Sport industry leaders are talking about UA's new degree programs


Sport majors in the College of Business at UA

The College of Business at The University of Akron helps students to be career ready and connected in all areas of business, including the world of sport. The College recently announced two new undergraduate degree programs in sport analytics and sport business starting in fall 2022.Both programs will be housed in the College’s Department of Management.

Already, sport industry leaders from across the nation are taking notice and expressing their excitement for each of the new programs.

The Bachelor of Science in Sport Analytics

The Bachelor of Science in Sport Analytics is a unique program that was developed with direct input from analytics experts and data scientists from nationally known sport organizations. The degree will provide students with a focused foundation in math, statistics, computer programming and business, allowing them to compete for and attain analytics-focused jobs across the sport industry.

Like other industries, sport organizations are increasingly leveraging data analytics to gain an edge in virtually every aspect of their business – from enhancing player and coach performance, to optimizing personnel decision-making, to developing novel customer engagement platforms and initiatives. Data analytics are a driving force in the industry.

Jon Nichols, vice president of basketball strategy and personnel with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, said that the combination of traditional sport management courses with technical classes that prepare students for all aspects of working in the sport analytics field is a “unique and distinctive component.”

“The most important skills for success are a mixture of hard technical skills and soft people skills,” Nichols said. “The ability to work with numbers and code to manipulate large data sets is key, as well as the ability to communicate complex results and analyses to non-technical people.”

With more than two decades of experience in the sport industry, Dean R.J. Nemer agrees. “With the global sport market projected to grow by more than 50% over the next five years, and with professional and college sports continuing to expand their investment in analytics, demand for sport data analysts is increasing. I am personally thrilled that the University has created a novel, interdisciplinary program to ensure our graduates are prepared and ready to succeed.”

Students will develop quantitative, critical thinking and decision-making skills, along with mastery of core sport and business administration principles. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to customize their program of study and to gain hands-on industry experience through internships and a capstone consulting project in preparation for a career as a sport analyst.

The Bachelor of Business Administration in Sport Business

The Bachelor of Business Administration in Sport Business provides a strong foundation in the core areas of business along with experience in applying business concepts in sport-specific settings. Students also will benefit from the program’s existing relationships with sports teams and organizations in the region.

And unlike many other programs at other institutions, this degree program is firmly planted in business.

"The University of Akron’s B.B.A. in Sport Business is distinctive based on its home in the College of Business,” said Matthew Juravich, Ph.D., associate professor, management. “This allows our students direct access to the resources of an AACSB- accredited business school along with expert faculty and unique relationships with sport organizations across the region. Graduates of our program will develop a strong business foundation with experience and expertise in sport business that will empower them to become future leaders in the industry."

The degree program gives students an opportunity to focus on business concepts in the world of sport which will include a focus on financial issues in sport, sales and leadership. Students will be well prepared to work in the sports industry in areas such as management, administration, sales, marketing, licensing/branding and facilities operations among others.

Drew Iddings, director of Brand Marketing and Corporate Sponsorships at Constellation, said, “It's exciting to see The University of Akron putting the ‘Business’ in sport business at an undergraduate level. It's not enough to be passionate about sports and know the X's and O's. Our industry needs great talent that also understands the critical dollars and cents as they embark on their careers.”

Iddings is responsible for high-profile sponsorships with national and regional sports properties and athletes, including the Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls and White Sox, the Philadelphia Flyers and Phillies, PGA Championship, PGA TOUR Champions, Pro Football Hall of Fame and Ryder Cup.

A Growing Market

According to a recent report, Sports Global Market Opportunities and Strategies to 2030: COVID-19 Impact and Recovery, the global sport market was valued at approximately $390 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow by more than 50% to nearly $600 billion by 2025. North America accounted for 25% of the global market in 2020. The industry encompasses professional, intercollegiate, and community sports as well as facilities, sporting goods, licensed products, live sports events and media.

“The global sport industry continues to grow, providing ever-increasing employment opportunities,” said Nemer. “UA continues to create curriculum that responds to these industry needs and the needs of our students. It is no surprise that UA grads are leading the way in the world of business.”

For more information on the College of Business or other degree programs visit

Media contact: Cristine Boyd, 330-972-6476 or