The growing world of sports marketing has become a hot topic for business students across the country, according to Deidra Colvin, assistant professor of marketing in the Falls School of Business at Anderson University. But finding a sports marketing program is not always easy for prospective students.
“Despite its popularity, sports marketing is not a common major, especially at smaller, Christian liberal arts universities,” said Colvin. The Falls School of Business recently began offering a concentration in sports marketing as part of the overall marketing major.
Last semester, Colvin taught a sports marketing course for the first time at Anderson University. The new class included a visit to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) headquarters in Indianapolis. The group was given the opportunity to spend half a day with several professionals in the sports industry. Prior to joining the AU faculty, Colvin was a branding director at the NCAA.
[Photo: Students in a new sports marketing class at AU created a marketing plan for Pacers College Night. Photo courtesy of the Indiana Pacers.]
“The first year of the sports marketing class was extremely rewarding. Professor Colvin made sure that we learned multiple aspects of the sports industry, especially through the inside look at the NCAA headquarters,” said Cody Poor, a senior from Middletown, Ind., who is pursuing a minor in marketing.
Chris Peterson, a senior from Normal, Ill., believes the class will be beneficial in his marketing career. “Taking this class was a great way to broaden my marketing knowledge,” Peterson said. “I hope to see the sports marketing program grow.”
Colvin and Peterson both noted a classroom visit from Anderson University alumnus Scott Zebedis, executive vice president of the Teammates for Kids Foundation, which was originally founded by Garth Brooks and athlete Troy Aikman. The organization helps children through health and education outreach. In his position, Zebedis serves as the primary liaison with participating professional baseball and hockey players. He had 18 years of professional sports administration experience to share with the sports marketing class.
In addition to field trips and guest speakers, students created a marketing plan as their project for the class. They worked with the marketing directors of the Indiana Pacers to develop a plan for the Pacers’ College Night Program.
Some of the research necessary to create the plan included talking to other college students present at Pacers games. The students in the class were given complimentary tickets to the games while they completed the project.
Not only did the class and the project teach the students about the world of sports marketing, but the networking provided valuable contacts. “This class was extremely beneficial to my professional development as I prepare to look for a job,” said Poor.
— Courtney Hoyle is a senior from Munster, Ind., majoring in marketing and minoring in public relations. Hoyle is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.