Experiential learning is an important part of preparation to work in the sports industry. Class projects allow students to develop, recommend, and present solutions to sports business challenges provided by industry partners, whose managers attend and critique these projects each semester. The projects are provided by major and minor league sports teams, sports media and marketing companies, corporations using sports to support their business plans, and others. Another example of this learning approach was a Mock Baseball Arbitration project involving business and law students acting on behalf of major league baseball teams and players.
Guest speakers from the sports industry annually bring their experiences to Penn State classrooms, on-campus programs, panels, and seminars. This is an area where Penn State benefits from its large pool of alumni and contacts who work in a wide variety of jobs with teams, leagues, media companies, agents and sports-related and involved corporations.
Since 2007, a number of sports industry leaders from professional teams, sports media companies, and corporations whose business models include sports marketing have been on campus as guest speakers, panelists, and to provide and listen to feedback from students involved in projects on their behalf. Among the many visitors have been former NFL GM Ernie Accorsi, Sports Capital Partners Worldwide Principal Chris Bevilacqua, Pittsburgh Pirates CEO Frank Coonley and EVP/CFO Jim Plake, Pittsburgh sports attorney and Altoona Curve LC Managing Director Chuck Greenberg, Philadelphia Phillies Marketing Director Kurt Funk, long-time Anheuser Busch Marketing Executive Tom Sharbaugh, former PGA Champions Tour President Mike Stevens, NFL VP of Club Development Brian Lafemina, etc.