The appetite for education is growing within football as clubs seek to build a strong professional culture. To accompany playing talent, skills in marketing, business development or law are essential to long-term international growth.
As an organisation that grew from 35 to 580 employees in just five years, La Liga is an example of how investment in education can help sports businesses to expand globally. To pass on its knowledge to others it has launched the La Liga Business School project, becoming the first major football league to provide uniquely-designed professional sports courses to students around the world.
Working with universities, local federations and clubs, the project brings together expertise from across the business and sporting worlds to share best practices and create an appetite for learning. As well as classes within Spain, the programme has agreed new partnerships with educational and sporting institutions to bring courses to nine countries across the Americas and Africa.
For José Moya, Director of LaLiga Business School, these agreements are key to securing football’s long-term future. “We want to help professionalise the sports industry at all levels by capturing and developing the talent of today and tomorrow’s professionals,” he explained. “The more qualified people we have working in the industry, the better equipped football will be for growth.”
International courses from Egypt to Ecuador
The first international course, on the subject of sports marketing, was held at the start of March in Egypt, at the ESLSCA Business School’s Cairo campus. Over an intensive 25-hour course, the 40 participants gained a deep understanding of new techniques that can help build a greater profile for football and attract new fans.
“Whether they are already working within football or brand new to the industry, we’re offering courses that were not previously available and can help people approach football with a fresh business mindset,” Moya added.
In the coming months, La Liga will introduce similar classes in Peru with San Ignacio De Loyola University, in Ecuador with San Francisco de Quito University, in Colombia with the Universidad Externado de Colombia, in Mexico with ITAM, in Puerto Rico with the government’s department of recreation and sports, in Panamá with Universidad Latina de Panamá, in Nigeria with Lagos Business School and in the USA with Colombia University.
While each course is built on the same values and with the same objectives, the speakers are varied and students will learn from experts specific to each country, in addition to 20 hours of instruction from LaLiga teachers.
In Peru, for example, the marketing directors of leading clubs Club Alianza Lima and Universitario will address the classes. In Ecuador and Colombia, representatives from these nations’ professional football leagues will speak, while the President of the Puerto Rican football federation will do likewise for that territory’s course.
Through all of this, new technology will be in use to ensure that students receive the best possible experience. In addition to a digital tool that connects students from all over the world and permits networking, data from the LaLiga business intelligence and analytics department will be used in the lessons and professionals from the various tech departments of LaLiga will take part in the teaching too.
Inclusive education for the good of all football
While the courses help to build LaLiga’s international brand visibility, the principal aim of LaLiga Business School is to bring together experts that can provide the best sports education on the market. “Education should always be inclusive, and our doors are open to local leagues, federations, teams or committees that wish to get involved,” Moya said. “Where we succeed, football as a whole will succeed and that is good for everyone.”
There are plans for future expansion to south-east Asia, Japan and Thailand, as well as to other European countries including Hungary, Italy and Finland. But these moves will be made carefully and slowly.
“We’re not built for rapid growth and profit but to put down roots and create a long-term appetite for sporting education,” Moya enforced.
“But in time, the whole sporting world will be focused on continuous learning and we plan to be a central part of that.”