The business behind the ballgame: Course will teach how to run an NFL franchise

From cellular biology to English literature to music theory, Rice University students can learn about all kinds of subjects. This semester, one more topic has been added to the course catalog: A lucky group of students will learn how to run an NFL franchise, from the experts themselves.

Image credit: Houston Texans

Image credit: Houston Texans

Thanks to a partnership with the Houston Texans, Rice sport management students will take part in Pro Sports: Management, a course designed to teach the business behind the ballgame. Students will learn from members of the Texans administrative staff about the ins and outs of running a professional sports franchise. Diane Crossey, a professor in the practice in the Department of Sport Management, is the Rice faculty instructor for the course. Before joining Rice in 2015, she worked for the Texans for 13 years.

The weekly class, held inside the executive offices of the Texans, will include sessions on ticketing, public relations, event management, human resources and more. Students will be required to develop and deliver weekly presentations on these and other relevant topics. Toward the end of the semester, students will work at a Texans home game alongside administrative staff. The final class project will include a reflective writing assignment.

“We are thrilled to partner with Rice University on a curriculum that will provide their best and brightest students with insight into the real-world opportunities and challenges facing today’s sports teams,” said Houston Texans President Jamey Rootes. “This program is rather unique because our leading executives will work alongside Rice professors to teach current best practices in franchise management across every discipline. We believe that this type of practical industry exposure is the best way to prepare the next generation of leaders in the field of sports management and a valuable contribution to the level of professionalism within our industry.”

“In the Department of Sport Management, we always look for new ways to challenge our students,” said Clark Haptonstall, chair of the department. “Having them work directly with executives for the Houston Texans, on real-world projects, is going to push our students to show their capabilities.

“Diane is the perfect person to teach this course. In addition to being a tremendous instructor, her years of success working in the Houston Texans front office is extremely valuable to our students.”

At the completion of the course, students will be able to understand the challenges, risks and opportunities facing the various operating departments of professional sports teams and develop problem-solving skills and solutions to meet team goals.

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.