Johan Cruyff Institute analyzes which topics or aspects are on the rise in the sports industry and which could be most useful for students when plan their study trips
At Johan Cruyff Institute, study trips concentrate all those key elements that turn mere learning into an immersive and dynamic experience to remember for a lifetime, both personally and academically. More than 15 years of commitment to including new trips and destinations in its academic programs has enabled the institution to distinguish itself thanks to the collaboration of recognized European sporting entities. “There is a very important social and relational aspect; the campuses become a hub where students from various countries travel and network,” explains Victor Jordán, academic director of Johan Cruyff Institute.
Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Spain were the countries chosen for the study trips for the 2021-22 academic year, with the objective of opening the doors of top-level organizations for students to discover first-hand how they operate and their particular working methodology. “We want students to understand what the sports industry is like in different European environments, and to experience it,” says Victor. The social relationships that arise between the students themselves and the working professionals facilitate the creation of links that can lead to job opportunities in the future.
“We want students to understand what the sports industry is like in different European environments, and to experience it” – Victor Jordán, academic director of Johan Cruyff Institute
Visits, lectures, networking and leisure time
The students who travelled to Spain this year came from Johan Cruyff Institute’s campuses in Amsterdam, Mexico and Peru. In Catalonia, places such as the Camp Nou and the stadiums of RCD Espanyol and Girona FC, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya race track and the Mediapro audiovisual group’s facilities were mandatory stops.
The visits to different sports facilities or entities were complemented with masterclasses given by managers who have worked in major sports properties. The aim was to generate a relationship between the students, the experts and the different properties, while sharing knowledge.
Participating in the study trip to Barcelona were: Raúl Ciprés, former member of the marketing department of RCD Espanyol and Real Club de Polo de Barcelona, and founder and partner of the marketing agency Creativialab; Cinto Ajram, who directed the sponsorship area of FC Barcelona and is currently in charge of his own sport marketing agency CA Sports; Marc Pomés, project manager of The Ironman Group ; and Jordi Viñas, managing partner and founder of Itik Consulting Sports & Leisure, and academic director of Johan Cruyff Institute’s Blended Master in Sport Marketing and Management. Among the topics covered were the strategic plan implemented for the inauguration of the RCD Espanyol stadium and the key aspects of sport sponsorship and the management of sports facilities.
“For this type of activity, although we depend on the availability of the clubs or companies to collaborate, we have a great advantage which is the big presence of former students who are already part of these sporting institutions,” explains Victor Jordán. “We try to look for that direct connection, and we are lucky that many of them are in the industry and that makes us different,” he adds.
“We try to look for direct connection with sport entities, and we are lucky that many of ormer students are in the industry and that makes us different” – Victor Jordán
But it wasn’t all academic activities. There was also time to visit the Olympic Museum and the FC Barcelona Museum, play sports and sample the delights of Catalan cuisine. Leisure time and socializing among participants is another important aspect of these shared spaces away from home. “It is common for students to end up finding a job thanks to this type of event,” says Victor.
The Basque Country, a land that breathes football culture from all sides, was one of the destinations chosen for the students of the Master in Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelona and Barça Innovation Hub. All the region’s professional clubs were on the program, without exception: Deportivo Alavés, Athletic Club, SD Amorebieta, Real Sociedad and Real Unión de Irún. In Vitoria, the students attended a talk on strategic analysis in the sports sector by Pablo Ortiz, business director of Baskonia-Alavés. At San Mamés, they were welcomed by Borja González, director of business and innovation at Athletic Club, while the visit to SD Amorebieta was led by deputy director Aritz Esteban, CEO Ibon Olalde and sporting director Asier Goiria, which enabled the students to receive different insights from each manager.
“It is common for students to end up finding a job thanks to this type of events during their study trips” – Victor Jordán
To select this type of profile, Johan Cruyff Institute analyzes which topics or aspects are on the rise in the sports industry and which could be most useful for students. “We analyze the structure of each entity and what it can contribute most to the students,” says the academic director.
The next destination scheduled for the students of the Master in Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelona and Barça Innovation Hub was Germany, with visits to the facilities of Bundesliga clubs such as Borussia Monchengladbach, Borussia Dortmund and Bochum, as well as the PSV Eindhoven stadium, before leaving for Amsterdam.
Once in the Netherlands, the students had the opportunity to visit a smart stadium such as the Johan Cruyff ArenA, which is very attractive both visually and in terms of the technical and operational management of the facilities. “The Johan Cruyff ArenA has a sports innovation hub supported by the Amsterdam City Council that is unique in Europe, with more than 100 companies involved in fan engagement, technology and sustainability,” explains Victor. The visit to this sports facility is for the students a real immersion in terms of facility management and the many possible initiatives to bring a stadium to life and generate activity beyond match day.
An opportunity to get to know unique initiatives
In addition to visiting sports venues in the Netherlands, there are also activities to get to know initiatives that use sport to carry out social or charitable work. This is the case of the Only Friends Sports Club, an organization for children and young people with disabilities that is an example of non-competitive sport management. These are activities that demonstrate the transforming role of sport, which in addition to its economic impact also plays a fundamental role in the development of society, equality and inclusion.
“This initiative came from a student who was a friend of Johan’s and who had a disabled son. He set it up and it is an incredible experience for the students as it gives them the chance to get to know the day-to-day life of a Paralympic athlete,” says the academic head of Johan Cruyff Institute.
The trip also included a visit to the Cruyff Foundation, which supports and develops sports activities for children in need with different abilities through sports projects. At the institution, they are always look out for unique activities that show innovative forms of management in the world so that students can experience and work on them.