India is slowly but surely emerging as a sporting powerhouse. If not in terms of medal tallies and world class infrastructure but certainly in terms of its administrative aspirations, educational outlook and fan armies. A nation where 50% of the population is in the range of 15-35 years, it is not surprising that sports is a unifying medium, a language spoken by one and all. The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) saw a combined viewing time of 400+ Bn minutes, which only testifies India’s love with live sports and particularly cricket. With the population demographic and the lovefor sports, it was only a time before the spotlight switched towards formalization of sports education in the form of best internationally accredited courses like MBA Sports Management. The shift in paradigm towards formalisation of sports education is indicative of the wider acceptance sports as a business is receiving in the society. While all the limelight is staged on the athlete performances at a major event, little is spoken about the effort and the professionalism which has gone behind making the event a spectacle.
Need for Sports Business Professionals
The exponential rise of professional sports ecosystem in the country (both private and public)has shaped the need for a work force skilled in sports business management. A work force which understands how a sporting event or spectacle is put together. One which can support our bid for hosting multitude of global sporting events like the Youth Olympics and AFC Asian Cup among others. Such aspirations need never dwindling support of a strong backbone in the form of business professionals who are well versed with various sports business functions like planning and organizing, administration, sponsorship and marketing, athlete development,policy framing and grassroot management. It is important to understand the running of all wheels for the vehicle to sail smoothly. How all the pieces of the puzzle come together. Often, loyal sports fans mistake their love and passion for a game with the ability or willingness to work behind the scenes and get their hands dirty. Working for Manchester United Football Club is very different from just passionately supporting them or attending their weekly games. Behind the scenes role is not all hay and sunshine. It is not always a glamourous job. MBA Sports Management was carved out to bridge the gap between a sport fan and a sport business professional.
A Masters level degree in sports management allows an individual to understand inner realms of the industry and look at sports through a different lens. Gaining a wholesome perspective of the sports machinery is integral,be it a small academy, a major football club or a global governing body like the International Olympic Committee (IOC). MBA Sports Management feeds into what the industry today demands.
Unfortunately, there are only a few select institutions in India which have the bandwidth, expertise and international accreditation to part this knowledge to the students. Sportz Next Education Institute is one such organisation which is doing ground breaking activities in this regard, so that domestic students can learn from international best practices and rub shoulders with industry stalwarts.
What is MBA Sports Management?
In simplistic terms, MBA in Sports Management refers to learning and gaining expertise in strategic management and business functions related to the sports industry. It means mastering the art of business administration of a sports entity or an entity indulging into some kind of sporting activity. These functions equip you in handling and tackling the challenges thrown forward by the dynamic nature of the industry be it profit or non-profit, private or public. The course allows you to learn and master different business and administrative duties pertaining to sports. Just how one specialises in MBA in finance or MBA in marketing. Similarly, one needs to procure and acquire the knowledge required to excel in the business of sports.It also teaches how the business of sports defers from other business disciplines.
The course curriculum deep dives into scenarios which a sports manager faces. Aspects like Sports Economics and Law, Risk Management, Infrastructure management and sustainability, Leadership skills, Entrepreneurial skills and other management functions. For instance, how to organise and budget for an event as large as the IPL? Factors to study while conducting Indian Super League (ISL) in a bio-bubble under the Covid-19 cloud. Further, how to align and intersect goals and objectives of all stakeholders involved in the ‘Fit India’ movement.
A top-level CEO needs to calendar games in a strategic manner. Fans want to see live competitive action every day,butplayers need ample recovery time in between high-octane games so as to remain injury free. Operations team needs to ensure that all vendor arrangements are made in time and the supplies reach the venue before any event. Similarly, brand media teamsare challenged with handling public image of a player/team/club/federation. Their job is to ensure that right communication is released to media fraternity for any major announcement and subsequently answer any queries. A recent example was seen when Cricket Australia (CA) banned top cricketers Steve Smith and David Warner for cheating during a match and had to tactically manage the media outbreak.
