DENTON (UNT), Texas — The business acumen that turned a $140 million investment 30 years ago into a $5.5 billion company today soon will be in a virtual classroom.
The University of North Texas, a Carnegie Tier One research institution, and the Dallas Cowboys, named the most valuable sports franchise in the world by Forbes, have created a Master of Business Administration degree that the two organizations will begin offering in Fall 2020.
The 36-credit-hour professional online M.B.A. in sport entertainment management will offer six specialization courses: sports in the global marketplace, corporate partnerships, analytics, event operations, talent management and consultancy. The specialized offerings will supplement the program’s more traditional classes, such as finance, accounting, marketing and strategic management, giving students the advantage of a traditional M.B.A. combined with best practices from the business operations driving sports’ most valuable franchise.
“We’ve been fortunate to be involved in a number of different businesses, both directly and indirectly involved in the sport entertainment industry. Through key partnerships, such as our relationship with the University of North Texas, we have found ways to grow the reach of the Dallas Cowboys across a variety of these industries,” said Jerry Jones Jr., chief sales & marketing officer of the Dallas Cowboys. “We’re excited to share those learnings and experiences with students partaking in this new online program at UNT.”
The online degree will feature invaluable insight from and access to industry experts, including an opportunity to participate in three on-site bootcamps at The Star in Frisco, Dallas Cowboys’ World Corporate Headquarters and Training Facility. The UNT sport entertainment management programs are housed across the street from The Star and within a five-mile radius of Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas, NBA G League’s Texas Legends, National Hockey League’s Dallas Stars headquarters, and Texas League’s Frisco Roughriders, as well as the soon-to-be PGA of America headquarters, which will include a golf resort with two championship courses.
While the university already offers an M.B.A. Sport, Entertainment and Event Management program, as well as a B.B.A. Sport Management Track in Business Integrated Studies at its Frisco location, this online program is built specifically for professionals looking to take their next step and move up the ladder in their respective industries. The program’s architects also hope to help former and retiring professional athletes’ transition to a new career or help coaches transition from the sidelines to the front office.
“The Dallas Cowboys are standing at the top of the sports business world,” said Bob Heere, UNT director of sports management. “It’s one thing for business students, especially those interested in sports and entertainment, to have access to a professional team, but our students are learning best practices from the individuals responsible for moving the needle forward in the Cowboys organization. There’s a reason they are the most valuable franchise in the world. Their people are driving brand growth year over year, and now they will be helping teach our students how to do the same.”
The relationship between UNT and the Dallas Cowboys runs deeper than advertising and neighborly interactions borne from proximity. At least 10 full-time staff within the organization are UNT alumni. Cowboys’ staff also work alongside UNT faculty for special class projects, serve as guest speakers and are adjunct faculty at the university. In the last three years, more than 20 UNT students have been interns with the organization in a wide range of areas, including marketing, corporate partnerships, football operations, Dallas Cowboys Merchandising, Legends Hospitality and Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
Professionals with three years’ work experience as industry executives, coaches and former athletes can enter the program without taking the GMAT. The ideal candidates are looking to grow their business acumen beyond just the sports industry, expanding also to the ancillary businesses that revolve around it. Graduates will leave with an M.B.A. degree that also provides best practices in the sports industry landscape that continues to grow and transcend over time.
“UNT’s G. Brint Ryan College of Business has a track record of providing high-quality, high-impact degree programs that work for students,” said Business Dean Marilyn Wiley. “Creating this online program capitalizes on the university’s 25-year history in the online space as well as the expertise of the Dallas Cowboys and our faculty. It is a fitting next step for a college dedicated to helping its graduates reach their goals.”
The program begins in August 2020, and the deadline to apply for admission is June 30, 2020. Potential students can learn more about the professional online M.B.A. in sport entertainment management by contacting Julie Jernigan at Julie.Jernigan@unt.edu or Lauren Burnaugh at Lauren.Burnaugh@unt.edu. Candidates interested in seeking admission to the program can review the application checklist and continue the application process at bit.ly/HowToApplyUNTMBA.