Sports Business Management MSc/PGDip

Sports Business Management MSc/PGDip

School of Sport and Wellbeing


Post- graduate





Contact UCLan

Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    Full-time: One year, Part-time: Two to three years

  • Level:


  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    Campus or eLearning, Full-time and Part-time

  • Campus:


  • Start Date:

    September for On Campus Delivery. September and January for Distance Learning Delivery.

  • Award Type:


Why study this programme?

The MSc Sports Business Management is designed to enable students to make a significant contribution to the dynamic and complex global sports industry. The course will develop and enhance students’ business management knowledge and skills in areas such as marketing, HRM, finance and enterprise, strategy and economics. It is completely taught within the sport context by staff with sport management and consultancy experience. Graduates of the programme have gone on to work for a range of UK and international sports organisations including: leisure trusts, local authorities, consultancies, commercial sport providers, sports governing bodies and professional sports clubs. A strong philosophy of the MSc is to be intellectually and academically stimulating but clearly focused on the vocational needs of the industry, generating practitioners who can challenge and develop existing practices. The course is suitable for existing sports professionals and those with an appropriate undergraduate qualification who aspire to a career in sport business management. 

Entry Requirements

An honours degree from a British university (or overseas equivalent). It would normally be expected that this degree be awarded at the level of lower second class or above (or overseas equivalent). The programme is designed for graduates from a wide range of backgrounds, including both those with some experience in the sports industry (either through employment or study) and those who have not previously studied/worked in sport.

Programme at a Glance

  • Operations, Sports Law
  • Principles and Practice of Sports Marketing
  • The Sports Business
  • Professional Development in Sport
  • Managing People in Sport
  • Sports Finance and Economics

  • Sports Management Consultancy Project
  • Strategic Thinking for Sports Managers
  • Research Methods for Sport
  • Dissertation

Postgraduate Advice Event

Find out more about Postgraduate courses at our Postgraduate Advice Event on 9 November 2017

Further Information

Sport is now a multi-billion dollar global industry and the content of the taught modules is reflective of the global context in which sports organisations operate, with use made of a range of international case studies. The module The Sport Business explicitly examines the global business context of sport and part of the learning in this module involves joint video linked lectures and seminars with the Volga State Sports Academy in Kazan, Russia, which holds the World Student Games in 2013. In addition, Principles and Practice of Sports Marketing incorporates international sports marketing as a key theme. Students will be given flexibility in assessments to draw on international materials, such as case studies of global and/or non-UK sports brands. Depending on the availability of suitable partners, students may be able to work on live international sports marketing consultancy projects, with either UK or non-UK-based organisations.

I think the thing that struck me the most about UCLan was the amount of time lecturers had for students outside of lectures and seminars. This offered a great opportunity to clear up any issues I had over the content of lectures, which very often only become clear when you try to utilise theories within work at a later date. Also, the amount of first-hand industry experience within the sports department meant that a great insight into the practical workings of organisations could be gained.

Sam Hopkinson

Graduates from the course have obtained positions within the public, private or voluntary sector of sport in a range of management and academic roles. Examples include:

  • Regional Events Officer (North West) at British Cycling
  • Regional Sports Co-ordinator (West Midlands) at British Colleges Sport
  • Head of Marketing at Swiss Cycling
  • Junior Planning & Insight Manager at McCann Erickson

  • Student Activities Coordinator at the University of Salford Students' Union
  • Lecturers at Stockport College and Burnley College
  • Lecturers at UCLan
  • BUPA Health Centre Manager
  • Regional Marketing Manager SERCO Leisure
  • Operations Manager David Lloyd Leisure
  • Research Assistant John Moores University
  • PhD Students at Staffordshire University and UCLan

The course team who teach on the MSc Sports Marketing and Business Management have a wealth of experience both within academia and in the sports industry. Therefore, you will be taught by academics who are actively researching and publishing in the area. Equally, many of our staff have experience working in management roles within sport, so you can learn from their practical experience as well as academic expertise.

Course Team:

Craig Wright - Senior Lecturer and Course Leader MA Sports Coaching

Within the School Craig is responsible for leading the provisions for performance analysis and consultancy analysis via the medium of match and technique analysis. This requires him to liaise on the provision of technical and tactical game analysis for a number of clubs from a range of sports. Some of our well established partner clubs include: Blackpool Football Club, Bolton Wanders Football Academy, Blackburn Football Academy, Preston North End FC, Preston North End Ladies FC, Wigan Warriors, Ireland International Rugby League Squad, Oceania Olympic Committee, Fylde Rugby Club, Fleetwood Town FC, Springfield Hockey Club and UCLan sports teams. As part of the build up for the Olympic Games in London 2012 Craig was performance director for the team of athletes (from Oceania) based at UCLan as part of an official LOCOG pre-Olympic training camp. Craig is currently head coach for the University basketball teams and a competitive basketball player. Contact Craig on

Dr Jessica Macbeth – Senior Lecturer in Sports Studies

Jessica joined UCLan in March 2004 working as a Research Fellow in the International Football Institute and became a lecturer in 2006. Jess was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Sports Studies from Stirling University in 2004 for her thesis entitled ‘Women’s Football in Scotland: An Interpretive Analysis’ and she has developed a number of publications from this research study. Prior to joining UCLan, she also worked as a Research Assistant in the Institute for Sports Research (Stirling University) on contract research projects for Sport England, Sport Scotland and the Scottish Sports Association. Through her research activities Jess has expertise in qualitative research methods and contributes to teaching on Research Methods in Sport.

