Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at Isenberg

Experiential Learning

The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management Faculty prides itself on actively involving its students in the classroom environment. Our faculty don't just stand up and lecture - they challenge students to answer questions about how theory applies to the real world. A direct outcome of this philosophy are the experience-based classes where students gain real-world experience. It all started in 1990, when Professors Glenn Wong and Peter Thomsen conceived and created "Sport Event Management" as a class that would create, market, and manage a live sporting event.  We now have the following experience-based classes:


Sport Management Internship -- On-the-job learning experience in a segment of the sport industry. Minimum of 13 weeks.

Sport Event Management - Every Spring semester students organize and promote a 6-on-6 grassroots soccer festival named SoccerFest. Students learn about event management and then gain practical experience marketing the event, soliciting and working with sponsors, recruiting and managing volunteers, and planning and managing all of the logistics associated with the event.

Sport Event Sponsorship - based on the success of the Sport Event Management class, this class was created as a Fall semester class where students learn about sponsorship and sales, then sell and renew sponsorships for SoccerFest. Some students are fortunate enough to sell sponsorships during the fall semester and then oversee that sponsor's activation plan associated with the event when they take the Sport Event Management class.

Sport Sales Strategy - Sport Sales - in response to industry's call for more experienced and trained sales professionals, this class takes a practical approach to the sales process, puts students through a sales training program, and then challenges students to sell tickets and sponsorships for a local sport organization. Organizations include UMass Athletics and the Boston Bruins.

Applied Sport Marketing Research - graduate students have the opportunity to not only learn about marketing research, but to implement what they have learned by conducting a marketing research program for a sport organization. Projects have included: in-stadium intercepts for the Basketball Hall of Fame; benchmarking, telephone surveys, and focus groups for Boston College Athletics; an Internet survey for US Soccer and its sponsor for Philips Electronics that was posted on the US Soccer website; and benchmarking, surveys, focus groups, and observational analysis for UMass Athletics. In every case, students planned the data collection effort, implemented the data collection, managed the data, analyzed the data and prepared recommendations based on the findings that were presented to executives from each of the sponsor organizations.

NASCAR Kinetics Program - This experiential learning program,  which operates as a Fall semester Independent Study course, provides the opportunity for a team of five students to compete  against 20+ other sport management programs nationwide in NASCAR's Marketing in Motion challenge ( The program requires the students to respond to two marketing assignments provided by NASCAR sponsors and to also stage a NASCAR viewing party.