Gashaw Abeza, assistant professor in TU’s kinesiology department, is fascinated by
the complexity of sport management. The sports industry offers Abeza a wealth of research options — global finance,
data mining, marketing techniques and the impact of the industry on society.
Abeza describes the phenomenal growth of the sports industry in terms that are eye-opening.
According to him, sponsorship spending in North America in 2018 totaled $23 billion,
which is larger than the gross domestic product (GDP) of some countries. In 2017,
Canada’s Scotia Bank signed a lucrative 20-year naming right deal with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment for CD $800 million. Such growth offers huge financial rewards to companies and exciting
opportunities for sports-minded individuals in marketing, administration, human kinetics,
kinesiology and physical education.
Abeza reminds the students who take his sport marketing course that “sport” does not
necessarily have to mean professional level. To fully use their skills, students are
encouraged to look more broadly to college sports, parks and recreation, niche sports
and international organizations. Luckily TU is on top of the game in terms of preparation.
“We prepare students both theoretically and practically in different areas of the
industry. We give them foundational knowledge in class and place them in internships,”
Abeza’s interest in sport marketing is grounded and buttressed by research. He served
as a sports marketer for eight years and does research in three areas: consumers/fans,
platforms/digital media and organizations/sports entities. His research efforts cover
a wide range of topics, including consumer behavior, branding, and the application
of data mining and analytics software programs. Overall, he is interested in how the
digital world is impacting sport industry and the implications of those impacts on
society. For anyone who thought sports marketing was merely putting a team logo on
a ball cap, Abeza’s course would quickly put that theory to rest.