Columbia Business School expands its playbook with launch of business of sports course

BY sydney lakeJune 23, 2022, 1:19 PM

The Columbia Lions mascot Roar-ee the Lion and cheerleaders at the Ivy League Tournament between the Yale Bulldogs and Columbia Lions, as seen in March 2022. (Photo by Erica Denhoff—Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

The pandemic may have quelled in-person sporting events for a while, but that part of the entertainment industry is now moving full-steam ahead. In fact, total attendance at National Football League games in 2021 reached a record high of 18.29 million, according to Statista. Plus, the global sports market is expected to reach $501.4 billion in 2022, a 41% increase from 2021, according to one estimate.

At Columbia Business School, which fortune ranks as having the No. 6 full-time MBA program in the US, students are becoming increasingly interested in the growing professional sports industry, school officials say. Earlier this month, the top business school announced the launch of an online course, The Business of Sports, which will offer its first session starting July 10. The course is separate from the school’s MBA program and will be available to the public through an application process; you don’t have to be a CBS student in order to take the online class.

“We regularly develop and launch new online programs based on the needs of the market and the expertise of our faculty,” Pierre Yared, international business professor and vice dean for Executive Education at CBS, tells Fortune. “The sports industry, which we cover in our MBA curriculum, is an exciting and rapidly changing sector and is of significant interest to many of our young professionals.”

CBS is collaborating with Morgan Stanley’s Global Sports & Entertainment division to offer the online course, which was developed by Bungalow Media + Entertainment, a film production company based in New York City. Students who participate in the online course will earn a certificate of completion.

“Our business remains an unwavering advocate and vehicle for education as a means of both economic and personal empowerment, and we’re proud to engage with Columbia for this exciting new venture,” Sandra L. Richards, head of Global Sports & Entertainment and segment sales and engagement at fortune 500 Morgan Stanley, said in a statement.

What the business of sports course is like

Students have the choice to complete the business of sports course during either a two-week or four-week period, and the cost of the program starts at $1,495. There is another course option that includes live class sessions for $1,795.

Course topics include: valuation approaches to professional sports franchises; how sports venues are constructed and financed; how media contracts and viewing rights work for teams and leagues; how professional leagues and teams market to a global audience; and how technology is changing the industry.

“Participants in this program will gain insight from team owners, professional league leadership, investment bankers, and team executives in strategy, marketing, and operations,” Yared says. CBS listed its guest lecturers for the course in its announcement of the launch of the program.

Course participants work on a capstone project assessing a professional sports franchise and provide guidance to ownership of the team on how to enhance the organization. During the project, students will think through “financing, stadium improvements, merchandising deals, media rights, multi-channel marketing, fan engagement, game-day operations, and technology enhancements, for example,” Yared adds.

how to apply

Transcripts and test scores are not needed to apply. Applicants only need to submit basic information and create a written, video, or photo response to show why they want to take the course. The first session begins on July 10, and applications are due on July 3.

There are need-based scholarships available for students who aren’t able to pay the full tuition.

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