The Business of Entertainment, Media, and Sports

Course Number 1914

Professor Anita Elberse
Fall; Q1Q2; 3 credits
28 Sessions

Career Focus

This course is primarily designed for students who are pursuing a career in film, television, music, publishing, performing arts, sports, or other sectors that supply goods that are commonly associated with artistic, cultural, or entertainment value.

The course is also useful for students who are planning to work in companies that advise or support those sectors. It may further be interesting for students seeking to advance their knowledge of general management, strategy, and marketing in the context of a challenging, rapidly changing, and fun environment.

Educational Objectives

The course starts with an examination of the properties that define the entertainment, media, and sports industries, and how those properties together introduce a unique set of challenges and opportunities for managers. Subsequent modules explore:

  1. How can entertainment businesses best allocate resources across a portfolio of projects and for one project over time? For example, does it pay to pursue a "blockbuster" strategy?
  2. How can entertainment businesses best approach the management and marketing of creative talent? In particular, how should companies invest in and capture value from "superstars" and the teams to which they belong?
  3. How are digital technologies changing the entertainment industries? For instance, how are creative businesses affected by - and how can they benefit from - the rise of online channels?

The course ends with an examination of firms that fall outside the core entertainment industries but that seemingly face similar challenges or opportunities.

Cases focus on established and emerging firms, products, and personalities in media, sports, and other entertainment industries. Examples include The Walt Disney Studios, Grand Central Publishing, Octone Records, NBCUniversal, FC Barcelona, Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, The Metropolitan Opera, Spotify, Major League Baseball, the NFL, MRC’s House of Cards, and nightlife establishment Marquee.

Course Content and Organization

The course consists of 28 sessions, and includes a brief final project. Grading is based on class participation (50%) and the final project (50%).