More Than an Interest in Sports
Stonehill’s Sport Commerce & Culture program applies an interdisciplinary approach to examining the world of professional sports. The end game is a command of analytical and critical thinking skills that students can apply in a host of fields.
Sports aficionado Leah Carter ’18 didn’t realize she could combine her fandom with her desire to study marketing, until a minor in sport commerce and culture at Stonehill allowed her to break into the competitive sports industry while receiving a well-rounded education.
“For me, the hook was sports, and outside of that, the minor pushed the limits of how far sports can reach and the value of sports in our society,” said Carter, who is the sales planner at NBC Sports Boston.
Carter, who interned at NBC Sports Boston and with the Boston Celtics during her time at Stonehill, isn’t the only student with a desire to look at sports analytically; sport commerce and culture is the most popular minor among the Class of 2020.
“Students are intrigued by how well the minor fits in with the mission of the school, especially its focus on liberal arts training and interdisciplinary courses and curriculum,” said program co-director Lee McGinnis. “You would be hard‑pressed to find the interdisciplinary nature that we offer at another school.”
The minor is housed in the Thomas and Donna May School of Arts & Sciences with its courses exploring disciplines across both schools, encouraging students to learn about a number of different fields from commerce and marketing to religion and psychology.
The chance to study sports in the classroom grabs students’ attention. From there, the curriculum sparks an interest in developing analytical skills and motivates students to think critically, while the breadth of the program entices them to continue their studies.
“Some students come to take a course in sports, but it’s really an economics course,” said program co-director Akira Motomura. “They may initially be interested in the issue of what athletes are paid. To give a good answer requires using the key concepts, analytical skills and tools of economics in a critical way. Those skills and an understanding of theory carry over to other industries.”
Students find freedom to build minor that fits their needs, interests
With a focus on topics like commerce, economics and sports marketing, the minor is adding courses that appeal to a wide range of students and complement a variety of majors.
“The curriculum is growing and expanding,” said McGinnis, referencing a recently added course called Sports, Society & Culture, in which students will look at sports from a sociological perspective and explore the place of sports, and its controversies, in our society. “Our goal is to try to get as many disciplines as we can to partake in the minor.”
Through the minor, students gain a fuller understanding of:
- Sports industry operations
- Brand recognition
- Endorsement and sponsorship opportunities
- The economic impact of sports on the community and companies
- Similarities of rituals in sports and religion