Sport Business

Qualification(s) available: phd.

The Institute for Sport Business seeks to deliver research with a real-world impact in an era of significant social, economic and technological change.

The Institute comprises of an interdisciplinary research-led team, incorporating internationally recognised researchers from around the world interested in the business of sport.

Recent research has examined the rapid growth in the business of sport, as well as leadership, change, and culture, consumer engagement, digital technologies in sport, and social responsibility and innovation.

If you have a passion for the business of sport, a PhD with the Institute for Sport Business could be for you. The Institute especially welcomes interest sport consumer engagement, sport enterprises and social innovation in sport.

Our research

Research by the Institute for Sport Business focuses on money, morality and meaning, and the implications of these factors on sport business.

As such, the Institute maintains an interest in the following research topics:

Sport consumer engagement

  • fan and consumer experiences
  • sport product and service evaluation
  • athlete and player support and welfare

Sport enterprise performance

  • leadership and organisational systems
  • innovation and culture
  • technologies, data, analytics and futures

Sport social innovation

  • sport development and peace
  • social impact, capital and legacy
  • sport and (C)SR

Your development

Studying for a PhD is a significant but incredibly rewarding investment for your career and for your future.

Named as the world’s best university for sports-related subjects for four consecutive years (QS World Rankings by Subject 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020), Loughborough has an outstanding reputation for developing the world’s leading graduates in sport business.

By undertaking a PhD with the Institute for Sport Business, you will have the opportunity to work with top researchers and industry leaders, and gain first-hand experience of real-life problem solving.

Your future career

As well as providing a route into academia, studying a PhD will give you the expertise and skills required to advance your career in a wide range of professions, vocations and businesses.

Where you'll study

Loughborough University London is an inspiring postgraduate campus located on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Established exclusively for postgraduate study and research, Loughborough University London combines influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators to deliver one of the best postgraduate experiences the UK has to offer.

The campus offers a range of versatile workspaces to cater for independent study, group activities and collaborative project work.

Doctoral researchers have a 24-hour access to a dedicated study space on campus, complete with hot desks, meeting rooms and a fully equipped kitchen and dining area.

outside entrance

Entry requirements

Our entry requirements are listed using standard UK undergraduate degree classifications i.e. first-class honours, upper second-class honours and lower second-class honours. To learn the equivalent for your country, please choose it from the drop-down below.

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

A 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent international qualification).

IELTS overall score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each test.


Bosnia and herzegovina.

Students are required to have a bachelor degree (4 years) for entry to a postgraduate programme. The University uses the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities to identify the required final mark, as outlined on the table below:

Affiliated colleges

The University will consider students from Affiliated Colleges in the following way:

Applicants from colleges affiliated to universities in the top 250 Shanghai rankings will be considered if they have achieved or are likely to achieve final marks of 75%-84%.

Applicants from colleges affiliated to universities which are 251-500 in the Shanghai rankings will be considered if they have achieved or are likely to achieve final marks of 80%-87%.

Applicants from colleges affiliated to universities which are above 500 in the Shanghai rankings will be considered as follows:

  • School of Business and Economics: not considered
  • All other programmes if they have achieved or are likely to achieve final marks of 80%-87%.

Universities given special consideration

Applicants from a small number of Chinese universities that specialise in business, management, finance or creative arts will be given special consideration by the University. The full list of these universities and the Shanghai band under which they will be considered can be found below:

‌*Special consideration for programmes in School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences and Institute for Sport Business only.

Czech Republic

Dominican republic, el salvador, ivory coast, myanmar (burma), netherlands, new zealand, papua new guinea, philippines, saudi arabia, sierra leone, south africa, south korea, switzerland, trinidad and tobago, turkmenistan, united arab emirates, united states of america, english language requirements.

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website .

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2023-24 entry.

£4,712 Full-time degree per annum

International fee

£26,000 Full-time degree per annum

Tuition fees for 2024-25 entry

£4,849 Full-time degree per annum

£27,500 Full-time degree per annum

2023-24 tuition fees are applicable to projects starting in January 2024, April 2024, and July 2024. 2024-25 tuition fees are applicable to projects starting in October 2024, January 2025, April 2025 and July 2025.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.

