Rick Burton

David B. Falk Professor

Departments & Academic Units

Contact Info

810 Nottingham Road
Syracuse, NY 13224
Phone: (315) 443-5844
Email: rhburton@syr.edu


  • Sport Communication
  • Managing the Sports Organization
  • International Sports Relations

Areas of Specialization

Sports Marketing; Sponsorship, the Olympic movement; Professional Leagues and their Management; Fantasy/Video Gaming; Sport in Literature


  • MBA, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, 1991
  • Bachelor of Science, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, 1980

Recent Publications


Rick Burton is the award-winning David B. Falk Distinguished Professor of Sport Management in Syracuse University’s David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. During the last 20 years, his scholarly research and commentary has been published in Sport Marketing Quarterly, the International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, The Journal of Sport, Nine, SAIS Review, Marketing Management, Journal of Brand Strategy, Journal of Marketing Communications, Industrial Marketing Management, International Marketing Review, Football Studies and The Journal of Sponsorship.

Prior to his appointment at Syracuse in August 2009, Burton served as the chief marketing officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, where he directed the USOC’s partnerships for IOC and USOC sponsorship activation at the world’s largest sporting event.

From 2003-07, Burton was the Commissioner of the Sydney-based National Basketball League (a two-continent league with teams in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore) and was responsible for every aspect of the NBL’s development and growth, including securing lucrative TV packages, naming rights sponsorships, player and referee collective bargaining agreements and league profitability. By placing a team in Singapore, the NBL became the first western sports league to place a team in Asia.

From 1995-2003, Burton led the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center to international prominence serving as both its director and executive director (1998-03). During this time, Burton initiated Oregon’s engagement with Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and worked closely with NIKE as they developed NIKE’s business efforts in China.

While at Oregon, Burton also created the Burton Marketing Group working almost exclusively in league management and sponsorship for entities such as IMG, the U.S. Basketball Academy, Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Japanese Pro Soccer league (J-League), National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), Visa, Oakland Raiders and Sport Accord.

In the mid-1990s (1993-95), Burton supervised numerous clients ranging from the NFL, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Gillette, Sprint and Universal Studios while serving as a vice president for sports and entertainment marketing agency Clarion Performance Properties in Greenwich, Conn.

During his varied career, Burton has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Ad Age, Sports Business Journal, SI.com, Sport Business International, Stadia and hosted his own sports business television show in Portland, Oregon. He has provided national radio network commentary for the Sporting News Radio Network and is in frequent demand as a commentator on the sports industry. A frequent conference host/moderator and inspirational/motivational speaker, Burton’s most recent consulting engagements have included Chip Ganassi Racing (NASCAR and Indy Racing), the Association of Luxury Suite Directors, the Professional Bull Riders, TSE (Switzerland), Skandia (Sweden), Baden Sports, V2 Solutions and Point 3 Basketball.

Burton began his career as a sportswriter in Syracuse before moving to Miller Brewing Company in Milwaukee, where he worked for 12 years in brand management and sports public relations. He served as national advertising manager for Miller Lite’s award-winning “Less Filling – Tastes Great” advertising campaign and also as a brand manager (Sharp’s and Lowenbrau).

Burton’s first novel, a WWII/Cold War historical thriller called The Darkest Mission, was published in May 2011 by Long Reef Press