The students of the Master in Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelona at Johan Cruyff Institute learn about different business and management models on their study trip to the Basque Country
The Basque Country is one of those autonomous communities that is worth getting to know for its cultural and gastronomic richness and its great sporting tradition. And it was this last reason that led Johan Cruyff Institute to organize the 2019 study trip there for the students of its Master in Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelona. The group, made up of students from different countries in Europe, Africa and Asia, had the chance to broaden their vision of management in the football industry by learning about the different business models of four historic clubs such as Real Sociedad, Deportivo Alavés, Athletic Club and Baskonia basketball team.
The program included a visit to the mythical facilities of these four clubs, with guided tours and talks by professionals from different management areas and, as in any study trip, it also allowed for leisure time during which the students were able to enjoy the gastronomy of the area and its spectacular landscape.
This was the day-to-day of our students:
Day 1: San Sebastian – Real Sociedad – City Tour
The very pleasant weather of San Sebastian gave us a nice surprise on Day 1, therefore like true athletes at heart, the students walked to the ‘former’ Anoeta, nowadays nown as Reale Arena to kick off the trip. And what better way to start it than with a masterclass given by Juan Iraola, head of digital transformation at Real Sociedad de Fútbol, about the new digital trends that can be applied to sport and particularly to football? For this club, with the eighth biggest budget in LaLiga and almost 60% of its players coming from the academy, and more than enough reason to feel proud, satisfaction with the overall fan experience is very important. Thanks to the stadium visit and the masterclass, the students got a better overview of what the club has already done in terms of improving the fan experience and to see what is planned for the future. Nevertheless, the importance of this club for San Sebastian was not only evident close to the stadium, but also around the whole city as the students could confirm during their city tour in the afternoon. The tourist guide from the company GO LOCAL took us on a great tour around the city center and showed us not only the main monuments, but also gave us explanations about several typical things about the city, such as its love for Real Sociedad, the importance of high-quality food and the widespread culture of “pintxos”.
Day 2: Vitoria Gasteiz: Deportivo Alavés & Baskonia
Day 2 showed us the proper winter weather of this region as it poured with rain during our trip from San Sebastian to Vitoria. What was the schedule for today? To visit the stadium of Deportivo Alavés and to get a general overview of the uniqueness and importance of this club for the whole region. A small club that surprised the football world when they made it into the UEFA Cup final in 2001, which they unfortunately lost 5-4 after a golden goal was scored in extra-time. Thanks to the sales & sponsorship manager Borja Txasco, the students got a perfect explanation about the current business overview of the club, and its future stadium renovation and overall business development plans. On top of that, Borja showed us not only the stadium, but also the training complex of the club, the youth academy and BAKH, first-rate sporting club, which is the training complex of the prominent basketball club Baskonia. The fact that the two entities have the same owner and maintain a close relationship makes it a very particular case in terms of their management. We were able to learn about business growth strategies at a football club in the masterclass given by the club’s chief business officer, Pablo Ortiz, at the Fernando Buesa Arena (where Baskonia play their home matches), which was absolutely spot on and helped the students understand the “perks” of obtaining partnerships in the world of professional sport.
Day 3: Athletic Bilbao – San Mamés
What better and more iconic way to finish the trip around the Basque Country than at the new San Mamés stadium, the ‘New Cathedral’? Thanks to the director of innovation, Aitor Jimenéz, and the operations director at San Mamés, Borja Gonzalez, we were able to learn all about the home of this traditional club from Bilbao and also its plans for future growth. It seems almost like a miracle that a football club could stick to its historical values and keep growing at the same time. Athletic Bilbao’s mix of romantic football ideology and modern approach gives it a unique mixture of nostalgia and awe and, along with an understanding of how innovation and technology could shape the present and the future of the football industry, the club is looking for permanent improvement.
Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelona
The main objective of the Master in Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelona is to educate with in-depth and up-to-date knowledge and insights from the football industry. Students will analyze the core theories and relevant case studies that will help them visualize the behavior of the football business. Students will also have the opportunity to learn, interact and contribute with FC Barcelona business strategy and operations.Sign up!