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Global Sports Law Companion Program - ISDE/Columbia University - ISDE


ISDE and Columbia University are proud to announce the launch of a new companion degree program for internationally-oriented sports industry professionals.

This companion program is the only offering in the market created with an external industry perspective. As the program was developed, leading sports industry professionals and law firms were consulted in order to ascertain the skills and knowledge that students would need in order to best position themselves for employment upon graduation. Qualified students will earn two professional degrees – Columbia’s market-leading Master of Science (MSc) in Sports Management and ISDE’s innovative Master in Global Sports Law – over the course of 10 months of intensive classroom study in New York City, and another three to four months of hands-on internship experience with a leading sports organization in the United States, Europe or elsewhere. (Longer internships may, in some cases, be possible with the agreement of the student and host organization.)

Courses provide foundational instruction on the sports industry combined with specific training in sports (accounting, finance, marketing, personnel management, and analytics) and law (intellectual property law and alternative dispute resolution).

Columbia/ISDE Companion Degree students enjoy the same academic and administrative benefits as all other full-time Columbia students. At the same time, they also benefit from the special academic content and proven placement services offered by ISDE.

The program’s prestigious faculty represent many of the world’s top sporting organizations, including:

Furthermore, guest lecturers include the world sporting community’s most respected lawyers, agents, and managers. Networking events and practical workshops held at leading law firms and sports organizations in New York City will complement the coursework.

In addition to the academically rigorous curriculum, the program offers students outstanding networking opportunities with peers at Columbia and ISDE and colleagues from across the Ivy League and sports industry. 
Together, these opportunities will prepare graduates to succeed in the next phases of their careers.

The Columbia/ISDE Companion Degree Program is open to highly motivated professionals who already possess a law degree. The Master in Global Sports Law is a Master Degree offered and issued by a European institution, as ISDE, focused on the practical legal training of the students and on providing them hands-on experience on the industry. For that reason, this is not an LLM accredited by the American Bar Association.

Course Structure

Students in the Columbia/ISDE Companion Degree Program follow an intensive program of classroom lectures, site visits and global internship experiences that last 16 months. The program begins with a mandatory curriculum of sports law and management courses, all of which are offered over the space of ten months. As detailed below, all classroom instruction will take place during the Fall Semester (September-December 2017), the Spring Semester (January-May 2018) and the Summer Session (May-July 2018).

Fall & Spring Semesters

Globalization of Sports
This course will address the close-knit relationship between globalization, sports, and development from a critical global perspective. This course highlights the extent to which contemporary sports cultures are the result of the interplay among local, regional, national, international and global forces. This is achieved by demonstrating how sports governing bodies, events, business practices, and products are simultaneously expressive of local conditions and also influenced by the workings of global economic, political, and cultural forces.

Digital Sports Media & Marketing
This course provides a comprehensive survey and analysis of the state of digital media and marking in sports today. Topics include a thorough exploration of the historical background, context and timeline of key industry developments and launches, including the advent of “interactive” media in the 1990s and provide an overview of all aspects of the “3 Cs” — content, community and commerce. In addition, students will be asked to examine the growth and influence of social media, the importance of fantasy and video gaming, the dominance of video in a multi-screen world, the growth and influence of B2B and B2C analytics, the transformation of the in-venue experience and the different aspects of ecommerce.

Sports Accounting and Finance
This course provides an extensive overview of the business of professional sports and the financial and accounting skills necessary for sports managers to succeed in professional sports organizations. This course aims to provide practical, hands-on experience relevant to real-life financial and accounting challenges. The first section of the course examines the sports industry from a macroeconomic perspective, surveying the business models of the major sports leagues, organizations, and various business sectors (such as media, licensing, facilities, etc). The second section of the course examines the professional sports industry on a microeconomic level by teaching the practical financial and accounting skills used in day-to-day operations of professional sports organizations. By the end of the course, students will have a solid comprehension of the role of finance and accounting in the sports industry and be able to successfully apply that knowledge to financial and accounting issues routinely faced by sports managers.

Elective Courses

Students are able to choose an elective from a list of courses including:

International and Comparative Sports Law
This law course serves as the overarching course for the Law component of the Companion Degree Program it exposes students to the broad range of cross-border and foreign jurisdictional, regulatory, and practice issues that characterize the global sports law industry.

