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

Educational partnership brings together the world’s No. 1-ranked sport management program with Japanese professional baseball consulting agency
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AMHERST, Mass. -  As part of an increasingly global focus on educational partnerships, the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at UMass Amherst has entered into an agreement with Pacific League Marketing (PLM), a joint capital investment company created by the six professional baseball clubs in Japan’s Pacific League. The partnership is the latest in a series of global education initiatives executed within the McCormack Center for Sport Research & Education, an interdepartmental agency focused on delivering consulting and education services to sports leagues, institutes and students worldwide.

The Pacific League operates within Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), Japan’s highest professional league founded in 1950. Pacific League Marketing’s objectives are to further promote the commercial interests of the Pacific League and to promote the health of professional baseball in Japan. PLM specializes in digital marketing, IP management and consulting services for the Pacific League’s six member clubs.

As part of this newly brokered partnership, faculty and alumni of the McCormack Department will offer UMass’s top-ranked sport management curriculum to PLM executives and partners during trips to Tokyo, focusing on topics such as consumer behavior, corporate sponsorship and marketing to the modern-day sports and entertainment consumer. UMass staff will also accompany PLM executives on sport industry visits to the U.S. in the future, creating value through the breadth of the McCormack department’s alumni network. The partnership was brokered between Pacific League Marketing CEO Tomoki Negishi, Blue United Corporation CEO and UMass alumnus Takehiko Nakamura and McCormack Center Director Will Norton.

Starting in 2017, PLM launched the Pacific League Business School (PBS) for the purpose of cultivating human resources for the Japanese sport business ecosystem. The partnership with UMass’s McCormack Department will enable PLM to maximize the value of PBS to Pacific League stakeholders, and focus on the rich sport management theory, research and experiential learning techniques that have long differentiated UMass’s industry-leading program. Given PLM’s specialization in digital marketing and the management of digital rights for the Pacific League, McCormack Department content will likely focus on strategies for unlocking value from fan data and creating sponsorship clarity and opportunity for Japan’s private sector.

“We see a lot of similarities between Pacific League Marketing and the digital agencies that helped modernize Major League Baseball’s commercial landscape in the last decade,” said Will Norton, director of the McCormack Center. “We are honored to partner with PLM to help provide substantive, industry-designed training for members of the Pacific League Business School. We view this as a long-term commitment that will hopefully evolve alongside PLM’s business objectives and the growth of baseball in Japan. With 50 years of proven thought leadership and academic excellence in sport management, the McCormack Department is excited to further enrich the educational experience for Pacific League Business School students and deliver unique content for the future leaders of the Japanese commercial sport industry.”

UMass alumni Takehiko Nakamura has been a critical resource in building bridges between the McCormack Department and burgeoning sport industry stakeholders in Japan. Nakamura commented, “As an alumnus of the university, it is a privilege to have the opportunity to help spread the principles of the program through this partnership. PLM is the marketing arm for the top-flight Japanese professional baseball league, and I look forward to building on that track record through the value of this partnership. This will help further develop the theory of sport management in Japan.”

“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,” stated Steve McKelvey, chair of the McCormack Department of Sport Management.

The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Managementat the University of Massachusetts Amherst Isenberg School of Management is one of the few sport management programs housed within a business school. U.S. News & World Report ranks Isenberg as a Top-20 public undergraduate business school, while its online MBA was ranked No. 3 in the world by Financial Times in 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 (MS) level as well as dual-degree (MBA/MS) concentrations – is currently ranked No. 1 in the world by industry standard Sport Business.

Pacific League Marketing Corporation was established in 2007 as a joint capital investment company by six 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.

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