Sports Management & Administration Degree Programs in California


A degree in sports management equips graduates with the knowledge and expertise they need to succeed as business executives in the exciting world of sports, games, and entertainment. It gives you a leg up on other graduates of business or management who might also want to work in sports and recreation. There are a number of colleges and universities in California that offer degree programs in sport management. You can choose to complete a bachelor’s degree in four years or pursue a master’s or doctoral degree, depending on your career goals. 

Finance, management, marketing, communications, and economics will all be studied through the lens of professional sports and recreation, regardless of the degree path you choose. Marketers, team managers, journalists, and contract agents are all possible careers for graduates. Others go on to work as athletic directors, facility directors, or coaches. If you’re looking for degree programs in sports management that the state of California recognizes, you’ve come to the right place! If you are keen on staying within the world of sports, also check out sports medicine degrees or sports psychology degrees in the state of California!

What Will I Learn in A Sports Management Program or Sports Administration Program?

Cost and time commitment are different for each degree. Full-time students typically complete a Bachelor’s degree in sports management in four years, although there are expedited and part-time options. A typical Master’s degree in sports administration lasts nearly two years or 24 months. But the specifics will change depending on your schedule and how often the school offers classes. A Ph.D. in sports management typically requires three to five years of study. The length of time required to complete the dissertation that Ph.D. candidates must submit is the primary consideration. To put it another way, your educational path will determine how long it will take you to complete your sports management degree.

Curriculum and Example Courses

The majority of programs focus on the business side of sports management, though specific courses vary by school. Most bachelor’s programs in sports management include core, elective, and general education courses. Many students complete a sports management internship. Below, we describe some typical classes students may take in a sports management bachelor’s program.

Leadership in Sport: In sports management, students investigate management, communication, and problem-solving techniques for managing facilities and programs. The course helps students identify management careers in the sports industry and focuses on leadership methods.

Sports Economics and Finance: This class looks at economic and financial measurements that the sports industry uses. Subjects incorporate sponsorships, public funding, naming freedoms, and TV privileges in the for-benefit and charitable areas. Students are taught about the economic impact of sports.

Sports Marketing: Students learn how to use and create effective sports industry marketing content in this field of study. You might be required to create a sample sports marketing plan as part of your coursework using techniques that can benefit any athletic organization. Sports team promotion is also covered in these classes.

Difference Between Sports Management & Sports Marketing

Sports marketing and sports management have significant differences. While sports management focuses on maximizing a team’s performance during a game or competition, sports marketing focuses on promoting the sport to fans and the general public. The improvement of team or athlete performance is frequently the objective of sports management, whereas the improvement of fan engagement is typically the objective of sports marketing.

What Are The Standard Entrance Requirements to Enroll?

The most common admission requirements for sports management programs are listed below. However, keep in mind that every university has its own set of requirements, which can be found on the website of each school.

Bachelor in Sports Management

  • Transcripts of grades
  • High School diploma
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Letter of motivation or personal statement
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Masters in Sports Management

  • Minimum GPA (established by each university individually)
  • Bachelor’s degree in Sports, Business, or other related subjects
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement or essay
School NameCityStateProgram LevelProgram NameProgram URL
Cal Poly, San Luis ObispoSan Luis ObispoCaliforniaBachelorsBachelor's with a concentration in Sport ManagementClick Here
California Lutheran UniversityThousand OaksCaliforniaBachelorsBachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Sports ManagementClick Here
CSU, FresnoFresnoCaliforniaBachelorsB.S. Kinesiology: Emphasis in Sport AdministrationClick Here
CSU, NorthridgeNorthridgeCaliforniaBachelorsB.S. in Tourism, Hospitality, and Recreation ManagementClick Here
Concordia University IrvineIrvineCaliforniaBachelorsB.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Sport ManagementClick Here
Hope International UniversityFullertonCaliforniaBachelorsB.A. Business & Management - Sports ManagementClick Here
Menlo CollegeAthertonCaliforniaBachelorsBachelor's in Management with concentration in Sport ManagementClick Here
Pepperdine UniversityMalibuCaliforniaBachelorsB.A. in Sport AdministrationClick Here
University of PacificStocktonCaliforniaBachelorsB.A. in Sport Sciences - Concentration in Sport ManagementClick Here
Whittier CollegeWhittierCaliforniaBachelorsBachelors in Kinesiology and Nutrition Science with an emphasis in Sport ManagementClick Here
California Baptist UniversityRiversideCaliforniaMastersMaster of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT)Click Here
CSU, Dominguez HillsCarsonCaliforniaBachelorsOnline Certificate in Sport ManagementClick Here
CSU, FresnoFresnoCaliforniaMastersM.A. Kinesiology: Sport AdministrationClick Here
CSU, Long BeachLong BeachCaliforniaMastersMA in Kinesiology: Sport ManagementClick Here
CSU, Long BeachLong BeachCaliforniaMastersMaster in Sport ManagementClick Here
CSU, NorthridgeNorthridgeCaliforniaMastersM.S. in Tourism, Hospitality, and Recreation ManagementClick Here
Fresno Pacific UniversityFresnoCaliforniaMastersOnline Masters in Sport AdministrationClick Here
San Diego State UniversitySan DiegoCaliforniaMastersMBA in Sport Business ManagementClick Here
San Jose State UniversitySan JoseCaliforniaMastersM.A. in Kinesiology - Concentration in Sport ManagementClick Here
University of PacificStocktonCaliforniaMastersM.A. Sport Sciences - Concentration in Sport ManagementClick Here

