G Sport Management


The Sport Management Master's Program provides an interdisciplinary curriculum tailored to the needs of the sport marketplace. The 36-unit Master's Program curriculum systematically builds skills over the course of 23-months.

Core Courses

Leadership and Critical Thinking in Sport Management (3 units)

Development of critical thinking skills necessary for success in the professional workplace. Specific examples in the sport industry and a survey of the sport marketplace will be examined. Among the skills to be analyzed and developed: effective communication; decision making; work environment analysis; political awareness; goal setting and risk taking. Exploratory research regarding opportunities in the sport industry. Case studies from professional and collegiate sports, fitness and sport marketing industries will also be included. The role of ethics in leadership.

Sport Marketing (3 units)

Sport marketing is about thinking and acting with respect to the customer, which refers to the participant, fan, sponsor and broadcaster. It includes the marketing of sport, which operates at the level of the rights-holder or sport property, and marketing through sport, which is the focus of those sponsoring sport. In this way, sport marketing contributes to creating, delivering, communicating and measuring the value provided by an organization to its chosen customers globally. The course will be structured around four themes: understanding, getting, keeping and growing fans; marketing the sport product; building a sport brand; and being a responsible sport marketer. The Sport Marketing course will focus primarily on the fan as customer, with the Business Development & Sales course later in the program focusing more on sponsors and advertisers as customers.

Accounting and Budgeting in Sport (3 units)

Financial statement analysis and business plan development. Principles of budgeting including types, designs, for-profit, and non-profit. Applied budgeting for events, facilities, professional, university, and recreation. Cost-profit-volume analysis and breakeven analysis. Pro and collegiate sports accounting techniques including transfer pricing and depreciation. The role of ethics in sports-related accounting.

Sport Business Research (3 units)

Principles and techniques of business research including, development of research objectives, theories, hypotheses, review of existing research, methodologies, and data analysis. The course will also cover survey design, descriptive techniques, primary and secondary data collection, statistical analysis, hypothesis testing, report writing, and the role of ethics in business research.

Sport Economics and Finance (3 units)

Analysis of supply and demand, market equilibrium, price and quantity as they pertain to sport. Market structure of sport leagues and study of competitive balance, revenue sharing, and salary caps. Techniques of economic impact and feasibility studies, valuation of sport assets, and financial analysis. Reasons for and methods of government sport venue financing. The role of ethics in sport economics and finance.

Business Development and Sales in Sport (3 units)

The Business Development and Sales course will focus directly on generating short and longer-term revenues for a sport business, mainly from ticket sales and sponsorship. The course will be structured around four themes: the role of sales & sales superstars; deciding what to sell & who to sell it to; making the sale & the sales process; and building on-going customer relationships. Beginning with a fundamental overview of business development and sales theory and strategy, the course then provides sport specific insight into negotiation in the sport sponsorship process as well as ticket sales department structure, techniques, and strategies.

Sport Law (2 units)

Foundations of the legal system and legal research as it relates to the business of sports. State, federal, and organizational regulation specific to sport. Focus on contract law, tort liability and negligence, constitutional law and discrimination, antitrust law, agency law, labor law and collective bargaining. Skills focus on contract development, dispute resolution, management of risk. The role of ethics in sport law.

Strategic Management and Human Resources in Sport (3 units)

Students will analyze a firm’s present business position, long-term direction, resources and competitive capabilities, and opportunities for gaining sustainable competitive advantage. They will practice making sound managerial decisions in both domestic and global markets. The class will connect employee recruitment, negotiation, motivation, benefits, and compensation to exemplary ethical principles, sound personal and company values, and socially responsible management practices.

Managing Sport in a Dynamic Environment (3 units)

This course embraces the concept that successful strategies for managing ideas, people, and organizations are constantly changing. The flexibility of the course allows it to offer topics which may change from year to year such as sport culture and commerce, personnel management, sociology of sport, and customer relationship management.

Internship in Sport Management (4 units)

Professional experience through practicum or internship in sport industry. Positions in professional sports, intercollegiate sports, health and fitness clubs, arenas and stadiums, sport marketing and management firms, and other sport entities. Directed and evaluated by a faculty member with supervision of an on-site professional. Students complete an analysis paper, and oral summary presentation.

Master's Project (4 units)

Students propose, develop, and write a Master's Project demonstrating research skills and an integrated understanding of sport management. The goal of the project is to apply the cumulative curricular experiences to the research project that is consistent with the objectives of the student. This course is optional and can be taken instead of two elective courses.

Elective Courses

Students in the Sport Management Program have a diverse set of goals and interests. Electives have been added to the curriculum to allow students to specialize and gain the necessary depth within their chosen area of expertise.

