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Diving into the economics of sports

May 21, 2015 In Lakeland University Blog
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Eastern Wisconsin is rich in highly profitable pro sports franchises and events, making this a fertile area for the interactive study of both.

Lakeland College takes advantage of its close proximity to big-time sports by offering dynamic courses such as Economics of Sports, a May Term class that dives into the all-important financial aspect of America’s pastimes.

Recently, Scott Niederjohn, Lakeland’s Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust Associate Professor of Business Administration, took his Economics of Sports class to Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers.

After a stadium tour, the Lakeland contingent met with Mike Duckett, executive director of the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District. Duckett serves as a liaison between the Brewers, Miller Park and the taxpayers from five counties who financed the new stadium through a 0.1 percent sales tax.

“We discussed how Miller Park helps the Brewers maximize revenue, how the public financing side of the stadium is structured and the financial relationship between the Brewers and the Miller Park Stadium District,” Niederjohn said.

Niederjohn’s Economics of Sports class regularly leaves campus to learn. In past years, the group traveled to Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, and met with Russ Ball, vice president of football administration/player finance.

Earlier this month, the class spent a morning visiting with Jason Mengel, championship director for the 2015 PGA Championship, at the PGA of America’s temporary headquarters at Whistling Straits Golf Course near Sheboygan. Whistling Straits is hosting the 2015 PGA Championship in August.

“One of the things that makes this such a great class is that students are interacting so regularly with experts in the sports industry,” said Niederjohn, adding that his students often speak with key decision-makers about internships.

“A class like this is much less effective if it’s all classroom theory. The beauty of May Term is that there’s one class a day, so we can leave campus and take advantage of these great opportunities in our backyard.”

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