NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Decked out from head-to-toe in their favorite sports team's regalia, crowds from around the world gather in the stadium to watch as the game unfolds.

Whether it is the Olympics, Super Bowl or World Cup, hosting and marketing mega sporting events requires a certain skill set.

In the spring 2016 semester, Stephen F. Austin State University's Nelson Rusche College of Business will offer a new international sports marketing course for students studying sports business.

Dr. Jason Reese, SFA assistant professor of marketing who helped create this course, explained the class is an examination of the global sports industry. Students can expect to discuss various topics ranging from hosting sporting events to selling and activating sponsorship deals with global corporations.

"I'm looking forward to conversations. This class will use both a case study and discussion-based approach," Reese said. "Students will have the opportunity to solve real-time problems facing industry professionals."

Most of the cases studied will come from situations industry professionals encountered in recent years.

"These cases will likely lead students to discussions that they otherwise would not have," Reese said.

This course will be offered in the traditional classroom setting, and students must be a junior or senior to enroll. This addition to the course list is in line with the College of Business' sports business major, which was implemented in fall 2015.

"The program and this course are responses to student demand and industry needs. Executives from professional sports organizations to local sports clubs and facilities are seeking graduates with an understanding of business principles and knowledge of the participant and spectator industry," Reese said. "This course adds to the new program by providing students an opportunity to dig deeper into global cultural differences and the universal appeal of sports."

According to Reese, SFA's sports business program is the only one offered in higher education in Texas where students earn a Bachelor of Business Administration in sports business from a college accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. This degree helps students gain a competitive edge and stand out when entering the workforce.

"Students who have a Bachelor of Business Administration show prospective employers that they have knowledge of sound business practices. Many graduates applying for jobs in the industry do not have this type of degree," Reese said. "This course also will give students the ability to show global sports organizations that they have specifically studied and have an understanding of the importance of cultural diversity."

Dr. Mitch Crocker, department chair of management, marketing and international business at SFA, said several factors contributed to the creation of this degree, including how popular the college's sports marketing minor has been.

"SFA alumni are employed at every major professional sporting venue in Texas, and many more have careers in sports-related fields," Crocker said. "Sports is a multi-billion dollar global industry, and we have faculty members with experience teaching and conducting research in this area."

The new degree has exceeded expectations with more than 20 students enrolled in the sports business BBA degree program this fall and more than a dozen students who plan to major in sports business in the spring, according to Crocker.

"Sports business students have a passion for sports, and we hope we help make their dreams come true," Crocker said. "The heart of the sports degree is the business foundation that ensures our students understand the fundamentals of business. This foundation provides students with a broad understanding of all business operations and this will make them marketable to all business, not just those in the sports sector."