First-of-its-kind sports product program ready for applicants

Applications are now being accepted for the fall launch of the UO’s new Sports Product Management Program in Portland. 

"This is a great moment inaugurating a new program that combines global engagement with intensive hands-on and cutting edge learning for innovation,” said Frances Bronet, UO acting senior vice president and provost. “This master’s of science degree in sports product management will enhance Portland and the state’s identity as a trailblazer in the industry and as a gateway for international leadership. We also benefit from our connection to Portland State University and look forward to collaborating to offer the best resources for our students."

Oregon is home to more than 800 sports product-related companies, with 90 percent located in the Portland metro area. Companies like Nike, adidas, Columbia Sportswear, Dakine and KEEN Footwear have headquarters there, creating a significant impact on the regional economy.

“Industry leaders conveyed the need for highly specialized graduates in the field,” said Kees de Kluyver, dean of UO’s Charles H. Lundquist College of Business. “It made sense for the business school to respond by creating a program to prepare our students to meet the employment and knowledge needs of a robust and growing industry.”

Students admitted to the 18-month program will learn the consumer-driven business of sports products through the complete product life cycle, with significant focus on innovation, international and sustainability. They will engage in theory and hands-on practice while gaining high-demand skills.

Graduates will be prepared for positions such as product line management, merchandising manager, product development, brand management, sustainable supply chain management and more.   

"This program will give our students direct connections to top talent in the industry. Many of our instructors are not only leaders and innovators in the sports product industry, but are also educators and experts," said Ellen Schmidt-Devlin, director of the Sports Product Management Program and a 30-year veteran of the industry. "Our advisory board is made up of sports product executives who helped us shape this program to educate students to be an integral part of the companies they will work for after graduation." 

Students will have access to the White Stag Innovation Lab, a product-making space with specialized equipment to design, make and test prototype sports footwear, apparel and equipment. The lab is located near the White Stag Block, home to most of the UO’s Portland programs.

A Retail Innovation Store is planned and will give students a hands-on experience in consumer behavior analysis, store design, layout, inventory management, merchandising, profitability and retail marketing.

"Following the tradition of innovative programs, such as the creation of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center and UO Product Design Program, this new program will put the University of Oregon and Portland in the position to become the worldwide leader in sports product education and research," Schmidt-Devlin said.