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Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program Ranked Fourth Best in the World

By Keith Morelli

Ranked No. 4 Worldwide

TAMPA (June 7, 2018) -- The Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program jumped 15 spots in a newly released ranking by SportBusiness International and was named in the most recent issue as the fourth best program in the world and the top program in Florida.

The dual-degree graduate program, which boasts a near 100 percent job placement rate for its graduates, got the news last month, but could not reveal the results until this week. SportBusiness International is an online publication that helps sports and entertainment industry leaders stay abreast of market trends through intelligence, data and analytics. A print copy of the edition will be available next month.

Last year, the USF program ranked No. 19 in the world and No. 13 in the United States.

"To be ranked by SportBusiness International as the No. 4 sport/business graduate program in the world is a great honor as we prepare to begin only the seventh year of our program," said Bill Sutton program founder and director. The programs ranked first and second in the survey each have been in place for more than 50 years.

"What we have been able to accomplish in such a short time is a tribute to our faculty, our great university having incredible students and partnering with some of the best companies and organizations in the Tampa Bay area," he said, "most notably our proud founding and naming partner, the Tampa Bay Lightning's owners, Jeff and Penny Vinik. Our partners always emphasize the importance of associating with the best brands and we now can say that we are among them."

SportBusiness International analysts sifted through more than 1,300 survey responses from alumni and course leaders of 75 universities around the world to arrive at the top 40. The 7-year-old program in the Muma College of Business issues graduates a master's degree in sport and entertainment management and an MBA. Nearly every single graduate since the program began has landed a job in the field within three months of graduation.

The program, which was named the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program last fall after the Vinik family donated more than $6 million to its cause, was ranked among the top 20 last year on the SportBusiness International list that included public and private universities.

The rankings assess programs based on the overall quality of the student education, taking into account course content, standard of teaching, number and standing of guest speakers, provision and quality of work placements and internships as well as alumni support.

"The biggest riser in the list is the University of South Florida, which is up to fourth this year, having made its debut at 19th in 2017," the magazine said in its edition released Thursday. "USF only began its postgraduate sport management program in 2012, the year this list was founded."

After the 2017 rankings came out, Sutton said: "We consider ourselves capable of being ranked much higher. Top 20 is nice, but top 10 and eventually top five are where we have our sights set and in time, we will be there."

It took less time than he thought.

The rankings also take into account student satisfaction, number of students employed within six months of graduation, the course leader, the domestic and international student ratio, gender ratio, languages used to teach, average salary of graduates three years after graduation and work placement.

"We are extremely humbled and proud to have the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program ranked as the fourth best sports business program in the world," said Mike Mondello, associate program director and professor. "Our rapid rise in the international rankings can be attributed to having a great faculty, talented students and engaged alumni who take great pride in being associated with such a successful but young program.

"Looking forward," he said, "we must continue to actively recruit highly motivated students, serve our program partners and stay humble and hungry."