Executive Director, Center for Sports Administration
College of Business
An Ohio University alumnus, Jim Kahler returned to his alma mater as executive director of the Center of Sports Administration (CSA) in December of 2005 after developing successful collegiate and corporate programs at Arizona State University, Riverfront Coliseum, St. Louis Arena, and The Cleveland Cavaliers. Kahler is one of the only sports business professors in the country who has over 20 years of practical experience in the field, and over 10 years of experience in academia.
Kahler is best known for his research on sponsorships at OHIO. Kahler and his team have interviewed some of the largest sponsors in North America, including Anheuser Busch, Coca-Cola, AT&T, and Bank of America. The team has conducted more qualitative interviews with sponsorship experts than anyone else in the nation, making their research quite useful to individuals who sell sponsorships to professional sports and college athletics for a living.
“My industry experience and interest in the ways that companies use sports sponsorship to enhance brand awareness and increase sales has led me to stay involved with additional research in this area,” says Kahler.
Ohio University’s Sports Administration graduate program is the first of its kind in the nation, a fact Kahler carries with pride as director of the CSA. Established in 1966, the program has graduated some of the top names in sport business and corporate marketing. Continually growing and adapting, the program is one of the highest ranked in the nation, capturing the title of the world’s best postgraduate course by SportBusiness International in 2012.
The CSA’s mentoring program and alumni networking play an enormous role in students’ success, both in the classroom and post-graduation. The MBA/MSA mentoring program offers a unique experience to students unlike any other. Each student in the program is assigned an executive alumni mentor, a faculty mentor and a student mentor.
The mentoring program has also created considerable alumni loyalty and a rewarding reputation. Alumni networking through the CSA program have aided students in obtaining excellent internships and employment opportunities in the sports industry, including Kahler.
In 1994, Kahler received one of the highest honors awarded by the OHIO Sports Administration program - the Distinguished Alumnus Award. This award is presented annually to a graduate of the Ohio University SAFM program that has positively impacted the sports industry and the lives of others around them. Following graduation, Kahler became an actively involved alumnus, returning often as a guest lecturer member of Ohio’s Alumni Advisory Board, before joining the CSA as director.
Kahler currently serves as an independent director on the Board of the United States Table Tennis Association, and on the advisory board of numerous sports business organizations, including the National Sports Forum, Navigate Sports Marketing and In Stadium Advertising.
After obtaining his Master’s from OHIO, Kahler helped develop and mature the master of business administration (MBA) Sports Business Program at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State. He then became director of marketing for the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, the director of marketing for the St. Louis Arena and vice president of sales and marketing for SRO/PACE in Chicago.
Kahler also served as chief marketing officer and senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Gund Arena. He credits this position for developing his expertise in a number of areas, including ticket sales, media relations, social and digital media, special event marketing and consumer behavior with sports fans.
Areas of Expertise