UO’s pioneering sports marketing center celebrates its 20th anniversary

EUGENE, Ore. -- (April 16, 2013) – It was 20 years ago this month that the University of Oregon opened the James H. Warsaw Sports Marketing Center as one of the nation’s first academic centers dedicated to the multi-billion-dollar global industry.

Warsaw Center studentFounded in 1993, the Warsaw Center was the first program of its kind in the United States uniting faculty members across multiple disciplines and housed within a college of business. The Warsaw Sports Marketing Center is part of the Lundquist College of Business, and has trained hundreds of students over the past two decades who have gone on to successful careers at companies, professional leagues, governing bodies and others.  

"Bringing together for the first time a team of strong researchers, top educators and industry expertise, the Warsaw Center quickly rose to world-class status faster than our football team changes uniforms," said Paul Swangard, the center's managing director. "In creating a category of education," he noted, "the center has become a lasting legacy for Jim Warsaw's vision and a point of pride for the college -- just as athletics has become a point of pride for the larger university."

Currently, student interest in the center's programs and courses is at an all-time high. More than 3,200 undergraduate and graduate students have enrolled in sports business courses during the past three years. Warsaw Center students hear from frequent guest speakers on campus, as well as have opportunities to participate in national and international study tours, internships and consulting projects.

Affiliated faculty members have published research on topics ranging from stadium finance to consumer behavior and sponsorship, and they are frequently tapped to offer perspectives and insights on the sports industry’s top stories.

An expert on sponsorship and sports marketing, T. Bettina Cornwell, the Edwin E. & June Woldt Cone Professor of Marketing and director of research for the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, credits the strong connectivity between both practice and sport marketing research as the balance that keeps curriculum challenging for students.

“The Warsaw Center is the bridge between a fast-paced fusion of sport, business and media that we call sport marketing and a rigorous, research oriented world of academics,” said Cornwell.  “From this vantage point, we are the think-tank of the future.”

As Warsaw Center faculty leaders look ahead with strategic plans to expand global initiatives and launch a new program to meet the growing needs of the sports products sector, the center continues to take on new challenges.

recently forged partnership with the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) has expanded the college's global reach while opening up new opportunities for students. Singapore is building a large sports complex scheduled for completion in 2014, and is working with experts at the Warsaw Center as part of a five-year partnership.

The relationship between Warsaw Center and SSC includes training for Singapore’s high-level sports officials, sports-oriented study programs for Singaporean students at the UO, and opportunities for MBA students affiliated with the Warsaw Center to work on a variety of projects in Singapore. The goal of the program is position Singapore as Asia’s top destination for professional sports.

After completion of the center’s strategic plan earlier in the current academic year, an anonymous donor stepped forward with a $500,000 gift and an offer to match additional donations up to the amount. A second $100,000 pledge by Jim Warsaw’s brother Bob closely followed. The Warsaw Center hopes to leverage this support and double the gift through additional pledges and donations.

For more information, visit http://lcb.uoregon.edu/App_Aspx/WsmcHome.aspx.

About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.

MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Brown, UO strategic communications, 541-346-3185, julbrown@uoregon.edu

SOURCES: Paul Swangard, managing director, Warsaw Center, 541-346-3262, pswangar@uoregon.edu; T. Bettina Cornwell, Edwin E. and June Woldt Cone Professor of Marketing, 541-346-8241, tbc@uoregon.edu

Note: The University of Oregon is equipped with an on-campus television studio with satellite uplink capacity, and a radio studio with an ISDN phone line for broadcast-quality radio interviews.

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Warsaw Center student