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Sunday, Sep 24, 2017
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Lightning, USF team up for sports-based MBA

TAMPA - The Tampa Bay Lightning announced Thursday they will help create a master's in business administration in sport and entertainment management at the University of South Florida. The program will start in August with an estimated 30 students and will have two fulltime professors. The university also will bring in business executives as visiting professors. The Lightning Foundation will provide USF with a grant to assist with faculty salaries and student fellowships. The program will be a public-private partnership. The cost wasn't released Thursday, but William Sutton, who will direct USF's MBA in sport and entertainment management, said he will be seeking corporate sponsors.
"My job is to take talent, develop talent and help them to find their first position," said Sutton, who did a similar stint at the University of Central Florida and was a former vice president of team marketing with the National Basketball Association. "I'm kind of like Moses and (will) lead them to the promised land, which is employment," he said. He said the area is a good fit to create a study on sport management and entertainment because of the professional teams in the area. In the two-year program, students will be asked to complete two internships. Course work will include management, finance, marketing, information systems and accounting. Jeff Vinik, the Lightning's chairman and governor, said talks between the Lightning and USF started about a year ago. Both organizations, he said, work well together because they have aspirations of being "a world class operation." "Why not support a great school and a major economic force in the area?" Vinik said.

jpatino@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7659

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