NIU today | A bachelor’s degree in sports management ready to enroll undergraduate students for fall 2019
UNI Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KNPE) will launch a bachelor’s degree in sports management next fall.
The new program capitalizes on the department’s rich heritage in preparing graduate students for careers in the burgeoning sports industrywhich includes all of Chicago’s major professional teams and other professional baseball, basketball, football and hockey clubs across the country.
It also completes the minor in sports sales – the only program of its kind in the United States – and is based on a relationship with the Marketing Department in the NIU College of Commerce.
The addition of the degree also positions NIU against major in-state competitors such as Illinois State University, Western Illinois University, Northwestern University, and DePaul University, all of which offer sports management only in mastery level.
Chad McEvoydepartment chairman, and Steve Howellassociate professor of sports management, are eager and excited to begin enrolling students as the culmination of more than two years of program development.
Enrollment projections call for 50 students in the program next fall and 200 majors within five years.
“We have successfully offered a sports management degree for over 20 years, and we also see an opportunity to similarly help undergraduate students learn more, develop skills and experiences, and pursue their passions for working in the sports industry,” says McEvoy. .
“There are areas of the sports industry, particularly in college sports, where a master’s degree is almost a requirement for entry-level employment,” he adds, “but there are Others where a bachelor’s degree and good old-fashioned experience are needed are the right combination.We believe that offering both programs will provide different opportunities for students with a variety of sports-related career goals.
The demand for the program already exists, Howell says, and the department has already proven its ability to attract highly qualified students who pursue distinguished careers.
“In our conversations with other colleges and departments, like the College of Business and the Department of Communication, we heard that students had asked if there was a bachelor’s degree in sports management,” he says. “Although we have a lead in our Kinesiology program that focuses on sports management, we didn’t have a full major.
KNPE Academic Counselors and NIU Admissions Counselors also respond to frequent inquiries for a BS in Sports Management; these future students now have one more reason to become Huskies.
The market analysis also provided compelling evidence for the program, which won approval from the Illinois Council on Higher Education this summer.
Existing bachelor’s degree programs in sports management in northern Illinois are at smaller private schools; the reputation of their faculty cannot match that of NIU’s sports management team, which includes McEvoy, Howell, Rodney Caughron and Claire Zvosec.
Job growth in the sports industry, meanwhile, is typically between 6 and 10 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Still, some sectors, such as sports analytics, are expected to climb 27%.
The bureau also ranks Illinois third out of 50 states for its concentration of sports and entertainment jobs.
“The sports industry continues to be a big part of American society, especially as a form of entertainment,” McEvoy said. “Because Chicago is a national center for sports and entertainment activities, it provides our students with an excellent platform to study sports in our classrooms and experience and work in sports organizations in the region and the region.”
Courses in the program include Psychological Aspects of Sport and Exercise, Social Aspects of Sport, Sports Sales and Sponsorship, Sporting Events and Facilities Management, Legal and Ethical Aspects of Sport, Promotion and sports program marketing and finance in the sports industry.
An internship is also required.
Given the amount of national competition in sports management programs – US colleges and universities offer more than 300 such degrees – NIU faculty have consciously ensured that theirs has key differentiators.
One is the proximity to Chicago and the professional relationships of the faculty. Another is the hands-on learning experiences available with NIU Intercollegiate Athleticsregional sports corporations and College of Education’s Engage US program.
Chief among the unique aspects, however, is the minor in sports sales.
There are more job opportunities in sports sales than in any other area of the sports industry, McEvoy says. Minor students will take half of their courses at KNPE and the rest at the Department of Marketing, nationally recognized for its Professional Sales Program.
“Students who earn this minor will truly open the door to careers in sports sponsorship sales, sporting event ticket sales, and other entertainment events,” McEvoy says. “Selling tickets and sponsorships are among the most common entry-level jobs in the sports industry, so students with this credential will be extremely well prepared for employment upon graduation.”
The minor “is a well-rounded blend of traditional sales techniques offered by the College of Business, complemented by courses in ticket sales and sponsorships,” says Howell, “which will include practical experiences in sports sales.”
KNPE also relies on the creation of the new baccalaureate to launch a minor in sports management open to students across the NIU campus.
“It will be an opportunity for students in other majors — whether it’s kinesiology, business, communications or economics, for example — to take courses in sports management,” McEvoy said.
For more information about the new BS in Sports Management, call (815) 753-1157 or email [email protected]