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Factory Sports and Cape Henlopen High School developing tomorrow’s leaders in the sport industry

October 14, 2019

The next generation of successful leaders in the sports industry can be among our region right now.

Sport Management is the field of business dealing with sports and recreation. It was first developed by then Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley. Prior to moving the Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1958, O’Malley would hold seminars at Columbia University to discuss the Business of Baseball. He was disappointed with the lack of trained individuals to work for his Brooklyn franchise. The professor with whom he worked with at Columbia University was Dr. Clifford Brownell. After the Dodgers left Brooklyn, Dr. Brownell would discuss these classes and the idea of teaching the business of sport with one of his PhD students, James Mason. It was O’Malley’s vision, Dr. Brownell’s memory, and Dr. James Mason’s entrepreneur spirit that lead to the creation of the worlds first Sport Management Program in 1966 at Ohio University. 

The business of sport is only growing in the United States and there are not any signs of it slowing. For example, from 1980 to 2010 there were only 3 university degree programs. In 2014, there were well over 300 such programs offered at colleges and universities. The initial scope of such programs were aimed at specifically at professional sports and today we are seeing sport from recreational leagues to eSports take center stage. The sport industry has grown to include areas such as; analytics, legalized gambling, and retail.

The Cape region has well established roots in the hospitality, medical, and teaching fields. However, there was not a strong presence in recreation and sport. Fortunately, with the growth of Factory Sports, the presence of DE Turf and Sports at the Beach, and the new development taking place at Sand Hill Fields, the region is experiencing a growth in sports tourism. Our area students are now growing up with these facilities in their childhood and are taking an interest in the business of sport as they enter high school. This is where Cape Henlopen High School and Factory Sports have partnered to fill a void.  The 2019-2020 academic year marks the first year in which high school students who have an interest in Sport Management will be able to take place in a Career Pathway Program that will help them gain experience in the field as they enter college. 

Factory Sports currently works with; Abby Kane, Abbey Hearn, Carlin Quinn, and Levi Clifton from Cape Henlopen High School. The four students spend portions of their day working in the recreation and sports industry. The students tasks vary from program planning to marketing, as well as coaching and working the front desk. 

The Career Pathways Program at CHHS currently has pathways in hospitality management, the medical and healthcare industry, as well as education. It is open to high school seniors who have met certain requirements to be eligible to participate.