Saint Louis University

Thirty-nine students from Metro St. Louis and across the country got an inside look and some real-world experience at this year's Sports Business Summer Academy July 11-14 at Saint Louis University's John Cook School of Business.

Open to high school juniors and seniors interested in business and sports - including children of SLU faculty and staff - registrations for the Academy started filling up quickly as soon as it was announced. And although it wasn't promoted nationally, teens from Joplin, Mo., Ft. Mitchell, Ken., and the Chicago area signed up. A family from Austin, Texas, also made St. Louis a vacation destination so their son could attend.

Marketing professor Brett Boyle, Ph.D., director of the Academy,said the response to the program was overwhelmingly positive.

"It was clear that these students see the opportunities in a career in the business side of sports, and that the Cook School is a place for formal education in the field," Boyle said.

Sponsored by SLU's Sports Business Program, the Academy introduced students to the business side of sports, taught basic business concepts related to sports, provided an opportunity to collaborate effectively with others to present a business plan, and incorporate learned business skills through a final presentation. The students worked in teams to develop a promotional campaign for SLU's men's basketball team.

Along with the seminars taught by SLU faculty who specialize in sports business came some great "field trips" to St. Louis sports venues to learn first-hand about how sports organizations work behind the scenes to accomplish their business goals.

The trips included visits to Busch Stadium and Rams Park to hear from executives with the Cardinals and Rams as well as participating in pre-game activities and watching a Gateway Grizzlies baseball game.

Boyle noted that the success of the program could not have happened without the generous help of the teams as well as the St. Louis Sports Commission.

"These organizations allowed the students to gain knowledge directly from professionals in sports business, "Boyle said. "This is something that adds so much beyond a classroom experience."

And what about the student's perspective?

For Andrew Myer of Moro, Ill., it was a positive on several levels.

"I learned a lot about the sports business world side," Myer said. "And it was a great experience seeing the World Series trophy and the Rams trophies."

Ryan Nichols from Austin, Texas, also counted the time well spent.

"It was really interesting and I learned a lot from the program," Nichols said. "It was absolutely worth the trip."

Ryan's mom, Michelle, echoed his feelings and was impressed with the Academy, the University and St. Louis.

"The people were great and Ryan loved visiting the Cardinals and other groups. His enthusiasm was wonderful," she said.

She said they expect to visit SLU again since Ryan is interested in a possible career in sports business.