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 in Syracuse’s Renee Crown Honors Program. He 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.

During the last 25 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, and Football Studies and Journal of Sponsorship, among others.

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 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 in league management and sponsorship and over the next 20+ years consulted for 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 Student-Athletes Who Won’t Go Pro” 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. His WWII historical novel “Into the Gorge” will be published by Subplot in January 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

  • 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: Aussie Rules: Pro Sports Gender Equity Finds a Haven Down Under - 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), "Burton, R. (2022), "USC, UCLA Big Ten Defections Lead NCAA Down Desolation Row", Sportico.com, July 1, Found at: Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. (2022), "Burton, R. (2022), "College Sports Chaos Raises Questions of Who Stays in the Game", Sportico.com, June 9, Found at: College Sports Chaos Raises Questions of Who Stays in the Game - 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: NIL Money Disrupts College Sports in Unpredictable Ways - Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. (2022), "NCAA's Survival May Hinge on Someone Using Their Inside Voice", Sportico.com, April 19, Found at: NCAA's Survival Requires Insider Voices to Sound the Alarm - Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. (2021), “The Next NCAA Rights Fight Should be for Para-Sport Athletes”, Sportico.com, August 5, Found at: NCAA Rights for Athletes With Impairments Should Be Next Reform Fight; 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: NCAA Pay-for-Play Panic Just Might Be a Cry for Federal Help - 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: NCAA Women's, Men's Final Four Combination Would Enhance March Madness - Sportico.com
  • Burton, R. (2022), "With a new constitution, an old question: What next for the NCAA?", Sportico.com, January 24, Found at: NCAA's New Constitution Raises an Old Question: What Next? - 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: John Madden's Advertising Game Was Strong Enough to Extend to Baseball - 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: High School NIL: A New Way to Milk an Old Cash Cow - Sportico.com.