Working in the sports industry is incredibly alluring, yet notoriously hard to crack. Ever since the Oakland A’s Billy Beane used his “Moneyball” big data analytic approach to successfully compete against MLB big spenders, analytics across the world of sports has exploded. Teams are using analytics to improve the fan experience and team performance. From customized game day experiences for fans to optimal game strategy for teams, the world of sports is experiencing a major paradigm shift thanks to big data.
It is common for sports teams at the professional and college level to have two different sports analytics departments. One department focuses on business-oriented application of data and includes analytics for ticket pricing, sponsorship activation effectiveness, fan loyalty analysis, promotions, social media, fan engagement and operations management. The second department focuses on player and team performance and includes optimal lineup analysis, player scoring for recruiting and draft analysis, player salary optimization, simulation of games and analysis of game tactics.
To prepare individuals for a career in one of these exciting fields, Samford's Center for Sports Analytics partners with Brock School of Business to offer rigorous sports analytics curricula for mathematically gifted and highly motived candidates paired with a real-world analytics internship in the sports industry.
Analytics Track Options
- Sports Business Analytics Track (Marketing Focus)
- Sports Business Analytics Track (Finance Focus)
- Player and Team Performance Analytics Track
Preferred Internship Program
The Center for Sports Analytics Preferred Internship Program offers exclusive internships to students seeking to complete one of the three sports analytics career preparation tracks. Students should apply at the end of their sophomore year and must maintain a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0 to qualify.
Current Students Application Process
Students are selected annually through a rigorous application process in the spring of their sophomore year. The program seeks students who have demonstrated high standards of scholarship, outstanding personal character, and serious educational aims. Admission to the program involves a careful analysis of (1) academic records, (2) character references, (3) clarity of educational purpose, and (4) extracurricular activities which reflect the applicant’s potential for success in the highly competitive sports industry.
GPA Requirement and Application Deadline
Students may apply for admission to the program during their sophomore year if they have an overall GPA of 3.0 or above. Spots in the program are limited. In order to receive full consideration, applicants must have their application and recommendation letters completed no later than February 1st. However, the Admission Committee prefers students to complete the application early in the fall semester to give them time to get to know the candidates before the February 1st deadline. Students that apply after February 1st will be placed on a waiting list and only admitted if a spot comes open in the subsequent year.
Applicants with an overall GPA below 3.0 should turn in an application before the February 1st deadline and then plan to take MARK 301 and DATA 301 during the summer or fall of their junior year. On rare occasions students with an overall GPA below 3.0 have been admitted if a spot is open and they perform well in MARK 301, DATA 200, DATA 201, and DATA 301.
Admission into the Brock School of Business
Students applying to gain admission into one of the three sports analytics tracks are simultaneously applying for admission into the sports marketing program in the Brock School of Business. Thus, students must gain admission into the Brock School of Business in order to participate in the sports analytics program. Students admitted into the sports analytics program are “deferred” and cannot start the program until admission into the Brock School of Business is accomplished. Students who successfully complete the program will graduate with one of the six Brock School of Business majors (marketing, finance, economics, management, entrepreneurship, accounting) and concentrations in both sports marketing and data analytics.
Please turn in the completed application to Dr. Darin White in 301 H Brock School of Business. Students should also ensure that their LinkedIn page is complete as it will be viewed by the Admission Committee as part of the process.
Entering Freshmen Early Assurance Program
Entering freshmen are invited to apply for early assurance into the Sports Analytics Program in the Brock School of Business. In order to apply for early assurance to the Sports Analytics Program, students must apply to Samford University through the Office of Admission and have declared a major within the Brock School of Business. Follow these steps and timeline to ensure that you submit the required materials and meet appropriate deadlines:
- Submit The Common Application or Samford University Application declaring a major within the Brock School of Business. Any major within the Brock School of Business is sufficient, however, we recommend marketing, finance or economics depending on which sports analytics track you are most interested in.
- Submit the Sports Analytics application which will appear on your Application Status Page checklist once you have been accepted to Samford University and have declared a major in the Brock School of Business.
- All applicants accepted to Samford University by Feb. 15 that have also submitted the additional Sports Marketing application by Feb. 15 will be voted on at the March Sports Marketing/Sports Analytics Early Assurance Committee meeting. Notifications will be sent to the students by April 1.
- Students that do not apply for early assurance or that are not accepted into the early assurance program during their senior year in high school must wait until their sophomore year at Samford to apply.
In fall 2021, Samford will launch an innovative new initiative, Project Samson. In partnership with Samford University Athletics, Center for Sports Analytics, American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), and Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, Project Samson seeks to provide enhanced opportunities for Samford students across both athletics and academic programs, including internships, clinical placements, and extracurricular learning. This initiative will bring the latest technology, data analysis, and sports medicine practices together to enhance student learning in this program.