How to apply

All PhD applications must be made online.

We strongly recommend contacting your preferred research supervisor(s) in advance of submitting an application to discuss your ideas. To see a full list of academic staff within the Institute for Sport Business, please visit the Institute's staff page .

Please use our online application portal to submit your research proposal, and clearly outline the question you intend to address. You should also include an overview of your subject area and proposed research methods.

When applying for a PhD within the Institute, please select Sport Business when asked for the programme name.

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PhD programme

The Birkbeck Sport Business Centre has a proud record of successful PhD students, who have explored a wide range of topics and remain actively involved with the Centre. We have a vibrant and supportive PhD network for sport management students at Birkbeck, which is part of the broader Birkbeck PhD Management community and the wider network of PhD students studying in London and the rest of the UK.

Studying for a PhD in sport management at Birkbeck means being part of the broader Birkbeck MPhil/PhD Management programme . This programme involves several taught modules in your first year and then a structured but flexible programme of independent study in subsequent years. You can study a PhD full-time or part-time and, if you are accepted, you get to work with members of the Centre as expert supervisors.

Current PhD Students

  • Richard Irving - Sustainability in Football: The community ownership model
  • Bethan Taylor-Swaine - Representations and identities of women in ultra running
  • Phil Turbutt - Fan engagement strategies: a case study of the Red Wall movement in Wales
  • George Wills - The determinants of fan demand in European football's continental club tournaments

Former PhD Students

  • Geoff Walters - Corporate governance in the football industry: A stakeholder analysis
  • Jee-Seon Park - The distanced consumer's cognitive process in making relationship decisions
  • Giambattista Rossi - The economic value of professional football players: An empirical analysis on Serie A players
  • Richard Tacon - Social capital development in voluntary sports clubs
  • Mark Panton - How do stakeholders influence stadium-led regeneration?
  • Richard Evans - Financial regulation and club owner behaviour in an open professional sports league: An empirical assessment
  • Jonathan Saunders - An investigation into the economic regulatory framework of English football in the post-modern era: The value of a regulatory space approach
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Contact Schools Directly - Compare multiple Doctors of Philosophy  (PhD) Programs in Sports Management in United Kingdom 2024

1 PhD Programs in Sports Management in United Kingdom 2024

Sports management courses can help students improve their understanding of the sports industry, which will help them fulfill the duties required for managerial positions in a number of sports related businesses and organizations.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom and Britain, is a sovereign state located off the northwestern coast of continental Europe. The two most famous (and oldest) universities are Oxford and Cambridge (often referred to as Oxbridge by many Britons). England also has several other world-class institutions, including several in London (notably Imperial College, the London School of Economics, University College London and King's College London, all are part of London University).

Requirements for the PhD program often involve the student having already obtained a Master’s degree. Additionally, a thesis or dissertation primarily consisting of original academic research must be submitted. In some countries, this work may even need to be defended in front of a panel.

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Sport Management

Selinus university of science and literature.

Selinus University of Science and Literature

  • London, United Kingdom
  • Bologna, Italy

Full time, Part time

  • Distance Learning

English, Italian

This programme thesis should frame an overview of sports discipline management by presenting both fundamental principles and current practical issues. The candidate may explain the relevance of sociological, cultural, historical, political, psychological and legal concepts to sport management; also the necessary professional skills and attitudes of sport managers and the ways in which the globalization of sport continues to affect the sport management professions are relevant topics.

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Institute for Sport Business

Loughborough University has made an outstanding contribution to the world of sport for over sixty years. The university combines exceptional athletes, unrivalled facilities and top coaching with research expertise and active partnerships with major sports leaders and organisations.

1st in the world for sports related subjects

Loughborough University has been named the world's premier university for sports related subjects, according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021)!

The Institute for Sport Business incorporates an internationally-recognised faculty of academics with research and teaching expertise in the business of sport. The Institute seeks to deliver world-leading research with a real world impact in an era of significant social, economic and technological change. 

