The South Dakota Board of Regents last week approved the new program, which will start offering classes this fall at USD’s Vermillion campus. It will teach broad skills in marketing, advertising and public relations, event management, and law/ethics. New graduates will be prepared to work in high school and college athletic departments, advertising and public relations firms, merchandising companies, professional sports teams, athletic facilities and the news media.

“I think that this new major is a very viable one that has great value in the sports marketplace,” said USD alumnus John Gillis, associate director of development for the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Michelle Van Maanen, chair of USD’s Media & Journalism Department, said the program is unique to the region, and the university expects to eventually graduate up to 15 sport marketing students each year. Beyond basic media and marketing principles, the program allows students to specialize and pursue either a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree. Classes will be taught through four existing majors: kinesiology, media & journalism, communication studies and business marketing.

"This sort of combines the best of all those programs into a targeted degree that all the industry information indicates is greatly needed, not just in our region but everywhere,” Van Maanen said.

The major will prepare students for careers in event and facility management, advertising and public relations, sports news, scoreboard creation, and leadership and finance. Van Maanen said it will give students the basic skills needed to enter the field but also the background to become leaders in sport management that will make them marketable throughout their careers.

For more information on courses, curriculum and requirements, visit the Sport Marketing & Media section of the USD Catalog.

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