Pepperdine University

Bachelor of Arts in Sport Administration

The goal of this multidisciplinary major is to prepare students for careers in sports administration. To effectively manage operations within the sports industry, the field requires an understanding of fundamental business and communication principles. Communications, research, management, marketing, finance, leadership, media relations, laws and regulations, and ethics are just a few of the topics covered. Graduates can go into the sports industry or continue their education in graduate school if the program is successful. Applicants must submit their official high school transcripts and an academic letter of recommendation.


California State University, Long Beach

Master of Arts in Sports Management

This 36-credit Sport Management degree is a comprehensive, low-cost option that prepares students for a career in the competitive sports industry by providing them with the theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience they need. It offers an amazing educational program to give you the important foundation and calculated information in the management of sports, alongside reasonable application at different sports sites throughout Southern California. Students’ composite profile (GPA, GRE, coursework, and sport-related experience) will be used to determine admission to the CSULB Graduate Program in Sport Management. An accredited bachelor’s degree and a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 are required.


San Diego State University

Sports MBA

The 45-credit Sports MBA program is an intensive, accelerated MBA degree focused on the dynamic business of international sports. It gives its graduates a thorough understanding of the skills professionals need to succeed while also building an extensive network of connections in Southern California’s sports-rich environment. Classes taught by experienced, professional educators include sports economics and marketing, statistical analysis, organizational behavior and leadership, financial management, and business strategy. The scope of the coursework is largely international. The program provides students with six months of supervised consultancies worldwide in addition to twelve months of accelerated classes at the SDSU Main Campus that concentrate on essential business skills.


Menlo College

B.S. – Business / Sports Management

The 124-credit Sports Management program at Menlo College exposes students to all facets of the sports business, including relationships between sports sponsors, issues pertaining to team and league equity, management of labor and personnel, and a wide range of ethical and social issues confronting practitioners in both professional and amateur athletics. Students in this program are taught how to work in sports organizations, public marketing, radio and television, event management, and internal positions. Graduates of this degree are capable of functioning in entry-level positions across a wide array of sports organizations, such as professional or college/university sports teams, fitness or recreation centers, as well as the governing bodies of various sports leagues. Students must submit their high school transcripts in order to apply. Scores on the SAT or ACT are not required.


California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

BS Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration: Sport & Recreation Management Concentration

This concentration prepares students for management positions with sports and recreation entities ranging from professional sports franchises to community nonprofit organizations to adventure recreation outlets and intercollegiate athletic programs. Special event planning, sports-based youth development, community relations, grant funding and development, coaching, leadership and facilitation, and sport and environmental ethics are all areas of study. Students at Cal Poly are evaluated and accepted based on their major. They consider activities like work experience, internships, volunteer programs, and extracurricular activities in addition to the college-prep courses that students have taken in high school. Unless requested, official transcripts need not be submitted.


Career & Salary Opportunities in Sports Management & Administration in California

California is a great place to live if you want to work in sports, and students must go where jobs are if they want to be hired. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists California as the state with the highest employment rate for coaches and scouts and as the fourth-ranked state for athletic trainers. Since the state has more major professional sports franchises than any other state in the U.S., this is not surprising. Aside from that, it is home to some of the most well-known universities in the United States and has long had many well-known collegiate sports programs, particularly the University of Southern California, University of California, Berkeley, UCLA, and Stanford University, which are all part of the Pac-12 Conference. They dominate media coverage of college sports in the state and are frequently ranked nationally in various sports. Additionally, these universities have the highest average academic standards of any major college’s Division I programs (NCAA).

If laws and regulatory activity interest you, and you have the wherewithal to earn your JD degree, consider working as an athletic compliance director. They are responsible for institutional control of NCAA Compliance. You will also monitor systems that assist the University in complying with all University, Conference, and NCAA rules and regulations governing intercollegiate athletics operations. Ensuring student-athletes, coaching staffs, and administration are all in compliance so that conference and national titles can be competed for is at the heart of the department but does require the highest level of education.