sports Management is an accelerated and affordable online sports management degree program. Most courses are only eight weeks long and provide the fundamental classes that promote leadership and critical thinking skills. The program is 120 credits; however, the student can transfer up to 90 credits from another college. The tuition for the Bachelor in Sports management is kept low, thanks to EKU’s status as a public regional college. EKU is also regularly noted as a military-friendly school.
Eastern Kentucky University was established in 1906 as a teaching college for the region. EKU is located in the heart of Bluegrass country, in Richmond. It is about 100 miles from Cincinnati, OH. Thanks to its location, many graduates of EKU’s sports management program find careers within the sports industry as a high school coach, NFL team manager, or go to NASCAR, making it one of the top 10 sports management colleges in the nation.
Degree: Bachelor in Sports Management
6. Florida International University
Florida International University’s BA in Recreation and Sports Management excels in helping new graduates make headway in their career. As the sports industry continues to boom, so does many opportunities in sports. Many FIU graduates find positions in sports marketing, community recreation centers, or at sports arenas. FIU’s affordable online sports management degree provides courses in sports law, finance, and human resources.
FIU’s main campus is located in Miami, home of the Miami Dolphins, and its location is one of the biggest reason FIU is frequently ranked as one of the top 10 sports management colleges. The school provides a world-class curriculum for all its degrees and certifications. FIU is also recognized for excellence for other reasons. It was ranked in 2018 as #1 in the nation for awarding Hispanics a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and has been named one of the most diverse universities in the nation.
Degree: BA in Recreation and Sports Management
7. University of Minnesota Crookston
The University of Minnesota Crookston’s BS in Sport and Recreation Management degree prepares students for a career in professional sports and community involvement. Many go on to become ambassadors of the YMCA and other nonprofit community organizations. The degree provides team building skills and communication skills. The SRM program is available at any level, whether it is for associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Most students will find careers as product development officers, athletic coordinators, public relations, and recruiters for sports teams. The program is 120 credits; however, the school accepts transfer credits to speed up the process and cut costs.
Established in 1966, UMC deserves recognition as one of the top 10 sports management colleges in the US for its affordable program. UOM provides mentoring opportunities to its students and low tuition costs. In fact, for neighboring states, in-state tuition is also available. University of Minnesota is known for providing small classroom sizes and excellent job placement options for all students. The school also provides internship opportunities to students on all five campuses.
Degree: BS in Sport and Recreation Management
8. University of Iowa
The University of Iowa’s BS in Sport and Recreation Management degree is offered by the School of Health and Human Physiology. The full degree is 120 credits, but students only need to complete 48 semester hours, nine of them being field experience hours, at Iowa. The sports and recreation management degree is concentrated in business studies, sports instruction, coaching, and athletic administration. The Sports and Recreation Management degree is available online, making it convenient for students to enroll from anywhere. The tuition cost for UI’s affordable online sports management degree is one of the lowest among schools in the Big Ten.
Founded in 1847, University of Iowa is known as a major public research university. Home of the Hawkeyes, the University of Iowa was the first state university to accept both men and women. The school has thirteen graduate programs and prides itself on having a low student to teacher ratio of 16:1. Not only the top 10 sports management colleges for affordability, UI also makes diversity and community a priority.
Degree: BS in Sport and Recreation Management
9. Colorado Mesa University
Colorado Mesa University’’s BS in Sports Management program teaches theoretical and practical studies in the sports industry. Courses touch on leadership and communication skills. The program is 120 credits; however, up to 90 credits are acceptable from other institutions. Some common places of work include youth programs, sports recruitment centers, or health clubs. Colorado Mesa’s affordable online sports management degree provides the students with knowledge of planning, organizing, and implementing sports events.
Established in 1925, The Colorado Mesa University is located in Grand Junction, near the majestic Grand Mesa mountaintops. As a public regional university, Colorado Mesa is known for its student support and outreach, as well as its low tuition rates that make a degree accessible to all. Those in the Sports Management degree can be eligible for department scholarships, adding to what is already a serious value.
Degree: BS in Sports Management
10. Wilmington University
Wilmington University’s BS in Sports Management degree program educates students on the business of the sports industry. Wilmington University offers career advancement opportunities to its students while hiring the top experts in the sports industry as instructors. The program provides courses in sports marketing, media relations, team operations, and fundraising. Wilmington University made the list as one of the most affordable online sports management degree programs, and they stand by that promise.
Wilmington University, established in 1968, is career-focused and a military-friendly environment. Their sports management degree program is 100% online, but there are several campuses in Delaware and in the state of New jersey. In addition to their BS in Sports Management, Wilmington offers sports-related certificate programs as well, solidifying its status as one of the top 10 sports management college for value.
Degree: BS in Sports Management
How Much Does it Cost to Get an Online Sports Management Degree?
Online sports management programs are a clear choice for working adults who want to go into the sports industry, or for professionals who are already in the field who need a degree to help earn advancement and promotion. Some sports management students choose online courses, due to the flexibility and availability they offer. However, with college tuition rising, many will ask, can I find sports management courses online free from the high tuition costs? Where are the cheapest sports management degree online programs?
The cost of an online sports management degree depends on the student’s needs; if you already have an associate’s degree, the most economic approach is an online bachelor’s completion program. The cheapest sports management degree online gets even cheaper if you can transfer a lot of courses and cut down how many courses you need to take.
However, if you’re starting from scratch, your costs will be higher, since you will need all of the general education courses along with the major classes. The most affordable tactic would be to earn an associate’s degree from a community college before going on to a bachelor’s degree completion program. Many community colleges today even offer all of their general education courses online, so combined with a bachelor’s completion, you can get the cheapest sports management degree online possible.
Can I Get a Sports Management Degree for Free?
There are several sites to help students find the cheapest sports management degree online. But can a student find any free online sports management courses? Finding college tuition in sports management courses online free is nearly impossible, if you’re hoping for college credit. While many colleges offer free online courses in a variety of fields, they are usually non-credit continuing education courses.
Finding the cheapest sports management degree online will help when making decisions on schools, but there is one other way. Another possible way to receive online sports management courses at little to no cost is by being employed by the right person. Sometimes employers who see potential in their staff will occasionally offer tuition assistance or reimbursement to help pay for the high costs of higher education. Some employers will even help pay tuition for even part-time workers.
Can I Add an Online Sports Management Certificate to My Bachelor’s?
Many working professionals who already have a bachelor’s degree can benefit from adding a certificate to their resume; if you’re interested in moving into sports management, or need more credentials for the job market, an online sports management certificate can make a big difference. Plus, having the certificate can help build on a student’s self-esteem and appeal to employers looking for more from the average job seeker.
Online sports management programs are designed for the convenience of working adults, and can be a great way to start a career in sports management. An online sports management certificate provides the student with advanced training in a matter of a few months. Courses of interest may include hospitality management and business leadership skills. Many online certificate programs in sports management have flexible scheduling and are affordable to the prospective student interested in the sports industry.