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Faculty & Staff Directory


Thilo Kunkel

Associate Professor
Speakman Hall 305


Dr. Kunkel is an Associate Professor in the Sport and Recreation Management Department at the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management and the Director of the Sport Industry Research Center.

Dr. Kunkel’s research is positioned on the intersection of strategic management and marketing. He is specialized in examining consumer engagement in a digital environment and investigating brand relationships within different brand portfolios to provide insights into the positioning of companies in a competitive environment. His research expertise in relation to athlete brand development and monetization, particular with a focus on student-athletes, has guided Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) policy decisions of major sport organizations and received national media attention. He has consulted sport teams, sponsors, mobile app developers, and athletes on their brand positioning, fan engagement, and sponsorship activation.

Dr. Kunkel has presented his research at over 60 national and international conferences and published over 40 peer-reviewed articles in top marketing and sport management journals. He is a member of the editorial board of Sport Management Review, European Sport Management Quarterly, and Sport Marketing Quarterly. Dr. Kunkel’s contribution to the field of sport management has been recognized by the American Marketing Association from which he received the Emerging Scholar in Sport Marketing in 2018 and the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) where he was inducted as a lifetime Research Fellow in 2018. He has served as the advisor and dissertation committee member of seven Ph.D. students researching the area of sport management and marketing.

Dr. Kunkel earned his Ph.D. in Business with a focus on Sport Management from Griffith University in Australia. In addition, he received the equivalent of three Master’s degrees, in Business Education, Business Administration, and Physical Education, as well as Bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Physical Education, from Saarland University in Germany. He is also a licensed snowboard, ski, and windsurfing instructor and played competitive soccer in Germany and Australia.