How my business degree prepared me for a career in sports management | TopMBA.com

How my business degree prepared me for a career in sports management

By Niamh O

Updated October 12, 2021 Updated October 12, 2021

The MiM helps students master hard skills, learning all aspects of management like strategic and financial planning, marketing and people management, while also focusing on often neglected soft skills according to Andreas.

The ‘beautiful game’ of football ignites a passion that only true supporters can explain. Off the pitch, however, football is a multi-million-pound industry, with a vast number of roles available to business graduates. 

Andreas Kaeshammer currently holds the role of Global Head of Football at Infront. He spoke with TopMBA about how the Master’s in Management (MiM) programme at ESCP Business School ignited his entrepreneurial managerial drive and how his career has changed in the decade since his graduation.  

Why ESCP? 

Andreas says the opportunity to study in three European cities was an attractive proposition, with ESCP’s Master’s in Management programme offering a unique opportunity to embrace all of Europe, with students building a strong network of friends and future business contacts across countries.  

He said: “Europe feels like home now because I’ve lived all over. In the countries where I haven’t, I ended up with so many friends and connections that it felt like home when I would visit.”  

How the MiM prepares students for careers post-graduation 

Andreas has nothing but praise for his time at ESCP Business School. One major factor is that the MiM is taught in English, French and German, promoting multilingualism and giving Andreas experience of what it’s like to manage in an international setting. 

He gained the comprehensive business administration skillset needed for general management, as well as an adaptability that ensured he’d be able to hit the ground running in new settings. 

Andreas added: “As trivial as it might sound, these were the things most people would not be familiar with on their own at that young age. Such adaptability and skills later helped me in managing projects in a work environment.”  

Working as the Global Head of Football 

Andreas very much enjoys his current role. He said: “For me it is the same as for Thierry Henry, who said: ‘I eat football, I sleep football. I breathe football. I’m not mad, I’m just passionate.’” 

Football has always been Andreas’s number one passion and his role as the Global Head of Football at Infront has become a reality thanks to this passion alongside his management consulting skillset and business education. ‘If you do something that genuinely excites you, you will excel at it and be successful,’ he says. 

Infront currently serves over 40 football rightsholders across all levels of the game. Andreas said: “My mandate centres on tackling ongoing developments to ensure the company maintains and builds on its position as one of the leaders in the market.” 

Andreas talks to football federations, leagues and clubs daily to deliver existing projects and acquire new ones to grow the business. He said: “Recently, I worked on several key partnerships including the acquisition of media rights for the Italian Serie A, English Premier League and the Scottish Professional Football League.” 

When understanding commercial work within the sporting industry, Andreas feels it is important to differentiate between the game itself and the business side of it, which includes commercialisation rights and events management. Ultimately,detailed market knowledge is important to be successful in the sport industry. 

The future of football 

Andreas thinks the sport is in a period of transition thanks to new market developments – most notably, the integration of innovative digital solutions in sports technology. He said: “COVID-19 has strongly impacted the sector, as with many other entertainment-focused businesses. On a cultural layer, it has had a huge effect too as many games have been staged with no spectators. 

“Prior to COVID-19, consumer expectations of what clubs and leagues should deliver in terms of digital experience largely matched what fans wanted on the pitch. Now, new tech offers opportunities to break down barriers between the fans, the clubs and the players. 

“The expectation from both consumers and sponsors is to bridge the gap between games through insight, analysis and peeking behind the curtain when it comes to the stars of the show.” 

Gone are the days clubs can solely cater to local supporters or those from the same country, or even continent. Andreas believes football clubs need to have a global strategy, specifically in emerging footballs markets like China, if they wish to succeed. 

He added: “Digital’s integration with the consumption of football content – through new forms of watching, via Over-the-top (OTT) media services (like Netflix or Hulu) for example – will continue to be a talking point. 

“Broadcast has also consistently leant on rapidly improving technology that provides new in-game insights for viewers. Every minute of a match has dozens of data points, and it is up to producers to find more accessible ways to provide the right context to all this analysis.” 

How does a MiM prepare you for sports management? 

Andreas says the MiM helped him master hard skills, learning all aspects of management like strategic and financial planning, marketing and people management. But the MiM also focuses on often neglected soft skills. 

Andreas said: “As in sports, in business it’s all about teamwork. Sometimes during my studies, I wondered why I had to do so many case studies in multi-cultural teams. 

“It was not always easy to bring so many different ideas, opinions and approaches together and prepare a presentation with good results to a tight deadline. 

“Now, 10 years after my graduation I better understand the reason as it was the best preparation for real business life. To be successful in international sports management, I needed exactly those skills. Only by teaming up could we achieve our goals.”

This article was originally published in October 2021 .

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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