FAU MBA Sport Management Climbs in World Rankings

By paul owers | 9/23/2021

Florida Atlantic University’s MBA Sport Management program improved by 11 spots in a ranking of the world’s Top 40 postgraduate sport management degrees.

FAU moved to No. 19 for 2021 from No. 30 last year and was one of only three Florida universities included in the rankings by SportBusiness, a London-based global intelligence service. The full rankings can be viewed here.

SportBusiness said the current rankings are based on two surveys, one by course officials and the other by alumni who graduated in 2018. In compiling the rankings, the company also worked more closely with an eight-person advisory board that suggested tweaks to the scoring, with increased weight given to students’ salaries.

“The 2021 ranking is a true testament to the outstanding quality and professional achievement of the members of the class of 2018,” said James Riordan, Ph.D., director of FAU’s MBA Sport Management program. “These individuals were among the top students ever to earn their degrees from us. Their actions always spoke louder than their words.”

FAU’s sport management program, founded by Riordan in 2000, never has finished lower than No. 30 in SportBusiness’ world rankings.

“We are delighted with this recognition of our MBA Sport Management program,” said Daniel Gropper, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s College of Business. “With his great industry partners, Dr. James Riordan has built a top-notch degree that prepares students for meaningful careers in the highly competitive sports industry. I am also pleased that the state of Florida has three of the Top 20 programs -- USF, UCF and FAU.”

Riordan has more than 25 years of experience in sport, event, facility and entertainment management. He was the former chair of FAU’s Athletic Advisory Board and currently is chair of the FAU Institutional Performance sub-committee.

To augment classroom instruction, he regularly organizes presentations for the MBA Sport students, attracting celebrities, coaches and executives. Recent speakers include: Lane Kiffin, current head football coach at Ole Miss and former FAU football coach; former Duke University women’s basketball coach Joanne P. McCallie; and Richard Krezwick, renowned stadium and arena executive, former president of the New Jersey Devils, and executive vice president of the Boston Bruins.

FAU MBA Sport alumni who have been hired to prominent positions include: Jared Romance, assistant director of championships for the Atlantic Coast Conference; Stephen Minichiello, manager of corporate marketing for the Pittsburgh Penguins; and Rachel Rodriguez, director of student athlete development/life skills for East Carolina University.

“We have so many great alums occupying top-tier executive positions, and our degree has played a pivotal role in the professional success of these individuals,” Riordan said.