By LORRAINE U. MARTINELLE
Boston Red Sox. Boston Celtics. New York Mets. NBC Sports. Worcester Railers. Oakland Raiders. They’re among the sports organizations that have hired Nichols College interns majoring in sport management, which has been named one of the “Best Value Sport Management” programs in the nation, according to rankings website Value Colleges (VC).
Developed in 1997—and one of the first sport management college degree concentrations in central Massachusetts—Nichols College’s program provides the academic and practical experiences needed to gain successful employment in the field. Sport management students at Nichols learn the skills necessary for success in a variety of areas, including sport marketing, event management, high school and collegiate athletics, game day operations, sales and sponsorship, and management of amateur and professional sports organizations.
“For future sports management professionals, the Value Colleges Top 25 Best Value Sports Management Degrees 2019 ranking points to the business schools that excel in sports management,” said Rhonda Corey, media manager for Value Colleges. “Value Colleges features only reputable, accredited colleges and universities that have proven their value across the board, by combining affordability and quality for a real return on investment.
“Nichols College’s place in the VC Best Value ranking tells students that they can trust the Nichols program to provide not only an education, but also an entry to a rewarding career,” Corey added.
The Nichols sport management business degree program, which is accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA), builds on the strength of the College’s undergraduate business curriculum while offering specialized courses designed to recognize the unique demands of the sport industry. Most Nichols sport management students take an array of other courses in marketing, finance, and human resource management, among other disciplines. They also participate in vigorous national sport management case study competitions.
Approximately 240 Nichols undergraduates are studying for degrees in sport management, making it the College’s most populated major. That number includes 88 first-year students and 21 transfer students, as of the fall 2018 semester.
Nichols College Sport Management Professor Tim Liptrap said that sports organizations welcome Nichols interns with open arms.
“Whether it’s a minor league team, a major league team, organizations such as the National Track and Field Association, the United States Tennis Association, or the athletic departments of Division I colleges and universities; they like our students because of their background in business education,” he said. “At Nichols, we teach sport management as a business.”
The sport industry has experienced dynamic growth and is now recognized as a diverse multi-billion-dollar, global enterprise. It’s an elite and lucrative field—not only for the best athletes, but also for owners, coaches, and managers. Sport managers must understand the complexities of the business world and develop strategies for success in this competitive industry. Any major sports team—no matter the sport, no matter the region—is a massive organization, and it takes a lot of dedicated, smart, and motivated managers to keep it going.
Dozens of Nichols interns have spent a semester interning with professional sports franchises such as the Celtics, New York Rangers, and New York Knicks, often going on to careers with other sports teams. They also often take field trips with faculty during the academic year to visit organizations like Madison Square Garden in Manhattan.
“Graduates of Nichols College’s sport management program are prepared to work in myriad settings, including organizations related to major and minor league teams, sports marketing agencies, sports retailers, and recreation college athletics programs,” said Mauri Pelto, Ph.D., academic vice president at Nichols College. “Some recent internship locations include New York Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Boston College, and New York Knicks, where student graduates are also employed.”
Recent Nichols sport management graduates work for the following organizations:
- Boston Celtics
- Boston Red Sox
- The Kraft Group (owner of the New England Patriots)
- National Hockey League
- New Balance
- New England Revolution
- Okemo Mountain Resort
- Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park
- Worcester Railers
- U.S. Masters Swimming
Professor Liptrap noted: “Internships provide a critical link to a future career. They validate what our students are studying on campus, and they also serve as a four-month job interview.”
Lorraine U. Martinelle is director of public relations and social media at Nichols College.