By Cristina Rojas
Sandwiched between New York and Philadelphia, two metropolitan areas where there is no shortage of professional sports teams, Mercer County is a sports enthusiast’s dream.
Beginning this fall, Rider University students who want to pair their love of sports with a career in management will now have an opportunity to major in sport management, which leads to a bachelor of science in business administration.
The program is as much a response to student demand as it is a way to capitalize on the growth of the sports industry, especially in this region where there is abundant access to internships and jobs with leading sports franchises, venues, sports media, marketing organizations and more.
“Our new program in sport management will prepare students for a career in one of the world’s biggest businesses — the fast-growing, multi-billion-dollar sports industry,” said Steven Lorenzet, dean of Rider’s College of Business Administration. “Students will gain a competitive edge as they develop a working understanding of the critical role business plays in every facet of sports and sports-related organizations.”
Neither The College of New Jersey in Ewing nor Princeton University currently offer degrees in sport management.
Rider joins more than 450 colleges and universities nationwide that offer programs in sport management, according to estimates from the North American Society for Sport Management, an academic and research group.
Five years ago, the university launched its sport studies minor, an interdisciplinary program that focused on sports-related issues with courses taught by faculty in American studies, communication, business and marketing, sociology, gender studies and economics.
With 150 students enrolled in the minor, the program saw significant growth in a short amount of time, sport studies director Charles McCall said. High schools across the state also began inquiring as to whether the university offered a sport management program because they had seen an interest from students who wanted to pursue a career in the field.
The program requires a co-major or doubling up with a second business major in one of 12 areas.
“This unique pairing provides students a deeper understanding of the managerial issues related to sports, while also providing them with training in a second field as well,” Lorenzet said. “In essence, we are taking steps to double their career prospects.”
The major offers courses in the business and economics of sports, media relations, marketing and sports psychology, among other subjects.
Students also have the option of completing an internship. In the past, students have interned with the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Flyers, Trenton Thunder, Sun National Bank Center, NFL Films, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, Camden Riversharks, Professional Golf Association and United States Tennis Association.
“The opportunities for students to intern and work in this field are great,” McCall said. (The Times of Trenton)