Explore data’s powerful role in understanding and prioritizing information to maintain a competitive advantage in the sports industry.
In Sport Analytics, you’ll take a deep dive in analyzing data in sport, while incorporating studies in arts and sciences with professional electives and liberal arts requirements. This will provide students with the math, computer, business, and communication skills to pursue careers in the sport industry.
With growing numbers of sport organizations embracing data analytics’ powerful role in understanding and prioritizing information to maintain a competitive advantage, there is increasing demand for sport analytics professionals to guide data-driven decision making. Syracuse University’s Falk College offers a Bachelor of Science in Sport Analytics—the first undergraduate program of its kind in the country established within a professional sport management program—to provide students with a thorough understanding of math, statistics, research methodology, sport economics, database management, finance, and computer programming integral to sport analytics. The degree also incorporates a mandatory foreign language requirement to prepare students for the global sport industry.
Why this degree makes a difference in society today…tomorrow…
Although the degree and associated career paths are grounded in the sport industry, the major itself encompasses a wide variety of skills that are in demand across society, including mathematics and statistics, databases and SQL, programming languages, economics and econometric skills, data science techniques, and the ability to communicate in a variety of ways. Not only will this degree prepare students to work for sports teams or leagues, but for the myriad of companies related to sports, such as media networks, advertisers, sponsors, etc., where advanced data skills are pivotal to the workforce of today and into the future.
The new degree incorporates a mandatory foreign language requirement to prepare students for the global sport industry. Areas of study include:
- Game Theory and Economic Strategy
- Probability and Statistics
- Managing the Sport Organization
- Web Scraping with Python for Sport Analytics
- Sport Economics
- Sport Data Analysis
- Principles and Contemporary Issues in Sport Management
What Our Students Are Saying
Falk College’s Milton Conrad Technology Lab doubles as a student classroom and computer lab that meets the latest programming trends in event and sport venue operations, and provides students live game-day production experiences. Students train to operate live events using equipment identical to what is found at major sport venues, such as ribbon boards and a scoreboard systems controller. Daktronics is an American company based in Brookings, S.D., that designs, manufactures, sells, and services video displays, scoreboards, digital billboards, dynamic message signs, sound systems, and related products. The company is known for its electronic LED displays. Falk College personnel worked with Daktronics to create the world’s only on-campus classroom facility featuring Daktronics’ products exclusive for teaching and student use.
Among the most valuable facets of the Department of Sport Management is its connection with the sport industry, which engages students in numerous ways, including internships, visiting lecturers and experiential learning trips. As part of their degree requirements, Sport Analytics students complete a Senior Thesis to gain hands-on experience in the sport industry before graduating. The thesis encompasses a two-semester research project into the sport (or sports) of your choice. Topics could focus on athletes, teams, businesses or a combination as it relates to the sports industry. The thesis centers on an original idea of which the students will conduct background research, gather data, create models, run statistical relationships, visualize the relationships, and explain the results across a variety of formats. Students will work one-on-one with a professor in the program to perform analytical research and analysis.
Broaden your perspective and enhance your resume with a study abroad experience during your college years. Consistently ranked among the top 25 international education providers in the U.S., Syracuse Abroad has more than 100 programs in 60 countries. Sport analytics students may go abroad in Florence, London, and Strasbourg, among others.
“Upon graduation, students will be prepared to think conceptually and analytically while applying these principles to real issues in sport organizations,” notes Professor Rodney Paul, a sports economist who led the collaborative development of the new degree. “Our program prepares students for a variety of different possible analytics career paths on the player evaluation side, business side, or both.”
The new degree incorporates a mandatory foreign language requirement to prepare students for the global sport industry. “Sport industry executives repeatedly tell us that students who are bilingual are highly sought after, especially in growth areas including South America, China and India,” says Falk College Dean Diane Lyden Murphy.
The announcement of the new degree follows a two-year process of analyzing changes in the industry, including in-depth interviews with senior-level sport executives and practitioners, in careful consultation with Falk College’s Sport Management Advisory Board made up of company presidents, founders, CEOs and other top-level executives.
According to Falk College benefactor and Sport Management Advisory Board member, David B. Falk, Founder and CEO, FAME, “analytics have become an invaluable tool not only in analyzing player performance but also in evaluating the effectiveness and reach of sports sponsorships and advertising. In the second decade of the 21st century, it is almost inconceivable that a sports organization could operate successfully or efficiently without a strong analytics capability.”
When considering a career path in sport management or sport analytics, the following information is helpful:
- A bachelor’s degree is sufficient for entry-level positions.
- An advanced degree is essential for some business management positions, and supervisory roles in sports organizations.
- A Ph.D. is recommended for college teaching.
- A J.D. degree may be useful in becoming a professional athlete’s agent, general counsel for an organization or other such positions.
- Useful skills in the field include writing and research, communication and public speaking, time management and organization, technology and social media, problem solving, decision making, and critical thinking.
- Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, are essential for any career path in sport management.
- As the sport industry transforms into a global enterprise in countries like India, China, Russia and South America, multilingual students will be highly sought to fill positions.
Ask any sport management graduate and industry practitioner and they will tell you gaining relevant hands-on experience is critical if you aspire to land a job in the sport industry after graduation. It is critical for students to begin building their personal portfolio of related experiences as early as possible to develop leadership experience. To further help achieve their career pursuits, students are encouraged to join one or more of the department’s student organization at SU, including the Sport Management Club, Women in Sports and Events, SPM Sales Club, Sport Professionals of Color, the Sabermetrics Club, Football Analytics Club, Basketball Analytics Club, and ‘Cuse Crew. Students also volunteer to work events at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse Athletics, or one of the professional baseball, hockey, or soccer teams in Syracuse.
What can you do now to prepare?
Because the sport industry is extremely competitive, many students begin building their portfolios with related internship and volunteer experience as early as high school. Students interested in sport analytics find it helpful to supplement their classes with the following hands-on experience:
- Participate in sports organizations and clubs, or assist through volunteer work with events or clinics.
- Help administer youth sports camps and clinics.
- Conduct research with a faculty member.
- Volunteer for school, professional, or amateur sports teams, camps, clinics, and events such as road races, triathlons, and golf tournaments.
- Help with the development and organization of community sporting events and fundraisers.
The student-led Baseball Sabermetrics and Basketball Analytics clubs conduct in-depth discussions and research. The Baseball Sabermetrics club has been invited more than once to present its research at national SABR conferences at NYU and in Phoenix, Arizona. Guest speakers are brought in on a variety of topics throughout the year, exposing the students to numerous industry professionals.
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Are you a current Falk College or Syracuse University student interested in transferring into the Sport Analytics program? Learn more about the Sport Analytics, B.S. Intra-University Transfer (UIT) Process