Northwestern MOOC brings Sports and Marketing together for a global audience

To Medill professor Candy Lee, sports represents a vast global and cultural phenomenon capable of bringing together complete strangers.

“If you walk across an airport in a foreign city and you see someone wearing a cap or a t-shirt from your team,” said Lee, “you instantly feel an affinity even though you know they’re from a different country and you will probably never see them again.”

With her knowledge and experience in the world of both sports and marketing, Lee is set to launch Northwestern’s latest Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) through Coursera. The course, Sports Marketing, goes live on Monday, October 15.

Growth of Sports Marketing

The business of sports in booming. Three quarters of the world’s sponsorship money is spent on sports. Sporting events are also one of the last bastions of lucrative live television programming. Recognizing the significant growth of sports media and communication, Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications introduced a Sports Media specialization five years ago as part of its graduate journalism program.  The growth of this program eventually led to the hiring of Medill alum J.A. Adande of ESPN and Los Angeles Times fame as the new Director of Sports Journalism. The upcoming Sports Marketing MOOC, which features in depth interviews with Adande and other industry leaders, brings both this topic to a global audience with Northwestern’s unique insights and expertise on full display.

The significance of the program’s growth is also not lost on Lee. Northwestern in a leader in higher education in the field of sports media, marketing, and communications, and with an absence of similar courses on the Coursera platform, Lee sees an opening to reach a wide audience.

“There are international parallels between Coursera’s audience and the global interest in sports, not to mention a multitude of jobs available in the sector,” according to Lee.

Course Topics

Sports Marketing covers a range of topics. Learners will hone their skills in traditional marketing areas like press releases, while also taking an in-depth look at specialized topics ranging from crisis communication to social media. Learners will also be introduced to the influence of marketing and communication in the world of sports, including access to several interviews with sports marketing professionals, and the opportunity to create and receive peer feedback on a sports fan loyalty program.

“One appeal of sports marketing as a subject is that it provides an opening to learn about marketing principles through the lens of sports,” said Lee. “Many people are passionate about sports but know little about the theory and practice of marketing; thus sports becomes the avenue by which the learner is acquainted with a new field and potentially a new career opportunity.”

Sports Marketing launches on Monday, October 15, but will be continually available on Coursera for those who are interested in the topic.

Reminder to Northwestern Readers

If you have a Northwestern email address, you can take the paid version of the course and earn the certificate at no cost. See these special directions to learn how