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Ohio crowned world’s best postgraduate sport management course by SportBusiness

SportBusiness has today launched the 10th edition of its Postgraduate Course Rankings, naming Ohio University’s Master of Sports Administration as the world’s best postgraduate sports management programme for 2021. 

The Athens-based school has now claimed top spot in eight of the 10 years the rankings have operated, and has taken the crown for the past two years, with its long history and consistent ability to modernise and stay ahead of the sport industry curve ensuring its position as the world’s top sports management programme. 

The full Postgraduate Rankings 2021 report is available now through our portal, where you will find the complete top 40 table, analysis and breakdowns of all the data, interviews with course leaders of the top three programmes in the US and Europe, and features examining hot topic issues in sport business education. 

You can also download a PDF of the report here.

Ohio defends crown

Ohio became the first university in the world to offer a sports management master’s degree when it launched the MBA/MSA course in 1966, and the depth of its alumni network, built over 55 years of history, is a huge part of its continued success. In our surveys this year, its 2018 alumni offered overwhelmingly positive responses about their time studying in Athens and their employment prospects subsequently.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst’s MBA/MS Sport Management finished in second place in the overall table, also claiming the prestigious Professors’ Choice award for the third year in a row, with fellow academicians continuing to rank UMass’ sports administration faculty as the strongest in the world. 

In third place is the University of South Florida’s Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program, which furthers its impressive rise up our rankings, having only launched itself in 2012. It becomes the first programme founded after the first editions of the rankings to make the podium.

The Fifa Master, operated by the International Centre for Sport Studies, has yet again been named as the best course in Europe, a position it has held in nine years out of 10. 

It is one of only two Europe-based programmes in the overall top ten, joined by the Master of Advanced Studies in Sport Administration and Technology at Switzerland’s AISTS.

Our Graduates’ Choice award – given to the course with the best responses from its 2018 alumni – for 2021 goes to the masterSport International Masters in Strategic Management of Sports Organisations, Events and Facilities at the University of Parma and University of San Marino, which is also the third-highest ranked programme in Europe. 

The SportBusiness Postgraduate Rankings are formed based on two surveys – one completed by alumni of the courses who graduated three years ago, so the 2018 class for this edition, and one by the academic leaders of the courses – and are the world’s only such rankings focused exclusively on postgraduate education in sport management. 

Top three: Overall

  1. Ohio University – Master of Sports Administration
  2. University of Massachusetts Amherst – MBA/MS in Sport Management
  3. University of South Florida – Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program

Top three: Europe

  1. The International Centre for Sport Studies (CIES) – The Fifa Master
  2. Academy of Sport Science and Technology (AISTS) – Master of Advanced Studies
  3. University of Parma and University of San Marino – masterSport International Masters in Strategic Management of Sports Organisations, Events and Facilities

The report

The full 68-page report is now available as a PDF download from here, and you can browse all of the content on the web via the Postgraduate Rankings online portal here. It will also appear in the forthcoming quarterly issue of SportBusiness. 

The rankings were founded in 2012 with the intention of providing potential students with a reliable and statistically sound measure of the quality of the postgraduate courses available to them, and we have doubled down on this goal in 2021, focusing on highlighting the unique work being done at each institution.

Inside the report, you will find interviews with top academics at the leading universities, profiles of alumni of the courses who have gone on to work in senior roles for the likes of Fifa, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Concacaf, and research-focused articles discussing the latest work being done at these schools. 

We also take a look at how two very different academic organisations – Loughborough University in the UK and the Josoor Institute in Qatar – are developing their sports management offerings, discuss the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the 2020-21 university year, and celebrate the 10th edition of the Postgraduate Rankings by talking to course leaders and directors who have come out on top.