Sports MBA

Sports MBA

  GC-1502 |    619-594-6023  |   [email protected]
  Monday-Friday   8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Sports MBA program is an intensive, accelerated MBA degree focused on the dynamic business of international sports.  

The program provides its graduates a thorough understanding of the skills crucial for professionals to succeed, while building a broad network of relationships in the sports-rich landscape of Southern California.


America's Finest City


12 Months of MBA Classes


International Trip to Dominican Republic

Students study statistical analysis, organizational behavior and leadership, financial management, and business strategy, along with sports economics and marketing, in classes taught by seasoned, professional educators. Coursework is heavily international in scope. The program includes an overseas excursion to study sports business in the Dominican Republic and frequent guest lecturers with global experience.

The Sports MBA program offers students 12 months of accelerated class time, focusing on critical business skills, with an additional six months of supervised consultancies worldwide. Classes are offered in a cohort format to foster strong relationships among classmates, upon which graduates can draw throughout their careers. Total cost of the Sports MBA program is approximately $49,000 USD.


What do our Alumni Say?

Headshot of Erika Singal (SMBA, ‘10)

"The SDSU SMBA program was critical to my transition from investment banking into the sports industry."
Erika Singal (SMBA, ‘10)
Senior Director, Corporate Partnerships, Los Angeles Lakers

Headshot of Sarah Limberg (SMBA, ‘17)

"The SMBA program provided me with mentors in the industry, hands-on experience in sports, and the business acumen to feel comfortable entering the business side of sports."
Sarah Limberg (SMBA, ‘17)
Sr. Marketing Manager at Fanatics, Inc.

Headshot of Roberto Castro (SMBA, ‘11)

"As somebody who was already working in sports, the SMBA program took my knowledge and skills to a new heightened level."
Roberto Castro (SMBA, ‘11)
Director, Team Member Experience, SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park



Sports MBA News

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Business Administration Curriculum

In this course, taught by former Associate Dean Dr. Jim Lackritz, students look at issues facing sports organizations through a statistical lens; for example, how to predict concession stand wait times at sporting events or how to evaluate athlete performance. Dr. Lackritz combines his own research in sports business with texts like Moneyball to provide Sports MBA students with the foundational tools for thinking critically about current issues in the sports industry.

Dr. Amy Randel challenges the Sports MBA cohort to think critically about all aspects of interpersonal communication and organization within the workplace, and how varying approaches can affect work performance and cohesion. Students directly apply these skills to the sports industry through the course’s final project in which students provide analysis and offer feedback to a sports organization.

In Dr. David DeBoskey’s course, students learn the Accounting language with the expectation that when they finish the course, they’re capable of making sound financial decisions in management roles. The CFO of the San Diego Padres serves as an annual guest speaker for the class and class projects include financial statement analysis of sports industry sectors of the students’ choosing.

Financial Management I is the first of two courses that expose students to the fundamental principles of corporate finance, taught by Professor Frank Ryan. This course discusses how managers use financial statements, engage in financial planning, value cash flows, understand risk, make long-term investment decisions, and how to make both long- and short-term financing decisions. Once the groundwork has been laid, students apply these principles to analyze sports business topics such as franchise valuation, stadium financing, personal seat licenses, athlete salaries, and more.

Sports Marketing is taught by visiting professor, Dr. Vassilis Dalakas (@DrSportBusiness), who provides an in-depth introduction to the principles of marketing, and how they apply within the sports business realm. To teach sports marketing effectively, Dr. Dalakas focuses heavily on corporate partnerships and sponsorship in the world of sports, and specializes in fan behavior and the fan experience using real-world examples throughout, including an annual corporate partnerships consulting project with a sports organization.

