Western Illinois University’s Sport Management graduate program is gearing up for a festive 2022-23 academic year, expanding to Moline in fall 2022.

This program is one of the oldest and most established Sport Management graduate programs in the nation, and the M.S. degree will mark its 50th anniversary this fall, according to a WIU release.

Western will begin offering the master’s degree program in Sport Management at the Moline campus, beginning in fall 2022. Courses will be offered virtually via livestream, in-person and online formats.

Western Illinois University’s sports management graduate program can lead to careers in sports broadcasting.

WIU Kinesiology Chair Renne Polubinsky said the degree will offer graduate students the opportunity to tap into the rich and diverse sporting landscape of the tri-state area and help meet the needs of area employers.

“This exciting news will give students in the Quad Cities region the chance to stay local and at home, as largely indicated in our survey that we had disseminated among students in the region as part of our needs assessment,” said Polubinsky.

The Western Illinois University Quad Cities campus is at 3300 River Drive, Moline.

In addition, Sport Management Professor Katja Sonkeng hopes that the program, with its long tradition, history and strong reputation in the sport industry, will bring vibrant community engagement to the QC campus and mutually beneficial partnerships with regional sport giants, such as TBK Bank Sports Complex and the Two Rivers YMCA.

To accomplish this, Professor Sonkeng will be relocating in August to lead the program as a permanent presence in Moline, while Sport Management Professor Jin Park will be leading the program from the Macomb campus.

Katja Sonkeng, Western Illinois University assistant professor of sport management

“There are endless career opportunities for future sport professionals. Students may pursue employment at all levels of sport, recreation and fitness. Most often, however, students aspire to become athletic directors on the interscholastic or collegiate levels,” said Sonkeng.

Many graduates of the program now hold prestigious leadership roles across the sport industry and in academia, including a position as a general manager of a professional sport franchise, public relations coordinator, athletic directors, athletic communications directors, and a vice president of communications.

Kristi Mindrup, WIU Vice President of QC Campus Operations, said expanding the Sport Management program to the Moline campus as the program celebrates its 50th anniversary comes at an exciting time.

“Programs offered at the Quad Cities campus are intended to align with both student interest and community needs,” said Mindrup. “The announcement of TBK Sports Complex expansion, along with a rich tradition of sports-focused venues, programs, teams and events opens the door for WIU and our current and future partners to create new learning experiences and career pathways for students who will contribute to the future of sports in the Quad Cities region and beyond.”

Students can apply to be a part of this major now. For more information about the program, visit wiu.edu/coehs/kinesiology/graduate_programs/sm/ or email wiu-qc-admissions@wiu.edu.