February 1, 2023

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The Sports Fanatics

New sports management program at UNLV prepares students to enter growing local industry | Las Vegas Sports

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) — Residents in the Las Vegas Valley have had a front row seat to the blossoming sports scene as more professional teams have flocked to Las Vegas.

In the last five years an NHL, NFL and WNBA team have all made roots in Las Vegas, and the students in the new sports management program at UNLV could be the future executives and marketing minds of those teams.

The professional and intercollegiate sports management program was granted the green light in the spring. Dr. Nancy Lough has had the goal to bring the program to UNLV for years.

“The teams came to town. The governor took notice, the president of our university took notice, and all of a sudden we had the momentum in place to go ahead and start a new sports management program in Las Vegas,” Lough, the program coordinator, said.

The inaugural class is only 13 graduate students. Wednesday night inside the Bennett Professional Building on campus, Lough lectured her class of students on marketing. They discussed branding and used examples straight from Las Vegas sports teams.

“We are now aspiring to be the intellectual leader in sports and entertainment globally,” Lough said. “In order to be able to do that you have to create a workforce, and have a university that can provide students to be a part of that workforce.”

Many of the students chose this program specifically because of the new sports opportunities.

“Over the next couple years we can see that an MLB team may be on the way,” student Chris Nelson said. “An NBA team might be on the way. It’s not a matter of if we’re going to get one but when.”

University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is featured at 4505 S Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89154 on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020.

The students in this program have dreams of marketing, media and data analytics for local sports teams. It starts with volunteer and internship opportunities, like when the NHL All Star game comes to town next February or the NFL Draft.

“It’s all about networking,” Nelson said. “There are just different events that are coming to town that we know are going to provide opportunity … I think one of the positive things I’ve heard from people in the industry is they really want folks that are students, and folks in their organization that really understand Las Vegas”

That could give these students an upper hand when they enter the workforce.

Lough says right now is the perfect time to start this program, especially as sports technology is growing. A new group of students are currently enrolling to start in the program in the spring.