Colorado State University and the Colorado Rockies are partnering to train the next generation of sports management professionals.
On Tuesday, June 7, the organizations announced the launch of the new Colorado Rockies Institute of Sport Management at Colorado State Universityan extension of the University’s sports management program, connecting one of the nation’s top research universities with an iconic sports franchise.
This new partnership will provide students with direct learning from industry professionals within the Rockies organization, as well as opportunities for real-world experience. All of this on top of the classroom learning and access to real-world experience from other sports organizations that students in the expanding program have received.
The institute includes an innovative minor in undergraduate sports administration and a master’s degree program designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills and experiences to pursue a career in the sports industry. Established in 2014, CSU’s Interdisciplinary Minor in Sports Management offers a multifaceted look at the industry. In 2020, the program added a graduate program.
“The Colorado Rockies have been going all out as we’ve built a partnership to really prepare our students for success as they move forward in their careers,” said CSU President Joyce McConnell. “The result of this partnership is the Colorado Rockies Sport Management Institute, through which our students will learn directly from the Rockies and gain invaluable, paid field experience. We are grateful to the Rockies for their shared commitment to higher education in Colorado and for joining us to provide exceptional opportunities for our students.
“We are honored to be part of a program in which the Rockies organization can help facilitate the growth of promising young professionals in Colorado,” said Rockies vice president of corporate partnerships Walker Monfort, a graduate. of the CSU. “These are the young professionals who will shape the future of the sports industry, and we are thrilled to be part of their education.”
This collaboration brings a real sense of connection for CSU students, said Albert Bimper, Director of the Institute.
“Students see an investment of this great grassroots organization — the Colorado Rockies — in their learning and in their experience,” Bimper said. “They see it as an investment in the quality of lessons and content they will have in the classroom.”
It also signals an opportunity for CSU students to connect with real-world roles in the industry and the people who fill those roles today, he added.
“Now it’s not so theoretical,” Bimper said. “They’re not just learning what was done before, they’re tackling what’s happening here and now. They ask critical questions about what to expect for the future of this industry.
Take students from the classroom to the (baseball) field
Opportunities with the new Colorado Rockies Sport Management Institute at Colorado State University include:
– Paid positions on the Colorado Rockies entertainment and event operations team for eight to 10 CSU students during the summer months of baseball season. In addition to class credits, the positions will also provide students with valuable experience in a professional sports organization and an opportunity to network across the various departments of the Rockies.
–The Rockies will travel to Fort Collins to hold an annual job fair for institute students. Department heads from various departments in the Rockies will share details about entry-level positions the organization will be hiring for in the upcoming season.
– CSU will help organize the annual Rockies Business in Baseball Day, where students interested in finding out what it’s like to work in Major League Baseball can meet members of the Rockies’ front office and participate in a session interactive question-and-answer session with various representatives of the department. In addition to CSU co-hosting the event, CSU students will assist with event organization and logistics.
– Four live speaker events throughout the year — two each semester — featuring Q&A sessions with Rockies senior management.
– CSU students will have the opportunity to create a case study/synthesis type project based on issues related to the operation of a professional sports team and present it to Rocky Mountain employees.
A program that closes the loop
“Being on the promotional team with the Rockies, you get to meet every single person in the organization, which is really special and a lot of roles in other organizations aren’t like that,” said Katie George (BS , ‘20), who works as a customer service assistant in the Rockies Business Development Department. “Here you can have interactions with owner and CEO Dick Monfort all the way to ushers. Building all of these relationships is something really special, and the learning opportunity is huge.
George should know, she got her start with the Rockies’ promotional team while still a student and a minor in the sports management program. Now she connects businesses to sponsorship opportunities with the team, which includes everything from creating signage around the ballpark to creating new games to play with the public between innings.
There are so many ways to get involved in the sports industry, and this program is one way to explore them, said George, who wanted to get into sports marketing until she won a contest. sale of tickets in one of its classes.
“It was the first time I thought maybe sales was a path for me,” she said. “And that’s what’s amazing about the Institute, that you can soak up different avenues of the sports world and see which path is best for you.”
A home run for CSU students
This isn’t the first time CSU’s sports management program has worked with a professional team — in 2015, the University partnered with the Denver Broncos.
“Major League Baseball aligns really well with our academic semesters, fitting into how our students already learn and allowing them to seamlessly tap into the experiences the Rockies will be able to provide,” Bimper said. .
All of this makes for a fantastic opportunity for CSU students like Karsyn Lane. The junior obtained her minor in sports management in addition to specializing in journalism and media communication.
Last summer, Lane got a taste of working with the Rockies when she worked with the team at Play Ball Park, one of the attractions held while the Rockies hosted the 2021 All-Star Game.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say I was dazzled,” she said. “It’s crazy to think that a team as big as the Rockies sees students like me and wants to give them these opportunities.
After graduating, Lane hopes to go into sports management — ideally in Colorado — making the new CSU/Rockies partnership even more exciting, she said, as the two organizations blaze a clear path for students. from graduation to the “real world”.
“It was something that stuck with me the most,” she said. “All of these opportunities come to us as students first because they really want to see us succeed.”
Welcome to ‘Ramily’
While the Rockies’ official colors are purple, silver, black, and white, there is also plenty of green and gold in the organization. More than a dozen Ram alumni currently work for the Rockies, including Assistant Director of Entertainment and In-Game Events Operations Brady O’Neill, Director of Diversity, Equity, inclusion and recruitment Dallas Davis, as well as Monfort.
“As a CSU graduate, I am excited about this partnership and the impact it will have on students,” Monfort said. “The training I received at CSU has been instrumental in my development as a professional, and I look forward to helping the next wave of Rams.”
For George, working with the Rockies reminds him a lot of his time at CSU.
“I think it’s because it’s a family business,” George said. “Everyone in the Monfort family is so great, and they treat every employee like they’re part of their family. And I think that’s that little bit of CSU that comes into play.”