Rick Burton

David B. Falk Endowed Professor

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 and also teaches “Baseball in American Culture” in Syracuse’s Renee Crown Honors Program. He has frequently 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 the Falk College Faculty Member of the Year for Teaching in 2011 and 2013.

During the last 25+ years, his scholarly research and commentary has been published in the Journal of Marketing Development and Competitiveness,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 the Journal of Sponsorship.

Prior to his appointment as the Falk Professor 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 marketing partnerships at the world’s largest sporting event. From 2003-2007, 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 selling the League’s broadcast rights, naming rights, sponsorships as well as player and referee collective bargaining agreements and league profitability.

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 (1998-2003). During this time, he initiated Oregon’s engagement with Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and worked closely with Nike as it developed business efforts in China. While at Oregon, he created the Burton Marketing Group, working on league management and sponsorship projects. During the last 25+ years, he has been engaged by entities such as IMG, Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Japanese Pro Soccer League (J-League), National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), Australian NBL, Visa, the Oakland Raiders, FedEx, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills, Professional Bull Riders, Sport Accord, and TSE.

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, Sportico and Stadia. 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 for the national and international media and for podcasts. Burton began his career as a sportswriter for the Syracuse Post-Standard before moving to Miller Brewing Company in Milwaukee, where he worked for 12 years in sports public relations and brand management. He served as national advertising manager for Miller Lite’s award-winning “Less Filling – Tastes Great” advertising campaign.

Burton has co-authored two books on sports marketing as well as “20 Secrets to Success for NCAA Student-Athletes” and “Forever Orange,” which highlighted Syracuse University’s first 150 years. His latest co-authored book, “Business the NHL Way,” was published by the University of Toronto Press in September 2022 and will be re-released in paperback form in October 2023. His WWII historical novel “Into the Gorge” was published by Subplot in January 2023. Additionally, his newest historical novel (with Scott Pitoniak) entitled “Invisible No More” will be published by Subplot in October 2023.


