Why marketing skills matter for athletics administration students

William Woods EDU

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If you are earning a Master of Education (MEd) in Athletics/Activities Administration at William Woods University, one of the areas covered in the program curriculum is marketing and public relations.

Athletic directors, especially those at the collegiate levels, are often tasked with overseeing marketing of their athletic program and working to increase media visibility of their school. This in turn translates to greater revenue via more fans who are buying game tickets and branded merchandise. However, that’s not the only way to grow revenue.

According to a recent Washington Post article, “Big-time college sports departments are making more money than ever before, thanks to skyrocketing television contracts, endorsement and licensing deals, and big-spending donors.”

Athletic directors at larger schools with well-known athletic programs may have support staff to assist with marketing activities, another proof of why marketing skills for athletics administration students are important. Such staff may include a director of marketing or director communications with job duties such as the following:

  • Developing and coordinating marketing and promotional efforts
  • Serving as spokesperson or conducting interviews and press conferences with the media
  • Fundraising or attracting corporate sponsors or endorsements
  • Event planning and coordinating the design and production of marketing materials
  • Writing press releases or stories to encourage media coverage

At the high school level, marketing athletic programs has less to do with revenue, but it still plays an important role in how a program is viewed by the community stakeholders. Dr. David Hoch, former athletic director at Loch Raven High School in Towson, Maryland writes that when marketing high school athletics “growth and development of student-athletes should be the end result, and this is what you should promote.” For example, Hoch suggests highlighting stories of teams’ participation in community services, athletes’ academic achievements or other positive examples of sportsmanship.

At William Woods University, one of the courses that MEd in Athletics/Activities Administration students take is EDU 527 — Program Promotion. This course will help students build marketing skills by focusing on how to share the vision and mission of the program with future participants and community stakeholders. Students will learn best practices for developing positive relations with the public, public speaking, communicating with media and raising money using fund development methods. Students will also examine how to encourage community and student involvement within the program.

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