As the sports industry in the United States thrives, the competition for positions on the operations side of basketball, football, and hockey franchises and leagues has become unprecedentedly fierce. An analytic skill set has become a requirement for sports business professionals to stand out from other candidates, says Russel Scibetti, a lecturer in Columbia University’s M.S. in Sports Management program and vice president of strategy and business intelligence for the New York Giants. A number of universities have expanded their sports management programs with a strong emphasis on data analysis to meet this demand.
Scibetti says half of his students plan on pursuing jobs in analytics, while the others know they will need the skill for a field that is relying more on business intelligence in all departments in an organization.
“Even if you’re not focused on a career in analytics, it’s almost like it should be a requirement that you get just a little bit of it,” says Scibetti. “They’re all going to work with [business intelligence]. If they’re not in my department, guess what, I’m still going to be working with them. Business intelligence works with everyone. So, even from a generalist’s perspective they need to have that awareness and programs that still make that part of the baseline.”