Sports Management Degree: The Intersection of Sports and Business

Find your course >>

Search Online Sport Management Programmes from UK Universities. 

What is Sports Management?

Sports Management covers all aspects of the business of sport. It is a broad subject dedicated to managing sports teams, sports facilities, sporting events and athletes. Career opportunities in sports management have expanded rapidly in the last decade as digital platforms, audiences, and the financial sums involved have grown.

Sports business management degrees cover a wide range of industry-specific subjects as well as general management skills. Academic studies investigate the key processes to optimise sports management and grow the sport business.

  • Sponsorship and Partnership Management
  • Media and Broadcasting
  • Sports Events and Event Management
  • Sports Facility Management
  • Sports Marketing and Promotions
  • Merchandising, Licensing & Industry partners
  • Analytics and Data Management
  • Law and Contract Negotiations
  • Athlete Management and Representation
  • Fan Engagement and Community Relations
  • Sports Risk Management and Insurance


These programmes cover a diverse range of topics and key concepts, building specific skills and experience. Some are lucky to spend their entire career working in an industry they are passionate about, while others use a sport management degree to enhance their employability skills and make the transition into the industry later in their working life.

What are the Opportunities: Sports Management Career Paths

Sports management is a competitive field, and having relevant qualifications can make your CV and application stand out. Generally speaking, all sports organisations will require the following professionals once they reach a certain scale.

  • Marketing
  • Events Management
  • Facilities Operations Manager
  • Performance Analysis
  • Partnerships Manager
  • HR
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Coaching and Talent Development
  • Community Engagement & Corporate Social Responsibility


Gaining a formal qualification in sport management can help those already working in the industry move up the career ladder. Professionals in other sectors can use a sports management qualification to build on their transferable skills and secure their first position in this competitive industry.

As well as roles in sporting organisations, a sport management degree can open up opportunities working for national governing bodies, Sport England for example, and support services around the actual sports organisations, such as sports agents and consultants.

Sport Management Careers

The sports industry has a wide range of careers. Each with specific skill sets depending on the business area.

Sports Management Business Areas


Effective leadership is the driving force behind a team’s success, both on and off the field. As a leader in sports management, strategic planning will be at the core of your responsibilities, creating the visions that encompass long-term objectives, player development, fan engagement, and financial growth. To excel in this dynamic industry, in-depth knowledge of the sport and the sports business is crucial. Leveraging analytical skills to make data-driven decisions will help identify opportunities, mitigate risks, and improve the team’s performance. Understanding financial statements and optimising resources will contribute to the team’s sustainable growth and success.


Behind every successful sports team, there is a team of dedicated professionals working tirelessly to ensure smooth operations and seamless execution of events. Operational roles in sports management involve overseeing the logistical aspects, event planning, venue management, and coordinating game-day operations. As an operational expert, you’ll manage resources efficiently, deal with unexpected challenges, and ensure that the team and its events run like a well-oiled machine.


Commercial success plays a pivotal role in the sustainability and growth of teams. Careers in the commercial aspect of sports management revolve around marketing, sponsorships, partnerships, and revenue generation. Commercial specialists need an understanding and interest in market trends, negotiation skills, and the ability to create strategic initiatives to enhance a team’s presence and financial standing in the competitive sports market.

Talent Development

Identifying and nurturing talent is crucial for any sport’s long-term success. Careers in talent development focus on scouting and recruiting promising athletes, creating robust training programs, and providing the necessary support and guidance for players to reach their full potential. If you have a drive for discovering emerging stars and helping them grow into top-tier athletes, a career in talent development could be your calling.


Sports have an incredible power to unite communities and inspire positive change. In sports management, community-focused roles involve engaging with fans, organising outreach programs, and implementing initiatives that have a meaningful impact on society and the local community. If you’re passionate about using the platform of sports to give back to the community and make a difference in people’s lives, a career in community-oriented sports management could be both fulfilling and impactful.

Sports Management’s Future in the Sports Industry

In addition to the existing careers in the sports industry, changes are likely to cause an increased demand for some roles and create entirely new career paths.

The sport industry landscape and business models are developing new ways to engage and interact with fans and collect more performance data. Over the next decade, these two trends will significantly impact the industry. As with most large enterprises, technology is at the leading edge of innovation. Here are some of the changes that are already happening and are only likely to evolve further.

Fan Engagement and Sports Marketing

Streaming has fragmented distribution rights, and many fans now track their team via multiple platforms and social networks. Direct-to-fan experiences are the next step for athletes and teams to engage. Another area is digitally enhanced live-action. Providing real-time statistics, player stats, and customisable live-in match feeds. Finally, being able to join an event as a spectator through a VR headset could give fans unprecedented access to live and on-demand events.

Smart Stadiums

With stadiums fitted with more sensors and data being collected, operations managers can facilitate smoother crowd movement and security while improving individual fans’ experience of the event. In addition, smart stadiums can help to reduce energy consumption and help lessen the environmental impact of sports.

Wearables and Artificial Intelligence

Tracking athletes’ performance in real-time will give athlete development teams new insights to boost performance and training. AI has the potential to take this data and provide insights and recommendations that are 100% tailored to the individual athlete.

Sports management programmes help develop the fundamental skills and critical understanding to equip future managers to take advantage of these new developments and improve professional development within the sector.

Types of Sports Management Programmes

Depending on your goals, experience, and academic background, a wide range of levels and courses are available to take 100% online or via blended learning in sports management.

Sports Management Qualification Table

Professional Certificates

These are short courses with a focus on a specific skill or topic. They can range from a few hours to a number of months.

Entry Requirements

Some courses will require candidates to have relevant experience, work or voluntary activity, to get the most from them. Other courses have an open entry and are ideal for individuals taking their first steps in the subject who have an interest in sport and physical activity.

Why takes a sports management professional certificate?

You want to develop skills to boost employability and enhance your professional practice.

Sports Management BA Degrees

These are three years of full-time or up to 6 years of part-time study and are designed to give students a foundation in the key areas of sport management. They provide a solid foundation and prepare students for a rewarding career in the industry.

Entry Requirements

A-Levels or equivalent recognised level 3 qualifications.

Why Takes a Sports Management BA?

You are serious about developing as a professional in the Sport management business.

Sports management Master’s Degree and Postgraduate Certificates

These are advanced courses that cover and subject in more detail. These advanced qualifications are focused and go much deeper into a particular area the theoretical knowledge of the sports industry.

Entry Requirements

Typically, students must hold a degree at 2:1 or above in a relevant subject. However, some courses will accept students with suitable experience at the right level for applicants with an alternative academic background.

Why Takes a Sports Management Master’s Degree Programme?

Two main groups of students take these higher-level courses.


  • Individuals already working in the sports industry and looking to specialise and become an expert in their chosen field.


  • Individuals who are passionate about sports and already have some career experience, and are looking to make a career change in the industry.


As well as gaining vital skills and a broader understanding of contemporary issues, these courses enable students to grow their professional networks.

Where to Study: Top Institutions for Sports Management Education

Taking a sports management degree by distance learning opens up a wide range of universities and course types for home and international students. This means that you can find the course that meets your goals far more than if you were constrained to taking the course on offer at your nearest education provider.

When comparing courses, you need to think about three main points.

  • First, understand your future career goals and how the course’s learning experience will help you achieve them.
  • Second, be realistic about the time you can commit to study and course. Map out an average week and think about the time you have available, and add it all up.
  • Lastly, ensure you understand the funding options available to you and the fees involved in taking a sport business management course



Search Online Sport Management Programmes from UK Universities. 

What's on this page

University Rankings