February 09, 2007
It’s a burgeoning field nationally and internationally, and big
business in New York City. And for 30 years it’s been an
undergraduate program at St. John’s University, created in the
mid-70’s to provide a comprehensive education for those seeking a
career in the business of sports.
Knowing the game and its rules isn’t enough, explains Associate
Professor Anthony Missere, Director of St. John’s
Sport Management Program. Those who want to work in the field
require specialized knowledge and experience in areas such as game
operations, public and media relations, marketing, accounting,
purchasing, ticketing, advertising and other business practices, he
St. John’s Alumnus John Maroon ’87SVC can attest to the benefits
of studying Sport Management. Unhappy as a business major at New
Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson University, he transferred to St.
John’s Sport Management program in his sophomore year. Since
graduation, his degree has taken him to positions with Major League
Baseball, the Cleveland Indians and the Baltimore Orioles. He
recently opened his own Public Relations firm, MaroonPR, which lists Ripken
Baseball, the Babe Ruth Museum and Baseball America as some of his
One of the First in the
One of the first of its kind in the U.S. when it was introduced at
St. John’s, Sport Management is now one of the largest programs in
the College of Professional Studies with 417 students enrolled.
Courses are offered on both the Queens and Staten Island campuses.
“We even have a full complement of evening courses,” Missere
reports, “two courses each night.”
Enrollment has more than doubled since Missere was named Program
Director 10 years ago. A former college hoopster and coach at Pratt
Institute, where in 1977 he was named “Coach of the Year” by the
Metropolitan Sportswriters Association, he also played professional
basketball in Italy. The only full-time faculty member when he
joined what was then called the “Athletic Administration” program
in 1976, he now has five other full-timers and a team of highly
qualified adjunct professors with a wealth of experience in the
sports business industry.
All undergraduates at St. John’s are required to take core
curriculum courses and students in this career-oriented program are
no exceptions. While learning the specialized skills required to
succeed in the business of sports, they also receive a solid
grounding in the liberal arts. Interested students can even pursue
an International Study Abroad opportunity at the University of Leicester in
England , which includes an internship with a professional English
Missere also encourages his students to pursue an advanced
degree, preferably in Business, Law or Sport Management to better
prepare for the rigors of the business. He points to St. John’s
Athletic Director Chris Monasch, who earned a law degree at Seton
Hall University, and Elaine Steward, Vice President and Club
Counsel of the Boston Red Sox, also an attorney. “All major league
commissioners, with the exception of baseball, have advanced
degrees,” he adds.
Advantage: St. John’s
St. John’s Sport Management students have the extra advantage of
studying in New York City. With a wide variety of sports and
sport-related organizations and facilities at their doorstep, they
can gain valuable field experience through a multitude of
internships. “Right now, we have students with all the professional
sports teams that are headquartered in the City: the Jets, Mets and
Yankees,” Missere says. They’re also learning the trade at Madison
Square Garden, Fox Sports, HBO Sports, ESPN, WFAN Radio, the PGA,
and the professional sports league offices, to name a few.
“Internships are the key,” adds Maroon, who volunteered at Major
League Baseball in 1987 on the advice of a then-faculty member.
“They set you apart from the dozens of other resumes that the major
teams receive each week. “It doesn’t even have to be a formal
arrangement,” he continues, “if you learn that a team is having an
event, call them and volunteer to do whatever they need.” Maroon’s
internship at Major League Baseball led to a permanent position
With the explosion of the sports business and the popularity of
his undergraduate program, Missere believes the next logical step
is to offer it on the graduate level. The department’s new Masters
of Professional Studies in Sport Management degree has just
been approved by the State Education Department and applications
for fall 2007 are now being accepted.