Top Sports Management Programs

by Sean Quinn

The sports industry is worth more than $200 billion in the United States. It's time for you to get a piece of that pie. Sport management combines the business, marketing and advertising side of sports into one program at the university level. There are only about 30 schools as of 2010 that received undergraduate program review approval by the Sport Management Program Review Council. High-profile sport marketing people usually fund these programs.

University of Oregon

The sport management and business program at the University of Oregon is widely recognized as the top in the country. It has been named the best program in the country by both ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated. What else would you expect from a program funded and shaped by Nike co-founder and OU alum Phil Knight? Nike has been on the cutting edge of marketing, management and advertising since its creation in 1964. Oregon's program is the nation's first sports business program housed in a college of business. Students will do more than the usual managing of athletes and coaches' schedules, but delve into the world of sports business and discover the best marketing strategies the sports world has to offer. University of Oregon Lundquist College of Business 955 East 13th Avenue Eugene, OR 97403-1208 (541) 346-3303

Syracuse University

Oregon isn't the only school with Nike ties. Syracuse's sports management program has David Falk's fingerprints all over it. Falk, a superstar sports agent who represents Michael Jordan, crafted the "Air Jordan" brand back in the 1980s. Falk is a Syracuse alum who donated more than $5 million to construct the school's sports management center, which bears his name. Students at SU working toward a B.S. in sport management will study marketing, management, communications, societal influences and impacts, ethics and law. They are also encouraged to minor in either accounting or finance to complement their major. Some students take up internships with the school's various Division I athletic teams, which include the national championship basketball and lacrosse squads. Syracuse University College of Human Ecology 119 Euclid Avenue Syracuse, NY 13244 (315) 443-2027

Ohio University

Ohio's Center for Sports Administration has produced quite the list of alumni, including the athletic director responsible for BCS national championships at the University of Florida. The school is a pioneer in the sport management field, offering both undergraduate and masters degrees. It founded the first graduate sports administration program in 1966 and claims 80 percent of the alumni were working in the sport and entertainment industries as of 2010. OU prepares its students not only to understand the industry, but to make an immediate splash out of college. It does so by demanding each undergrad take a total of eight economics- and business-related courses to understand the money behind the sport. In addition to their degrees, students can up the stakes and earn a Sales Certificate--Sport Management from The Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre. OU is one of only 13 such programs in the United States to offer it. Ohio University Center for Sports Administration Grover E118 Athens, OH 45701 (740) 593-4666

About the Author

Sean Quinn is a writer and editor based in New York City. He has spent the last decade covering major sporting events from the NFL playoffs to the U.S. Open. He has written for the Kansas City Star and ESPN, among others. He is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

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