Master's in Sports Industry Management

Jordan Zelniker

06 Jun 12-1pm ET
Master's in Sports Industry Management Webinar  
Photo of Jordan Zelniker

Wayne Gretzky was talking about hockey. But he was also talking about life.

“I skate to where the puck is going to be,” the legendary NHL center said, “not where it has been.”

If those words resonate with Jordan Zelniker, a 2019 graduate of the Georgetown Master’s in Sports Industry Management program, it’s not hard to see why. For one, Zelniker grew up with ice hockey, played for Binghamton University, and now works for his favorite professional team, the New York Islanders. But more importantly, they reflect what he learned at Georgetown.

“When I was at Georgetown, the teachers always said to me, ‘Don’t necessarily look at where the industry is right now,’” Zelniker recalls. “‘Look at where the industry is going to be in five, 10 years.’”

Zelniker took that advice to heart, focusing on two emerging sectors that have taken off since then: sports gambling and esports. For his Capstone project, he wrote a plan for bringing esports to the NHL.

After graduating, Zelniker became Manager of Esports Business Operations for Monumental Sports & Entertainment. In 2020 and 2021, he managed business operations for Wizards District Gaming, the Washington Wizards’ esports basketball team, which won back-to-back NBA 2K League Championships. Winning a championship has been one of his dreams, he says, and “to do it twice in the first two years is really unimaginable.”

In November 2021, Zelniker became Lead of Esports Strategy for the Islanders and helped launch its esports team. About one-third of NHL teams are involved in the esports space.

"They were looking to innovate and reach that younger demographic," he says. "They really showed me the vision and the opportunity. And, you know, it makes it even sweeter to come home to your favorite team."