Interview with Oliver Seitz, former academic director and professor of the Master in Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelona
Oliver Seitz, the former academic director of the ‘Master in Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelona‘, is currently the head of sports data science & analytics at Club Athletico Paranaense as well as professor of the master. Before joining Johan Cruyff Institute, Dr Seitz worked as a consultant and as a lecturer in Football Business at the UCFB in London, in partnership with the FA. Prior to moving to London, he lived in Brazil, where he worked as head of marketing for Jacquet Brossard, a French multinational consumer goods company. Before that, he was head of marketing at Coritiba Football Club, where, in 2012, he was awarded the Best Overseas Marketing Campaign by the FC Business Awards in London. Dr Seitz holds a PhD in Football Business from the University of Liverpool.
Why is it important for someone to study football business?
The football business is very different from ordinary businesses in many aspects. Football organizations – clubs, sponsors, investors, etc – have many different forms of management and very distinct objectives. Sometimes they want profit, sometimes they are focused on reputation and politics, and sometimes they are only focused on winning, whatever the cost. There are many factors that influence this and the business nature also has a profound influence on the way the club or any football-related organization is and should be managed. Anyone who wants to develop a career working in the football industry must know these different realities in order to be able to help the organization to develop. If you cannot recognize what is the nature and the many complexities of the business you are in, you will certainly create a series of difficulties for yourself and for the future of your business.
What makes this Master in Football Business different?
We are focused on the football business above anything else. We will explore the fundamentals and the structure of the football industry in depth and focus on the specificities of the market. You cannot compare clubs to consumer goods companies, for example. If you do, you risk having to review all your knowledge once you start working in the industry. We will offer insights into how clubs, federations, leagues and other organizations really behave. With FC Barcelona providing the knowledge from its own model, we hope to provide students with a very unique content and experience.
How does this program contribute to the football world?
By forming individuals that have a critical in-depth view of the overall football market, we hope to help to develop football organizations at all levels. The knowledge that will be generated from the classes and from the discussions will have a long-term impact on the industry through different means, and this will create a business environment that has a much greater capacity to improve itself, focusing on relevant and efficient measures that will have a strong impact on everyone.
“At the ‘big’ clubs, the investment in new signings is higher, but so is the risk of losses if the results do not meet the expectations”
What do you think are the main trends for the future of the football business?
Despite some early signs that broadcasting revenues – football’s most important source of income – may be reaching a peak in the current model, we expect revenues to keep growing for all clubs in the main football markets across the globe, unless affected by an external media crisis. This growth of income generates higher financial inequality, exposing smaller clubs to higher financial risks. At the ‘big’ clubs, on the other hand, the investment in new signings is higher, but so is the risk of losses if the results do not meet the expectations. This is already happening today, but the cost of the loss is proportionate to the amount of money involved. Therefore, I don’t expect the overall industry to change its modus operandi too much with the boost in revenues, but I do expect the many financial dangers of the business to become more relevant for the organizations and individuals involved.