Director of Communications, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
VILLANOVA, Pa. – This fall, Communication students in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are partnering with FOX Sports University for the first time—giving the students an opportunity to connect their academic coursework with real-world application.
FOX Sports University is a nation-wide program that partners with prestigious academic and athletic departments to immerse its sports platforms into the academic realm at select universities. Individual classes partner with a FOX Sports line of business to address a marketing, research, technology or strategy challenge that the business faces. Students team up to create solutions, products or campaigns to tackle the specific business challenge. FOX Sports executives approached Villanova Communication Professor Thomas Ksiazek, PhD, about launching the program with his Media Audiences class—an introduction to the study, measurement and analysis of media audiences.
For this semester-long project, Dr. Ksiazek’s class is tasked with building an audience profile for FOX Sports GO—the company’s TV Everywhere, video streaming app. Teams of students received audience data from FOX Sports and will apply the knowledge they’ve learned in class about media audiences to the FOX Sports GO audience data.
“When FOX Sports approached me to develop a partnership and offered to provide internal data, I thought this would be a great way for our students to apply what they learn in the course to challenges that a real company is facing,” said Dr. Kziazek. “In essence, they'll get to see how a media company uses audience research to inform their operations.”
The project aims to provide students with practical experience through the development of cutting-edge ideas for FOX Sports. In addition to the knowledge they gain from Dr. Ksiazek regarding media audiences, students will also receive guidance from FOX Sports executives, including Clark Pierce, Senior Vice President of TV Everywhere. After coming up with findings about the FOX Sports GO audience base, students will develop strategies to grow app engagement. At the end of the semester, each team will present a final project to their fellow classmates and FOX Sports representatives.
“We are thrilled to work with Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on this project,” said Pierce. “FOX Sports GO represents an important and growing part of our overall business strategy, and we are continuously looking at the best way to reach sports fans outside of their living rooms.”
"The overall goal of this project is for students to apply what they learn in the course to understand, analyze and interpret the FOX Sports GO audience," added Dr. Ksiazek. "In doing so, they will demonstrate the ability to apply theories, concepts and analytical skills in a real-world context.”
Villanova students will not only gain resume-building experience through this unique project, but also valuable professional connections. FOX Sports recognizes the potential for hiring FOX Sports University alumni due to the students’ industry knowledge and experience working with the program. FOX Sports University views their partnerships as an opportunity for a semester-long interview.
The launch of FOX Sports U is one part of a growing partnership between the University and FOX Sports. Also launched this year is Villanova Sports Properties: an entity within the FOX Sports Collegiate Properties business. As a part of a long-term multimedia rights agreement, FOX Sports is the exclusive sales and marketing representative on behalf of the Wildcats. Additionally, FOX Sports is the television and multimedia rights holder of the BIG EAST Conference and distributes many Villanova athletic events, including men’s and women’s basketball games on its various platforms.
About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenged and changing world. With 39 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.