More than 70 students jumped at the opportunity to take Bishop Watterson’s new Sports Management class, offered for the first time during the Fall 2019 semester. The course offered three full classes the opportunity to take their passion for sports off the field and into the classroom, exploring how to turn it into a career.
“I took the class because I’m definitely going into business and I knew the teachers and how they taught,” said senior Abby Bergman. “The business classes here are real-life and after taking the Sports Management class I am definitely more interested in doing something in sports now.”
Deacon Chris Campbell said the Sports Management class, team-taught by Sheri Cook and Mimi Geswein, has added a new dimension for electives in our business curriculum which already included Accounting, Investment Analysis, Advanced Marketing, AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, The Business of Capitalism, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Business Law, and Real Estate and Finance.
“Many kids are not just interested in sports but also interested in having a career in sports,” he said. “With that in mind, we looked at the current trend of continued growth in the sports and entertainment fields and decided to add Sports Management to the curriculum. It was an immediate hit during scheduling. The three class periods filled very quickly.”
The curriculum covers a general introduction to sports management followed by a survey of the various types of sports organizations from professional teams to college to youth activities and tourism. The classes delved into the many job functions and challenges in the field from legal, sociological, organizational and other viewpoints.
Supporting the textbook curriculum and enhancing the experience were guest speakers from various sports organizations, including The Ohio State University, the College Football Playoff, the National Hockey League, FOX Sports, the Columbus Crew, Excel Sports Management and Nationwide Insurance, among others.
“The guest speakers gave us the opportunity to see how many different opportunities there are to work in sports. Of all of our speakers, none of them had the same job,” said senior Gabe Bishop who plans to major in sports communication in college. “There are a lot of layers, a lot of people, and so many things you have to do in a sports organization. I know now that if I work in sports it will be on a massive team of people all working toward one goal.”
While tests, quizzes, homework and other assignments were included as assessments, students found group and individual projects to be the most thought-provoking in regards to grasping the variety of decisions that are made on a daily basis in the sports industry.
“One of the main projects we did was building a sports team from the ground up,” said senior Paige Woodford. “Because I had taken other business classes at Watterson, I knew how to do a business plan and I was able to implement that into the sports management class. That was a big help because I had no idea how much went into this kind of decision. You have to think about the city, the population and the level of sports team. The project gave us real-world experience because we were doing activities in that project that we could actually be doing in the future. Now when I’m at sporting events I am paying attention to everything involved, from the music to concessions.”
Bishop said reviewing case studies and analyzing actual lawsuits helped them understand the complexity of the sports industry.
“When we talked about lawsuits we also talked about how things have changed through the generations just based on how society is changing and how you have to move with the times,” added Woodford. “Sports wouldn’t be as successful if we still had the same rules that we had years ago. You have to deliver what people want.”
Bergman says what she learned from the class went beyond sports.
“We did presentations and we had to market ourselves to the teachers and it was fun and different from other classes,” she said. “The work periods in class showed me how to be self-motivated and manage my time, to put my all into projects and think creatively. It gave variety to my school day.”
Senior Charlie Kuypers took the class because he likes sports and he said he gained a greater understanding of the industry.
“I went into the class thinking it was going to be straight-up sports and it ended up being even more business,” said senior Charlie Kuypers. “It made me more aware of everything that goes into the management of sports and I am still interested in studying this in college.”