Sports Economics, taught by Associate Dean Dr. David Ely, uses the sports industry to illustrate the applications of microeconomic principles, macroeconomic concepts, and analytical tools used in business decision-making. Students learn to apply industrial organization theory to analyze sports business models, and related issues when evaluating local markets for teams, and calculating the value of sports franchises. Course discussion topics include stadium financing, ticket pricing, team relocation, player salaries, athlete representation, and arena naming rights deals.
Throughout this course, Dr. Helio Yang shares her broad range of knowledge on topics related to the design, execution and management of operations and supply chain systems. The course teaches students to model solutions related to project scheduling, inventory management, demand forecasting, and queue management. Group presentations for this course provide students the opportunity to research how sports business organizations manage issues related to their operations and supply chains.
Marketing professor Dr. Erlinde Cornelis’ course focuses on sustainability, diversity, and inclusion in sports and marketing, taking a marketing research approach to investigating and solving these issues. The course requires students to think critically about economic, environmental, physical, and social sustainability in sports and business in general, while they simultaneously develop their ability to consume and create marketing insights by understanding and executing the marketing research process. As part of the course, students learn marketing research tools such as Qualtrics and SPSS and utilize these tools in the course’s culminating marketing research projects.
This course features an international excursion to the Dominican Republic led by Sports MBA program director Scott Minto (SMBA ’06). Since 2009, Sports MBA students have studied abroad in the D.R. for part of their summer semester to observe and evaluate the impact that Major League Baseball and its teams have on the country.

Taught by Dr. Joe Belch, Senior Associate Dean and co-author of the leading textbook in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), this course focuses on the development, implementation, and evaluation of marketing strategy for sports organizations and companies. Students create a comprehensive Integrated Marketing Communications plan for a sports organization as a culminating project in the course each year.

Taught by Dr. Kaveh Abhari, this course, which serves as an introduction to the field of business intelligence (BI) and data analytics, is focused on teaching students how to use BI tools to understand, analyze and solve complex business problems. The course covers topics such as descriptive, predictive and web analytics teaching students to use tools such as Tableau, Power BI, RapidMiner, Google Analytics, and AWS QuickSight. Students use real life data sets from sports business and develop business reports showcasing their insights.

In Professor Frank Ryan's second course within the Sports MBA curriculum, students build upon the foundation set by Financial Management I. They are expected to understand the impetus behind major financial deals in the sports world, such as stadium financing and franchise valuation. The students also apply their skills by forming management teams and competing in a semester-long business simulation.

Dr. John Francis leads this course, which studies the theories and trends that shape the evolving relationships between sports organizations and their fans. With examples drawn from all segments of sports business, this course is intended to give students a foundation of basic business principles that can be applied to the sports industry.

Farmers Insurance Open logo

Mountain West logo

Padres logo

  • PGA TOUR Executive Women's Day at the Farmers Insurance Open
  • Farmers Insurance Open
  • US Women's National Team vs. Republic of Ireland
  • US Men’s National Team vs. Canada – International Friendly
  • NCAA Sweet 16 Western Regional in Anaheim
  • Mountain West Conference Tournament
  • Women in Sports and Events (WISE) Power Play Event

SMBA students at Farmers Insurance Open volunteer talk

Sports MBA students in front of statue of skater at Vans HQ
  • IRONMAN SuperSEAL Olympic Triathlon
  • FootGolf San Diego Tournaments
  • USA Rugby Tournaments
  • MLB Spring Training – San Diego Padres
  • Rock 'n' Roll Marathon – Carlsbad 5000, San Diego 5K Run
  • Special Olympics South Bay Area Games
  • AVP Beach Volleyball – Huntington Beach Open
  • Red Bull Wings for Life World Run
  • Mexico vs. Chile International Friendly
  • Sports Business Journal Intersport Brand Engagement Summit
  • Fox Sports San Diego – MLB All-Star FanFest Activation
  • Under Armour – MLB All-Star FanFest Activation
  • Stand Up to Cancer – MLB All-Star Game Activation
  • Dew Tour – Long Beach
  • Self Shape Surf Festival
SMBA students at Petco Park

Our students learn to apply the business principles they learn in the classroom and hone their presentation skills with real clients in the sports industry through consulting projects including developing marketing plans, organizational analysis reports, and pitching new ideas for corporate sponsorship. Previous clients have included:

  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Oakland A’s
  • US Olympic Training Center
  • SDSU Athletics
  • Victus Advisors

Students giving presentation

Students and staff sitting in Honda Center for presentation

  • Navigate Research
  • TGR Live
  • Challenged Athletes Foundation
  • Nixon
  • Anaheim Ducks

Dominican Republic Trip

Sports MBA students holding class flag in Dominican Republic

Every year since 2009, Sports MBA students have spent approximately ten days as a group on site in the Dominican Republic. This trip is one of the most memorable experiences of the year for Sports MBA students. The excursion is tied to an academic course in Management and is led by program director, Scott Minto (SMBA ’06). The concept of the trip is to develop students’ global competencies through a complete cultural and language immersion in a developing country. The class prepares extensively for the trip, reading books about Dominican baseball and culture and studying Spanish.

