A look into Milgard’s Sports Enterprise Management program

Sports Enterprise Management, one of Milgard’s newer programs, takes an interdisciplinary approach into business and the worlds of sports.

The Milgard School of Business is continuing full steam ahead with their various programs and centers for winter quarter, and among those programs is the Sports Enterprise Management. Headed by Director Stan Emert, the program seeks to provide students with the tools and experience to help them tap into the sports market and break the traditional concepts surrounding sports and management.

“There’s so much money in sports today, and you don’t have to be a jock anymore to be able to be employed in management,” Emert explained. “What they need is business knowledge … Whenever I hear about schools who need money for [sports] programs, they need people with business knowledge to be able to help them take advantage of the assets that they have.”

The Sports Enterprise Management Minor is a 25-credit program which has three core classes in the business school. Students interested in taking this minor will need to take TBGEN 370: Essentials of Sports Enterprise Management, TBGEN 485: Seminar in Sports Enterprise Management and TBANLT 485: Business Intelligence. Students will then need to round out their minor requirements with 10 credits, or two courses, from a list of 40 different options, most of which are classes offered through the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences or the School of Urban studies.

“People who work in the sports related businesses are not necessarily all business people,” said Emert, who explained the interdisciplinarity of the minor. “What we essentially are saying is that you don’t have to be a business major to do this because there are so many diverse people out there.”

During winter quarter, the core seminar class will be offered. Emert stated that the class will have a host of guest speakers, including UW Athletics Director Jennifer Cohen, former American Basketball League and Women’s National Basketball Association player and mother of Rhonda Smith Banchero — one of the currently most sought after high school basketball players — Seattle Storm CEO and General Manager Alisha Valavanis and former Seattle Seahawk Marcus Trufant, among others.

Emert has said that he intends to open these special guest lecture sessions to the public, so long as the students of the seminar are able to get their questions answered first.

The Sports Enterprise Management program was created in partnership with the Tacoma Rainiers, the Seattle Mariners’ triple-A affiliated team. In addition to providing the program with funding, the Rainers have also provided Cheney Stadium as a classroom setting, their marketing and sales personnel and a sharing of their business model and marketing approach.

The program has also been branching into the world of esports, and Emert explained that students are more than welcome to pursue projects related to the world of esports if they partake in the minor. Currently, there is an esports management certification program in the works, but discussions are still being had regarding how to structure the program.

“It’s a growing industry,” Emert said. “Growing like crazy. In fact, a really interesting stat is that the NFL Super Bowl 2019 had 100.3 million online viewers. That’s the online part. The 2019 League of Legends Championship had 100 million online viewers, and that’s a huge deal … The growth of it is very significant.”

This past October, Emert hosted a panel titled “Women in Esports” with guests Yan Perng, Kate Yaeger and Zoe Barsness. During the panel they discussed several issues within the current climate for female esports players, including problems of toxicity and sexism especially towards female gamers and players.

The Milgard School of Business is also placing an emphasis on its other three programs as well. The Students Assisting Business places students into direct contact with small business to help them through the COVID-19 pandemic. While it’s not traditional internship programming, students are still putting together a project to help and revitalize small, local businesses. The Center for Leadership and Social Responsibility aims to help businesses to be mindful how they operate. Finally, the Center for Business Analytics helps to equip students with the new technology and ideas when analyzing data.

When asked what knowledge or advice he would give to students who might be interested in the Sports Enterprise Management program, Emert advised to try a course out and see if it works.

“Take either the essentials class, which is offered in the fall, or the seminar class, which is offered in the winter, and get your feet wet,” Emert said. “Right now, all of the faculty are working extra hard, because the online environment is not as good as we would like it to be … But, because everybody has had sports touch you or your family, my advice is to experience one class in it and see if it’s for you. Because there is so much from an interdisciplinary standpoint … that I think you can fit it into your program.”