Rick Burton, David B. Falk Endowed Professor of Sport Management, is also Syracuse University’s faculty athletics representative to the ACC and NCAA. He is the co-author of the textbook Global Sport Marketing: Sponsorship, Ambush Marketing And The Olympic Games and recently finished a book for SU Press on his collected opinion columns from Sports Business Journal. During the last 20 years, his scholarly research and commentary has been published in Sport Marketing Quarterly, the International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, Journal of Applied Sport Management, Journal of Sport, Nine, SAIS Review, Marketing Management, Journal of Brand Strategy, Journal of Marketing Communications, Industrial Marketing Management, International Marketing Review, Football Studies and Journal of Sponsorship, among others. He is Syracuse University’s Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) to the NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), teaches in Syracuse’s Renee Crown Honors Program and has served as a visiting professor at Kufstein Tirol University in Austria as well as the International Olympic Academy (IOA) in Olympia, Greece. He was selected as the Falk College Faculty Member of the Year for Teaching in 2011 and 2013.
Prior to his appointment at Syracuse in August 2009, Burton served as the chief marketing officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, where he directed the USOC’s partnerships for International Olympic Committee (IOC) and USOC sponsorship activation at the world’s largest sporting event.
From 2003-07, Burton was the Commissioner of Australia’s Sydney-based National Basketball League (a two-continent league with teams in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore) and was responsible for every aspect of the NBL’s development and growth, including securing broadcast rights fees, naming rights sponsorships, player and referee collective bargaining agreements and league profitability. By placing a team in Singapore, the NBL became the first western sports league to place a team in Asia.
From 1995-2003, Burton led the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center to international prominence serving as both its director and executive director (1998-03). During this time, Burton initiated Oregon’s engagement with Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and worked closely with Nike as it developed business efforts in China. While at Oregon, Burton also created the Burton Marketing Group working almost exclusively in league management and sponsorship for entities such as IMG, the U.S. Basketball Academy, Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Japanese Pro Soccer league (J-League), National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), Australian NBL, Visa, Oakland Raiders and Sport Accord. More recent clients have included the Buffalo Bills (NFL), the Professional Bull Riders and TSE.
In the mid-1990s (1993-95), Burton supervised numerous clients ranging from the NFL, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Gillette, Sprint and Universal Studios while serving as a vice president for sports and entertainment marketing agency Clarion Performance Properties in Greenwich, Conn.
During his varied career, Burton has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Ad Age, Sports Business Journal, SI.com, Sport Business International,and Stadia and hosted a sports business television show in Portland, Oregon. He has provided national radio network commentary for the Sporting News Radio Network and is in frequent demand as a commentator on the sports industry. A frequent conference host/moderator and inspirational/motivational speaker, Burton’s most recent engagements have included Chip Ganassi Racing (NASCAR and Indy Racing), the Association of Luxury Suite Directors and Point 3 Basketball.
Burton began his career as a sportswriter in Syracuse before moving to Miller Brewing Company in Milwaukee, where he worked for 12 years in brand management and sports public relations. He served as national advertising manager for Miller Lite’s award-winning “Less Filling – Tastes Great” advertising campaign and also as a brand manager (Sharp’s and Lowenbrau).
Books he has authored or co-authored include:
- Forever Orange: The Story of Syracuse University, Pitoniak, S. and Burton, R., Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, N.Y.
- The Sport Business Handbook: Insights From 100+ Leaders Who Shaped 50 Years of the Industry, (2019), Horrow, R., Burton, R. and Schrag, M., Editors; Foreword by Krzyzewski, M., Human Kinetics, Champaign, Ill.
- Burton, R., Hirshman, J., O’Reilly, N., Dolich, A. and Lawrence, H., (2018), 20 Secrets to Success for NCAA Student-Athletes Who Won’t Go Pro, Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio.
- Burton, R. and O’Reilly, N. (2016), Sport Business Unplugged: Leadership Challenges from the World of Sports, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, N.Y.
- O’Reilly, N., Pound, R., Burton, R., Seguin, B. and Brunette, M., (2015), Global Sport Marketing: Sponsorship, Ambush Marketing, and the Olympic Games, Fitness Information Technology, Morgantown, W.V.
Burton’s first novel, a WWII/Cold War historical thriller called The Darkest Mission, was published in May 2011 by Long Reef Press. He has just finished his second novel, another WWII thriller.
Related Stories and Coverage
The Most Effective Way To Educate Top Paid College AthletesFriday, October 14, 2022, By Julia Mazzer
Sports Business Journal
How the NHL Is Paving the Way for Business Leaders EverywhereFriday, October 7, 2022, By Julia Mazzer
“Once savvy, NBC’s Olympic deal is shakier after Beijing”Saturday, February 19, 2022, By Lily Datz
Burton authors “NCAA’s impending pay-for-play panic may be a cry for federal help”Tuesday, February 15, 2022, By Lily Datz
“The Russian figure skating team under fire for their 15-year-old start figure skater”Friday, February 11, 2022, By Lily Datz
The Wall Street Journal
“At the Winter Olympics, Beijing’s Digital Yuan Push Puts Visa in a Bind”Wednesday, February 9, 2022, By Lily Datz
“Olympic Sponsors Face Human Rights Dilemma”Monday, February 7, 2022, By Lily Datz
“NBC Plays Up Peacock, Downplays China in Promotion of Beijing Winter Olympics.”Thursday, February 3, 2022, By Lily Datz
“Beijing Winter Olympics: the new front line in the US-China cold war”Thursday, February 3, 2022, By Lily Datz
“Olympics present multiple challenges for marketers beyond COVID”Monday, January 31, 2022, By Lily Datz