Wayne State M.B.A. goes to the big leagues with new sport and entertainment management track

Starting this fall, Wayne State M.B.A. students will be able to pursue a concentration in sport and entertainment management. A new full-time faculty member, Scott Tainsky, will join the Mike Ilitch School of Business to lead the program.

Tainsky comes to Wayne State from the University of Illinois, where he has been a professor since 2008. A widely published expert in the field, he holds a Ph.D. in sport management from the University of Michigan.

“The sport and entertainment business requires very specific skills,” Tainsky said. “For example, sport brings together a fan base from all walks of life, all ages, social groups, cultures, and so on. And there’s no competition for market share; in fact, opposing teams must maintain a measure of equality to keep fans on the edge of their seats about who will win. All these things and more make the business of sport different from managing a traditional company, and we’re excited to provide a training ground for our students with the support of Detroit’s major teams and entertainment venues.”

When it opens in 2018, the new Mike Ilitch School of Business facility will be just steps away from Little Caesars Arena, the soon-to-be home of both the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons, and within a short walk ­­– less than a half-mile – of the Fox Theatre, the Fillmore, Ford Field and Comerica Park.

“This program is an outgrowth of the legacy Mike Ilitch instilled in our school,” said Ilitch School Dean Robert Forsythe. “Human resource leaders from Ilitch companies – which include the Detroit Tigers, Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment and MotorCity Casino Hotel – and the Pistons have expressed their support for the new program, as well as their intentions to host student interns and hire our graduates.”

The sport and entertainment management M.B.A. concentration requires a minimum of nine credits – one core class plus two electives from a list of new classes covering management, leadership, marketing, sales, finance, economics, event operations and more, all focused specifically on the sport and entertainment industry. Interested M.B.A. students may take up to five electives in the program as part of the sport and entertainment management concentration, for a total of 18 credits.

The curriculum was developed by the Ilitch School in consultation with Tainsky and faculty from major sport and entertainment programs throughout the United States. It emphasizes concept and application, focusing on the business aspects and management fundamentals tailored to the sport and entertainment industry.

With a structure similar to the 14 other available M.B.A. concentrations, the program builds on core coursework to further examine current issues in sport and entertainment management and engage in projects in the field. Students completing the concentration will be equipped with the knowledge, experience and skills to work in the world of elite sport and entertainment.

“Critical questions such as how to attract and retain the elusive entertainment consumer, how to build a franchise to be win- and profit-maximizing, and how to manage events that highlight an organization’s core mission will be explored,” said Christine Jackson, chair of the management department.

To become part of this new program, prospective students may apply for a Wayne State M.B.A. Current Wayne State M.B.A. students are encouraged to meet with an advisor in the Graduate Programs Office to update their academic plans.

To learn more, visit the Sport and Entertainment Management website.

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