Best Online Sports Management Degree – Which Online Bachelor’s Program Is Right For You?

Today, I’ll be evaluating some of the top-rated online bachelor’s in sports management degree programs out there. Now if you are looking to get your degree online you have probably realized by now there are hundreds of choices out there available to you.

You have likely seen the commercials on TV or digital ads pop up as you surf the internet. Luckily, today I’m going to help you cut out all the noise and directly compare and contrast some of the most popular national online universities that offer sports management degrees so you can find a program that fits your specific needs and situation. So if you are ready let’s get to it.

Best Online Sports Management Degree

So the five online universities that I’ll be comparing today include Southern New Hampshire University, Purdue University Global, Grand Canyon University, Liberty University and Full Sail University. These are arguably the five most popular national online universities that offer degree programs in sports management and I’ll be comparing them across five different categories, including affordability, institutional aid aka grants & scholarships, admissions process, program format, and X-factors (in other words, what I see is the standout features of each degree program.


The best way to compare affordability is by looking at the tuition per credit that each university charges and how many credits are required to graduate. It varies from around $320 per credit on the low end with SNHU all the way up to $500+ on the high end with Full Sail. Now keep in mind that most of these online universities offer discounted tuition rates for military members and some of them even offer discounted rates for in-state students. So if you fall into one of these buckets there’s a good chance you won’t have to pay full price.

For the rest of us though, it’s clear that SNHU is the big winner in this department at $320 per credit. With 120 credits required for graduation, it’s the most bang for your buck. Now to be fair here, I should mention that Full Sail University’s tuition rates cover all fees and expenses. I’m talking everything textbooks, manuals, technology fees, production materials and even what they call their launch box which is actually one of my ex factors for this university that I’ll save for later.

Full Sail University also has a slightly different degree program format than the rest as well as it’s much more accelerated, so it’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison stacking up Full Sail’s rates against the other four universities. Still, if you’re doing the quick math in your head, $320 per credit times 120 credits and your eyes start glazing over thinking about the total cost to graduate, you should know that there are alternative education options out there for you.

So if you’re on the fence about enrolling in a full-fledged degree program or maybe you are going back simply to add a line to your resume, you may want to think about enrolling in a professional certificate or micro degree program instead. For example, the University of Alaska offers an online professional certificate program in sports business management that only takes three months to complete and cost less than $500.

Financial Aid

When I say financial aid, I’m talking about institutional grants and scholarships. In other words, what percentage of new beginning full-time students receives aid from the university itself. This is because at the end of the day, pretty much anyone can go out and get a federal or even private student loan for themselves. I’m always more interested in how much the actual universities are doling out annually to help students.

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So with that in mind, the big winners here are Grand Canyon University and Liberty University. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over ninety percent of beginning full-time students at Grand Canyon University receives some sort of grant or scholarship. The average amount of which is right around $9,000 dollars and at Liberty University over 70 percent of beginning full-time students receive some sort of aid.

The average amount of which is a little higher than Grand Canyon at right around $11,000. So the big takeaway here is that if you are banking on earning a scholarship or grant to help you pay for college, Grand Canyon and Liberty University are solid options.


This is an easy one since three of the five online schools that I’m talking about today are considered open enrollment universities; that’s SNHU, Purdue University Global, and Full Sail University. As long as you meet the basic application requirements, you’ll be admitted. Now each university does have slightly different requirements and follows a slightly different admissions process but for the most part here you won’t have to take the SAT or ACT and there’s no minimum GPA requirement.

In most cases, you won’t even have to pay an application fee, so it’s pretty painless from that perspective. This is nice as you don’t have to worry about how your application or transcripts stack up against others which is great for working professionals who have been out of the education space for a while or students who might not have the strongest academic background. Now the two exceptions here are Grand Canyon University and Liberty University as these are not open enrollment schools.

With that said, they have fairly high acceptance rates. For instance, Grand Canyon’s is right around 80 percent and Liberty’s is right around 50 percent. So there’s still a pretty decent chance you’ll get accepted as long as you meet or exceed their admission requirements. Like for example, at Grand Canyon, you need a high school GPA of at least 3.0.

If you don’t, then you’ll have to take the SAT/ACT or achieve a certain cumulative score on the GED in order to get in. So it’s still not terribly difficult to get accepted but the requirements for Grand Canyon and Liberty University are a little bit more stringent than the other three universities.

Program Timing and Format

Next up let’s compare program timing and schedule format across these five universities. While we are on this topic, I should mention that unlike traditional brick and mortar colleges these online universities offer start dates pretty much throughout the year sometimes as frequently as weekly or monthly. So just know that you won’t have to wait until the next semester or quarter to end, you can pretty much get going right away once you finish the admissions process.

