All in the big-money game

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With the huge sums involved in staging landmark sporting events don’t rule out a Chelsea MBA appearing on the syllabus If anyone had any doubt about the world-changing nature of sport and the huge sums involved in staging landmark sporting events, the Beijing Olympic Games was as powerful a rejoinder as could be imagined.

From the vast infrastructure projects to the iconic stadiums, Beijing spared no expense. London 2012’s £9 billion budget seems like loose change in comparison. What both the Beijing and London Olympics prove is the closeness of the relationship between big business and sport. Once unlikely bedfellows, they are now bosom buddies. Indeed, the United Nations has calculated that sport may account for almost 3 per cent of global economic activity. In the UK sport is thought to generate around 2.5 per cent of GDP.

This close link between sport and business is being validated by MBA programmes with a sport element. Sport management is increasingly featured on MBA programmes – after all, huge projects requiring vast sums of money need the leadership, marketing, project management and financial skills that form the basis of MBA courses.

Among the leaders in the field is the Centre for the International Business of Sport, part of Coventry University’s Business School. The Coventry centre is led by Professor Simon Chadwick, probably as near to a guru as the fledgling sports business area has. Coventry offers MBAs in sport management and international sport management, covering sport law, marketing and sponsorship, broadcasting and event planning.

Other sport business MBA programmes are offered at Leeds Metropolitan University (a two-year course); Birmingham University (a part-time, two to four-year sport management MBA); and Manchester Business School (a global MBA in sport and major events launched last year).

So far few business schools have followed the example of San Diego State University. It offers a sport business management MBA in partnership with the San Diego Padres baseball team. The Chelsea MBA may not be far away.

Source: The Times

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