Sports Business Management provides students an opportunity to prepare for the future

Sports Business Management provides students an opportunity to prepare for the future

The Sports Business Management class first began in the 2013-14 school year. Former athletic director Bill Kennedy and business teacher Kristin O’Brien initially started the course when it was known as “Sports Marketing.” Since then, business and civics teacher Jared Lowe has taken over the course. 

Before Mr. Lowe was officially certified as a teacher, he was doing his student teaching at his alma mater of East Kentwood High School. During the time he was there, there were no sports marketing courses in the West Michigan area. As a part of his student teaching, and in conjunction with one of his former teachers and coach, he developed a sports marketing course. 

“It was really cool, especially considering that it was one of my former teachers and former coaches that was still there when I was going through and doing my teacher certification. I’m glad we were able to bring it over here,” Lowe said. 

The course creates an opportunity for students to combine their sports passion with the business world. It is very hands-on and application-oriented. Everything in the class is project-based rather than the traditional paper and pencil tests. Sports Business Management offers students the ability to learn transferable skills that will help them in life after graduation. 

“It’s the ideal mix. I have always had an interest in sports. My entire life, sports have surrounded me; I am a part of an entire family of athletes. I was always involved in sports from little league to high school,” Lowe said. “The connection is obviously my passion for sports, but also allowing students the opportunity to take a class that I know they are passionate about and tie everything into the sports and entertainment industries.”

The skillset that this course provides helps students in life after high school. It is hard to debate the fact that business skills are needed in almost every field of work. Mr. Lowe’s class gives students an opportunity to expand their knowledge in areas such as Finance, Marketing, Supply chain, and human resources. Furthermore, the non-academic skills, such as communication from learning, will give them a big advantage. 

“There is going to be a lot of transferable skills, especially the non-academic skills that you are going to get out of the course,” Lowe said. “As I mentioned, the networking, organization, time management, meeting deadlines. I feel like the business-based concepts that are related to the business world fall into any field.”

The sports business management class took a hit following the pandemic beginning in early 2020. In years past, without COVID-19 restrictions, the class was able to take a lot of field trips. This included tours of the Michigan State athletic facilities as well as the White Caps. Activities like the field trips gave students the chance to see what goes on behind the scenes in major athletic programs. Another thing that has been harder for Mr. Lowe to do is bringing in guest speakers. Usually, he can get people who work in sports management into class to educate his students and give a more real-life experience. Despite the trouble due to COVID-19, Lowe has been able to make a creative curriculum that provides students with the ability to grow and learn. 

Mr. Lowe hopes to grow the class in the upcoming years. He believes that this course can benefit students to a large degree, especially in the years following high school. 

“I would like to grow the number of sections but have at least one section every year. I would also love to get more female participation and continue to grow relationships with local programs like the Grand Rapids Griffins, Gold, and the White Caps,” Lowe said. “Despite only teaching it a couple of times in the last few years for a variety of reasons, we have had some students be extremely successful and have pursued careers in sports business management.”