The Charger Blog

Sport Management Professor Earns ‘Most Meaningful Award I Could Ever Receive’

Ceyda Mumcu, Ph.D., will receive the Sport Marketing Association’s Lough Award, which was created in honor of Dr. Nancy Lough, Dr. Mumcu’s mentor and an advocate for underrepresented groups in sport marketing. Dr. Mumcu is being recognized for her commitment to research and teaching focused on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in sport marketing.

September 23, 2022

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Ceyda Mumcu, Ph.D.
Ceyda Mumcu, Ph.D.

During her last year of work on her doctorate, Ceyda Mumcu, Ph.D., met Dr. Nancy Lough, a dedicated advocate for underrepresented groups in sport marketing. A member of Dr. Mumcu’s dissertation committee, Dr. Lough became a mentor who encouraged Dr. Mumcu to pursue her ideas and the research she was passionate about.

That was 15 years ago, and since then, Dr. Mumcu has made her own mark in the field of sport marketing. She was recently chosen as the 2022 winner of the Sport Marketing Association’s Lough Award, named for Dr. Lough, becoming the first recipient of the award after Dr. Lough herself was presented the inaugural award last year.

“I think this could be the most meaningful award I could ever receive in my career,” said Dr. Mumcu, chair of the University’s Sport Management Department. “It is a big deal and to me, and it means a lot for a variety of reasons.

“When I decided to pursue my Ph.D., I knew I wanted to do it to contribute to the growth of women’s sports and to make a difference for women, girls, and underrepresented communities,” she continued. “That was my statement of purpose for my doctorate, and this award acknowledges what I said I would do in my statement of purpose 15 years ago. It seems like a long time coming, but, actually, it is not. It is an incredible honor.”

A professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Dr. Lough has worked throughout her career to elevate women’s sports, including by serving as a mentor to others in the field – including Dr. Mumcu.

“I grew under her mentorship, and she has done the same thing for many other people,” said Dr. Mumcu. “When we met and I told her what I wanted to research for my dissertation, we worked on many studies together. She said I kept her passion going as well and that I gave her an outlet to continue to work on what mattered to her. Our passion aligned and allowed us to be a strong team, and it is really meaningful for me to receive the award bearing her name.”

‘Truly incredible’

Dr. Mumcu will be presented the Lough Award at this year’s Sport Marketing Association conference, which will take place in Charlotte later this fall. The honor recognizes a sport marketing educator and scholar who promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion and publishes research focused on these topics and/or on underrepresented groups in sport.

These are passions of Dr. Mumcu’s, whose own research has focused on women’s sports, underrepresented groups, and the intersection of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sport marketing space. She is also part of an interdisciplinary research group of scholars exploring women’s sport and corporate social advocacy.

"I hope my students recognize that chasing your own passion brings you success."Ceyda Mumcu, Ph.D.

Women’s sports have been of particular interest to Dr. Mumcu, a former professional basketball player in Turkey, for many years. She has focused a great deal of her research on women’s sports – something that, she says, has seen a surge in popularity over the past several years, specifically, during the pandemic.

“I have been interested in women’s sports and I’ve been devoted to this work for more than a decade,” she said. “I didn’t jump on board like some people are just because it became ‘cool.’ I dedicated my scholarly work to this area and being recognized for it now is truly incredible.”

‘Chasing your own passion brings you success’

In addition to celebrating her research and her publications, the award recognizes Dr. Mumcu’s teaching. She says her students tend to be interested in the mainstream major league sports they grew up watching, such as the NFL, MLB, and the NBA. She often brings women’s sports and sports that are less well-known to the classroom. Introducing them to new sports, which she sometimes incorporates into her students’ projects, is a way for her to promote sport marketing diversity, equity, and inclusion with her students. Her students have, for example, worked with the Connecticut Sun, a WNBA team.

“Traditionally, women’s sports haven’t been on TV for students to know a lot about, so it requires extra exposure for them to become interested or to understand the dynamics and business perspectives,” she said. “Those leagues don’t receive the same attention that some of the more mainstream leagues do. I always make an additional effort to expose students to the wider sports industry and to encourage the next generation to make a difference in those areas.”

Dr. Mumcu hopes her award will inspire her students as they pursue their own dreams. She also hopes that they will surround themselves with people who encourage their ambitions, much like Dr. Lough and her interdisciplinary research group have encouraged her. One of her main objectives is instilling confidence in her students and to encouraging them to be their authentic selves.

“I hope my students recognize that chasing your own passion brings you success,” she said. “It is very meaningful when you hit that point. You realize you worked so hard year after year and it has made an impact. I also want to showcase that, no matter what, you can be true to yourself and pursue your passion. Surround yourself with the right people who like seeing you succeed, and it will elevate you to the next level.”