WACO, Texas — Baylor University's Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Mack B. Rhoades, IV, announced Friday, an innovative new partnership uniting Baylor Athletics and the institution's Sports Strategy & Sales (S3) program.

The S3 program is a hallmark of Baylor's Hankamer School of Business. Through S3, now in its 15th year of existence, students gain real-world sales experience by selling tickets to Baylor Athletic events and analyzing fan and consumer data to effectively inform business decisions and consumer offerings. Combined with S3 summer internships for professional teams, agencies and corporations, S3 students will now have year-round experience to set them apart in the highly-competitive sports job marketplace.

Through the Baylor Athletics Business Intelligence program, students will have the opportunity to develop insights utilizing data technology, analytics, reporting and research to deliver products, services, content and experiences with a fan-centered approach. S3 students will collaborate with Baylor Athletics on ticket selling opportunities, fan profile strategies, CRM projects, data growth efforts, reporting tools, direct marketing analytics and research and consumer surveys.

"This strategic partnership offers a unique value proposition in the competitive landscape of college athletics," Ryan Eklund, Assistant Athletics Director for Resource Development and Business Intelligence said. "To have industry experts and future leaders on our campus willing to assist in developing data-driven solutions is a great benefit to our fans and the Baylor student experience."

This mutually beneficial partnership strategically aligns with Baylor Athletics' recent reorganization of its external unit to place a greater emphasis on data analytics as a part of its marketing, fan experience and resource generation efforts.

Baylor Athletics is the first university athletic department to join the ranks of professional sports organizations including, the San Antonio Spurs, Madison Square Garden, Houston Rockets, Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Texas Motor Speedway, Vegas Golden Knights and San Diego Padres in partnering with the S3 program, with additional universities soon to follow.

"This one-of-a-kind partnership sets the precedent of bringing top ranked athletics together with top ranked business schools within a university to truly prepare champions for life," Dr. Kirk Wakefield, Professor & Holder of the Edwin W. Streetman Professorship in Retail Management, said. "This is win-win-win: Win for the students, win for athletics, and a win for Baylor."

The S3 program – founded in 2004 by Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Darryl Lehnus, Senior Lecturer & Director of the Baylor Center for Sports Sponsorship and Sales – is the only academic center in the nation focused on revenue generation in sports and entertainment. S3 alumni are in leadership positions with professional sports organizations throughout the world. The program places more than 95 percent of students in full-time positions before graduation.

"We are excited to partner with Baylor Athletics in this very cutting-edge endeavor," Dr. Lehnus said. "This partnership will provide real-life sales experiences for our students as well as provide Baylor Athletics with a team of talented young salespeople. Growth for Baylor Athletics and sales training and experience for S3 students. A great partnership!"