Master of Business Administration, Marquette University, 1991

Bachelor of Science, Syracuse University, 1980


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


SPM 225 - Managing the Sport Organization

SPM 300 - ESport Management

HNR 340 - Honors: Baseball and American Culture

Recent Publications

  • Pitoniak, S. and Burton, R. (2023), Invisible No More, Subplot Publishing, Herndon, Va.
  • Burton, R. (2023), Into the Gorge, Subplot Publishing, Herndon, Va.
  • O’Reilly, N. and Burton, R. (2022), Business the NHL Way: Lessons from the Fastest Game on Ice, Aevo/University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Buffalo, London. Note: A revised and updated 2nd edition was released in October 2023.
  • Burton, R. and Brutsaert, T. (2020), chapter on “Faculty-Led Student Research at Mt. Everest: Syracuse University’s Perspective” in Undergraduate Research Abroad: Approaches, Models, and Challenges (K.H. Patch and L.M. Berends, editors), NAFSA, Association of International Educators, (Chapter 11, 94-100).
  • O’Reilly, N., Burton, R., Blake, C., Erick, T., (2023), “NIL, Stakeholders, and Image Transfer: An Empirical Study of Mid-Major Student-Athletes”, Journal of Marketing Development and Competitiveness, Vol. 17, No. 1, 96-110.
  • Burton, R. (2023), “NCAA Power Conferences Snap Up Schools in a Game of Risk”, Sportico.com, August 8, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Garvin, D., and Burton, R. (2023), “Putting Politics Aside: The Congressional Baseball Game”, Nine: A Journal of Baseball History & Culture, Vol. 31, Spring 23, No. 2, 89-103.
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2023),“Paralympic positivity making waves in Australia”, Sports Business Journal, July 24-30 , Vol. 26, page 27
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2023), “Technology will aid concussion protocol, but at what cost”, Sports Business Journal, June 12-18, Vol. 26, page 24.
  • Burton, R. (2023), “Motorsports’ race to the future might just start on gaming screens”, Sportico.com, June 6, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2023),“Bettman delivered on core strategies in historic tenure”, Sports Business Journal, May 15-21, Vol. 26, No. 7, pages 66-67.
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2023), “NHL sign of the times: Bidding war for small-market Ottawa”, Sports Business Journal, April 24-30, Vol. 26, No. 4, page 24.
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2023), “Profit hunters beware! Learnable lessons from Europe”, Sports Business Journal, March 27-April 2, Vol. 25, No. 49, page 32.
  • Burton, R. (2023), “NBA’s 3D Virtual Reality Looks Like a Game-Changer for Younger Fans”, Sportico.com, March 23, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2023), “SMA gathering helps dispel myth of academia, industry divide”, Sports Business Journal, January 16-22, Vol. 25, No. 39, page 24. Also found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2023), “Australian team ‘Kool’ approach in cultivating fans”, Sports Business Journal, February 27-March 5, Vol. 25, No. 45, page 19.
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2022), “No joke: European NHL viable, intriguing”, Sports Business Journal, December 19-25, Vol. 25, No. 37, page 40. Also found at: Sports Business Journal
  • Burton, R. (2022), “NHL Net Profit: Business Lessons from Gretzky’s Office”, Sportico.com, December 8, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. (2022), “Hey, Major League Baseball: Break the Gender Barrier”, Sportico.com, November 8, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2022), “Lessons through hockey as NHL joins busy slate”, Sports Business Journal, October 3-9, Vol. 25, No. 26, page 22.
  • Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2022), “Hockey Canada works on trust issues as the NHL surges”, Sports Business Journal, November 14-20, Vol. 25, No. 32, page 25.
  • Burton, R. (2022), "Ready or Not, A Sports Parallel Universe is Around the Virtual Corner", Sportico.com, August 31, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. and O'Reilly, N. (2022), "Rugby will use technology and vibrant women's game to rise up in North America", Sports Business Journal, August 22-28, Vol. 25, No. 20, page 23.
  • Burton, R. (2022), "Can the World's Sport Management Faculty Keep Up", SportBusiness University, August 4, Found at: Can the World's Sport Management Faculty Keep Up? SportBusiness University.
  • Burton, R. (2022), "Aussie Rules: Pro Sports Gender Equity Finds a Haven Down Under", Sportico.com, July 28, Found at: Sportico.com.
  • Burton, R. and O'Reilly, N. (2022), "Lessons from Down Under: Honoring the history of the land", Sports Business Journal, July 11-17, Vol. 25, No. 15, page 24.
  • Burton, R. (2022), “Knowledge is good, but what topics should NIL-era athletes study?”, Sportico.com, September 22, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. (2022), "College Sports Chaos Raises Questions of Who Stays in the Game", Sportico.com, June 9, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. and O'Reilly, N. (2022), "Lean into these books for lessons in life and business", Sports Business Journal, May 30-June 5, Vol. 25, No. 9, page 24.
  • Burton, R. (2022), "NIL Money Disrupts Everything We Thought We Knew About College Sports", Sportico.com, May 12, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. (2022), "NCAA's Survival May Hinge on Someone Using Their Inside Voice", Sportico.com, April 19, Found at: N Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. (2021), “The Next NCAA Rights Fight Should be for Para-Sport Athletes”, Sportico.com, August 5, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. and O'Reilly, N. (2022), "In the wake of war, Russia has a new sporting reality", Sports Business Journal, April 18-24, Vol. 25, No. 3, page 23.
  • Burton, R. (2022), "College Athletics Needs a Hero as NCAA Amateurism Takes Fire", March 17, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. (2022), "NCAA's Impending Pay-for-Play Panic May be a Cry for Federal Help", Sportico.com, February 15, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. and O'Reilly, N. (2022), "Finding talent in sport business does a 180", Sports Business Journal, March 7-13, Vol. 24, No. 46, page 25.
  • Burton, R. (2022), "NCAA can upgrade Final Four with men, women under the same roof", Sportico.com, January 31, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. (2022), "With a new constitution, an old question: What next for the NCAA?", Sportico.com, January 24, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. and O'Reilly, N. (2022), "The cost of playing will cost us more down the road", Sports Business Journal, January 24-30, Vol. 24, No. 40, page 22
  • Burton, R. (2022), "John Madden the Pitchman Even Made Baseball Look Good", Sportico.com, January 2, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. (2021), "Beijing Olympics Sponsors Find No Easy Choices as Games Approach", Sportico.com, December 30, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. and O'Reilly, N. (2021), "Evolution of marketing? Research matters!", Sports Business Journal, December 20-26, Vol. 24, No. 37, page 28.
  • Burton, R. (2021), "Youth Sports NIL: A New Way to Milk an Old Cash Cow", Sportico.com, December 9, Found at: Sportico.com.