The students of the University Master’s Degree in Sports Management propose to Baxi Manresa actions to improve the fan experience and attract more people to the Nou Congost, enhancing fan engagement and seeking new lines of business
Baxi Manresa is one of the historic clubs of the Liga Endesa (Spanish basketball league), the pride of a city devoted to basketball. A history of 92 years goes a long way and the club has managed to remain faithful to its values both in times of euphoria and in times of difficulty. Despite having one of the most limited budgets in the competition, last season’s good results led to a record number of season ticket holders, currently standing at around 3,600. Improving the experience of its people, rewarding their connection with the team and joining new members to that community with fan engagement strategies and new lines of business is one of the challenges that Baxi Manresa is facing. A challenge for which they will have the help of the students of Johan Cruyff Institute’s University Master’s Degree in Sports Management.
This collaboration is part of the ‘Company Project’, an academic activity that forms part of the evaluation system of Johan Cruyff Institute’s sport management programs and which has a triple purpose: to connect the content of the different subjects to respond to a real challenge posed by a company in the sports sector; to promote networking between students and professionals in the industry; and to offer a solution that could be implemented in the future through an internship agreement.
The president of Baxi Manresa himself, Jordi Serracanta, entered the classroom to explain the club’s needs to the students. “Our challenge is—having analyzed the different lines of business of our club—to improve above all the fan engagement, the ability to attract more public and see how we are able to also generate business within the facility itself. And of course, the digital challenge, we are in a totally digital and very competitive context; we have to see how our club, our fans and our ecosystem are able to generate powerful digital content and at the same time consumable for our fans or for those who do not yet know us and want to become part of our family, either physically or in the digital environment,” explains Serracanta. The president attended the students’ presentations together with Marc Bernadich, managing director of Baxi Manresa and professor of marketing in the University Master’s Degree in Sports Management and of innovation in the Master in Sport Marketing and Management Blended Barcelona.
“This collaboration is proving to be very positive. We put ourselves in front of a mirror, which is the students, and they can help us to take on new lines of business that we do not have right now, or to improve or modify those we do already have” – Jordi Serracanta, president of Baxi Manresa
The values of Baxi Manresa are those of “tenacity, constancy, the ability to extract the maximum from limited budgets, to be intense in everything we do and, at the same time, ambitious, that of the small against the big,” explains the president, for whom this collaboration “is proving to be very positive. On the one hand, because we put ourselves in front of a mirror, which is the students. They analyze us, they look at us, and from this observation they come up with very interesting proposals related to the world of leisure and sports, which is where we are. That is why the experience is worthwhile. We can analyze and be self-critical, but, above all, we can see proposals for innovations that we have not been able to make so far and that, from this relationship with the students and their knowledge, can help us to take on new lines of business that we do not have right now, or to improve or modify those we do already have and from which we can probably get even more performance. It is always very positive to approach the university world, the world of knowledge. In the field of elite and competitive sport, of sports companies, it is essential to be constantly evolving, to generate more income and, in the end, to have more resources to make available to the club itself and to the ecosystem we have.”
For this particular challenge, the students have been advised throughout the process by the finance professor Núria Masferrer, who is also the co-coordinator of the University Master’s Degree in Sports Management, and by the marketing professor Jesús Oliver. “Having a limited budget obviously conditions all the activities and actions that can be proposed to have more income. This does not mean that these actions are not profitable. On the contrary, they are profitable because they open the minds of our students when it comes to preparing creative proposals to obtain income with limited resources. That’s where you learn the most. The proposals I have seen in the tutorials are good and very feasible,” says Núria.
“Having a limited budget obviously conditions all the activities and actions that can be proposed to have more income; this does not mean that these actions are not profitable, on the contrary” – Núria Masferrer, finance professor
According to Jesús Oliver, “there are many clubs that always tend to do the same actions and to focus mainly on other competing clubs. What we do at Johan Cruyff Institute with the students is try to apply what is known as ‘out of the box’ thinking, to think beyond, also looking at what is done in other sports, not only in the world of basketball, and from there to see strategies, activities, actions and campaigns that work to extrapolate it, in this case to Baxi Manresa.”
“In a marketing budget, we have to focus on what we think is important and, from there, develop it to the maximum” – Jesús Oliver, marketing professor
Oliver recalls that “most companies in this country are SMEs, so we are used to the fact that budgets are always limited. One of the things we always say is that you have to segment and try to specialize. The same thing happens with a marketing budget, we have to focus on what we think is important and, from there, develop it to the maximum. We have a young group, with people from different sectors and different countries, and they have achieved a very important cohesion as a group. I have been able to see that they have done a lot of research, not only about Manresa but also other clubs and sports, and the proposals are innovative and go a bit outside the box, which is what we were looking for.”