Panelists talk to the audience during a panel regarding ethics in sports media inside Annenberg Auditorium on October 23, 2014.
USC Annenberg

Minor Key: Sports Media Studies Minor Examines Sports Industry and Impact on Society

With USC’s reputation for excellent athletic programs, it’s no wonder some students have aspirations to work in the ever-growing sports industry.

For this reason, Professor Dan Durbin proposed USC Annenberg’s Sports Media Studies minor in 2009. It gives students the opportunity to study sports from a number of perspectives, specifically those pertaining to media and society.

According to Durbin — who also founded the Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media & Society —  students examine the impact of sports on society, how athletes can be a gage of social change, and “how they can successfully communicate about sports and sell sports to a larger audience.”

He added that the popularity of the minor now recognizes two things: “One, that many students have an interest in working, one way or another, in the sports industry, and two, that sports have become a really serious subject for academic study.”

The introductory courses for the minor are COMM 381: “Issues in Contemporary Sport,” and COMM 383: “Sports, Communication and Culture,” which satisfies the university’s diversity requirement and is taught by Durbin.

“It really is the foundational course for getting people to really understand the language of sports study and how sports have evolved as a mediated form of communication,” Durbin said.

From producing sports programming to marketing and branding for sports organizations, students who complete the minor have a number of career options within the sports industry.

“This degree will highlight your special skills and your special knowledge in an area that will be valuable to you, both in helping you find jobs, but also for breaking through glass ceilings in your current employment,” Durbin said.

Evan Budrovich, a senior Broadcast Journalism major, said the minor has given him “an in-depth look at some of the unique perspectives that forge sports with culture, ethics, politics and a whole slew of other important issues.”

He added that while his favorite class was JOUR 380: “Sports, Business and Media in Today’s Society” with Professor Jeff Fellenzer, the entire curriculum is “engaging, entertaining and provides a great avenue to channel [his] passion for sports with educational and worthwhile information on some critical topics.”