The Denver Broncos Sports Management Institute at Colorado State University, a unique collaboration between two leading Colorado organizations, is in the process of selecting undergraduate students to begin the interdisciplinary sports management minor in the fall.
Since the program was unveiled in December, CSU has received 130 applications from current students in a wide variety of majors across campus. From that pool, 40 students will be admitted to the program. The finalists will be announced over the summer.
“We are ecstatic to have received the quantity and excellent quality of applicants to date,” said Albert Bimper, Ph.D., assistant professor of ethnic studies and senior associate athletics director, who is leading the Institute. “The announcement of the new sports management minor has been met with tremendous interest by a breadth of students looking to get involved in a program that can equip students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences to prepare them for a career in industries of sport.”
In addition to completing an online application and submitting previous experience, applicants were required to write an essay explaining why they would like to have a career in sports, as well as discussing any sports related work they have completed.
“We were looking for a sincere commitment to work in some aspect of the industry,” explained Todd Donavan, associate professor of marketing in the College of Business who has taught sports marketing for 16 years. “We were particularly interested in any students who have already demonstrated professional interest, by volunteering or serving an internship, for example.”
The academic framework of the minor involves four of CSU’s eight colleges, including Donavan’s classes in marketing and promotions; video production and public relations and sports in social science from the College of Liberal Arts; hospitality management, event and conference planning, and facilities construction and management through the College of Health and Human Sciences; and turf management from the College of Agricultural Sciences.
There also will be 20 internships with the Denver Broncos available to students enrolled in the minor. Donavan said interns will have the complete Broncos Experience, an opportunity to work in all aspects of management of the NFL team: marketing, hospitality, facilities, and turf management – all the topics covered by the course of study offered through the minor.
“Internships are not guaranteed to every student who enrolls,” Donavan added. “As in other aspects of sports, or any business, the internships will be competitive and serve as a weeding-out process. If one student isn’t a fit for the job, there are others who are willing to step up.”
Another way students could demonstrate their interest in the minor was by taking the two introductory online courses offered this spring. Bimper taught foundations of sports management, while Donavan taught the sports marketing seminar. The courses were open to all CSU undergraduates. Applicants for the minor who completed these courses were given additional consideration in the selection process.
CSU and the Broncos have worked together before – for example, the Rams had their spring practice at the Broncos’ Dove Valley facilities on April 11 – but the institute represents the first time a major research university has created a formal relationship with a major sports brand, and is receiving interest from around not only the National Football League but other professional sports as well.
“We are excited and proud to partner with a world-class university like Colorado State to create the Denver Broncos Sports Management Institute,” Broncos President and CEO Joe Ellis said. “This program will allow us to expand our involvement with higher education in our home state and help mentor local students interested in pursuing a career in sports.”
Ellis is also the keynote speaker at CSU’s Business Day on April 16. He will speak at 3:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theatre on the CSU campus. The presentation is free and open to the public, but registration is required at csutix.com.
“The Denver Broncos are rightly considered one of the finest-run franchises in all of professional sports, so the opportunity to have our students work closely with such a quality organization as part of their learning experience is an amazing opportunity,” CSU President Tony Frank said. “Combining the talents and experiences of our faculty and students with a top-notch organization like the Denver Broncos makes this a unique program, and one we’re proud to be part of at Colorado State.”