Having trouble viewing this video? You can also watch the video on Youku . 

I moved to London in September 2017 to pursue the Sport Business and Leadership MSc and I must say it was one of the best decisions of my life! Arnav, Loughborough University London graduate 

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is the perfect location for the UK’s top University for Sport to establish a second campus. Loughborough University London sits amongst some of the world’s most iconic sporting venues, which continue to host highly prestigious global sports events, such as the Rugby World Cup, UCI Track Cycling World Championships and the LEN European Aquatics Championships, MLB Baseball, Premier League Football, Netball World Cup, Hockey World Cup and the World Diving Championships.

Chelsea FC partnership

The Institute for Sport Business has joined forces with Premier League champions, Chelsea Football Club!

Our research

Research by the Institute for Sport Business focuses on money, morality and meaning, and the implications of these factors on sport business. As such, the Institute maintains an interest in Sport Consumer Engagement; Sport Enterprise Performance; and Sport Social Innovation.

Master's degrees

Our Sport Business master's degrees incorporate teaching from a broad range of experts in the sport business industry, to empower you with the knowledge and abilities needed to operate across the commercial, not-for-profit and public sport business sectors.

  • Sport Analytics and Technologies MSc
  • Sport Business and Innovation MSc
  • Sport Business and Leadership MSc
  • Sport Marketing MSc
  • Sustainable Sport Business MSc
  • Leadership in Sport MA

Additionally, our Institute contributes to Loughborough London’s cross-Institute programmes on Development and Social Change , including

  • International Development MA
  • Internataional Sustainable Development MSc

PhD degrees

If you decide to undertake a PhD degree with the number one university in the world for sports related subjects (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017-2021), you will become part of a talented research community and will have the opportunity to engage in global research projects with a focus on sport business development, discovery and impact.

The Institute for Sport Business is particularly interested in candidates with a research interest in sport consumer engagement, sport enterprise performance and sport social innovation.

Supporting the development of innovation in sport

The Institute for Sport Business is proud to partner with the HYPE Foundation and delivers a global Sport Technology Acceleration program for Start-Ups that focuses on the development of innovation in sport.

Peter Keen

Featured staff

Guest Contributor and Director of Sport Advancement at Loughborough University

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The Centre for Sports Business conducts academic research into the business, economic, social, political, cultural and historical aspects of sport across the globe.

We have a strong reputation for research and cover a wide area of subject disciplines from sports economics to sports marketing, branding and governance.

Research interests

Sports analytics.

The use of analytics in the sports industry has gathered momentum in recent years and, in the so-called era of big data, research into the field of sports analytics has evolved rapidly. The group has expertise in the application of quantitative methods to tackling a wide variety of problems such as:

  • Rating and ranking players and teams
  • Estimating the impact of recruitment decisions on team performance
  • Forecasting results of sporting competitions
  • Tournament design and seeding systems
  • Informing team strategy and selection.

Sports economics

The Centre has expertise in the application of Economics and Econometrics to study problems in the sports sector such as:

  • Modelling of audience size
  • Understanding the role of coaches in sport
  • Issues in sports integrity such as match-fixing
  • Player labour markets
  • Attendance demand in horse racing
  • The relationship between sport and gambling.

Sports finance

The popularity of sport, especially to commercial and broadcasting organisations, has resulted in an influx of cash to sports governing bodies, sports teams and clubs and individuals.

The group has experience and expertise in relation to how finance flows into and out of different sporting entities, and how it has evolved from having a local to a global business. The group has knowledge in relation to issues including:

  • Financial and non-financial returns from sports club ownership
  • Distribution models of centralised funds such as broadcasting income
  • Sources of finance
  • Cost control systems such as financial fair play and wage caps
  • Impact of finance on sporting success
  • Sports club valuation.

Sports marketing

The Centre for Sports Business at Liverpool has expertise in the following areas of sports marketing research:

  • International Market Development
  • Marketing Operations
  • Customer Insight
  • Brand Management
  • Sponsorship and Business-to-Business Marketing
  • Organisation of marketing work in sports industries.

