You are here: International students / London Semester Programme / Modules / Sports Business Management
Document Actions

Sports Business Management

Course outline

This course provides an introduction to the management of the business of professional sport and illustrates the factors that distinguish the professional sport industry from other types of industry. It will focus on sports in the UK and Europe with particular reference to soccer leagues. The overall objective of the course is to provide students with an understanding of how sport in Europe differs from the organisation of professional sports in the US but at the same time demonstrate how the application of business and marketing principles are similar.

Students from the London Semester Programme will be able to attend weekly seminars on the Birkbeck Sports Business Seminar Series organised by the Birkbeck Sports Business Centre.


The aims of this module are:

  • to increase awareness of the significance of sport, in particular football, and its management in contemporary UK life and globally
  • to assist students develop an understanding of the unique features of the sport industry
  • to provide students with a strong theoretical understanding of the current key management issues facing the sports industry and the football industry
  • to enable students to develop a critical approach to the study of sport and its management
  • to assist students to develop analytical, critical and interpretative faculties and to develop students’ skills of writing and evaluating


By the end of this module students will be able to:

  • citically appraise the way social, economic, political and historical changes have impacted on the way sport and football is delivered and managed in the 21st century
  • be able to compare the European model of sport with the US model
  • apply the fundamental principles and knowledge of effective and efficient business management to the sport and football industries
  • critically analyse the roles that governance, strategic management, marketing, finance and sponsorship play in the management of sport
  • identify the emerging trends, issues and challenges facing sport and the football industry in the 21st century

Teaching and learning methods

The first 6 lectures will focus on the broader environmental context in which the sport industry operates and will focus on economic, political, and social aspects. These lectures will demonstrate the peculiar characteristics of the sport industry and show how the organisation of sport in the US is different to Europe. The final six lectures will focus on key marketing-related issues that are important for sport business organisations: these principles are applicable in both the US and European context.

Each lecture will be followed by a student-led seminar. Each seminar group will be assigned a particular sports league from the US (MLB; NBA; NFL: NHL: MLS). Each group will be required to give a PowerPoint presentation on their assigned sports league based on the lecture topic that week. The presentation should last for 10 minutes followed by 5 minutes discussion.

Coursework and assessment

Assessed component Basic requirements Weighting Deadline
Essay 2500 words 25% Week 12
Examination Two-hour written examination 75% Week 14

Reading list

Core text - Trenberth, L and Hassan, D (Ed.) (2011). Managing the Business of Sport. London: Routledge

There are a number of other texts that will also provide interesting background reading:

  • Andreff, W and Szymanski, S. (2006) Handbook on the Economics of Sport, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar.
  • Chadwick, S and Arthur, D (eds) (2008) International Cases in the Business of Sport, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.
  • Conn, D. (2004). The Beautiful Game: Searching for the Soul of Soccer. London: Yellow Jersey Press.
  • Hamil, S and Chadwick, S. (Eds.) (2010) Managing Football. London; Butterworth Heinemann.
  • Hoye, R, Smith, A. Westerbeek, H., Stewart, B., Nicholson, M. (2006). Sport Management: Principles and Applications. Oxford: Elsevier.
  • Morrow, S. (2003), The People’s Game? Football, Fans and Society. London: Palgrave.

Students should also consult journals such as the International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, Journal of Sport Management, Sport Marketing Quarterly, Sport Management Review, and Soccer and Society.