By Zach Saalfeld – William Jewell College offers diverse curriculum to its students. William Jewell promotes and encourages its students to take courses outside of their discipline, in order to broaden their educational experience. When students take electives outside of their major it creates a better learning experience and promotes critical thinking. The course, “The Business of Sports” is a Business elective but can also be taken for students whom are not Business majors. Overall, students taking electives in which they have an interest captures the full college experience.
During spring semester 2018 William Jewell offered a course named “The Business of Sports”, taught by Mr. Tyler Prochnow. Mr. Prochnow has a diverse background. He previously was an attorney but is no longer practicing as he is currently a founder of the company, Think Big Partners. Think Big Partners helps entrepreneurs create game-changing companies and technologies to grow faster and more efficiently out of its Kansas City main office. In addition to this, he also previously founded and owned the Kansas City Brigade of the Arena Football League.
This background has helped build his exceptional knowledge in the sports industry and led him to consulting for other prospective professional sports owners. Through Think Big Partners he came in touch with William Jewell College Economics Professor Gregg Whittaker, Ph.D. Prochnow was previously a guest speaker for one of Whittaker’s classes and was impressed with the Jewell student body. Mr. Prochnow said, “I always wanted to give back to the community and this opportunity to teach at William Jewell is an ideal opportunity for me.”
The primary objective of “The Business of Sports” is to provide students with a comprehensive exposure to the significant topics facing the sports business industry. It was added to the curriculum due to the extreme interest in sports as a majority of Jewell’s student body consists of student-athletes. This is the first time Jewell has offered the course. According to Dr. Kelli Schutte, Chair of The Department of Business and Leadership, “From what I have heard, students are enjoying the class, and it is bursting at the seams.” The course will be offered again in the spring of 2019. Prochnow wishes to expand the class and dive into different areas. If possible, he would like to offer this course to students in conjunction with some other classes to tie the material in better.
The course covers a variety of different topics. The semester begins by introducing the students to the sports business regarding teams, leagues, agencies, corporate and governing bodies. It later dives into the selling in sports such as season and single-game tickets, suites, teams, and also addresses the role of agents. Over the course of the rest of the semester, the class goes in-depth in the finance and economic principles of sports, legal issues, marketing and many other different segments. “If you have any interest in getting into sports business, take ‘The Business of Sports’ because it will answer any and all of your questions,” said student Garrison Fields. Prochnow’s biggest advice to students wanting to enter the sports business is to, “Leave your fandom at the door. This is business.” Another student who took the course Christian Chalabi said, “The Business of Sports’ was an outstanding class because our professor could relate the topics we were discussing to personal experiences.” This course allows students to relate to their interest in sports even if they are not collegiate athletes, and understand the economics and workings of the sports business.