Sport Event Management “Hat Trick” with UEFA

In honor of Glion’s growing collaboration with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), this Event, Sport and Entertainment (ESE) Conference was dedicated to the topic “UEFA Hat-Trick”. This second ESE Conference of 2014 was organized, as usual, by the students and faculty of the ESE program of Glion Institute of Higher Education, on the Bulle campus.

What is a Hat Trick?

A “hat trick” is what happens when one player scores three goals in one game for a winning outcome. This triple-score concept was chosen by the ESE organizers for two reasons. Firstly, our guest speakers came to discuss three fast growing areas/new iniatives of UEFA: women’s football, the UEFA Youth League, and sustainability in football.

Secondly, this event is the third event marking Glion’s collaboration with UEFA. Thus far, our Postgraduate ESE students have worked on several projects for UEFA: the UEFA EURO 2016 VVIP Cultural Program which involved the development of appropriate activities for UEFA dignitaries and partners and the design of mobile applications for their e-ticketing guest experiences.

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Women’s Football

Our first speaker was Christina Neubrand, Event Coordinator at UEFA and VIP Service Coordinator for the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final 2013 in Lisbon. She began by explaining how women’s football has grown in popularity notably since the breakthrough FIFA Women’s World Cup of 1999 in the USA.

With the objective of filling stadiums and leaving a legacy for future events, the 2014 UEFA Women’s Champion’s League attained good results and increased the number of spectators who attended the finals. Christina discussed how UEFA will attempt to improve these results in 2015 and increase the attractiveness and visibility of the women’s football events. Some of the topics that sparked debate:

  • The strategy that pairs the UEFA Women’s Champion’s League with the Men’s notably in having both finals hosted in the same city
  • The necessity to have more “superstar” football ambassadors in women’s football, the equivalent of men’s football’s Ronaldo, Beckham or Zidane.
  • The effect of pairing other entertainment with the women’s football matches to draw additional crowds, such as the use of a popular Portuguese song artist in 2013.
  • Ways to get more of the spectators and targeting families and women spectators

This first presentation proved to be highly interactive as ESE students and guests in the audience had so many pertinent questions and suggestions that the event organizers opted to bring in a suggestion box.

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UEFA Youth League

Up next was UEFA Operations/ Events Centre Transport and Events Manager, Pierpascal Larotonda, who described the successes of the first UEFA Youth League championship semi-finals and finals involving the youth teams (Under 19) of the most prestigious European clubs. They were held at UEFA’s Colovray stadium in Nyon, Switzerland, on April 11th and 14th 2014.

  • This event filled the 4,000-seat stadium on all three match-days
  • Performances were done by children, an ideal fit for families and young spectators
  • The weather and ambiance were perfect
  • For next year, UEFA is looking at back-up plans if the weather is not as nice

As some of you may have read on the Glion blog earlier this year, Glion’s ESE students attended the semi-finals and finals of the UEFA’s first Youth League championship as part of their program. Observing and experiencing events is an important part of the ESE learning process; as spectators and guests, our students learn which aspects of an event or venue have the greatest impact on guest satisfaction.

Sustainability at UEFA

The final speaker of the day was Neil Beecroft, appointed in August 2014 as Sustainability Manager at UEFA. Neil is taking on an important challenge with UEFA; major sports events face increasing scrutiny on sustainability and social responsibility issues. Neil pointed out that it’s easy to “green wash” an event by making vague claims around sustainability, whereas implementing true change is much more complex.

  • For the EURO 2016, for example, UEFA is focusing on:
  • 4 Social Priorities: Access for ALL, Anti-discrimination monitoring, Fan Embassies, Tobacco Free Environment
  • 4 Environmental Priorities: Transport, Waste Management, Optimization of Energy & Water, Sourcing of Products and Services

By sticking to this plan and focusing on a limited number of priorities, Neil figures they have a better chance of meeting the objectives and executing plans efficiently. Indeed, these priorities are realistic, as Neil explained that many areas of an event are outside UEFA’s control, such as the stadium’s use of renewable energy sources. Better to focus on areas within his reach such as the use of recyclable materials, the organization of public transportation or carpooling, and reducing the use of electricity in temporary installations.

Conclusion, Links and Thanks-yous

In the end, the ESE Conference flew by at an amazing rate. The whole event was very well orchestrated by the students who in turn were guided by Mike Abson; from the online program, printed flyers and name tags, to the presentation technology and environment, this ESE conference was a credit to our students’ skills in organizing campus events.

A special thanks to all our speakers and especially to our relationship contacts within UEFA, Thomas Junod and Damaris Papoutsakis who made the event possible.

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For more information about the event, speakers and topics, visit the website: www.glioneseconference.com

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