Tapping into the vibrant energy of the global Toronto sport marketplace, the Ted Rogers School of Management will be home to a new MBA Specialization in Sport Business, with a program that is focused on strategy, consulting and innovation.
And the school has put together a winning team to make it happen.
Launching this fall as a specialization within the current MBA offering, the program will give students greater insight into sport marketing, strategy, financial management and business analytics, and better equip them with the skills most sought by industry, with the intent to work closely with Toronto’s leading commercial sport organizations and companies.
“Once again, TRSM is at the forefront of program innovation. This is an MBA that the sports industry is helping us shape. Rigorous, relevant, and sports-focused. We are playing to win,” said Dr. Daphne Taras, Dean of the Ted Rogers School of Management.
Dr. Cheri L. Bradish, Loretta Rogers Research Chair in Sport Marketing at TRSM, has done extensive consulting with the sport industry to determine what their needs and wants are and what kind of academic programming they would like to see. “What the industry has made loud and clear is that they want to hire students that have greater training and depth with regards to strategy and consulting, business analytics, and even around technology and innovation, and they are looking for a more advanced student in the marketplace,” she explains.
“If TRSM wanted to get into sport business programming, we needed to make it a point of difference, and the way do that was at the MBA level,” Bradish points out. “We know that in Ontario, there will shortly be 4,000 to 5,000 students in sport business-related programming, but the actual MBA with a specialization around sport business and strategy isn’t a niche that any program has really hit upon – especially in Toronto.”
TRSM’s new specialization, which will be part of the MBA stream in Management of Technology and Innovation, will be heavy on innovative sport strategy, says Bradish. “Our goal is to curate industry thought leaders within the steering committee and build a curriculum that is forward-thinking, to help produce leading sport business professionals through our extensive network.” The steering committee is an all-star one, made up of a diverse group of sport executives from Canada and the United States.
Brian Cooper, Executive-in-Residence, Sport Business at TRSM and CEO of MKTG, will serve as Chair of the Committee. “This is an exciting and unique opportunity for students looking to start or build on a career in the burgeoning sport business industry,” he says.
“This MBA will differentiate these students from other candidates looking to enter the industry, and provide them with valuable real world insights into the day-to-day business of sports. It’s a bold and smart move by TRSM to take the lead in this field,” explains Cooper.
“The MBA in the Management of Technology and Innovation is such a strong degree, with so many successful graduates, including in the field of sport business. I’m so happy we are able to expand the offerings in this specialization, providing both strong programming and targeted career support. This is a great direction for our program, and I look forward to seeing it fully launched for the 2018-2019 year,” says Kim Bates, Director MBA Programs.
The rest of the steering committee roster includes:
- Alyson Walker (Vice-President, Brand Partnerships, Bell Media)
- Cliff Grevler (Senior Partner and Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group)
- Johann Koss (President, Waratah Impact; Founder, Right To Play)
- John Harper (Chief Operating Officer, Los Angeles 2028)
- Scott Moore (President, Rogers Sportsnet and NHL Properties)
- Stacey Allaster (Chief Executive Professional Tennis, United States Tennis Association)
- Tim Bezbatchenko (General Manager, Toronto FC)
- Troy Ewanchyna (Vice President and General Manager, NBCSports.com)
Students applying to TRSM’s unique program do not necessarily require an undergraduate degree in business or sport experience, but they do need to have the special DNA to make them successful in sport business. “In the sport business, as they often say, ‘we want to hire for talent and train for expertise,’” says Bradish.
The program is intended to get graduates into consulting, analytics and business intelligence teams. Professors for the program will be working in unison with industry experts.
Bradish, who founded the Bachelor of Sport Management (BSM) degree at Brock University, points out that TRSM’s new program has the advantage of being located in downtown Toronto.
“Because we’re in Toronto and partnering with key thought leaders in the space, we want to be able to drive those unique touch points and opportunities, whether it be guest speakers, taking students to the field, experiential learning, consulting, or even using real data sets from the industry,” she explains. “We have that ability because we’re in the GTA, which arguably is the centre of sport business in Canada, and has been identified as a leading international sport business city.”