What Is a Sport Management Degree?

The field of sports management equips professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to support sport marketing agencies, intercollegiate athletic departments, professional sports organizations, sports equipment manufacturers and many more operations throughout the vast sports industry. According to Forbes magazine:The sports market in North America was worth $60.5 billion in 2014. It is expected to reach $73.5 billion by 2019. 

Students get top preparation for a career in this multi-billion-dollar industry with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management from California University of Pennsylvania.

The four-year, on-campus program at Cal U blends theoretical knowledge of sports management with practical, hands-on experience, so you'll acquire the skills that are in high demand by employers in today's sports business environment. Students also can choose a specialized area of concentration in professional golf management, which provides in-depth business learning about golf course operations.

The bachelor's degree in sport management from Cal U prepares students for careers in many arenas, including:


Cal U students also can choose graduate-level study to further prepare for coaching, management and other professional positions in the competitive sports industry. To develop specialized skills and knowledge, students go on to Cal U’s Master of Science in Sport Management Studies and select from three concentration options:

Your Academic Pathway

Undergraduate sport management studies majors at Cal U are required to complete a 70-hour practicum class of observation/work in an approved sports management environment. The practicum class involves working in a major sports management setting (e.g., Heinz Field, PNC Park, community clubs or game day activities) to experience behind-the-scenes operations of major sporting events.

Students also are required to complete a supervised 400-hour internship. The internship is the student's capstone experience.

Sport management students get in-depth industry knowledge by completing comprehensive courses. Here’s a sampling:

  • Introduction to Sport Management: An introduction to basic skills and competencies required to manage successfully in the sports industry. The course focuses on general management theory and principles that make direct application to the sport management field.
  • Psychology of Sport: This course is designed to cover diverse concepts associated with formal recreational or sport activity, including motor skill learning; coaching characteristics and techniques; nervous system correlates of athletic activity; research on relaxation, imagery and cognitive techniques; and peak athletic performance.
  • Ethics in Sport Management: Ethical problems, dilemmas and conflicts in sports will be discussed, as well as coaching practices, funding practices, management problems and social (cultural) roles.
  • Sport Marketing: A study of basic marketing science as it applies to all realms of the sport industry, this fundamental course introduces students to the depth and breadth of marketing principles and practices as they apply to the sport industry.
  •  Sales Techniques in the Sport Industry: The sports industry requires students who are trained in all aspects of sport business, including the critical area of sport sales. This course provides practical professional sales techniques and philosophies used in several areas of sports, including personal selling, ticket sales and sponsorships. The dynamics associated with building and fostering relationships necessary for consumer loyalty and a vibrant sport organization also are examined.  
  • Facility and Event Management: Students gain basic knowledge of the facility planning process, as well as how to manage specific sport facilities and the events staged in these facilities.
  • Sport and Society: This course examines sports as a social institution in America. Students address controversies and issues regarding the development of sport at all levels of formality and organization.
  •  Sports Communication: An examination of the interrelationship between sports and media in today's society. This course draws on theories of rhetoric and social criticism by examining the media's role in telling the story of sports and in shaping and reinforcing cultural values. The course uses various broadcast, print and electronic media to examine how they are vital to the success of the sports organization.
  • Legal Aspects of Sport: To enhance the student's knowledge about the legal system as it pertains to sport law, this course covers basic legal concepts concerning both contract law and tort law in sport. Students get a sound foundation so they are better able to recognize legal liability exposure in the sport workplace.
  •  Finance and Economics of Sport: Designed to provide a detailed examination of the relationship between sport finance, economic and corporate sponsorship in sport. Topics covered include the theoretical premise of sponsorship, alignment marketing, strategic communication through sponsorship and fundraising, and determining the value of an organization and its activities, as well as the evaluation of sponsorship activities. 

Students in Cal U's sport management program apply their classroom learning to multiple real-life experiences in the business of sport. Volunteer opportunities and a full-time capstone internship give students practical experience and opportunities to network with sport industry professionals.

Throughout the program, students begin building a resume while learning the importance of effective communication, professional development, networking and leadership – precisely the skills that future sport business professionals need. 

Graduates of Cal U's sport management studies program have found employment within all sectors of the sport management profession, including professional sports, minor league sports, amateur sports, community and recreational sports, and for-profit and nonprofit organizations. For example, recent graduates have been employed by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Penguins, Johnstown Tomahawks and Washington Wild Things; the IceoPlex at Southpointe and Colorado Rapids Soccer Club; Nike and GNC; Pittsburgh Sports League; and the Soccer Shots children's program, British Swim School and St. Albans School.

Get your start in the dynamic field of sport management studies at Cal U today. Apply now!   

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Top 10 Reasons to Get a Sport Management Degree

Get Prepared

Your Cal U sport management degree can put you on the path to top jobs and salaries, help you build a strong career trajectory and enable you to study a field you’re truly passionate about.  

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What Can You Do with a Sport Management Degree?

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Explore top jobs in professional sports, minor league sports, amateur sports, community and recreational sports, and for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

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Golf Careers

Dynamic Field

Solid internship experience, plus training from expert sports management faculty and golf instructors, puts Cal U students on a solid career path.

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