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WKU announces online graduate program in Sport Media & Branding

Beginning this fall, the WKU Department of Kinesiology, Recreation & Sport (KRS) will expand the concentrations available through the M.S. in Recreation & Sports Administration. Through a partnership with WKU’s School of Journalism & Broadcasting, KRS will offer an online concentration in Sport Media & Branding.

“This joint effort is academically rigorous and uniquely the first of its kind,” said KRS Professor William Hey.

The M.S. in Recreation & Sport Administration with a concentration in Sport Media & Branding is a two-year, 33-credit-hour online program that will engage students in sport media relations and digital media production and distribution, as well as sport branding and sponsorships. According to Hey, the program will provide unique opportunities. “The job prospects for graduates of this program extend globally,” Hey said. “Partnerships are also being established with leading professional organizations to provide students additional experiences.”

Public Relations Associate Professor Ken Payne said this program fills a niche in the sport management field that hasn’t been met by other programs across the United States. “Considering the size and scope of the sport and recreation marketplace, it was surprising to me to find such a void in higher education for an advanced degree in sport media and branding,” Payne said. “I believe the response to this degree offering will be strong, especially considering the entire program can be completed online.”

Plans for the new graduate program began when Dr. Randy Deere from KRS initiated discussions with Journalism & Broadcasting faculty — including Payne, Cliff Shaluta, Vicki Bagwell and Jo-Anne Ryan — who were instrumental in developing the program and seeing it through the curriculum process. “The opportunity to combine our media and branding expertise with an established and highly-regarded online master’s program in sport and recreation administration was simply too compelling to pass up. It’s a perfect fit,” Payne said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment projects a 12 percent increase in the need for sports marketing managers by 2018, with sports public relations specialists growing 24 percent nationally, and 22 percent in Kentucky for the same timeframe. “The sport media landscape has been transformed in the last decade with the emergence of social media, mobile technology, and a relentless 24/7 news cycle,” Payne said. “This degree will prepare graduates for jobs that have yet to be created in the sport media and branding workplace.”

For information, visit www.wku.edu/cohort/ms-sportmedia/13 or contact Amy Fitzpatrick at (270) 745-2710.

Contact: Susan Esters, (270) 745-8922

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