Rick Burton

Rick Burton
David B. Falk Endowed Professor of Sport Management
Faculty Athletics Representative to the ACC and NCAA

Departments & Academic Units

Contact Info

311 MacNaughton Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244
Phone: (315) 443-5844
Email: rhburton@syr.edu


  • Sport, Media and Society
  • Managing the Sports Organization
  • International Sports Relations
  • Honors: Baseball and American Culture

Areas of Specialization

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


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

Recent Publications

  • Burton, R. and O'Reilly, N. (2015), "Rollerball flashback: How virtual reality replaces violence", Sports Business Journal, August 17-23, Vol. 18, No. 18, page 33.
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2015), “Top 10 list of reasons why the NCAA still matters”, Sports Business Journal, June 15-21, Vol. 18, No. 10, 41.
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2015), “Are we serious enough about diversity to welcome all?”, Sports Business Journal, May 11-17, Vol. 18, No. 5, 23.
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2015), “Second-tier events, health initiatives will gain foothold in 2015”, Sports Business Journal, February 2-8, Vol. 17, No. 40, 22.
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2014), “Space: The next frontier in sports sponsorship”, Sports Business Journal, November 24-30, Vol. 17, No. 32, 35.
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2014), “This industry could learn something from scholars”, Sports Business Journal, October 13-19, Vol. 17, No. 26, 43.
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2014), “Benefits of long-term sports partnership worth going ‘all-in’”, Sports Business Journal, September 8-14, Vol. 17, No. 21, 29.
  • Burton, R. (2015), “Neighbors in History,” Memories and Dreams, Vol. 37, No. 3, Summer, 46-48.
  • Gawrysiak, J., Dwyer, B. and Burton, R. (2014) “Understanding Baseball Consumption Via In-Home Gaming”, Journal of Applied Sport Management, Vol. 6, No. 3, 76-97.
  • Pritchard, M and Burton, R. (2014), “Ethical Failures in Sport Business: Directions for Research”, Sport Marketing Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 2, 86-99.
  • Burton, R., Hall, K. and Paul, R. (2013), “The Historical Development and Marketing of Fantasy Sports Leagues”, The Journal of Sport, Vol. 2, No. 2, 185-215.
  • Burton, R. and Finkel, J. (2013), “Stephen Crane, Baseball, and a Red Badge, Nine, Vol. 21, Fall, No. 1, 103-117.
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2014), “CrossFit shows strength to excel among participatory sports?”, Sports Business Journal, August 11-17, Vol. 17, No. 17, 21.
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2014), “How will Olympic sponsors respond to future host sites?”, Sports Business Journal, March 10-16, Vol. 16, No. 45, 11.
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2014), “Bach’s history a signal that his leadership will be proactive”, Sports Business Journal, February 10-16, Vol. 16, No. 41, 25.
  • Burton R. (2014), “Australia, Baseball’s Diamond in the Rough”, New York Times, March 10, D1, D5.
  • Burton, R. (2013), “Start of a Fantasy”, Memories and Dreams, Fall, 40-41.
  • Burton, R. (2013), “College athletes are already paid with their education”, U.S. News & World Report, April 2
  • Burton, R. (2013), “Keeping Score”, The Hub Magazine, March/April, Vo. 9, No. 53, 24-25.
  • Burton, R. (2012), “Return of Olympics to U.S. Hangs on a Risky Deal”, Bloomberg.com, August 12
  • Burton, R. (2012), “An Ad Block on the Olympics or One Unit on the Super Bowl?”, Ad Age, July 23.


Rick Burton is the David B. Falk Endowed Professor of Sport Management in Syracuse University's David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. He is the co-author of the textbook Global Sport Marketing: Sponsorship, Ambush Marketing And The Olympic Games and currently finishing a book for SU Press on his collected opinion columns from Sports Business Journal. 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, Journal of Applied Sport Management, 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 Journal of Sponsorship. He is Syracuse University's Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) to the NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), teaches in Syracuse's Renee Crown Honors Program and has served as a visiting professor at Kufstein Tirol University in Austria as well as the International Olympic Academy (IOA) in Olympia, Greece. He was selected as the Falk College Faculty Member of the Year for Teaching in 2011 and 2013.

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 International Olympic Committee (IOC) and USOC sponsorship activation at the world’s largest sporting event.

From 2003-07, Burton was the Commissioner of Australia’s 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 broadcast rights fees, 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), Australian NBL, Visa, Oakland Raiders and Sport Accord. More recent clients have included the Buffalo Bills (NFL), the Professional Bull Riders and TSE.

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 engagements have included Chip Ganassi Racing (NASCAR and Indy Racing), the Association of Luxury Suite Directors 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. He has just finished his second novel, another WWII thriller.