by Chloe Bachman
Students in Rochester University’s Sports Marketing class this semester are participating in a one-of-a-kind opportunity with the Milwaukee Way Sales Academy, which is a four-week online workshop with Milwaukee Bucks’ sales personnel.
The Milwaukee Bucks are the reigning champions of the NBA after defeating the Phoenix Suns in six games in July 2021 to take the title. The Bucks are also a leader in sales development in professional sports, and the purpose of the academy is to learn sales techniques and to participate in mock sales calls with Bucks’ sales employees.
The 30 students in Sports Marketing class interact with the Bucks’ teachers through weekly online sessions. They learn about how to execute a sale and how to handle possible obstacles during the selling process. The Bucks focus on helping students learn how to make strong introductions, build rapport and transition to a close, react to objections, and participate in individualized coaching. Students also receive course credit by writing reflection journals based upon what they learned each week.
Dave Hutson, associate professor of sports management and teacher of Sports Marketing, said the sales academy benefits all students, even those who don’t want to go into professional sports or sales.
“You are going to be selling something in the course of your career whether it be selling yourself in an interview or selling your program as a coach. There are just lots of ways you are going to be selling things and building relationships with people and that is what this whole course is about,” he said.
Christian Frazier, a senior mass communication major who is taking the course, said, “It’s not every day you get to learn from a professional organization, let alone a championship-winning organization. I am excited to learn more from their organization and its guest speakers through the four-week course.”
Hutson said an anonymous donor paid for RU students to participate in the Milwaukee Way Sales Academy. Students focus on the sales academy for four weeks, and they focus on other marketing topics, such as understanding sports consumers, segmentation, branding, sponsorship programs, event marketing, promotions, and implementation of sports marketing plans during the remainder of the 16-week course.
RU’s sports management degree was started in 1999 and it is housed in the School of Business. Students complete a BBA degree in sports management, which combines core courses in business and specific courses in sports management. The major currently is the third largest at RU behind early childhood studies and psychology.