UMass Amherst’s Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management Renews Partnership with Japan’s Pacific League Marketing

Educational partnership renewed after collaborative, enriching kickoff year between top-ranked sport management program and leading Japanese professional baseball consulting agency

AMHERST, Mass. – As part of an increasingly global focus on educational partnerships, the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has renewed its consulting and educational partnership agreement with Pacific League Marketing (PLM), a joint capital investment company created by the 6 professional baseball clubs in Japan’s Pacific League.

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The partnership extension is the latest in a series of global education initiatives executed within the McCormack Center for Sport Research and Education, an interdepartmental agency focused on delivering consulting and education services to sports leagues, institutes and students worldwide. The partnership was initially brokered between Pacific League Marketing CEO Tomoki Negishi, Blue United Corporation CEO, UMass alumnus Takehiko Nakamura and McCormack Center Director Will Norton.

Amidst the ongoing pandemic, PLM and the McCormack Center successfully launched a virtually-delivered educational consulting partnership in 2020 and 2021, with the McCormack Center delivering research and best practices in sport management to PLM executives across a range of services. Content was primarily executed within 2021’s Pacific League Business School event, a two-day conference with more than 400 PLM personnel – from team employees to sponsors and PLM staff – in attendance. Starting in 2017, PLM launched the Pacific League Business School for the purpose of cultivating human resources to help lead the future of sport management excellence in Japan.

Seven McCormack full-time faculty members presented research and insights during the 2021 two-day event, facilitating open dialogue on relevant sport management theory and applications for the Japanese sporting ecosystem.

“Japanese baseball fans are passionate about the sport, and it's an honor to help those working to further that engagement,” said David Tyler, McCormack Department faculty member whose research analyzes dynamics of sport rivalry. “I'm excited to work with a group facing different – yet familiar – issues and challenges from those seen within modern American professional sport, and the opportunity for collaborative research through our PLM partnership is part of the appeal of being a McCormack faculty member. Sport is a global enterprise, and the future will only bring greater international integration and expansion opportunities.”

As part of the renewed 2022 agreement, faculty and alumni of the McCormack Department will again offer UMass’s top-ranked sport management curriculum to PLM executives and partners during 2022’s edition of Pacific League Business School, focusing on commercial trends in sport and application opportunities for PLM stakeholders. The McCormack Center is committed to building content across the breadth of its faculty’s top-ranked research capabilities, enabling core areas such as digital marketing, media strategy, sales and sponsorship to be analyzed within the context of cutting-edge research.

As part of the renewed agreement, UMass will also develop alumni interviews addressing specific sport business topics of interest, for exclusive PLM rights. This program will allow the McCormack Center to create value through the breadth of the McCormack Department’s industry-renowned alumni network, and spotlight practitioner perspectives from the front lines of industry.

“While we had hoped to present our research in Tokyo, year 1 was a success and laid the foundation for future partnership innovation,” noted Will Norton, director of the McCormack Center. “We see immense potential in PLM’s position in the market, and we are excited to be able to impact strategy moving forward for their leadership team. We are energized by the relationship we’ve been able to build with PLM, and are excited to build on it in 2022.”

UMass alumnus Takehiko Nakamura has been a critical resource in building bridges between the McCormack Department and burgeoning sport industry stakeholders in Japan. Nakamura commented, “When you are able to connect things you believe in, it is a wonderful feeling. Having the McCormack Department and PLM come together means a lot to me, both professionally and personally. With strong leadership and passionate fans, PLM has been one of the fastest-growing sport technology organizations in Japan. With the theory, in-depth knowledge and deep network of alumni in sports business that the UMass program brings, this partnership will continue to build in a beneficial way for both parties. It is exciting to see this partnership continue to go from strength to strength.”

“This latest international, sport management education-focused partnership with Pacific League Marketing provides another example of the types of global initiatives that aim to enhance the legacy of Mark H. McCormack,” said Steve McKelvey, chair of the McCormack Department of Sport Management.

About the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management

The top-ranked Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is one of the few sport management programs housed within a business school: the Isenberg School of Management. U.S. News & World Report ranks Isenberg as a Top 20 public undergraduate business school, while its online MBA is ranked #3 in the world by Financial Times (2019). The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management is one of the oldest such programs in the world, and the program’s network includes more than 5,000 sport industry alumni, featuring leaders and innovators within every segment of the commercial sports industry. The department has one of the top undergraduate programs in the country, and its graduate program – consisting of master’s level (MS) as well as dual-degree (MBA/MS) concentrations – is currently ranked #1 in the world by industry-standard Sport Business. The McCormack Center for Sport Research and Education focuses on crafting innovative, revenue-generating educational partnerships with sports teams, leagues, institutes, properties and agencies worldwide. Recent partnerships include deals with Japan’s professional soccer league, J.League, and India On Track’s Global Institute of Sports Business. 

For more information, visit the McCormack Department's program page at:

About PLM

Pacific League Marketing Corporation was established in 2007 as a joint capital investment company by 6 professional baseball teams belonging to the Pacific League in Japan. The vision of the company is “to revitalize the Japanese society as a whole through the advancement of Japanese baseball and the entire sports community.” The company’s mission is “to gain and grow the new fan base of Japanese professional baseball.” PLM's areas of specialty are digital marketing centering on “internet video streaming,” sales and management of broadcasting/distribution rights, advertisement sales, sports consulting, and sales agency service. PLM also actively consults on human resource management in the entire sports business industry, through exclusive recruitment and job placement as well as employee training and development programs.

For more information, visit the PLM's website at: