Sports Marketing Expert Jonathan Jensen Is Headed to the Olympics

February 1, 2018

Photo by Jon Gardiner, courtesy of UNC-Chapel Hill.

This Q&A with Jonathan Jensen, assistant professor of sport administration in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, was originally published in the University Gazette for the feature, “Carolina People.”

What’s a typical day like in your job?

What I enjoy about working in academia is that no day is typical and there’s a lot of variety. I could start the day analyzing research data, teach a class, meet with a graduate student about a research project and hop on a call about a grant or consulting project with a partner in the industry, all before lunch.

How does your job support Carolina’s mission?

The sport administration program is designed to develop the next generation of leaders in the sport industry, so I feel that what we do is closely aligned with the University’s mission. I support that through cutting-edge research in sport marketing analytics that students can get involved in and teaching that incorporates experiential learning.

What do you like most about your work?

Having spent 20 years working in sport marketing, I really enjoy the opportunity to bring those past experiences into the classroom and turn them into experiential learning opportunities for students.

How did you get interested in sport marketing?

Growing up in Chicago, I realized at a young age that if my career didn’t involve sports in some way I probably wasn’t going to be happy. Through a lot of hard work and a little luck, I’ve never had an internship or job that didn’t involve sports. I have worked in professional sports like the NFL and MLB, represented clients for sport marketing agencies, and now I teach sport marketing here at Carolina.

What will you be doing at the Olympics?

I was very fortunate to receive a travel grant from the Carolina Asia Center to visit Asia for the first time while the Winter Olympics are being held in South Korea. I will be participating in cultural exchanges with fellow sport marketing faculty at Seoul National and Kangwon Universities, as well as presenting my research on Olympic sponsorship at the ninth International Sports Business Symposium. My hope is to learn more about how cultural differences in Asia impact sport marketing, then integrate that information into my courses. The travel grant is a great example of the wonderful opportunities available to Carolina students and faculty.