The focus of this course is to introduce, synthesize and evaluate theory; introduce scholarly research; and discuss issues and themes regarding international sports law. The differences and similarities between American, European and International sports will be compared via lecturers, readings, and in-class discussions. The following topics will be covered throughout the course: The International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Federations, National Federations, National Olympic Committees, the Olympics, FIFA, FIBA, and the globalization of professional sport.

Sports Analytics
This course is an introduction to the application of analytic tools and techniques used to aid sports decision-makers. The structure of the course focuses on the use of analytics in four main areas of interest: player performance measurement; in-game decision-making; player selection and team/roster construction; and sports administration such as marketing, pricing, contracts, stadium management, etc. Emphasis will be placed on how the application of analytics has altered the decision processes of sports organizations. TBD provides a needed skill set for today’s sports managers and leaders. Having a basic understanding of analytical tools and their application to sports issues is essential for the success of anyone pursuing a career in the field of sports management.

Leadership and Personnel Management in the Sports Industry
This course examines issues of management and organizational behavior within the broad context of the sports industry, with specific reference to issues of staffing, motivation, and communication. Introduces leadership theory, as well as the tools and techniques for its practical applications, including how to most effectively put leadership theory to work on a daily basis within a sports organization.

Summer Semester

Intellectual Property in Sports
This course will address the laws that protect intellectual property in relation to the sports industry. The course highlights the extent to which such laws, whether local, national, or international, incentivize or sometimes inhibit the development and expansion of sports and sports-related businesses, how they protect or fail to protect the creations and identities of those involved, and how some ultimately support consumer confidence in sports-related goods or services. The specific aim of the course is to encourage students to consider the role of intellectual property law in the context of the particular industry. We will explore the basic principles of intellectual property law, including trademarks, copyrights, rights of publicity, and utility and design patents in relation to individual athletes, teams, their personnel and fans, the sports they play and technological improvements related thereto, the leagues and unions in which they are members, the venues and media in which their performances are observed, and ancillary businesses that exploit their names and images, identifying features and behaviors, and statistics, among other marketable information. We will consider the exclusive rights associated with such laws, their exceptions, how they differ in different jurisdictions, and the significance of international treaties related to these laws. Students will learn to recognize different types of intellectual property rights and how they are applied in the sports industry, and evaluate the successes and failures of the law in this context.

Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) refers to any means of settling disputes outside of the courtroom. ADR typically includes early neutral evaluation, negotiation, conciliation, mediation, and arbitration. As burgeoning court queues, rising costs of litigation, and time delays continue to plague litigants, more states have begun experimenting with ADR programs. Some of these programs are voluntary; others are mandatory.

While the two most common forms of ADR are arbitration and mediation, negotiation is almost always attempted first to resolve a dispute. It is the preeminent mode of dispute resolution. Negotiation allows the parties to meet in order to settle a dispute. The main advantage of this form of dispute settlement is that it allows the parties themselves to control the process and the solution.

ISDE reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.

Internships will last for a duration of three to four months in the offices of one of our collaborating partners. ISDE works closely with a large number law firms, institutions, sport clubs, organizations and companies worldwide.

The destination of the internship is decided after a detailed case-by-case analysis of each student’s academic performance and personal profile, as well as the acceptance of the receiving institution.

Internship opportunities bridge the gap between the educational and professional worlds, making it easier to transition from academic life into a professional career.

Many of ISDE’s students remain working for the organization who hosted their internship after completion of the internship period, while others use the valuable experience gained to further advance their professional career.

Examples of past internship host organizations include:

Global Internships begin in July, August or September, depending on the needs of the host organization. They last a minimum of three months, but in some cases may be extended for longer periods with the agreement of the student and host organization. Degrees are conferred at a graduation ceremony that takes place in December.

Tuition & Fees

The fee for this course is $97,626.60

To enter in the admissions process please follow this link:

Begin your Application Today

Program Faculty

ISDE’s Global Sports Law Program provides students with access to many of the top legal minds in the field of sports law. Instructors include faculty from ISDE and Columbia University as well as prominent national and international sports law professionals. These professors may also act as advisers and mentors for the students and, in certain cases, serve as the supervising attorneys in second semester placements or for student theses.