Horse racing

Members of the Centre have engaged in research into several issues in contemporary horse racing, primarily using quantitative techniques. Past and current projects include:

  • Determinants of attendance at horse racing meetings
  • Gender issues in the jockey labour market
  • Policies to improve field size in horse racing
  • Rating jockeys and horses
  • Characteristics and behaviour of horse bettors.

PhD opportunities

We are happy to consider PhD proposals from any area of sport business including: sports analytics, sports economics, sports finance and sports marketing.

Enquirires should be made to the academic most suited to your area of interest. 

Consultancy work

Specialists from within the CSB undertake research and provide independent advice to private organisations, clubs, governing bodies and federations on a range of issues. Example projects and clients include:

  • Developing the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the official player rating system of the Barclays Premier League
  • Assessment of the processes used by UEFA for monitoring betting markets for signs of corruptions
  • Customer Insight and International Market Research in China for Everton Football Club
  • Internationalisation processes and market development in China for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club
  • Small business development in overseas markets for Reebok Crossfit.

For further information on benefits of using our consultancy service to assist your organisation please contact Professor Sue Bridgewater on  [email protected] .

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Study with the Sport Industry Research Group

  • Sport and Physical Activity Research Centre /
  • Sport Industry Research Group /
  • Study with SIRG

The Sport Industry research group (SIRG) offers a cutting-edge PhD programme within SPARC, as well as a highly regarded MSc course in sport business management.

MSc Sport Business Management

The programme is a CIM recognised degree which is designed for individuals looking to work on industry-based business projects in world-class sports organisations. The course offers:

  • business knowledge about the ever-growing industry, gaining the contacts, skills and credentials for making an impact;
  • a detailed understanding of the core aspects of sports business;
  • work with world-class sports organisations on an industry-based project within optional 12 weeks of placement.

In 2020 MSc Sports Business Management was rated 2nd in the UK and 6th in Europe by SportBusiness International global rankings. The course featured amongst Top 10 ‘Most valuable in furthering career’ courses in the world.

Partners for recent student projects include Formula 1, FutbolJobs, Gfinity plc, International Olympic Committee, Kitlocker, Sheffield Wednesday FC and Virtus.

Alumni careers

Alumni from our MSc secure high-value employment in global sporting brands and international governing bodies.

Alumni roles within industry include:

  • Business Development – Arsenal FC;
  • Coaching Projects Consultant – Premier League
  • CRM & Insight Manager – Leaders in Sport;
  • Research and Insight Analyst – Formula 1;
  • World Para Snow Sports Manager – International Paralympic Committee.

For those who are interested in further informal insights and networking with the course alumni, it is possible to request a temporary access to the alumni LinkedIn group through the course leader .

Find out more and apply

Visit the course description below for more details, including entry requirements, applications, course syllabus and student profiles.

  • MSc Sport Business Management (full-time)


Please see below for a unique insight from our MSc students, including what they achieved through studying Sport Business Management at SHU and how the course has helped them to achieve their career goals:

"During this master’s course I developed a deep understanding of the industry and was able to position myself into the backstage of the sport we see on the TV. With all the invaluable tools and expertise provided by the lecturing staff, I broadened my horizon and narrowed my focus. Also, strong connections and friendships which I formed during the course will be the foundation for building success straight after graduation."

"It [MSc Sport Business Management] really helped me expand my knowledge and understanding of the sport business industry. The modules covered a wide range of aspects, and the teaching was extremely practical and applied to the real world. While I joined the course with a fair bit of work experience, I feel a lot better equipped for a career in sport business management."

“Through this course I got the opportunity to undertake a work-based learning project with the International Olympic Committee… I worked for the Olympic Studies Centre and the Legacy team, in Corporate & Sustainable Development Department. The objective of my project was creating a knowledge base on the past Olympic venues and their legacy which could be used by the various stakeholders.”

“I learned a lot about finance, strategy, marketing and research in sport, and I can apply this knowledge into my real life work. It’s given me the confidence to research and think outside the box. It’s my masters that helped me get my dream job in a Premier League football club.”

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