Sport Business Masterclass

Second year Sport Business Management BSC(Hons) student James Drummond writes on the recent masterclass he took part in with local schools and colleges.

Albion in the Community (AITC) and the University of Brighton worked in partnership to create a sport business masterclass delivered to pupils from 5 local colleges and schools.

The day was led by AITC curriculum development officer Rob Josephs and senior lecturer at the university Mark Hayes. The morning started off with brief introductions by both hosts regarding who they were and the role they had over the day.

The students were given their task for the day and the background into Brighton and Hove Albion FC (BAHFC) which they would need to use as a base for their task. The task put before them was to either create a new app or to enhance the current BAHFC app in order to further improve the customer experience when visiting the American Express Community Stadium; it was up to the teams which part of the experience they wanted to improve. In the afternoon the teams would present their ideas to a small panel of judges in a semi-final and the best three presentations would go into a grand final in front of a larger panel of ‘dragons’ and all of their peers.

Each team of participants was given an American Express (Amex) ambassador to help facilitate the process, as well as sport business management students and student ambassadors from the university. Once the briefing had finished and the task had been given the participants were taken on a tour of the stadium allowing them to see the club from a business perspective and to get inspiration for possible app ideas. This allowed them to think about football from a ‘behind the scenes’ point of view which they had never seen or thought of before.

The participants were given iPads to capture images which they thought symbolised the football club and images that would help them put their argument across later in the day. Lunch followed the tours with a cold buffet being provided by the university in the campus canteen.

The afternoon began with all the teams being sent to different rooms where they were to design and develop their app ideas. They were given an assortment of booklets in a pack which they could also use as inspiration and with the help of the Amex and university student ambassadors they set about planning their presentation.

Once their time was up the groups were put into two semif-inals and pitched their ideas to half of the ‘dragons’ panel. Some of the ideas put forward were really impressive and you could see that the groups had really thought thoroughly about the task and worked hard to get their idea across in the best way possible. Once the semi-finals were over everyone congregated in the conference room where Rob then announced the finalists who then had to then present their ideas again to a much larger audience. The panel of ‘dragons’ included Matt Dorn the CEO of AITC, Marc Dring the marketing manager for BAHFC and Emma Brockhurst the fundraising executive for AITC.

The winning group based their idea around the ability pre-payment methods when ordering food and drink during a home match and having a specific BAHFC payment system and loyalty card. The day as a whole was very enjoyable for all parties involved which was partly due to it being run very smoothly, ensuring there were no hiccups and that everyone knew what they had to do and where they had to be.

From a university student point of view it showed me how much business knowledge I have obtained whilst being at university and how much I was able to contribute to the group task; coming up with ideas and thinking about impacts it may have on multiple stakeholders not just on the ones the idea focused around. It was a great test of my knowledge and understanding and one which I am very glad I took part in.

Rebecca Relf (sport and exercise science graduate and now PhD student) commented: “As a University of Brighton student ambassador, I assisted on the Sport Business Masterclass day held at the Amex stadium and at the Falmer campus.

“I assisted one of the Worthing College teams throughout the day, and their ideas mainly consisted of adding a half time food ordering service to the app; to reduce queueing time, increase efficiency of stock and to stop the fans having to miss any of the match to go up early. In the app would also be a ‘loyalty card’ to promote repeat purchases and ability to pay through PayPal or card.

“I was very impressed with all the groups and their presenting skills, especially as the majority were very hesitant when informed at the beginning of the day. Overall, it was a very well organised and executed day with great student engagement.”

Verity Cooper-Wood (Sport and exercise science third year) commented: “The day was a great success and the participants seemed to enjoy getting involved.

“The group I was helping worked really well as a team and with encouragement from myself and another ambassador each member was involved equally and they soon had a board of ideas ready to present.

“It was absolutely great to see so many of the students so confident in their presentations and to see the enthusiasm. I was really proud of my team that, at first, seemed shy, but in the end they made it through to the second round, and after presenting a second time to the full panel, they were the winners!!!

“They definitely deserved their trophy and box of chocolates and I’m sure the college was very proud of them.”

Fay Lofty, widening participation officer at the University of Brighton said: “The widening participation team appreciates the opportunity to work with the School of Sport and Service Management as well as Albion in the Community to bring this brilliant opportunity to our partner schools and colleges.

“We were delighted that so many students took part and impressed at their knowledge and skills in this area.”

Sport Business Management students James, Louis, Caragh and Peter at the AMEX Community Stadium

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