Business Of Sport Features Spring Break Trip To Spain

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Bullfighting, MotoGP, Futbol (soccer), Flamenco dancing, sailing, Royal Palace, and herding cats. What do these things have in common? They are, or will be, fond memories from Spring 2015’s BUS X255: The Business of Sport. This new course will meet on six Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature a spring break trip to Madrid and Barcelona, Spain.

So where does the herding of cats fit in? No, it’s not a national sport of Spain. However it is what it felt like to get this course on the class schedule. I have offered new courses before, but when they feature a study abroad element the process is much more daunting.

The idea of the class came from promptings by KSBI’s own Eric Raider. His passion for developing multiple opportunities for our students to study abroad is contagious. We hashed out various sites initially, starting with Greece. While going to Greece is definitely appealing, the country’s main contribution to the sport industry is historical. I just couldn't find enough relevant sites and businesses to visit for viable academic content. After a few more ideas, we finally decided that Spain has the most to offer students studying the business of sport. The decision was made, Deans Phil Cochran and Ken Carow signed off on it, and then the real work began. That first cat wasn’t very difficult to herd.

Before going further, we met with Jay Gladden, the Dean of PETM (Physical Education and Tourism Management). We wanted to be sure we weren't encroaching on any of their courses and also to offer course admittance to their Sports Management majors. That meeting went very well and we look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship in the years to come. At this point, I’m feeling good … two cats are not much trouble.

The next step was to get approval from the IU Study Abroad office. While the individuals we worked with were very helpful and enjoyable, I can’t say the same about the process. Multiple sets of paperwork including a 15-page proposal needed to be submitted, revised and resubmitted, and then revised and resubmitted one more time. As a "git-er-done" type of person, this time-consuming process was extremely frustrating. I had other things to work on (developing contacts, determining costs, working with the tour company) but I couldn't do any of those until we had approval. We had trouble getting approval until those things were settled. UGH. At this point I felt as though at least three more cats were added to our herd thus making my head spin at an ever-increasing rate.

August 18, 2014 – the day approval was finally given! There wasn't much time to celebrate, though, as we had less than one week to work with the tour company and other contacts to get the itinerary, and prices, as firmly set as possible. There will be changes up to and probably during the trip, but at least we have a valid working document. In addition to sightseeing tours in both cities, we will be visiting Dorna Sports, known worldwide for their Sport Management expertise, but specifically in MotoGP. Dorna was also nice enough to arrange for us to go to the Barcelona Oceanic Foundation where we will learn about the current preparations for the around-the-world, two-person sailboat regatta, the Barcelona World Race. In addition we will visit the Adidas Soccer Training Facility in Madrid, the Circuit de Barcelona, and one other site that has not been confirmed. We also have tickets to a futbol match, bullfighting, and flamenco dancing. The herd is starting to be more manageable and lovable.

The course isn't all about the trip. The trip is meant to increase students’ understanding and awareness of the global nature of the sports industry, as well as recognizing the contribution from other countries. During our class in Indianapolis we will be looking at professional, collegiate, and amateur athletic industries. There will be guest speakers, as well as field trips (IMS is confirmed!). The course is not about sports. The course is not about Spain. The course is about the business of sport from a multicultural perspective.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey!

Disclaimer: no cats were harmed during the process of creating this course.