By Devin Jones
The business of basketball has come to a Ryerson classroom near you.
The new class intends to bring marketing and business strategies with real world basketball experience to a lecture hall setting.
Titled ‘Global Sports Marketing: The Business of Basketball,’ the class is spearheaded by sports marketing professor Cheri Bradish, who partnered with the Toronto Raptors.
“Being downtown we’re able to enhance the profile of everything,” Bradish said. “You didn’t even have to be at the all-star game to get that feeling the city generates for basketball.”
The course is co-taught with the vice-president of basketball operations and player development, Teresa Resech. Before joining the Raptors, Resech spent time at the NBA league office from 2006 to 2011.
“I met Cheri briefly at a conference and she mentioned that there was an opportunity to teach,” Resech said. “It’s all about exposing the students to the business opportunities surronding basketball, especially in Toronto.”
Bradish noted that the idea for the class orignally came from her time teaching at Brock university where they ran a similar course on the business side of the NHL — sinspired by Toronto hosting the all-star game in 1999.
“It isn’t common for a partnership like this to happen and it’ll be really interesting to see this course develop over the next couple of years,” Bradish said. “I’m encouraged by the fact that Ryerson took a chance.”
The class, held in a lecture auditorium with space for around 150 students, is set up with an informal atmosphere in mind. Black leather seats are placed on an elevated stage, where on a weekly basis Resech moderates a panel with invited guests. The guests are all business veterans of the industry and are often friends and collegues of Resech, which adds to the friendly atmoshpere of the space.
“I try to bring in guests who fit the lesson from week to week,” Resech said. “We’re giving students exposure to industry professionals who can share their advice, which is always great.”
Timing for the course couldn’t have been better. Launched this winter semester around the same time as the NBA all-star game hosted this past Feburary, Bradish notes the added marketing relevance to the classroom proceding that specific weekend.
The relevance for basketball on campus is also at an all-time high, as Ryerson hosted the CIS championships last season. Adding to the hype surrounding basketball culture on campus, both the men’s and women’s teams are charting on the national rankings this season.
Also, students are given access to the Raptors 905 farm team based out of Mississagua, which allows for the hands-on application of marketing theories learned during lecture.
“Essentially it’s a marketing assessment, looking at the potential fans and marketing opportunities for the 905s,” Bradish said.
This past Thursday, Resceh brought in associate director of international development for the NBA, Chris Clunie, who spoke about the various development programs the league is implementing. Clunie also spoke about his career path, which led to him going back to school so he could “fill in the gaps necessary to succeed.”
As the impact of the all-star weekend subsides and the Rams head into the playoffs, Bradish and Resech continue to explore the business side of the game. And while the course isn’t directly aimed at the athletes wondering what to do post playing career, Resech does believe the course will show students that success comes in various forms.
“Ultimately I hope they learn that there’s no single path to success, in basketball or anything else,” Resceh said.