As someone who was never the world’s greatest studier, I surpassed my own expectations in how involved and dedicated I became. The course allowed that to happen, by keeping it interesting, current and challenging. Without a doubt it has opened doors to positions I would otherwise have been excluded from applying for. Not only that, the UCLan MA in Sports Management gives you the confidence to speak up on a day to day basis, to influence decisions and to contribute at the highest levels of the organisation. It makes otherwise daunting projects less of an obstacle and more of a challenge. 

Tom Hampson

Learning Outcomes 

A. Knowledge and Understanding

A1 Contextualise theories of business and management within the broad area of Sport Business Management and critically apply to the current practices within sport organisations.

A2 Display a critically understanding of reflective learning and personal development with regard to professional development within the sport industry.

A3 Critically evaluate the relevance of economic theories and the role of economic investigations within sports and recreation markets.

A4 Critically evaluate the relevance of a range of marketing theories within sports and recreation markets and deploy strategic and tactical sports marketing solutions in a range of scenarios and opportunities. 

A5 Critically evaluate the importance of financial analysis to management decision-making within the sports industry.

A6 Appraise the theories and concepts underpinning the management of human resources and critically analyse their application to practice within the sports industry.

A7 Critically analyse the key issues and trends within the global sports industry.

A8 Display a critical understanding of the range of research philosophies, the research process and methods used within sport related research.

A9 Appraise a range of strategies for the determination, implementation and control of business policies, structures and plans at a strategic level in sport.

A10 Display mastery of a specialised area of knowledge within the sports industry through an independent study.

B. Subject-specific skills

B1 Employ a critical perspective to problem solving and management decision making in complex situations within the sports industry.

C Thinking Skills

C1 Critically evaluate the theoretical aspects of sports management and their application to the sports industry.

C2 Demonstrate a critical appreciation of the contexts in which management decisions are made within the sports industry.

D Other skills relevant to employability and personal development

D1 Appraise their personal and career development needs through self-reflection, action planning and implementation.

Course subject to change

This course is subject to formal course review and reapproval by the University as part of its normal cycle of regular review (a process called Periodic Review). Course information and programme specifications are updated and reviewed as part of this process and course structure and content may be changed to enable the University to deliver a better quality of educational experience to students. This can be in response to various factors including: student feedback; annual reports from external examiners; feedback from the sector or industry advisors or as part of the regular review process by course teams.

This process may well result in changes to the structure and content of the current course as outlined in this Handbook. Any changes made as a result of the process will be immediately included in the course documentation and all students holding current offers will be provided with revised versions prior to the commencement of their programme. If you are not satisfied with the changes, you will be offered the opportunity to withdraw from the programme and, if required, reasonable support to transfer to another provider.

How to Apply

You can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.

For other postgraduate courses you can apply directly to UCLan by downloading a Postgraduate Application Form (.pdf 190KB) please also see our Postgraduate Application Guidance Notes (.pdf 158KB).


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400


Fees 2018/19

Full-time: £6,500 per year (UK/EU)
Part-time: £3,250 per year for first 2 years (UK/EU)

Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated and may be subject to increase annually in line with UK Retail Price Index inflation rate

Further information:

For 2017/18 fees please refer to our fees page.

UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme

Details of the UK Government postgraduate loan scheme for students commencing a Masters Postgraduate programme for the 2017/18 academic year.

View further information

Industry Links

The School of Sport, Tourism and The Outdoors has strong links with a large number of sports organisations, including professional sports teams, public and private sector sports providers and grassroots sports clubs. We regularly invite in guest speakers from industry to speak to students within the modules on this course. This represents a valuable opportunity for students to meet potential employers and learn about life in the sports industry. For example, we have had guest lectures given by representatives of Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club, Bolton Wanderers Football Club, St Helens Rugby League Club, David Lloyd Leisure and Preston City Council.

The course team are currently working with the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity as part of their consultation on accreditation of HE courses.

Learning Environment and Assessment

The teaching and learning environment will be interactive and challenging. It is organised to ensure that key concepts, theories and, where appropriate, practices relevant to business and management in the sports industry form a central role in the student’s learning. Throughout the programme students will engage in a range of learning activities including lectures, seminars, debates, case studies, presentations and group work.

The staff on the programme are friendly and supportive and they also have considerable experience, both within higher education and working in the sports industry. This means that learning is stimulating, creative and challenging.

Assessment on each of the modules is designed to maximise the students’ learning in relation to both subject-specific knowledge and understanding and wider skills, including communication, problem solving and teamwork. Assessment types include reports, consultancy projects, essays, oral and multimedia presentations, debates and a dissertation.

Programme Aims

  • Equip you with the ability to critically analyse the theories and concepts underpinning sports business management and their application to practice within the national and international sport industry
  • Enable you to critically evaluate sports business management practice
  • Develop your critical awareness of the key issues and trends within the national and international sports industry
  • Enable you to reflect on and develop your personal and professional attributes in order to enhance you employability within the national and international sports industry
  • Develop your ability to conduct independent research in the area of sport and management


An integral part of the course is the Consultancy Project, which is an opportunity for students to work on a “live” sports marketing and business management project for an external client, agreed using a project specification negotiated between the student, client and academic supervisor. The Consultancy Project offers students the opportunity to apply the theoretical and practical knowledge that they have developed within the programme in a relevant, practical context. Previous students have worked on projects with a range of sports organisations, including professional sports teams, facilities, local authority and private sector providers and grassroots sports clubs.

The use of guest speakers on the course is designed to facilitate networking opportunities for students to meet with potential employers.

My lasting memories of UCLan are the vibrant supported learning environments, the great facilities the university offers and some of the learning experiences that were so significant to me I can still remember them vividly - continuing to use these for both my own and to support others' development.

Charlotte Robinson