FASTER. HIGHER. SMARTER.

MA LEADERSHIP IN SPORT

The Institute of Sports Humanities seeks to establish a new relationship between academia and the sports industry. The MA Leadership in Sport, the inaugural programme at ISH, is designed for the next generation of leaders in sport: players, captains, coaches, administrators, entrepreneurs, as well as the sports media.

A student who graduates with a thorough understanding of sport’s historical perspective, who can draw on critical thinking, see through jargon, exercise good judgment, and communicate on paper or in the flesh with the verve that a top player shows on the field – such a graduate will add huge value in sport.

  • To inspire and equip sport’s next generation of leaders.

  • Practical thinking drawn from a range of academic disciplines.

  • A new network of thinkers across sport.

  • Helping employers reward and develop future talent.

  • Training athletes to be leaders off the field.

  • A global perspective on modern sport.

  • Creating a route into the sports industry.

Ed Smith discusses: - What is the Institute of Sports Humanities? - What's unique about ISH and the MA Leadership in Sport? - Who is the MA Leadership in Sport targetting? - What's the student experience? - What added-value does the MA provide?

MASTER’S DEGREE

ISH’s first course is the innovative MA Leadership in Sport beginning in autumn 2019. The first intake is limited to 30 talented students.

The 15-month non-residential course – designed so that students can stay in their jobs while studying the MA – features evening seminars in London, with its home in Fitzrovia.

The programme will combine the latest academic research with seminars by leading practitioners. Speakers include David Epstein, Ed Smith, Mervyn King, Kasia Boddy, Mike Brearley, Howard Marks, Simon Kuper and Sam Zussman.

Sports science has helped our knowledge of sport and informed its academic study, but understanding sport – whether a single team or the wider industry – now relies on the critical grasp of societal and cultural forces. It is time for a more balanced and inter-disciplinary approach: time for sports humanities.

On the field, it is becoming harder to gain an edge through optimizing the body. Greyhounds and racehorses haven’t got much faster since the 1950s. Humans, too, are now approaching the outer wall of their physiological potential. In contrast, the art of leadership, superior decision-making, decoding the signals derived from history, the honing of judgment, balancing data and intuition: all these skills are far from commonplace, and designed to be inculcated by this MA.

Leadership in sport (both playing side and business) increasingly rests on critical thinking, especially the ability to grasp the bigger picture in an era of ultra-specialisation.

MA LEADERSHIP IN SPORT

The programme explores how sport developed into the third biggest industry in the world. The MA interrogates how technology has influenced spectator sport, and how sport became an agent as well as beneficiary of globalization. Students will study the biases that can work against good decision-making, and how effective leaders build consensus and effect change. The programme explores the relationship between data analytics and human judgment.

The MA examines the challenge of sustaining fair competition (cheating, doping, match-fixing) and best practice on how to retain and improve public trust. The programme explores the social function and value of the sporting event. Students will be introduced to sport’s reach and impact, its influence on local identity, as well sport’s role as an agent of cosmopolitanism. The sports event is always in flux: from the fan in the stadium, to the fan listening on the radio or watching on television, to the fan hooked into the digital world of social media. Students will study the power of sport as a projection of nationhood, and the wider issue of “sports diplomacy.” Students will be introduced to the influence of sport on race, gender and homophobia.

The first cohort of the MA Leadership in Sport will join a powerful network of second level thinkers inside sport, benefitting from new inter-relationships as well as new skills and insights.

Further module details click here.

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SYLLABUS

Module 1: The Sports Industry & Entrepreneurship

The module explores the relationship between sport, market principles & entrepreneurship. Big money in sport today is often portrayed as a threat to the integrity of sport. This is linked to the legacy of amateurism: playing for love rather than profit as the highest good. More recently, it has been argued that the history of organized sports (and mass spectatorship) explicitly evolved from the development of the sports industry and that leagues with a commercial orientation breathe new life into the game.

Module 2: Sports Governance, Ethics & Research Methods

This module interrogates past and current sports governance and ethics. Contemporary sport has pushed tensions about rules and cheating to new limits. But the fault lines have always existed. Cricket was thrown into turmoil by match-fixing problems in the early nineteenth century - trust was evaporating. The Tour de France was also embroiled in cheating scandals from the outset. The problems of fair play and governance today, and their legal and ethical ramifications, reveal new pressures on old themes. This module also develops the research methods that students will draw on across the MA.

Module 3: Management & Decision-making

This module explores the biases that can undermine rational decision-making. A challenge for sports leaders is balancing external confidence with private intellectual scepticism. Equally, the result of a decision does not inevitably vindicate or invalidate the decision itself: good decisions can have bad outcomes and bad decisions can have good outcomes. A nuanced understanding of risk is a foundation of improved decision-making. The module will also ask its students to address how effective leaders take their team with them.

Module 4: Globalisation

Sport has not only benefitted from globalisation, but it is also a powerful agent of globalisation. That is nothing new: organised sport was one of Britain’s most significant exports in the late nineteenth century. This was sport’s first great globalisation. A second wave emerged with the ascent of television and the freer movement of labour in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Sport has become the world’s common language, with profound consequences for how ideas, talent and money interact.

