Sport Management Major Revamps Curriculum, Introduces New Pre-Professional Tracks
If you are a Lehigh Valley Phantoms fan, chances are you will soon be talking tickets with DeSales students.
As part of the new Sport Sales class, sport management majors work hand-in-hand with the Lehigh Valley’s minor league hockey team, making sales calls to prospective ticket buyers. Students are gaining this real-world experience alongside Erik Hansen, vice president of sales for the Phantoms.
“He’s there to give them feedback, to talk them through the process,” says Dr. Martin Brett, associate professor. “He’s someone who’s living it every day. It’s invaluable to have him in the room.”
Not only do students learn from Hansen, they are also paired with a member of the ticket sales staff from the Phantoms to practice mock phone calls.
“The Sport Sales class is just one function of the core. It’s one thing that makes us different and unique.”
The class is among the recent changes made to the sport management major. Dr. Brett and Dr. Lauren Brown, assistant professor, revamped the core curriculum and introduced new pre-professional tracks to stay current with the industry.
“This was about recognizing changes in the industry, looking at where the entry-level positions are, and figuring out how much we can do to make sure our students are in the best positions to compete in an incredibly competitive industry,” says Brown.
In addition to Sport Sales, all sport management students will also take Data-Driven Decision-Making as part of their core classes. In the latter course, students primarily work with the DeSales athletic department on various projects.
“They have to have that experience or they will not get jobs. It’s that simple. They have to show they can apply the content taught in class because the field is just so competitive."
Adds Brett, “Gone are the days where you have a degree and a 3.5 or 3.8 GPA. If you have no work experience, that organization just pushes your résumé aside. They need to see that you’ve done something, that you’ve been engaged.”
Brown and Brett have also added tracks to better prepare students for key careers in the field. The Athletic Administration and Athletic Communications tracks are for students interested in careers in high school and collegiate sports.
A coaching track is being offered for those interested in pursuing coaching at all levels. This track will give students a clear advantage, considering all new PIAA coaches—whether paid or volunteer—are required to complete the Principles of Coaching course.
The new tracks are also interdisciplinary to give students more of a competitive edge. Students in the athletic administration track must complete classes in management and sport management, while those in athletic communications take courses in TV/film and computer science.
“It’s what they need to be successful,” says Brett. “That’s what we want for them. We believe that these changes help prepare them to be successful and to provide them direction to the careers that they’re seeking.”