Insights from EURO 2016: the evolution of international sports events and careers

This years’ Euro2016 by UEFA was the largest to-date as an estimated 2.4 million spectators filled the stadiums across France with over 4 million people visiting the 10 Host City Fan Zones, and attendance is not the only thing that’s grown. The economic and social impacts of international sports events continue to deepen and diversify, creating new opportunities for businesses and career opportunities in the event, sport and entertainment industries.

Back from his mission as the UEFA Fan Zone Venue Manager for Lyon where over 400,000 people attended, Glion professor Mike Abson shares his views on the evolution of large-scale, international sports events and the career opportunities to be found therein.

Glion sports management

As a senior faculty member of Glion’s Event, Sport and Entertainment Management programs, Mike Abson brings more than 40 years of experience in the world of event, sport and entertainment: he was a professional skier, a national team coach, an international technical delegate responsible for the World Cup Freestyle tour and a sponsor of the World Cup Freestyle skiing tour, among other roles. He is a key facilitator of Glion’s new MSc in Event, Sport and Entertainment Management.

Spectator interest and attendance grows

“Events like the EURO are getting bigger – this year had 51 matches, which is up from 36 in 2012. Now, imagine how that many more matches translates into money spent on tickets, travel, publicity, venues, collectables and media, and you will start to get the bigger picture. The success of the event represents significant increases in revenue, and not just for the producers. International sports events generate capital in many ways and for many different industry players. UEFA certainly made more in terms of ticket sales and TV revenue, but the host country – France – and the feeder industries of travel, hospitality, food & beverage, and sports equipment labels also made their share. Sponsors such as Carlsberg beer and Coke also see an upturn in their sales during the EURO,” said Mike Abson.

Raising the Bar for Visitor Experiences

“There is also more demand for the “wow” factor in these events. People and VIP’s are not as easy to impress as they were 10 years ago, they want more interactive experiences and excitement. The Fan Zones are getting more sophisticated and they are now an integral part of major sporting events such as the World Cup, the EURO, the Olympics etc. Some examples of new features of Fan Zones and activities/merchandise that visitors can try are interactive games with Hisense, Hyundai and Coke with opportunities to win tickets to the matches,” explained Mike Abson.


Opportunities for Careers in Sport & Events

The world of international sports events is growing and diversifying like never before. For example, the UEFA EURO 2016 in France attracted an estimated 2.4 million spectators to the stadiums across France which represents a 49% increase over the 1.6 million spectators of 2012, and that’s just counting the people who went to the matches in stadiums. In addition to those, 20,827,000 TVs in France tuned in to watch the matches, while countless others watched in Fan Zones, bars and private gatherings; not to mention the millions of other TV spectators who watched the EURO from homes and pubs around the world.

“Attendance and interest in sports events is extending through the use of technology. Social media, apps, and virtual reality are all being used to extend the excitement and action of the fan experience to wider populations, which in turn fuels the growth for future events. Likewise, technology is creating new employment opportunities in the sports industry, mainly for specialists in social media, TV production, start-ups and digital marketing for target audiences. Additionally, every international event generates opportunities for internships and new roles in hospitality and travel and tourism organizations that need extra hands and minds to prepare for the influx. Also, most people are not aware of how long these events are prepared in advance, which can be years in some cases,” said Mike.

A Master’s degree in Sport Management for career-changers

To meet the growing need for qualified professionals in the sport and events industries, Glion Institute of Higher Education has recently launched the Master’s in Events and Sport Management. Designed for recent graduates and career changers, this 1.5-year program prepares mature students to enter management positions in international events, sport federations and entertainment industry businesses.

Glion Institute of Higher Education offers business degrees that are purpose-built for the merging worlds of sports, events and entertainment. Since 2001, our faculty of industry-experienced leaders have delivered sports management programs combining hands-on learning, industry exposure, and strategic business that have earned the support of global sports and event companies. Currently, Glion has partnerships with:

  • UEFA (Union European Football Association)
  • IOC (International Olympic Committee)
  • FEI (International Equestrian Federation)
  • ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals)
  • Association Verbier Freeride Exhibitions & Archives

Photo By: Mike Abson

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