AO401 Introduction to the Athletic and Outdoor Industry

About This Course


Competition in the athletic and outdoor industry is fierce, with global brands dominating the market and startup companies gaining traction in new and innovative ways. Whether breaking into the field or currently working for a major sporting goods apparel and equipment player like Nike, Adidas, Columbia, or KEEN, industry professionals must understand the rapid pace of innovation and speed of time to market, the implementation of sustainability initiatives, the optimization of brand positioning, and other strategic priorities.

This course focuses on the industry’s scope as a source of jobs, innovation, and talent, as well as its unique opportunities and challenges. Industry experts will provide tips and tools to help position students for success as they embark on or advance their careers in the industry.


Course Snapshot

Course delivered in a virtual format with live instructor & student interaction

Once per year (Fall)


Five, 3-hour evening classes (6:00pm - 9:00pm)


Course Schedule         Register Now

Climber with gear and pack looking at mountain in the distance


There is no better place to learn about the athletic and outdoor industry than in Portland, Oregon — home of some of the world’s most successful athletic and outdoor apparel companies, including Nike, Adidas, Columbia, KEEN, and many others. In fact, Oregon employs more than 14,000 professionals in the...

What You’ll Learn

Upon completion of this course, students will have gained the knowledge to:

  • Realize the size, depth, and diversity of the region’s athletic and outdoor industry.
  • Be familiar with the challenges and opportunities unique to the athletic and outdoor industry.
  • Understand the role of the product manager.
  • Recognize the importance of corporate social responsibility initiatives.
  • Appreciate the role of innovation and creativity in capturing the interest of consumers.
  • Realize the importance of personal brand when breaking into or advancing in the industry.

The Learning Environment

This course is delivered in a virtual format and combines lectures, discussions, and group activities. 

Courses may be taken individually and in any order unless otherwise noted. Five courses are required to complete the certificate. If pursuing the certificate, all courses in the certificate program must be completed within three years. Visit the program page for a recommended sequence.