Now that you are aware of the start dates, let’s talk about the format of each program. Since I know scheduling and flexibility are key factors for a lot of online students out there, this will give you a good idea of what to expect in terms of pace and weekly workload for each course or program. As you might imagine, the shorter or more condensed each course or term is the more time and effort it will require from you on a weekly basis to complete assignments projects and homework.

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Whereas the schools that offer longer courses and terms, the workload is spread out a little bit more. So in this case, the five universities sort of span the spectrum on the shorter end. You have Full Sail University’s degree track which is an intensive accelerated 29-month program where you essentially take one or two courses every single month and then you move on to the next. Then in the middle of this spectrum, there’s SNHU, Grand Canyon, and Liberty University who offer 8-week terms. Finally, there’s Purdue University Global that offers 10 week-long courses.

So the questions you need to ask yourself are: what is your preferred pacing and how much time per week do you have to dedicate towards your degree program. If you want to move quickly and finish a bunch of classes in a short time frame, then Full Sail University is likely your best bet. But if you have a full-time job or maybe you are a busy parent then Purdue University Global might be a better fit with their longer 10-week courses. It just depends on your individual situation.


All right last up here, let’s cover my X-factors for each of these universities. In other words, what’s special or unique about each of their sports management programs? Let’s start with SNHU first; so my one highlight here is that SNHU offers an accelerated bachelor’s to master’s pathway. So if you have ever thought about getting your masters in sports management in addition to your bachelor’s, SNHU makes it pretty easy.

Essentially, you can take graduate level courses during your bachelor’s program at undergraduate tuition rates and then apply those credits towards the master’s program to complete your degree in as fast as a year. So overall pretty cool option for all you overachievers out there.

Then next up is Purdue University Global and I actually have two X-factors here. The first is that like SNHU, Purdue University Global offers an accelerated master’s program so no need to cover that again. The only difference I would mention is that with Purdue Global’s accelerated program, you can gain entry into a shortened version of Purdue Global’s mba program. So if your goal is to eventually obtain an MBA after getting your bachelor’s in sports management then Purdue Global’s accelerator program might be a better fit.

The second X-factor for Purdue Global is what they call their excel track for select students. This is essentially a self-paced degree format where you are in the driver’s seat. You don’t have to follow a rigid class schedule instead you control your own pace and course load and set your own deadlines. With that said, this excel track does have a slightly different pricing structure as you pay per term instead of per credit and there are some requirements to be eligible.

For example, you need three years of experience working in a setting relevant to business or sports management. Still, this is a great option for students on both sides of the spectrum, meaning students that want to move quickly or students who want to slow down.

Next up is Grand Canyon University and one of the things I really like about their sports management program is the fact that they offer a ton of open elective credits for students. So if there’s a particular niche in the field that you really want to dig deep into, whether it is guest relations, merchandising, event planning, or even an area that’s maybe a bit outside of sports like business analytics or entrepreneurship, you can choose any of these as an elective. It’s just really nice that Grand Canyon allows their students to zero in on the topics they’re most interested in.

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For Liberty University, I have two X-factors and the first is that digital textbooks are provided to all online undergraduate students for free. Now I know that might not sound like a big deal but it really could end up saving you anywhere from eight hundred dollars up to two thousand dollars per year, so I had to mention it.

The second X-factor is that Liberty University offers some really cool specializations within their online sports management program the one that caught my eye is their specialization in venue management. This would be a great option for people who maybe want to help manage stadiums or arenas, so not only in-game day operations but also huge events like concerts and trade shows in the off season.

Last up here is Full Sail University and once again I have two X-factors. The first is that included in the price of tuition is a thing called the launch box. Every Full Sail student receives one. Basically, it’s a personal technology package with hardware and software customized to each degree program. So think computers, adapters, cameras, software, etc. essentially everything you need in order to complete the degree program.

The second x-factor for Full Sail is just how unique their program is overall. As I mentioned earlier, Full Sail’s program is an accelerated 29-month degree track. I won’t rehash all that since I went over it earlier but perhaps more importantly than the format is the degree itself.

Unlike the other programs that I’ve covered today which are more general sports management or sports business degrees, the Full Sail online degree is in sports marketing and media is a little different and a little bit more unique especially for those of you out there who are more interested in the marketing or media aspects of sports.

You’ll take classes like sports digital production sports sales and sponsorships and social media methods in sports, just to name a few. Overall, I was just really impressed with how differentiated the Full Sail online program is compared to others out there.

Final Thoughts on the Best Online Sports Management Degree

There are several benefits to getting your degree online. Most notably, getting your college degree online is often cheaper than attending a brick and mortar college and it also allows you more flexibility in your life. I know making a decision about something as massive as your education is extremely important.

Hopefully, it helps you figure out which online degree program is best for you so you can boost your resume and career in the sports industry. Also, if you are interested in another online degree area maybe outside of sports management, be sure to check out the rest of our online bachelor’s degree programs. We have a ton of helpful articles related to online education.

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