By Chase Kostellic, @kostellic
A big challenge in the sports industry today is staying current with the rapid changes in the business in order to ensure your marketability. Many students take on this challenge by pursuing higher education after their undergraduate studies. A master’s degree provides the opportunity to dive into a specific field and make a lasting impact in the business.
In a time that many would consider as the most competitive in the sports industry, those who choose to pursue a master’s degree have the challenge of carefully selecting a program that will give them the education and skills they need to make that rewarding impact.
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Matt Winkler is well aware of this challenge and has applied over 20 years of his experience in the industry to develop a graduate program for those interested in taking their education and career in sports to greater and modern heights.
Launched in October of 2016, the Sports Analytics and Management Online Graduate Program at American University is bringing technology and data to the next generation of sports management students.
What Is It?
The Online Sports Management and Analytics Graduate Program at American University is the first of its kind and is built to provide a unique education in analytics, new technologies and social media.
Those who choose to be a part of this program can attain a full master's in science or an online graduate certificate. The master's in science is a 12 course, 36 credit hour program split between eight classes and provides the ability to earn your degree in as little as 24 months.
The online graduate certificate takes 10 months to complete.
Key Components (provided via Matt Winkler, American University)
- Examine the impact of social networking and messaging in the sports industry
- Assess emerging trends in the sports industry and the impacts of ever-changing technologies on sports and society
- Value the importance of making ethical and strategic decisions to improve relationships with sports agencies, clients, and the community.
- Demonstrate leadership and communication skills that can be used to establish intercultural and agency/client/stakeholder relationships
- Examine and demonstrate the appropriate use of data evaluation and analysis tools.
- Comprehend and create strategies for improving the outreach of a sports organization
- Develop a needs assessment and design a business plan that will engage the target audience and increase brand awareness.
Course List (provided via Matt Winkler, American University)
- SPEX 600: Emerging Technology Trends
- SPEX 610: Intercultural Communication for Professionals
- SPEX 620: Professional Ethics & Project Leadership
- SPEX 630: Client Communications & Professional Consulting
- SPEX 660: Evaluation Sciences
- SPEX 670: Project Cost-Benefit Analysis
- SPEX 680: Analytical Business Writing
- SMM 600: Strategic Management of Global Sports Organizations
- SMM 610: Sports Analytics, Media & Social Engagement
- SMM 620: Digital Enterprises in Sports
- SMM 630: Sports Technology & Innovation
- SMM 700: Capstone Thesis
What Kind of Opportunities Exist? (provided via Matt Winkler, American University)
The sports industry is statistically growing in every aspect. The program is built to prepare students in the emerging management opportunities within the business that include, but are not limited to:
- Social Media
- Interactive Spectatorship
- Mobile Technology
- Fantasy Sports
- E-Sports Gaming
- Performance Data Analytics
- Virtual Reality
These areas help prepare students for unique roles in the industry such as Director of Operations, Business Development Manager, eSports Manager and much more.
Winkler has been working in sports for over two decades and has held a multitude of meaningful roles throughout his journey. As a result, he has been exposed to the changing times in sports and noticed that this third wave of the industry, including strategy, analytics, technology, enterprises and innovation, is becoming a major interest.
With the support of his network and colleagues, he was able to put this program together and craft it into a form of online courses so that individuals all over the world can have access to this unique program and get the skills they need without having to move to a major market.
“There wasn’t a dedicated program of study for these kinds of topics. We had to work hard to create a final concept and make it both a modern and rich experience," said Winkler. “I’ve seen the online education experience is growing as well and is a modern way to reach a market. It can be very interactive and includes multiple avenues for content delivery and student expression. We decided this would be the best route to take for the program. Anyone, anywhere, can have access to it.”
If you want to learn more about the program, visit, www.programs.online.american.edu or call 855-725-7614.