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Investments and Value Creation in Global Sports

This groundbreaking global course on sports and business has been developed as we have witnessed a significant inflow of private money into global sports. Amid this global trend, which we may call the financialization of sports, we increasingly see pushback from supporters of clubs and fans of sports. This elective MSc course seeks to equip students with tools and frameworks to balance stakeholder interests in an industry that mixes for-profit and non-for-profit goals. The course is led by the Director for the Center for Sports & Business, Martin Carlsson-Wall.

First Lecture in Investments and Value Creation in Global Sports (to see the first lecture, click on the picture).

Content

During the last 10 years, financial investors have gained power and influence within the global sports industry. In North America, several clubs have owners with a private equity background and within European football, many clubs are owned by financial investors, private equity companies, or listed on the stock exchange. 

However, despite this increased financialization, there are strong counter forces. Many sports clubs are driven by passionate interests where supporters want to maintain historical community identities. Public organizations on state and city levels have highlighted the risks of too much financialization. This tension between financial investments and passionate interests is at the core of this course. The recent failure of the European Super League project demonstrates that this is one of the most strategic issues within the global football community. We also see how the tensions between financial investments and passionate interests are discussed in relation to Olympic Games and other large sports events. 

To deliver this course, we combine two strong research areas at SSE, accounting/finance and sports. The goal is to create a course that is attractive to SSE students, but also to students in SSE's international networks such as CEMS and GNAM. 

High-Level Guest Lecturers and Faculty

Teaching Faculty

The teaching faculty of the course comprises of:

Martin Carlsson-Wall (Course Director, Department of Accounting)

Tomas Hjelström (Department of Accounting)

Per Strömberg (Department of Finance/Swedish House of Finance) 

Guest Lecturers

The guest lecturers in the first edition of the course included:

Dan Singer, Partner and Leader of the Global Sports & Gaming Practice at McKinsey. 

David Dellea, Global Head of Sports Advisory at PwC. 

Daniel Beiderbeck, working for German football club Borussia Dortmund. 

Nicolas Frevel, Head of Strategy at Hertha Berlin. 

Richard Brisius, Race Chairman, The Ocean Race. 

Jasmine Robinson, Partner at Causeway Media Partners. 

Jordan Gardner, Football/Soccer investor and Chairman of the Board, FC Helsingör. Also co-owner in Dundalk Football Club and minority owner in Swansea City Football Club. 

Ricardo Fort, Founder of Sport by Fort. Former Vice President, Global Sports and Entertainment Partnerships at Coca-Cola and Senior Vice President, Global Brand, Product & Sponsorship Marketing at VISA. 

Tea Stefani, Brand Project Manager AS Monaco. 

Professor Norman O'Reilly, Dean Graduate School of Business, University of Maine, USA.

Professor George Foster, Stanford University Graduate School of Business. 

Ebra Koksal, Football & Finance Forerunner. Former CEO & Director for Galatasary Sports Club and first female Executive Board member of European Club Association (ECA). 

Professor Ivanka Visnjic, ESADE Business School. 

Sample of guest lecturers in the course Investments and Value Creation in Global Sports 

Award-Winning Course

In February 2022, Martin Carlsson-Wall received the Outstanding Pedagogical Achievement Award for autumn 2021 for Investments and Value Creation in Global Sports. 

The course, in its 1st edition, gathered 68 students from 19 universities in 16 different countries. In the fall of 2022, the course run for its 2nd edition. 

Martin Carlsson-Wall was the director of the newly developed and highly appreciated MSc elective course on Investments and Value Creation in Global Sports, that was offered to SSE's international networks. The course was especially designed for digital delivery and attracted students from 19 schools in 16 countries. The course combined content delivered by SSE faculty with global thought leaders as guest lecturers, which was enabled by the digital format. But above and beyond the content of the course, the course extended the classroom for those students physically present in Stockholm, using study trips and sport events.
Jury's Motivation

Martin Carlsson-Wall (to the right) receiving his award from Pär Åhlström (to the left). 

Combining Theory & Practice

Theory

The course consists in total of 15 lectures, divided into five different theme weeks:

Week 1 - Theme: The Importance of Understanding the Motivation for Investing in Sports Organizations

Lecture 1: Introduction

Lecture 2: Introduction to the Global Sports Market 

Lecture 3: Importance of Different Types of Owners and Tottenham Case 

Week 2 - Theme: Navigating Change

Lecture 4: Gaming and E-sport: Opportunity and Illusion

Lecture 5: The "Doing of Strategy", comparing Bayern München and Hertha BSC

Lecture 6: The Oceans Race - a Purpose-Driven Sports Organization

Week 3 - Theme: Making Smart Investments 

Lecture 7: Investing in Sports - An American Growth Equity Perspective 

Lecture 8: Investing in European Football from an American Perspective

Lecture 9: Measuring the Impact of Sponsorships on Business Results 

Week 4 - Theme: Developing a Brand

Lecture 10: Re-Thinking a Brand - the Case of AS Monaco 

Lecture 11: Corporate Sponsorships - how to Build Global Partnerships 

Lecture 12: TopGolf - how to Build a Global Sport Community 

Week 5 - Theme: Managing a Club

Lecture 13: Navigating behind the Scene(s) - Understanding the Power of Dynamics in Global Football 

Lecture 14: Barca Innovation Hub

Lecture 15: Literature Summary and Project Coaching 

Practice

In order to integrate both the mind and body in this course, it also included, for students present in Stockholm, field trips and other activities:

Kick-off dinner with Citi-bank

Football and ice hockey matches with Djurgården 

Dinner with Jonas Persson (Sport Tech CEO)

Visit to the Swedish Hockey League 

Tour of Tele2 Arena 

Padel Event 

Course Participants on a Padel Event together with Commercial Sports Media 

Field Trip to Tele2 Arena 

Intended Learning Outcomes

To successfully complete the course, students need to demonstrate knowledge in:

1. How to balance stakeholder interests in an industry that mixes for-profit and non-for-profit goals.

2. How financial value is created in global sports through a mix of media rights, tickets, sponsor partnerships, merchandise, and the selling and buying of players. 

