Tracy Schoenadel, Director
Since opening its doors in January 2007, The Center for Sport Research and Education has given sport management students unprecedented hands-on industry training in marketing research. Drawing on her extensive industry contacts and experience, the center's director,Tracy Schoenadel, is attracting industry partners that offer the department's students one challenging research assignment after another. "Our partners have consistently applauded the quality and promptness of our work," she observes. "That's exactly what they expect from the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management. Many alumni may not realize it, but the program has a well-deserved reputation of being the best in the nation. When I chose to leave industry to start the new center, that national reputation was a deciding factor."
The center divides its research among market studies, customized marketing research, and the creation of strategic marketing plans. Schoenadel is a leading authority on sponsorship research, which becomes a strategic strength of the center. Many of the center's initial studies have explored measures of affinity between the images of partners' product brands and specific sports celebrities. "Simply put, that means matching compatible brand and celebrity images," observes Schoenadel. "In our research, which is essentially web-based, students participate in the design, implementation, and analysis of the surveys. The two graduate students assigned to the center are phenomenal; they take tremendous ownership in these projects."
Schoenadel comes to the Isenberg School with fifteen years of industry experience. Most recently, she was a vice president with TNS Sport's research division, where she was responsible for the evaluation of sports events and sponsorships. She was also executive director of TNS' signature product, the industry-leading ESPN Sports Poll. In her sponsorship work, Tracy's clients included Sprint-Nextel, Anheuser Busch, Coca Cola, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Domino's ESPN, NFL, MLB, NBA, and the NCAA.
In addition to expanding the new center's research activities, Schoenadel is strengthening the Isenberg School's sports industry ties through a weekly blog-chat room, a guest speakers program, and a podcast for sport management professionals. She also plans to leverage the sport management department's faculty and her own center's expertise in offering workshops and education programs at industry conferences. "Those activities are part of the center's education and training mission," Schoenadel explains. "We want to create and strengthen as many relationships as possible between the department and industry," she emphasizes."Ultimately, that means better educational and experiential opportunities for our students, and better jobs for them after graduation."