New Master of Arts in Sports Communication and Media Announced

Student Vinny Ebenau, right, interviews Bobby Valentine.

News Story: September 9, 2013

Sacred Heart University has announced the creation of a new master’s degree in sports communication and media to launch in the fall of 2014. The degree will prepare students for the myriad responsibilities and required skill sets of sports media professionals in the 2010s.

The new program will take advantage of the professional experience of several existing communication and media studies faculty members, including Andrew Miller, who worked in Los Angeles in film and production; Brian Thorne, who works with the Golf Channel, NFL Films and Major League Baseball; and Paul Pabst, executive producer of DirecTV’s The Dan Patrick Show.

“Sports media has seen incredible growth, and the industry is still growing even more,” says Miller, director of the new program and associate professor in SHU’s Department of Communication and Media Studies. “It’s gone from about $90 billion annually in 1989 to close to $250 billion in 2010. With its ideal location in the geographic center of the sports media industry, the sports communication and media graduate program will be able to offer a unique educational experience that will prepare students for fantastic opportunities in this growing industry.”

The Connecticut area is home to several large sports media entities, including ESPN in Bristol; WWE, NBC Sports and the YES Network in Stamford; Golf Digest magazine in Wilton; The Dan Patrick Show in Milford; and the U.S. Tennis Association in nearby White Plains, N.Y. Additionally, New York City, less than 60 miles from SHU’s Fairfield campus, is a hotbed of sports media, advertising and public relations companies — including CBS Sports, HBO Sports and Showtime Sports—giving students a wide field for internship and employment opportunities.

“No school in the country is in a better position location-wise to embrace a sports media major and master’s degree,” says Pabst. “SHU is directly in the middle of the hub of sports media in our country. Also, the timing of NBC, CBS and FOX starting 24-hour sports networks to compete with ESPN—all stationed less than an hour away—means that there is no better time to establish SHU as the place to go to school for sports media. Our students can study just down the road from all these sports media outlets. That isn’t the case at Syracuse, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana and the other top sports media schools.”

Pabst will serve as the program’s professional development coordinator, maintaining relationships with area sports media companies to develop opportunities for internships and job openings.

Students in the program will also have opportunities to work with SHU’s Division I Athletics Communications department, including Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Bobby Valentine, and on a University-produced Connecticut sports television show to be broadcast on a network to be announced soon.

The master’s degree will consist of 36 credits that can be earned in one or two years by full- and part-time students. The courses—such as sport communication in the digital age, studio sports broadcasting and sports communication and social media—will be offered in eight-week modules.

The master’s degree is a natural complement to the University’s recently announced new Communication Studies major with concentrations in advertising media/public relations and in sports media that launched in the fall of 2013.