MBA: Sports Business Emphasis

Master of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Sports Business

Offered By: Colangelo College of Business

Specialize Your Business Studies in Sports Management

The business of sports has enjoyed substantial growth. The global sports industry is a multi-billion-dollar giant that encompasses events, sporting goods, merchandising and more.1 This industry can offer many opportunities for future business leaders who hold a sports business MBA. The Colangelo College of Business at Grand Canyon University offers the Master of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Sports Business to support professionals who wish to specialize in sports management.

Earn Your MBA: Sports Business Emphasis From GCU

This degree allows you to blend keen business acumen with a passion for sports. During your sports management courses, you will explore key concepts in management and operations, as well as examine sales, marketing, finance and revenue generation through the lens of the sports industry. There is an emphasis on the values of servant leadership. As a Christian university, the GCU community embraces ethical decision-making for the greater social good. 

The MBA with a sports business emphasis requires 54 credits for completion. 

To accommodate your needs as a working professional, you can earn a sports business MBA online using GCU’s intuitive e-learning platform. Within this online classroom environment, you have the opportunity to participate in stimulating academic discussions with instructors and peers and enjoy building your professional network. Our online program offers the same quality of education as our on-campus programs. Most online sports business courses are eight weeks in length.

Adult learners who live within commuting distance of our campus in Phoenix are invited to join an evening program cohort for sports business courses. As a member of an evening class cohort, you can expect to meet with fellow professionals one evening per week to examine key concepts in the sports industry and to have opportunities for face-to-face networking. Benefit from diverse perspectives in the classroom as you work toward enhancing your career qualifications in the sports industry.

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Sports Business Courses Taught in This MBA Program

Participate in engaging peer discussions and benefit from exposure to a diverse range of perspectives and viewpoints. Explore the theories and current research regarding the business of sports under the guidance of leading experts in their fields. You will study core concepts in sports management courses such as: 

  • The science of organizational behavior and key concepts in leadership
  • The principles and strategies for generating revenue in the sports industry
  • Business analytics for the sports industry
  • Marketing processes, research and innovation

To further explore the Colangelo College of Business and all it offers, watch this video. 

Button to play video: Begin Your Journey With the Colangelo College of Business
Total Credits: 54
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $655 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Sports Management Skills and Learning Objectives

While working toward your sports business MBA emphasis, you will explore a number of current issues in sports management. Examine digital technologies, like social media platforms and how they are applied to the global business environment. Explore emerging trends in analytics, revenue generation, marketing and sports business sales. Other learning objectives include:

  • Maximizing value for brands, rights holders, media and agencies
  • Managerial accounting concepts like internal reporting, cost systems and performance evaluation
  • Market environmental analysis, marketing planning and pricing strategy

Candidates in this emphasis program will study core competencies that are essential in the business of sports and may be transferrable to other industries. Organizations may value job applicants who have demonstrated that they possess the drive and perseverance necessary to complete an MBA program. Critical thinking, ethical decision-making and problem-solving are all skills that are valuable in any industry.2

Career Paths for MBA: Sports Business Emphasis Graduates

Sports management is a dynamic career field that offers high-level opportunities for MBA graduates. Upon graduation with an MBA, you may be able to pursue positions working for professional sports organizations, athletic representation agencies, sporting goods manufacturers, sports or fitness start-ups and scholastic/amateur sports teams or organizations.3 Some of the sports careers that may be related to this degree include the following:

  • Chief executive
  • General and operations manager
  • Sales manager
  • Administrative services manager
  • Compensation and benefits manager
  • Human resources specialist or manager
  • Training and development manager
  • Entertainment and recreation manager (except gambling)
  • Social and community service manager
  • Personal service manager
  • Cost estimator
  • Logistician
  • Project management specialist
  • Management analyst
  • Business operations specialist 


Estimated number of new jobs for top executives from May 2022 through 20324

GCU Offers Institutionally Accredited MBA Degrees

GCU is an institutionally accredited, private university that prioritizes the quality of our instruction and curriculum. Additionally, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has continually accredited GCU since 1968. The Colangelo College of Business shares the university’s commitment to upholding the principles and standards established by our accrediting bodies.

MBA: Sports Business Emphasis FAQs

As you consider your desired career pathway and your options for furthering your education, some questions may arise. GCU has compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers to help your decision-making process.

The sports management field covers a wide range of topics, so it’s best to try and narrow down what you’d like to do post-graduation. An MBA with a sports business emphasis often takes a broad, holistic approach to the daily operations and overall vision of a sports business.5 In contrast, a sports management business degree takes a multidisciplinary approach, bringing in a number of specialties that can pertain to sports business.5 This may include topics like sociology and human performance, as well as leadership and even kinesiology. An MBA with a sports management emphasis may include building-block topics like finance, marketing, accounting, statistics and human resources directly related to sports.5

A sports business MBA emphasis can prepare you to pursue a career as a top executive. As of May 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook estimates job growth for top executives to increase by about 3% from 2022 to 2032, accounting for an estimated increase of 124,200 jobs in the field.4  An MBA with a sports business emphasis may be well worth the investment for those equally involved in sports and business, as it can offer a great deal of leadership strategy and franchise management. 