Three 6-week elective periods have been added to the curriculum, for a total of 18 weeks of elective education. During each 6-week period, students will be able to take one of 2 courses being offered. Students are asked to vote on the six electives they favor from a larger pool of elective choices. The courses are then organized in order to satisfy the most students. A minimum number of students is required in order for a course to be offered.

Each student selects, and enrolls in, three elective courses. Each course is 2 units.

The following are recent elective offerings for the San Francisco program:

  • Global Sport Management: Immersion Abroad South Africa taught by Dr. Michael Goldman, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco
  • New Media and Technology taught by Brian Grey, CEO, Bleacher Report
  • Sports Entrepreneurship taught by Gary Cavalli, Executive Director, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl; President, San Francisco Bowl Game Association
  • Sports and Sponsorship Marketing taught by Dave Almy & Andy Dallin, Principals, ADC Partners (sports business consultancy)
  • Entrepreneurial Brand Building taught by Keir Beadling, Owner, Mavericks Surf Ventures
  • Understanding Fan Behavior taught by Dr. Rich Campbell, Associate Professor, Sonoma State University
  • Operating Sports Franchises & Facilities taught by Mike Shapiro, President and GM, San Rafael Pacifics
  • Business of College Athletics taught by Solly Fulp, COO of Cal Athletics and Damon Dukakis, GM, IMG Athletics at UC Berkeley
  • Applied Sport Psychology taught by Dr. Jim Taylor, World-Renown Sport Psychologist
  • Sports on TV "Real" Reality Programming taught by Tom Pellack, Vice President, Comcast Sports Net Bay Area

The following are recent elective offerings for the Southern California program in Orange:

  • Global Sport Management: Immersion Abroad South Africa taught by Dr. Michael Goldman, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco
  • Athlete Representation taught by Mark Humenik, Vice President and General Counsel, Athletes First
  • Strategic Communications and Public Relations in Sport Management taught by Steve Webster, President and CEO, CMPR (Crimson Marketing & Public Relations)
  • Marketing a Professional Sports Team - A 360 degree View taught by Jonathan Lowe, Vice President of Marketing, Los Angeles Kings
  • Facilities Management taught by Brent Mater, Director of Event Services, Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim
  • Game Presentation and Entertainment in Sports taught by Rod Murray, Senior Director of Event Presentation, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Event Management, Marketing, and Sponsorship taught by Jonathan Pauley, Owner, Renegade Racing and Make-U-Fit Productions
  • Effective Management in Sports taught by Rich Rogers, Manager of Operations, USTA NorCal
  • A Pragmatic Approach to a Successful Career in Sport taught by Al Ferrer, CEO/President, Linea Consulting
  • Sponsorship Overview: Perspectives on a Deal taught by Tom Davis, Vice President, Loma Media, Sports Division
  • Sports Marketing: Next Generation Business Models for Sports properties taught by Jeff Marks, COO, Premier Partnerships, LLC

Master's Project


Students propose, develop, and write a Master's Project demonstrating research skills and an integrated understanding of sport management. The goal of the project is to apply the cumulative curricular experiences to the research project that is consistent with the objectives of the student. This course is optional and can be taken instead of two elective courses. Because the vast proportion of these projects have real world applicability, The Master's Project provides an important element in distinguishing students in The Master's Program to professionals in the sport industry.


A sample of Master's Project titles submitted by students include:

  • Rationalizing NBA Performance Statistics: Quantifying Winning Percentage, Offense and Defense
  • Sponsor Placement in Televised Sporting Events
  • Factors Influencing Sport-Specific Camp Enrollment
  • Our National Obsession: An Examination of Sport, Nationalism and Globalization in South Australia
  • Understanding Sport Philanthropic Partnerships: An Exploration of the Oakland Raiders Teaming Up with Toys For Tots
  • Understanding the Sport Sponsorship Process: A Japanese Corporate Perspective
  • Division I-A Athletic Directors' Perceptions of the Academic Component of the Champs/Life Skills Program
  • Influences Contributing to Childhood Obesity in the Pacific Northwest
  • MMA: The Ultimate Fighting Perception
  • Do the Six Pro Teams in the Bay Area Compete for Fans?
  • Membership Attraction and Retention Factors in the Contemporary Fitness Center
  • Social Media and NCAA Compliance

The Internship Experience

The Internship Program is an important aspect of the Sport Management Master's Program curriculum. Students can start an internship as soon as they begin classes in the program. Most students do multiple internships during their two years in the program. Internships are set in a professional fieldwork setting that enable students to experience the basic concepts and principles of their career specialization. The Internship Program is directed and evaluated by the Internship class professor with direct supervision by an on-site professional. The student cohort group meets periodically with their Internship class professor allowing all students the opportunity to benefit from their shared experiences.

Sample Calendars

January 2014 Start or July 2014 Start