Students of the different Johan Cruyff Institute master’s and postgraduate programs in sport management and marketing visit the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to learn first-hand about the management of the Circuit in a day of leisure and learning
The visit to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is one of the exclusive course trips that most students of the Johan Cruyff Institute enjoy. Throughout its quarter-century of history, the installations of the Barcelona race track have earned the right to host the two most important motor competitions worldwide, the Formula One Grand Prix and the MotoGP. And thanks to its management of a varied business model, it has also positioned itself as one of the sports facilities hosting the greatest number of events of all kinds at the state level.
“I think it is a unique privilege to be able to visit the insides of a circuit as important as the Circuit de Catalunya,” said our student of the Postgraduate in Sport Marketing (Blended) Alberto Vizuete after the walk through the facilities. “Perhaps what caught my attention the most is the concern for the fans, what they want apart from seeing the race, the interest in ensuring that they enjoy the whole event, with shows, concerts and the rest.”
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya holds activities on a total of 320 days a year and, although the two weekends with the F1 and MotoGP circus are the ones that give it its greatest international exposure, it is the other events that enable the race track to have the economic resources to be part of the F1 and MotoGP calendars year after year. Its income generation is what interested Sergio Álvarez, a student of the Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management: “I was surprised that the Circuit has to pay for the teams to come here, to host world championship events. It seems a rather complicated business model.”
The Circuit organizes private and collective training sessions, driving courses with prestigious brands, incentive and training days, world presentations and many other events. The students of the Johan Cruyff Institute got to know, on a guided tour by Circuit staff, a good part of the facilities and their visit ended in the press room with an interesting presentation by the director of the Circuit, Joan Fontseré, on the management model. Another student of the Master in Sport Management (Blended), Tatiana Maklyakova, said: “I have dreamed ever since I was 12 years old of visiting such a facility. I thought they only had Formula One and MotoGP. I was very surprised that they have the Circuit rented out for 320 days a year with so many other events. It seemed very well managed and I think that being able to ask the director questions was a unique learning experience.”
In this interview, Joan Fontseré, director of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya since 2015, after serving as general manager of the CAR Sant Cugat and serving on the board of the Octagon company, tells us all about the day-to-day management, the work of all its team of professionals and the challenges they face to continue being at the forefront in the management of sports facilities.
F1 and MotoGP are two top world-class competitions that act as a perfect showcase for the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, but the track works all year round. What is the big management challenge at the internal level?
The big internal management challenge is the consolidation of the team with the intended objective. For some years, we have focused on amateurs. The Circuit always tries to put the fans at the center of all its decisions, so that they can go to the Circuit to see the motorsport events with the maximum possible ease and comfort, and to reach the maximum number of fans possible. This has been the great challenge of recent years. Really focus on where we had to focus.
What does a track like yours have to offer to be considered a great option as the venue for all kinds of events?
At a sporting level, the track is undoubtedly technically comparable to any other circuit, which is traditionally one of its great assets on the international scene; in fact, it is the second most important asset. The location in terms of weather conditions and climate also makes it much easier for fans to get to and for the championships to choose it as a venue. And, finally, also because of the location, being close to a big city like Barcelona, with all the services it offers, and with all the facilities it can provide, is undoubtedly the element that generates the greatest interest among users.
For opening up the Circuit to all kinds of activities, what transformations have been necessary in recent years to offer this versatility?
As we were saying before, the most important transformation aspect has been in the mentality of the staff, in that the focus is not on organizing races but on organizing events and, therefore, putting the focus of attention on the fans. This is where we have been most focused in recent years, to really give fans as comfortable a welcome as possible.
What kind of professionals does a race track like the Circuit need?
In the communication age we are in now and with the new technologies, we sincerely believe that those with a future ahead of them in terms of professionals who can service the needs of the Circuit are: data analysts that can analyze data generated by the fans themselves and marketers that can define marketing policies and communication strategies, based on customer demand. Identifying the route that the user usually takes to attend an event of this type, from when they receive information telling them about it until they complete the purchase process, or until knowing what they visit before walking out the door and their memory of having been here.
En la era de la comunicación en la que estamos ahora y con las nuevas tecnologías, creemos sinceramente que donde hay un futuro por delante en cuanto a profesionales que puedan dar servicio a necesidades del Circuit son: analistas de datos generados por los propios aficionados y la definición de políticas de marketing y estrategias de comunicación, basadas en la demanda del cliente. Detectar este recorrido que el usuario suele hacer para acudir a un evento de este tipo, desde que le llega la información de la comunicación hasta que realiza el proceso de compra, o hasta qué visita antes de salir por la puerta y el recuerdo de que ha estado aquí.
What are the areas that require more strengthening today?
Precisely the digital marketing area. We see that, in order to understand what users want, there must be a constant prior analysis to know what their interests are. And, from there, with the results, carry out the campaigns so they are effective.
The sport industry has had a growing impact on the global economy over the last 20 years with investment in public infrastructure, mobilizing resources and creating new professions and jobs. Today it is one of the professional sectors with the most economic momentum, creating opportunities for many people who aspire to a future in the world of sports. Sports Management is a field of education concerning the business aspects of sports.Learn more!