Sports management courses explore a wide range of topics — from leadership and organizational science to strategic management to sports business analytics. It’s possible you may find the coursework challenging at times, but these challenges can present opportunities for academic, professional and personal growth. In addition, you’ll be able to network with peers who are potentially in the sports industry (and those aspiring to transition to the sports industry). You’ll also be able to hear from a diverse range of perspectives amongst your fellow learners and instructors.

A sports business emphasis program shares many similarities with a sports management MBA, but there are some key differences to be aware of. A sports business degree focuses on business and economic issues, such as accounting, finance, marketing, management and entrepreneurship. In contrast, a sports management degree emphasizes the management or operations of sporting events. Students may focus on areas such as sports marketing and communications.6

Pursue your passion for sports and further your career in business. Apply today for enrollment in GCU’s sports business MBA online or in the evenings on campus.

1 Research and Markets (2023, May 3). Global sports market forecast to 2032: sector is expected to reach $623.63 billion in 2027 at a CAGR of 5%. GlobeNewswire. Retrieved Nov. 20, 2023. 

2 Herrity, J. (2023, March 1). Transferrable skills: 10 skills that work across industries. Indeed. Retrieved Nov. 20, 2023. 

3 MBA Central. (n.d.). What can I do with a sports management MBA? Retrieved Nov. 20, 2023. 

4 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2023, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Top Executives, retrieved on Nov. 20, 2023.

5 Sports Management Degree Hub (n.d.). Differences between sports management MBAs and master’s. Retrieved Nov. 20, 2023.

6 Indeed. (2022, June 24). 9 differences between business and sports management degrees. Retrieved Nov. 20, 2023. 

Course List

54 credits
Degree Requirements:
54 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the College of Business. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the College of Business, key concepts of leadership, and an overview of how the science of organizational behavior contributes to effective leaders and managers.

Course Description

This course is designed for students who are preparing for more advanced coursework in business but who have not had accounting in undergraduate work. Topics covered include the principles and practices of financial accounting, including the fundamentals of revenue recognition, the components of the balance sheet, and financial statement analysis. ?The course explores accounting theories using publicly traded companies and case studies.

Course Description

This course is designed for individuals who are preparing for more advanced coursework in accounting and is designed for students who have not had finance in undergraduate work. Topics covered include financial analysis, financial planning, asset evaluation, capital structure, and working capital management.

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to prepare students in mathematical, probability, and statistical concepts for their upcoming studies in quantitative methods. The course is intended for those students who have not had any prior statistical education, although students who have had statistics should also consider taking the course as a refresher.

Course Description

This course introduces microeconomic and macroeconomic concepts that are relevant to contemporary business. Emphasis is placed on using economic data for business decision making.

Course Description

This course is a study in the quantitative tools and techniques used to model business functions and applications. Emphasis is placed on how to set up models, and how to interpret and apply their results. Prerequisite: SYM-506.

Course Description

Management of the marketing function, market environmental analysis, and marketing planning, strategy, and control are fundamentals of marketing management. The course examines the marketing process, marketing research, product development innovation and diffusion, pricing strategy, distribution value drain, advertising and promotion, and strategic marketing issues. Emphasis is placed on case study analysis and current academic research with a marketing plan as a significant curriculum component.

Course Description

This course covers managerial accounting concepts and procedures for internal reporting, including the study of cost behavior, cost systems, budgeting, and performance evaluation. Coursework includes case studies, group projects, and class discussion. Prerequisite: ACC-502.

Course Description

Operations Management examines managerial concepts and strategies relating to the management of operations in both manufacturing and service environments. Emphasis is placed on methods to streamline and drive inefficiencies out of a firm’s internal processes to build a highly efficient organization. The course also focuses on external processes by examining ways to achieve greater supply chain integration with suppliers and customers. Quantitative and qualitative methods and tools are introduced and applied. Prerequisite: SYM-506.

Course Description

This course discusses elements of business financial decisions, including financial forecasting and development of proformas, management of working capital, capital budgeting, capital structure, and raising funds in capital markets. Prerequisite: FIN-504.

Course Description

This capstone course focuses on preparing and conducting a strategic analysis of a selected publicly traded firm to produce actionable intelligence used to formulate recommendations to promote the creation of a value-adding strategy. Based on the results of their strategic analysis, students are then required to prepare the framework of a strategic plan that creates significant value for the selected firm. Prerequisites: MGT-605, MKT-607, ACC-650, and FIN-650.

Course Description

This course discusses the principles and strategies associated with generating revenue in the sports business industry.

Course Description

This course emphasizes sports marketing research with the focus on teaching students how to obtain the data, insights, and intelligence needed in every area of sports marketing, sports media, and sponsorship in order to most effectively maximize value for brands, rights holders, agencies, and media.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student

Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.