Student consulting team with John Shreve (center), senior principal with Populous, the world's largest stadium design firm.

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Business of Sports Experiential Learning

Students can consult for teams, leagues, or sports organizations with a global focus, providing market research, analyzing data, and offering strategic direction to address real-world business problems.

Sports Consulting Projects

Semester-long engagements are arranged through the collaboration of Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning and deep industry connections. These extracurricular projects provide deep, hands-on insight into the unique ways business principles apply in the sports world and create industry ties that can lead to other benefits—including internships.

Students gain valuable experience in consulting, team building and teamwork, client communications, conducting research, and collaborating with a client through projects that involve:

  • Market Research: Students have gauged best practices in sports medicine, sport training, and sports performance to give the client—sports architecture firm Populous—a competitive advantage in designing future sports facilities.
  • Data Analysis: Students analyzed how to improve fan engagement, ticket sales, and merchandising for a soccer team—Independiente del Valle—that moved from the third to the first division of the Ecuadorian professional soccer league.
  • Competitive Analysis: Students helped the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights better understand their own market, developed strategies to enhance fan experience and engagement at their events, and offered market-pricing insights for tickets and suites across the league.
  • SWOT Analysis: Students consulted with sports innovation and technology firm Stadia Ventures to gauge where the company stands in comparison to other sports-accelerator models nationally and where its strategic advantages and weaknesses exist.

Immersion Trips and Internships

Experiential learning doesn’t end with student-led projects. Students can also get a look at the underbelly of the industry through the program’s ongoing series of immersion trips to industry hubs around the country. In addition to the educational benefit of these trips, they have also led to industry contacts that—along with the projects—have yielded summer internships for many program participants.

Sports Immersion Trips

Students tour facilities and meet sports business managers during immerion trips.

How do sports ticketing agencies leverage technology to maximize sales? What interlocking logistics occur behind the scenes before game time at major sporting venues? What strategies do sports teams leverage to retain season ticketholders? What economics drive an agency’s representation of a major sports talent?

These are the sorts of questions students confront and experience firsthand through three-day immersion trips to cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Indianapolis. Students meet sports industry executives, athletes, agents, broadcasters, and other industry professionals “on their turf,” gaining behind-the-scenes access to organizations, such as:

  • Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Kings, Indiana Pacers
  • Conferences, Organizations, and Venues: NCAA headquarters, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Staples Center
  • Agencies, Broadcasters, and Marketers: Fox Sports, Ansheutz Entertainment Group, Ticketmaster, StubHub, Collegiate Starleague, Creative Artists Agency, Wasserman

Thanks to a generous grant from Joe Lacob and other friends of Olin—including the Theofilos family—the Business of Sports program arranges one or two immersion trips annually, covering the cost of hotels, event tickets and on-site transportation for participating students.

Immersion trips are open to any declared business of sports minor who can arrange for airfare and on-site meals and entertainment.

Lacob Family Internship Program

As a result of contacts made through project engagements and the Lacob Family Business of Sports Speakers Series, dozens of students have secured summer internships for roles including:

  • Ticketing and Marketing: Working with organizations to market the product on the field or on the court.
  • Sponsorship Sales: Developing corporate relationships leading to league, team, and conference sponsorships.
  • Operations and Logistics: Managing interlocking pieces of an organization, including finance, marketing, public relations, sales, and communication.
  • Financial Analysis: Developing deeper understanding behind revenue and expenses.
  • Analytics: Working with data to uncover trends in fan engagement, ticket sales, and season ticket renewals.

Students have interned at organizations including the St. Louis Cardinals, the St. Louis Blues, the St. Louis Sports Commission, Statcast and MLB Advanced Media, the Golden State Warriors, the Sacramento Kings, Manchester United, Wasserman, Sportvision, the Pittsburgh Steelers, FanThreeSixty, the Vegas Golden Knights, Populous, Stadia Ventures, the Staten Island Yankees, and more.

Lacob Internship Stipend recipients James Theofilos, Jamie Swimmer, and Oliver Gallop

Lacob Internship Stipend recipients James Theofilos, Jamie Swimmer, and Oliver Gallop were recognized by Dr. Patrick Rishe at the 2016 Olin Sports Business Summit. Eight students received Lacob Internship Stipends in 2017.