|Full Sail University||Florida|
|University of Northwestern Ohio||Ohio|
Thanks to the internet, social media, and digital mobility, the sports marketing industry has changed dramatically over the years. This means, anyone looking to break in must have more than the traditional advertising, sales and marketing experience. Having a firm grasp of what the digital landscape is all about, among other technical skills, is key to landing a position in the field or building a business. Once in, professional marketers can expect excellent employment growth and earning potential.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that marketing managers are among the highest paid professionals of all occupations, and the highest paid professionals in the Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing field. They average around $132,230 annually, with the top 10% earning $208,000 or more a year. Employment growth is expected to average 10% for the 2016-2026 decade, which is faster than average for all occupations.
To get started on the path to a stable and lucrative career in sports marketing, you will need to enroll in a degree program at an accredited school. Besides accreditation by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, the best schools for sports marketing degrees will:
- Have a solid reputation for producing successful sports marketers
- Offer a comprehensive curriculum that covers the most important areas of both business and sports marketing
- Provide opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the industry through experiential learning experiences such as internships, externships, and job simulations
- Have faculty who are active in the sports and sports marketing industries
- Have an active career center with a notable placement rate
We’ve identified below several schools that meet all of the criteria of a “Best” school for aspiring sports marketers and all programs are offered online.
Our best online schools with sports marketing degrees are listed in alphabetical order, beginning with Full Sail University.
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Established in 1979 as Full Sail Productions, Full Sail University offers arts, entertainment, media and technology programs to 15,000 students across 210 acres of campus space, including 110+ studios and labs. Around 93 program options lead to an associate's, bachelor’s, or master's degree. Among these programs is an Online BS in Sports Marketing & Media that takes 29 months to complete.
Per the school, the program is designed to “provide a fundamental understanding of how marketing and content creation are integrated into the everyday operations of sports businesses.” Students in the program will “study topics ranging from the study of business models and mobile technology to practical, real-time opportunities to create, distribute, and market content.”
Collaborative, project-based coursework culminates with a strategic proposal that will help students refine skills valuable for all forms of engagement – from revenue generation to event operations.
Sample courses for the program include:
- Business Accounting
- Business in the Entertainment and Media Industries
- Fundamentals of Web Design
- Intellectual Property
- Leadership and Organizational Behavior
- Marketing Plans and Campaign Development
- Mobility Technology and Marketing
- Popular Culture in Media
- Professional Writing
- Social Media Methods
- Sports Business Models
- Sports Digital Production
- Sports Events and Entertainment
- Sports Sales and Sponsorship
- Vocal Training for Sportscasting
Students will also complete seven “Project and Portfolio” courses worth three credits each including Project and Portfolio I & II: Business and Marketing, Project and Portfolio III: Marketing, Project and Portfolio IV-VI: Sports Marketing and Media, and Project and Portfolio VII: Business and Marketing.
These unique Project and Portfolio courses combine “hands-on learning experiences with summative and formative portfolio assessments.” The courses are taken in addition to an internship, which can be pursued after the student has successfully completed 50% of the required credit hours for the BS program.
Full Sail University is Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and licensed by the Commission for Independent Education (CIE), Florida Department of Education. The ACCSC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency.
Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia
Founded in 1971, Liberty has grown from a small college of 154 students into a university with a total enrollment of more than 100,000 students. The school offers more than 300 residential programs, over 200 undergraduate, and 100+ graduate programs, as well as more than 400 online programs through 17 colleges and schools. The School of Business offers an MS in Sports Marketing & Media that can be completed in just 1.5 years.
The 100% online program consists of 36 credit hours, with eight-week courses. Per the school, the Sports Marketing degree will allow students “to build the foundational knowledge and skills needed to promote sports businesses through marketing and public relations.” The program was created to “provide a strong foundational knowledge of the skills necessary to develop your understanding of the specific types of marketing and media in the world of athletics.” Course highlights for the program include:
- Applied Market Research
- Brand Management
- Consumer Behavior
- Economics & Financial Management of Sport
- Ethical & Legal Issues in Marketing
- Marketing Promotions
- Marketing Promotions
- Sport Development & Sales
- Sport Marketing & Public Relations
- Strategic Marketing Management
A Marketing Strategy Capstone is also part of the program. Other program highlights include the opportunity to network with leaders and experts in the Sports Marketing and Media field from across the country, access to a wide variety of resources and materials found through Liberty University’s Jerry Falwell Library search portal, and experiential learning opportunities such as internships.
Graduates of the program will be prepared to seek careers such as Marketing Communication Consultant, Media Coordinator, Sports Marketing Graphic Designer, Sports Marketing Manager Sports Marketing Project Management Specialist, Sports Marketing Writer, and more.
Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC) to award associate, bachelor's, master's, specialist, and doctoral degrees.
University of Northwestern Ohio, Lima, Ohio
Founded in 1920, the University of Northwest Ohio (UNOH) serves 4,500 students from 40 states and 49 countries, enrolled in more than 60 programs through five colleges. The College of Business offers an Associate of Applied Business and a BS in Sports Marketing and Management.
The AAB is a 108 credit hour program that prepares students to work in the sports industry. Per the school, the program “emphasizes the management, business, and leadership skills necessary to launch or enhance the sports business career. Reflected in the curriculum are the present issues in today’s global sports industry and how integrating what is learned in the classroom can be immediately applicable to the workplace.”
Students in the program will take 62 credit hours of technical and basic courses, 37 credit hours of general education courses, three general education electives, and six credit hours of specialized electives. Course highlights include Integrated Marketing Communications, Principles of Sport Law, Sports Management, Sport in Society, and Sport Marketing. Students will also complete a Sports Internship and Sport Capstone.
The BS is a 180 credit hour program that “seeks to maximize student contact with industry professionals and enhance understanding of the business of sport through academic preparation.” Students in the program will “combine marketing and management fundamentals with the sport and recreation industry, while preparing to become well-trained business professionals.”
Students in the program will take 93 credit hours of technical and basic courses, 69 credit hours of general education courses, nine general education electives, and nine credit hours of specialized electives. Course highlights include:
- Facility and Event Management
- Global Management
- International Business
- Legal Issues in Consumer Sales Transactions
- Managing Fitness Concepts
- Organizational Behavior
- Principles of Sport Management
- Psychology of Sport
- Services Marketing
- Sport and Public Policy
- Sport Communication
- Sport in Society
- Sport Law
- Sport Marketing
- Sport Promotion
BS students will also complete Special Topics in Sports, the Sport Capstone, and an internship. The internship provides the opportunity for students to gain experience in the sports industry with local and national sporting organizations.
Graduates of the program are prepared to seek careers in sales, communications, event marketing and management, account management, community relations, game operations, promotions, and Internet marketing. “After gaining experience, employees can gradually move on to become directors, vice presidents, general managers, and even presidents and CEOs,” says the school.
The University of Northwest Ohio is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The school’s traditional BS in Marketing is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
“Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers.” Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), United States Department of Labor, 13 Apr. 2018. Web. 07 Feb. 2019.
Fidelman, Mark. “5 Ways The Sports Marketing Industry Is About To Change Forever.” Forbes, Forbes Media LLC., 11 Mar. 2014. Web. 08 Feb. 2019.