What are the Opportunities in India?
The vertical and horizontal growth of the sports ecosystem in India has opened up hundreds of doors and windows for young and fresh business professionals. As the industry matures, the need for specialised professionals is being realised. The exponential growth of the ecosystem will soon demand funnelling of human resource with right attributes and skill sets to take up leading positions in various organisations as is seen in other sectors across the globe.
- Government Initiatives/Authorities- Government of India along with the Sports Ministry has been actively working towards broadening the ecosystem by launching new schemes aimed at specific objectives. ‘Khelo India’ initiative is one such measure undertaken at an all-India level to promote mass participation and enhance sporting excellence. The project intends to target and leverage school sports to narrow down potential champions.
- Corporate Initiatives/Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)- Large corporate honchos are backing distinguished sports properties to showcase their support and long-term vision. Automobile giant Hero MotoCorp has been an exemplar in this regard. It has been backing Indian football for the longest time through monetary sponsorship. More and more corporates like JSW group and Reliance, are now following the trail by investing heavily into multi-disciplinary sports.
- Private Leagues/Large Scale Events- India is brimming with tens of private leagues ranging from cricket to football to hockey to table tennis. In some cases, leagues run at state and national levels creating parallel employment opportunities. These leagues have been a catalyst in professionalising sports business in India. Apart from the core product, allied industries like sports tourism and hospitality have also seen the light of day whenever a major event is hosted by India like the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017.
- Player Management/Agent–A booming field within the sports domain is player and talent management. A player manager or management looks after commercial interests of a player. This involves managing the player’s sponsorships, endorsements, media and other commercial portfolios. Safeguarding of player rights is a global issue as many organisations unlawfully exploit a player’s goodwill. In the latest turn of events many ace athletes are now entering the business landscape by launching their own brands.
- Grassroot Development/Non-Profit Foundation-An area of work which needs immediate attention for long term athlete development (LTAD) and sporting success is, nurturing the grassroot system. Several non-profit foundations are working extensively towards talent identification. So that young kids can be honed into tomorrow’s world champions. This is only possible through world class coaching, nutritional advisory and financial support. However, there is a lot more which can be done in this field.
Additionally, rise of digital and social media has infused product-based content marketing. Sports licensing and merchandizing is another sphere which is cropping up. As the ecosystem matures, and players and teams carve out their niche brands, this segment will see vertical growth in the next 5-7 years. Lastly, infrastructure and facility management are often not given the attention they require. We need business professionals with a futuristic vision to help us make the best out of our sports stadiums and complexes. As seen regularly, most of our facilities are in shambles due to lack of funds or business model to drive growth and sustainability.
Why Sportz Next Education Institute?
The big looming question before us is, do we have the technical infrastructure and the knowledge to make our future work force employment ready? The answer is YES. Sportz Next Education Institute has now designed a curriculum with best international accreditation for MBA Sports Management. The institute offersonlineMBA Sports Management following global best practices and incorporating the right mix of theory, project work and applied learning.
With years of experience, the faculty at Sportz Next comprises of world class resources from Europe and India. This is a conscious effort to ensure the positive rub off effect on domestic resources and experts and to shape the future landscape of Indian sports education. The course is structured with immense care, with attention given to industry integration and partnerships. Likeminded experts are blended together to impart best in-house online MBA Sports Management program that there is in the country. Students are also presented with intriguing internship opportunities to cash in and shape their future steps.The course fee is affordable with flexible payment terms and finance options. This is done to eradicate the hurdle put forward by exorbitant fees charged by international universities and their India counterparts.
It is evident that sports education is the need of the hour to sustain the strong tailwinds favouring the ecosystem. Sportz Next Education Institute’s efforts in this regard come as a welcome sign for all aspiring students looking to navigate through their professional career in the field of sports.