3. The role that different financial investors can play in developing clubs, leagues, and large sport events and thereby strengthen global sports. 

4. Critically evaluate financial investors' value creation strategies in an industry filled with passionate interests. 

Students' Voices

“The expertise and quality of the guest lecturers and professors were outstanding. I found it extremely valuable and insightful to be exposed to such high-profile industry professionals.

“The combination of theory and practice was the main strength. It was amazing to have so many different perspectives on how to work with sports and what different career paths are available for us after leaving SSE. Also, a big highlight needs to be given to the incredible outside Zoom events such as the kick-off dinner with Citi-bank, the football and ice hockey matches with Djurg√•rden, the dinner with Jonas Persson (Sport Tech CEO), the visit to the Swedish Hockey League and the tour of Tele2 Arena. This was a course I will always remember and be thankful to SSE that they organized because it was really a match between my passion and interests.”

“I have been sharing my learnings about this course with my network and I think I have been very effective about evangelising potential students for the future. In brief, this course will provide you with tools to understand the mechanics of sport as an industry as well as a passionate interest. It will allow you to look a bit deeper behind the headlines to understand what is actually going on and what it might been for the future of the sport you are interested in.”

Format and Structure 

The course will cover the following themes:

1. The Global Sport Industry - an overview

2. Due diligence and investing in a sport organization

3. Creating value in a world of passionate interests 

4. Exit strategies and getting financial returns 

Given the global ambition, both content-wise, but also to reach other CEMS, GNAM and CIVICA schools, the course will be delivered in a digital format. 

Prerequisites 

The course is an elective open for all MSc students at SSE as well as MSc students from other CEMS, GNAM and CIVICA schools. Knowledge about accounting, investments and corporate valuation are preferable. For example, students should be able to analyze an annual report, conduct a discounted cash flow valuation on a basic level and have a general awareness of different types of investments. 

Examination 

Class Participation (10%):

Active class participation will be given up to 10%. Given the digital format of the course, class participation also includes questions and reflections e-mailed to faculty between classes. 

Case Hand-ins (10%):

The course will consist of a number of cases. A total of 10% will be given to students who hand in cases. 

Project (20%):

A course project will be conducted in groups of 4-5 students where students apply theoretical concepts. 

Exam (60%): 

The main examination is a written exam at the end of the course. 

Literature  

The following literature is included in the course. It also includes a collection of selected cases.

Battilana, J., & Lee, M. (2014). Advancing Research on Hybrid Organizing – Insights from the Study of Social Enterprises. The Academy of Management Annals, p.397-441.

Baxter, J., Carlsson-Wall, M., Chua, W.F., & Kraus, K. (2019). Accounting and passionate interests: The case of a Swedish football club. Accounting, Organizations and Society, p.21-40.

Carlsson-Wall, M., Kraus, K., & Messner, M. (2016). Performance measurement systems and the enactment of different institutional logics: Insights from a football organization. Management Accounting Research, p.45-61.

Cho, C., Janin, F., Cooper, C., & Rogerson, M. (2020). Neoliberal control devices and social discrimination: the case of Paris Saint-Germain football club fans. Accounting and Management Information Systems, p.409-443.

Friedland, R., & Alford, R.R. (1991). Bringing Society Back In: Symbols, Practices and Institutional Contradictions. In W.W. Powell & P.J. Dimaggio (Eds), The new institutionalism in organizational analysis (p.232-266). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

García, C. (2020). Real Madrid and public relations: applying the circuit of culture to organizational values. Soccer & Society, DOI: 10.1080/14660970.2020.1824909.

Greenwood, R., Raynard, M., Kodeih, F., Micelotta, E.R., Lounsbury, M. (2011). Institutional Complexity and Organizational Responses. The Academy of Management Annals, p.317-371.

Grodecki, M., & Kossakowski, R. (2020). Class wars among devoted football supporters. Hooligan bourgeoisie and non-hooligan proletariat. Soccer & Society, DOI: 10.1080/14660970.2020.1828076.

Janin, F. (2017). When being a partner means more: The external role of football club management accountants, Management Accounting Research, p.5-17.

Jensen, M.C. (1989). Eclipse of the Public Corporation. Harvard Business Review, September-October.

Kaplan, S., & Strömberg, P. (2009). Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity. Journal of Economic Perspective, p.121-146.

Smith, A., & Stewart, B. (2010). The special features of sport: A critical revisit. Sport Management Review, p.1-13.

Stewart, B., & Smith, A. (1999). The Special Features of Sport. Annals of Leisure Research, p.87-99.

Contact 

If you want to know more or have any questions regarding the course, please feel free to contact: 

Lennart Asensio Nitz, Project Manager Center for Sports & Business,  24777@student.hhs.se