The UMaine business school obtains its first major news in more than 50 years
The University of Maine Business School added a sports management major this semester, the first new major in the business school since 1965.
The major will prepare students for careers in sports organizations dealing with the business side of sports. It is a collaboration between the business school of UMaine; the University of Southern Maine, which has its own sports management program; and the sports program of UMaine. The business school hopes that working with the school’s sports figures will help build on the university’s status as the only NCAA Division I school in the state.
The major has been in the works since 2019 amid strong demand from students, said Jason Harkins, associate dean at Maine Business School. Assistant Professor of Management Muralee Das and Associate Professor of Marketing Susan Myrden paved the way for the project.
In addition to courses in sports management and sports marketing, majors preparing for the degree will take a variety of business courses including finance, account management, marketing, and information systems, and earn a Bachelor of Science in Administration. business after graduation.
Nine students signed up for the program a week ago, and other students have expressed interest, Harkins said.
Professors expect enrollment in the program to increase over time, Harkins said, with particularly strong interest from student-athletes. It is expected to reach 160 students by the 2025 academic year, according to the University of Maine system documents.
A growing number of colleges have added sports management programs in recent years, a peak that Harkins attributes to a combination of students passionate about sports and economic opportunities in the multi-billion dollar sports industry. Colleges in Maine awarded 44 sports management degrees in 2019, according to University of Maine system documents
“There is a huge demand for business knowledge in these organizations,” Harkins said.
Two new courses will roll out of the new major, both starting in the spring: sports marketing and a special projects course that will allow students to pursue projects related to their areas of interest. A sports management course was previously offered at the university.
After the end of a long 56-year drought for new business school majors, Harkins said acceptance of the sports management program has encouraged faculty to consider other potential new business majors. He said these proposals were at various stages of development.
The world of sports has grown far beyond the mainstream sports – like baseball, football, and basketball – which have dominated in recent years, Harkins said. He noted that spikeball, extreme sports, and electronic sports have grown in popularity.
“It’s really gratifying to see new opportunities opening up for students in a very specific field that is developing rapidly,” Harkins said.