The School of Continuing Studies’ Sports Industry Management program’s partnership with professional soccer team FC Barcelona continued in July with a trip to Barcelona and a meeting with team executives.
Daniel Kelly, the faculty director of the Sports Industry Management program, said in an interview with The Hoya that the program grants students entry to the Soccer Leadership Summit and “high-level access” to everyone involved in FC Barcelona. Planning for the partnership began in summer 2016 and the program itself started a year later, with the School of Continuing Studies hosting the Soccer Leadership Conference in July 2017.
This past summer, 22 graduate students traveled to Barcelona to meet with FC Barcelona executives and to learn about sports management on a global level, further expanding the partnership.
Prior to the FC Barcelona partnership, the Sports Industry Management program had partnerships with Under Armour and Washington, D.C. sports teams, like the Washington Redskins and D.C. United, Kelly said. However, given FC Barcelona’s status as the third most valuable sports franchise, Kelly noted that the partnership is a big deal for Georgetown. “It allows us to be seen as equal partners,” he said.
“With the addition of FC Barcelona, [the program] had a global reach it didn’t have before,” Kelly said.
The entire faculty is involved in the partnership, Kelly said, and courses can be tailored to students’ and professors’ experiences with FC Barcelona.
“We get some of [FC Barcelona’s] high-level executives to guest lecture,” Kelly said. Students gain a practical idea of what goes on in the real world of sports management, and faculty can adjust their classes according to their experiences with the program, according to Kelly.
Students are also working with FC Barcelona executives on their capstone projects, which FC Barcelona will implement, according to Kelly.
In February 2018, students in the Sports Industry Management program applied for a summer FC Barcelona leadership course that included a trip to Barcelona for the Soccer Leadership Summit. Selected students traveled to Barcelona in August, and upon returning home completed projects based on the experiences they had throughout the trip and presented them at the end of the month.
Adam Perez, a second-year graduate student in the Sports Industry Management program, said in an interview with The Hoya that the partnership with FC Barcelona is one of the reasons he applied to Georgetown, since the announcement came out as he was applying to graduate programs. Perez was one of the students selected for the summer leadership course and trip to Barcelona. He attended the summit and took the course focused on the business side of international soccer clubs.
The program is “a great way to get FC Barcelona to globalize itself and help their business in the US and around the world” and “a win-win” for both FC Barcelona and Georgetown, Perez said.
During their trip to Barcelona, the students attended meetings with FC Barcelona executives, including the Strategy and Knowledge Director, the Head of Business Development and Innovation, and the FC Barcelona Museum Director. The meetings included open discussions between the students and executives.
The program is now in phase two, where Georgetown and FC Barcelona are looking for “points of interest to enhance their partnership,” Kelly said. The program is currently working to place a graduate student in an internship within the club in Spain and to develop a course based on the partnership.