Being There

Mizzou Sports Management students visit the big teams

Sports1It’s unheard of for big city sports team leadership to visit a Career Fair.  So, more than 40 Mizzou Sport Management students went to them – boarding a bus to meet the St. Louis Rams, Cardinals, Blues, Bandits, Rage, Stunners and others.

Jenna Fusinatto, academic advisor in Parks, Recreation and Tourism, said the trip this autumn was the first time Mizzou’s rapidly growing Sport Management program has made such an outreach. She added that the reception by the teams’ front offices is a testament to how important the School of Natural Resources’ program has become in just a few years.

“Visiting with a large number of teams at once was also important as it allowed students to learn about a wide variety of careers and internships straight from the decision makers,” said Ragh Singh, PRT academic and career advisor. “The teams’ interest shows MU is an important player in the growing world of sports management education.”

Sport Management is a new field of education concerning the business aspects of sport. Sport managers include the front office system in professional sports, college sports managers, recreational sport managers, sports marketing, event management, facility management, sports economics, sport finance, and sports information. Mizzou’s program has grown from 3 students to more than 350 in four years.

Visiting the teams in their home town is a career opportunity with benefits -- like a nighttime baseball game.Visiting the teams in their home town is a career opportunity with benefits — like a nighttime baseball game.

“Being there has several advantages — students have more time with more decision makers,” Singh said. “Additionally, dropping into their venues is a valuable learning experience that accentuates the need for students to make the most of an opportunity with good resumes, appropriate dress and a professional demeanor.”

A Billion Dollar Opportunity

“The days of thinking that sports are just games are gone,” said David Vaught, PRT department chair.

In the United States, sports-related businesses are a multi-billion dollar enterprise, ranking in the top 15 industries in the nation, Vaught said. “The Department of Labor predicts employment opportunities in the field will grow 15 to 23 percent during the next decade.”

“According to SportsBusiness Journal, the sport industry is now several times larger than industries such as the automotive industry, and has tens of billions of dollars of economic activity in the United States alone,” said Nicholas Watanabe, assistant professor. “There is truly a range of organizations and job opportunities within the sport industry ranging from professional teams to electronic video game companies.”

St. Louis is a rich opportunity for these students. The city is home to a number of professional and collegiate sports teams. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable fans give the city a reputation as “a top-notch sports town” and “Baseball City USA.” The Sporting News rated St. Louis the nation’s “Best Sports City” in 2000.

The first graduates of Mizzou Sport Management have gone on to work for the St. Louis Cardinals, Rams, Chicago Fire Soccer Club, Mizzou Athletics, the Tiger Woods Foundation and Houston Astros.