Why a multifaceted knowledge of sports management is important for events like the World Cup?

The sports industry has seen significant growth over the last few years. It is expected to grow even more in the coming decades, with the biggest sporting institutions and organisations tailoring their approach to expansion through commercial, corporate and retail perspectives. FIFA’s World Cup, established in 1930, is one of many examples of how major sporting occasions follow the trends of today’s industry, with these perspectives at the forefront when it comes to planning and staging such a tournament.   

But what does it take to organise sporting events of this size? In this article, we will dive into the skills, knowledge and disciplines vital to the business side of sports and how our Sports Business and Management MSc curriculum can help you excel in the sporting industry. 

Sports Strategy and Governance 

The Sports Strategy and Governance module will allow you to dive into the tools and techniques for strategic planning and the ways in which the resources and capabilities of the organisation can be developed. This knowledge is vital when it comes to preparing for a major tournament like the World Cup, where bidding candidates must demonstrate compliance with the event’s policies and governance. In this case, it may include registration for the bids, submission of the bidding documents to FIFA, FIFA inspection visits and taking part in a transparent voting process where a hosting winner is decided by the majority through an exhaustive ballot system. 

Sports Operations and Events 

The knowledge of sustainable event management is crucial when it comes to activities that take place in connection with hosting major events to ensure the international standards for major event safety and security as well as for health and medical services are met. The Sports Operation and Events module is designed to enable you to confidently manage and evaluate the operation of sports facilities, stadia, arenas and events to create a quality sport experience. 

Looking at the FIFA World Cup as an example, this could include understanding certain requirements that successful bidders must meet in order to host. These requirements are assessed through FIFA’s evaluation process, the role of which is to consider potential operational risks and their probability in areas such as competition (stadium construction and operations, team facilities, competition-related events), transport (airports and international connections, ground and host city transport), accommodation, TV (international broadcast centre) and overall fan experience. 

Global Context of Sports Business 

The evolution of sport into a global structure of social and commercial interaction requires future sports business practitioners to have a robust, reflective understanding of the globalisation of sports when, for instance, staging major sporting events like the World Cup or Olympics. This includes sports history, determining features, influences and contemporary issues for future practice. Organising such a major event also requires having a wide perspective of the global implications it can lead to. For this reason, the Global Context of Sports Business module aims to provide you with an overview of the global sports arena, whilst also equipping you with a critical lens with which to evaluate the practice and impact of sports business to ultimately equip you for employment in, for instance, sports administration and development roles. 

Sports Marketing and Sponsorship 

When it comes to sports marketing and sponsorship in the context of sports, it is crucial to consider the emerging contemporary importance of digital technologies and data analytics. As marketing and sponsorship are two of the key commercial drivers of the sports industry that differ in both conceptualisation and practical implementation, the Sports Marketing and Sponsorship module introduces students to the fundamental differences between the two.  

When staging the World Cup and other global sporting events, it is appropriate for the institution to go through a rigorous evaluation process when selecting the tournament’s host. The candidate’s or the nation’s marketing, media and communications matters such as TV rating and media rights income are typically taken into consideration due to this being a significant source of revenue for the institution. 

Leadership in Sport 

The ability to demonstrate a high level of leadership is vital when organising and staging sporting events. The Leadership in Sport module explores the notion of responsible leadership and its significance to sports organisations such as FIFA’s World Cup, to ensure that ethical values and behaviour are practised and maintained. In this module, you’ll learn the principles of developing high-performing teams, examine the cases of unethical leadership behaviour within sports and dive into leadership theories in the context of sports. With this newly acquired knowledge, you’ll be able to reflect on your own perspective of leadership, how it came to be and actions for development. 

Sports Business Analytics 

Digital technologies are disrupting the way organisations collect, store and use data for the purpose of evidence-based decision-making. Possessing a general understanding of quantitative analysis techniques and underlying assumptions as well as having a grasp on the data visualisation techniques, identifying insights and presenting complex data is vital in sports management. Some of the applications of this discipline may be implemented in creating a qualifying system and schedule format for sporting events like the World Cup. Therefore, the Sports Business Analytics module has been designed to develop your digital literacy around the operationalisation of analytics in the context of sports business and utilising the data to inform actionable business decisions.  

Sports Finance 

The Sports Finance module aims to develop your understanding of the key finance elements and their impact on a sporting institution or body as well as events. The curriculum is modelled by real-life case studies designed to equip our students with industry knowledge. This includes focusing on the balance sheet, breaking it down into the main assets that are used by a sporting institution and the alternative means through which those assets are financed. You will also learn the concepts of probability and breakeven from the income statement as this essential information is used to identify the main revenue streams and costs involved in running a sporting event along with the differences between profit and cash flows. In the case of the World Cup, for instance, the nation who wins the bid may aim to generate revenue from the sellable tickets or tourism, while the institution, in this case, FIFA, may look at the nation’s TV rating and media rights as the primary source of revenue. 

If you would like to learn more about the University of Liverpool Sports Business and Management MSc, head to our programme page for further information on course content, fees and structure. 

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