After completing the 12-month classroom portion of the Sports MBA curriculum, students are prepared to work with a sports organization on a full-time basis. The MBA candidates have a faculty mentor oversee their work during their final semester, with the goal of providing their host organization with a comprehensive consulting report on a specific sports business field at the end of the term. The course work is completed remotely and classes do not meet during this term, so students are encouraged to pursue full-time job opportunities and many choose to pursue an opportunity outside of San Diego.

  • BA 780 Field Studies in Business: 6 Month Internship
  • BA 795 Integrative Business Analysis: Final MBA Thesis Report

Sports MBA students at conference tablec




Take the Next Step


Sports MBA Program Faculty Directory

Scott Minto headshot

Scott Minto

Sports MBA Director

Sports MBA Program


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Sports (Business) 
Kaveh Abhari

Kaveh Abhari, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Management Information Systems Department,Sports MBA Program

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Entrepreneurship  Education  Computer Science  Social Science  Web Design  Social Product Development  Connectivism  Design (Innovation)  Affordances  Employee Experience  IT (Social Applications)  Connectivity 
Andrew Baker

Andrew Baker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Marketing Department,Sports MBA Program


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Marketing (New Media)  Product (Branding)  Marketing (Research) 
Joe Belch

George (Joe) E. Belch, Ph.D.

Senior Associate Dean, Online Degree Completion (BSBA) Director, Professor

Marketing Department,Online Degree Completion (BSBA),Sports MBA Program


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Sports (Marketing)  Marketing (Integrated Communications)  Marketing  Consumer Behavior 
Erlinde Cornelis

Erlinde Cornelis, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Marketing Department,Sports MBA Program


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Crowdfunding  Sports & Society  Renewable Energy  Innovations  Marketing Research  Sustainable Marketing  Persuasion  Ambivalence  Consumer Wellbeing  Sustainable Consumption  Sustainable Business 
Headshot of Vassilis Dalakas

Vassilis Dalakas, Ph.D.

Sports MBA Lecturer

Sports MBA Program



Sports Marketing 
David DeBoskey

David DeBoskey, Ph.D., CPA (NJ Inactive)


Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy,Sports MBA Program


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Accounting  Corporate Transparency  Finance (SEC Reporting)  Sports (Financial Management)  Sports (Accounting)  Finance (Reporting)  Workplace (Executive Compensation)  Decision Making (Executive)  Workplace (Compensation)  Accounting (Auditing) 
David Ely

David Ely, Ph.D.

Associate Dean, Professor

Finance Department,Sports MBA Program


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Management (Financial Institutions)  Banking Regulations  Financial Markets 
John Francis

John Francis, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Management Department,Sports MBA Program


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Business (International)  Business (College Football)  Business (Small)  Sports (International Management)  Business (Consulting)  Sports (Management) 
Jim Lackritz

James R. (Jim) Lackritz, Ph. D.


Management Information Systems Department,Sports MBA Program


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Accounting (Auditing)  Accounting  Product (Quality Control)  Data (Statistical Analysis)  Sports (Economics)  Accounting (Information Systems)  Accounting (Managerial) 
Bruce Reinig

Bruce A. Reinig, Ph.D.

Thomas & Evelyn Page Dean (Interim)

Dean's Office,Management Information Systems Department,Sports MBA Program

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Social Science  Computer Science  Data (Statistical Analysis) 
Frank Ryan

Frank Ryan


Finance Department,Sports MBA Program


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Economics (International)  Corporate Finance 
Kristin Stewart

Kristin Stewart, Ph.D.


Sports MBA Program


Consumer Psychology  Consumer Behavior  Advertising 
Helio Yang

Y. Helio Yang

Professor and Interim MIS Department Chair

Management Information Systems Department,Sports MBA Program

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Management (Operations)  Management (Supply Chain)  Management (Project)