Contributing Writer Finlay Coupland
With Birmingham being a hub of college sports, there has been a growing interest in the business of sports. Samford’s Brock School of Business took action to fulfill this demand by offering the new Sports Business concentration as a part of its graduate program this semester.
By being the first university in Alabama to create a Sports Business program, Samford University is offering graduate students an opportunity to be involved in a relational program where they can learn specific tools in sports analytics and marketing while being exposed to professionals within the sports industry.
Due to Brock School of Business’s success over the past 10 years with its undergraduate Sports Marketing concentration, the business school discussed the possibility of offering a similar program on the graduate level. Over the course of a semester, the business school’s administration came together to make the program a reality. Launching the Sports Business program has been a team effort and has received great support from President Andrew Westmoreland, Provost Mike Hardin, and Business School Dean Chad Carson.
Professor Darin White, Samford’s executive director for the Center of Sports Analytics, who also serves as department chair, is one member of the administration who helped build the Sports Business program. White shared how important the concentration is to Samford’s graduate program.
“It’s a great way for us to grow and differentiate our M.B.A. program,” White said. “M.B.A. education is very competitive. There are a lot of M.B.A. programs in the state of Alabama, so for us to have a unique and differential program gives us a way to differentiate us in the marketplace.”
The Sports Business concentration is open for anyone to be a part of, especially since it can be completed hybrid-style or fully online. Assistant Professor Nathan Kirkpatrick, who took the lead in building the concentration, encourages anyone interested in working in sports to consider the new program.
“Any student on Samford’s campus, regardless of major, that wants to work on the business side of sports or the sports industry in general, can now stay at Samford or come back to Samford and get a full-blown M.B.A.” Kirkpatrick said. “They can have a whole concentration as part of their M.B.A in the business side of sports. We’re excited that we can offer that to any Samford student.”
The program consists of 4 professionally-focused courses that include:
- Strategic Revenue Generation in Sports Business
- Fan Experience and Analytic-Based Engagement
- Business of College Sports
- Career and Professional Preparation in Sports Business
“We want students not just to be knowledgeable about avenues in the industry, but we want it to be very saturated in professionalism and preparation,” Kirkpatrick said.
With Samford’s Brock School of Business ranked as the No. 1 best Christian online M.B.A program by College Census, Kirkpatrick expressed the goals for the new business program.
“We want to raise up a new generation of men and women who want to work in the sports industry for God’s glory and Jesus’ name,” Kirkpatrick said. “Any content that we’re teaching, we want it to be grounded and saturated in the Word of God.”