LigaPro Institute opens as a study center specialized in the sports industry, with the support of ESPAE (business school of ESPOL) and Johan Cruyff Institute, in charge of on campus and online training, respectively
LigaPro Ecuador has presented one of its most ambitious projects in terms of the professionalization of the football industry. LigaPro Institute was created as an initiative of the Ecuadorian Professional Football League to become an academic training center of reference in the country. The project aims to actively contribute to the development of the sector and counts on the collaboration of two leading training institutions: ESPAE, the business school linked to ESPOL University and the number one in Ecuador, and Johan Cruyff Institute, an institution that represents the academic legacy of Johan Cruyff to promote the professionalization of the sports industry. Both organizations will be in charge of delivering the programs, which will combine on-campus and online modalities.
LigaPro Institute presented the initiative to the media at a press conference with the participation of: Miguel Angel Loor, president of LigaPro; Alberto Díaz Lorente, executive director of LigaPro and LaLiga Business School; Xavier Ordeñana, dean of ESPAE; Cristina Palés, marketing manager of Johan Cruyff Institute; Xavier Salem, administrative vice president of Barcelona Sporting Club; Diego Castro, director of Liga Deportiva Universitaria; and Santiago Morales, director of Independiente del Valle and president of the Spanish club Numancia.
The initiative will start next January with an academic offer consisting of four courses: Professional Management of Sports Organizations, Sports Law, Sport Sponsorship and Financial Management in Sports Organizations. LigaPro Institute will offer its students the tools to develop their professional career in the football industry, knowledge to manage a top-level sports organization or the possibility of doing internships in the world of professional football and joining one of its affiliated clubs.
The sports ecosystem moves US$890 billion, 1% of the world’s GDP, which makes it very interesting for professionals who want to enter this industry. Athletes, former athletes and professionals working in the football industry are increasingly interested in sport management. In this regard, Miguel Angel Loor, president of LigaPro, commented that “when the clubs created LigaPro they were simply thinking of a way to be able to better structure the television rights and the organization of a tournament. Seeing what is happening in the world, we realize that it wasn’t just about that, but really about being able to manage and grow an industry that for us and for many people is the most important entertainment industry in the world. And that’s because at some point there were people who got training and were entrepreneurial. Among the projects we have as an organization, one—and perhaps the most important—was to fulfill this dream, a legacy that transcends in time and changes the course of people’s lives. It is education, enabling people to grow within our industry.”
The president of LigaPro hopes that “this training center will serve so that all Ecuadorians, and perhaps also people from abroad, can prepare themselves with everything we can offer them and what better than joining and allying with prestigious institutions such as ESPAE, the business school of ESPOL, the most prestigious university in the country, and Johan Cruyff Institute, which today is one of the most important institutions in the world of sport. This must be our greatest legacy because we know that our next managers, the next generations, will be fully qualified to lead sports projects within our industry.”
For more than 20 years, Johan Cruyff Institute has been dedicated to training future leaders in sport management, sport marketing and sponsorship, football business and coaching, and for the last 12 years it has also been a leader in online training. Cristina Palés, marketing manager of Johan Cruyff Institute, highlighted in her speech the importance of projects of this kind promoted by the professional organizations themselves. “We all know what Johan Cruyff represented as a player, as a coach and as a public figure, but it is equally important to highlight what led him to found an academic institution like ours. It is equally imperative that sports organizations such as LigaPro watch over, as they do, the professionalization of the football industry and that the media communicate the importance of initiatives such as the one we are presenting today.”
Audio in Spanish.
Cristina explained that “Johan looked for a way to take care of athletes, starting by creating an educational system that would help them to combine sport and studies in order to have a proactive future when they retire. Any initiative starts from a personal experience. He was fortunate to have a long and successful career as a footballer, but he also witnessed examples in his close circle of great players who lost everything a few years after retiring. He saw them suffer and thought that if he could make it easier for athletes to have a dual career, and give them tools to understand how the sports industry is structured and how it should be managed, they could continue to be involved in an activity they are passionate about.”
Johan Cruyff Institute started with a small class of 35 Dutch athletes and, to date, has now trained more than 9,000 professionals in the sports industry, not only athletes and former athletes, but also graduates and professionals who want to be up to date on how to manage a sector in constant evolution or start a new professional stage in an increasingly professionalized industry. Cristina Palés emphasized that “academic collaboration agreements with sports organizations such as LigaPro are essential for us. We have been working for many years with entities in Latin America, we have international agents on the ground in nine countries in Latin America, and Ecuador is one of them. We are convinced that this partnership with the Professional Football League of Ecuador is a unique opportunity to provide tools for its development. Working together with a business school like ESPAE, a reference in the country, is a privilege for us and we are delighted to work with them to benefit Ecuadorian football.”