How Future Business Leaders Can Enter the World of Football Business
With over four billion fans and 240 million players worldwide, football keeps hold of its stable spot as the most popular sport in the world. Stars such as Ronaldo, Messi, and Neymar are the face of the sport, but football would not be what it is today without the work of countless people behind the scenes who push the sport forward, off the pitch. This sector is called football business. While the game of football itself has been evolving for hundreds of years, football business is relatively new and this is often shown in the lack of professionalism and training of its leaders. So, just like players always strive to improve on the pitch, individuals behind the scenes are constantly innovating to make the beautiful game even better. Let's take a closer look at the world of football business and how to start your career in this thrilling (not so literal) field
What is football business?
Football has been around for generations, and while the people’s love for it hasn’t changed, the business side of it has seen unparalleled growth. Manchester United alone made 571 million euros in 2021, making it the club with the highest revenue in the world. Between deals with players, sponsors, and broadcasting companies, football generates billions of dollars in revenue every year, with new trends constantly changing the scenario.
For Kresimir Bebic, a former player who now dedicates his time to the business side, maintaining the fans’ enthusiasm will be a central concern in the following years. “With newer generations, it is difficult to have them engaged with sport in person as everything has become more digital. Fan experience is going to be a major topic to make sure attendance continues at stadiums,” he explains.
How can you get into football business?
There is no set path for starting a career in football business. You can join a club in an entry-level position and work your way up as you go, but there are ways to speed up the process. Getting a degree in business can help you advance faster, but the ideal, most assured way to break into football business is to get a specific football business degree.
There are a lot of areas within football to choose from. Club management, sponsorships, stadium attendance, events, merchandising, media, and communications are just some of the fields you can focus on, all of them offering unique opportunities to combine the sport with your other passions. With her background in global business and sustainability, Gina Stein got the chance to do just that through her degree from The Football Business Academy.
After researching online and chatting with alums, Gina found what she was looking for in The Football Business Academy’s Professional Master in Football Business. Her internship was arranged at world-famous German club Bayern Munich, which she loved. She says, “The topics are very up to date and include rising topics, such as Women’s Football, Digital Marketing & Sustainability. Additionally to the online classes which give you the option to be flexible and work next to it, The FBA guarantees you an internship within the industry in order to get the ball rolling and set a foot into the business.”
That helping hand was precisely what brought Kresimir to the program, as well. He did his internship at The FBA’s partner Match IQ, a leading sports event agency specialized in sporting preparation which works with leading European football clubs and some of the world's biggest sports federations.
Kresimir explains, “The feature that caught my eye the most and one that makes it stand out above competitors is the guaranteed internship. This enables students not only to get a sneak peek of what life is like working in the football industry, but also offers the chance of potentially being hired by the company they intern for once the program is finished.”
Now, Kresimir relies on his peers and the school to make his mark on the industry: “The FBA is all about ‘building the future of football together’ and they stay true to their word. Whereas universities may very well cease contact once you’ve graduated, The FBA continues to be the support mechanism their current and past students can rely on when looking to connect with new people.”
Like Kresimir, Gina has found a family in her colleagues: “The resilience and the backup I saw in the group and The FBA was unique. I’m proud and happy to be part of such a family and truly believe I found family and friends for life that always have each other’s back.”
With the industry knowledge and supportive network she’s acquired through the program, she is looking forward to helping the sport’s impact grow: “I am most excited about the impact (environmental but also social) that football can exploit in the future. This field is growing in any industry, but football has a special task in it as its nature is unique and opens so many opportunities to be explored and developed. Football taking on a role-model position can maximize its impact by using its reach to young, but also older generations.”
The Football Business Academy
The Professional Master in Football Business offered by the Football Business Academy is a 12-month program created for people who want to break into the football industry and designed to provide all the tools and knowledge necessary to succeed in the industry. The program is divided into four modules and covers various topics relevant to the sport, such as global history, financial strategy, stadium operations, women’s football development, fan engagement, and ethics.
Industry experts make up the team of faculty who share their experiences with students. As Kresimir says, “The education is of top quality, as would be expected from a Professional Master’s program. Being able to learn from some of the industry’s finest can never be a bad thing.” He continues, “While many around the world would consider themselves football fanatics, the business side of the sport is much more intricate, and you realize how much more there is to learn about the industry itself. The professors are definitely an important feature as they are bringing students real life case studies from work they had done in the past (and present).”
The FBA’s partnerships with world-class companies and clubs in the business allow students to participate in international events like Soccerex and the World Football Summit, network with industry leaders and use their skills and contacts to make the most of the guaranteed internship in Module 3.
Making a career out of your passion seems like a long shot for most people. Still, Gina wasn’t deterred. She says, “I debated for quite some time if this was the right path to go, but since I applied and started the program, I did not regret it in any second. The people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve made have been some of the most exciting and impactful ones of my life.”
Kresimir recommends reaching out toThe FBA Alumni and hearing their stories: “You will quickly see just how eager they are to share their experiences, what to expect, and why it is the right choice in the end. It offers you the foundations for getting a foothold in the industry, builds your network of contacts, and most importantly allows you to meet people from all around the world, something I found to be one of the most important aspects. They may be your classmates at the beginning of the program, but I can guarantee that they will become much more than that. The FBA really is one great big family.”
Whatever your history with football may be, there is a place for you in the business of ‘the beautiful game’. As Gina says, “We all share the same passion, so why not make it our job? We will spend many years working, so the least you can do is work in the field that you enjoy most.”
Article written in association with The Football Business Academy.
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Thaís graduated with a degree in Language and Literature and is now pursuing her master's while working as an English teacher and freelance writer. She lives in an inland city in São Paulo, Brazil, and enjoys binge-watching TV, game nights with her friends, and learning how to play any musical instrument within reach
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