Corporate Executives Help Launch Sport Marketing Consortium

News Story:

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Sacred Heart University’s John F. Welch College of Business has announced the formation of the Sport and Entertainment Marketing Consortium, a virtual collection of high-level executives in the fields of sports and entertainment who are working in synergy with the school to help enrich students’ education and career opportunities.

“We’ve been very pleased with the way this effort has been coming together,” says Assistant Professor of Sport Management Dr. Joshua Shuart, who serves as co-director of the consortium along with Clinical Assistant Professor of Marketing Dr. Peter Maresco. “This has been a great way for Sacred Heart to build new relationships in the corporate world, and to strengthen our existing relationships. Our mission is for the consortium to be something that’s beneficial to the corporate members as well as to the University and its students.”

While talks are ongoing with several corporations, confirmed executives participating in the consortium include Eric Fleischer, director of market research for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE); Geof Rochester, executive vice president of marketing for WWE; Justin Acker, senior manager of Disney and ESPN Media Networks; and Kurt Schneider, CEO of the Harlem Globetrotters.

The contributions of the participants will vary, but will include activities such as participating in speaking engagements at the University, which the WWE has already done. In November, Ethan Green, the WWE’s vice president of Sponsorship & Talent Brands, offered a lecture titled “The Changing Sports and Entertainment Sponsorship Landscape.”

At least four other executives from the consortium’s member corporations are expected to deliver lectures at SHU in the coming year, all of which will be open to the public.

Dr. Shuart emphasized that all participants in the consortium are free to contribute in whatever way best fits their own mission. “I know sometimes corporations have worked with other universities and have been turned off by the rigidity of the structure,” Dr. Shuart says. “So we’re very dedicated to finding out what they actually want to achieve out of the relationship and to let them define what their role is. If all they want to do is send a representative to speak once a year, we’re happy with that. If they want us to do market research for them, we’re willing to do that.”

Despite the flexibility, Dr. Shuart says that all the founding consortium members have been consistent with one generous offer. “Each of these entities has stated that one of its goals is to help establish a pipeline for our best students to potentially glean internships, full-time jobs, temp jobs or whatever,” he says.

Scheduling speakers and helping students with employment opportunities encompass just the initial phase of the consortium; Dr. Shuart says the ultimate vision is for a corporate cooperation that will benefit everyone involved. “We hope that down the road we can either host or sponsor a marketing executive conference or some kind of get-together where all these members of the consortium can interact and learn from each other as well,” he says.

This fall the marketing and sport management programs spun off into their own department within the John F. Welch College of Business.

“The creation of the consortium coincides with the continued development and growth of these two majors at Sacred Heart,” added Shuart.