Module 5: The Sporting Event

What are the wider cultural and political significances of sporting events, and how are they changing? Students will study mega-events such as the Olympics and the World Cup as a projection of nationhood, and the wider issue of “sports diplomacy.” Covering historical dimensions (such as the transport revolution that permitted the formation of leagues and spectator sport), the impact of broadcasting, and the digital revolution/rise of social media, this module contextualises the sporting event.

Module 6: Sport & Society

Sport both reflects and influences social attitudes and behaviours, raising fundamental questions about equality, while nevertheless promoting elite performance and status. Students will debate flashpoints and case studies, including how sport shaped reform agendas in Industrial Revolution Britain and post WWII America. Sport has now become a prominent battleground for wider debates over equality and representation, discrimination and prejudice.

Dissertation

The dissertation, which concludes the MA, can be on any subject of the student’s choice, following the approval of the Course Director.

STUDENT EXPERIENCE

The MA Leadership in Sport will be a 15-month non-residential course, designed so students can stay in their jobs while studying the MA.

Students will have full access to the ISH townhouse at 51 Gower Street, Fitzrovia, London, WC1E 6HJ, where tuition and follow-up work will also take place.

The course will feature 18 evening events in London, held at leading venues. Attendance at the events is encouraged but not compulsory. ISH is set up to be flexible with the emphasis on achievement and stimulation.

Confirmed events include:

  • Symposium on analytics and sport at Google HQ, London.

  • Panel discussion on risk and decision-making at the Bank of England (including Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane).

  • Unique visit to The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst exploring how the British Army recognises and develops leadership (featuring the Director, Centre for Army Leadership).

  • Management masterclass at St George’s Park, home of England Football, in partnership with the League Managers’ Association.

  • Further bespoke events at Arsenal FC and Lord’s, The Home of Cricket.

MA LEADERSHIP IN SPORT AND YOUR CAREER

  • Gaining an edge inside sport.

  • Exclusive exposure to leading thinkers inside sport and beyond it.

  • Access to a powerful network of present and future leaders across the sports industry.

  • Tuition by world class academics.

  • Intellectually rigorous and professionally applicable.

  • Seeing the bigger picture in an age of specialisation.

  • Unique inter-disciplinary syllabus and philosophy.

THE SPORTS INDUSTRY AND ITS REACH

  • Sport is still the strongest “live” event and a central component of modern identity.

  • Sport has both driven & benefitted from globalization. 

  • Broadcast rights for cricket’s IPL (bought by Star Sports for £2billion), now approaching Premier League football.

  • Countries (such as China, Qatar) now perceive sport as a foreign policy.

  • Sport is the 3rd biggest global industry & football is world’s common language.

  • Sport enmeshed with new media - Ronaldo first celebrity to 100 million Facebook “likes.”

  • Digital economy based on identity and preferences: power & reach of sport set to expand.

  • Sport needed more than ever as a response to burgeoning crisis in physical and mental health.

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MEET THE TEAM

 
Andrew White    built WSM Communications into one of Europe’s most successful sports marketing agencies (acquired by Bill Gates and his Entertainment Group, Corbis in 2014). Since completing his two years with Bill, Andrew launched 5Oceans Partnership: a global Commercial consultancy focused on sport. Andrew is Chairman of the world’s first Sports Incubator (LeAD) set up by the family of Adi Dassler. Andrew is Co-Founder of ISH.

Andrew White

built WSM Communications into one of Europe’s most successful sports marketing agencies (acquired by Bill Gates and his Entertainment Group, Corbis in 2014). Since completing his two years with Bill, Andrew launched 5Oceans Partnership: a global Commercial consultancy focused on sport. Andrew is Chairman of the world’s first Sports Incubator (LeAD) set up by the family of Adi Dassler. Andrew is Co-Founder of ISH.

 
Ed Smith    is National Selector for England cricket. Previously, he was an author (including  What Sport Tells Us About Life ), academic and journalist (New Statesman, BBC and Sunday Times). As a professional cricketer, he played for Kent, England and was club captain of Middlesex when they won their first major title for 15 years. Ed is Co-Founder of ISH.

Ed Smith

is National Selector for England cricket. Previously, he was an author (including What Sport Tells Us About Life), academic and journalist (New Statesman, BBC and Sunday Times). As a professional cricketer, he played for Kent, England and was club captain of Middlesex when they won their first major title for 15 years. Ed is Co-Founder of ISH.

 
 
 
Tom Rann   has over 9 years’ experience in the sports industry specialising in brand strategy, sponsorship, marketing, and event management. Tom has worked with a variety of international organisations and a portfolio of global properties and rights holders. In 2019, Tom joined as Institute Co-Ordinator of ISH.

Tom Rann

has over 9 years’ experience in the sports industry specialising in brand strategy, sponsorship, marketing, and event management. Tom has worked with a variety of international organisations and a portfolio of global properties and rights holders. In 2019, Tom joined as Institute Co-Ordinator of ISH.

 
Sir Anthony Seldon   is a writer, political historian and world renowned educationalist. Sir Anthony is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, ISH’s university partner.

Sir Anthony Seldon

is a writer, political historian and world renowned educationalist. Sir Anthony is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, ISH’s university partner.

 

FOR THE FIRST COHORT OF STUDENTS,
ISH IS IN DISCUSSIONS WITH: 

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CONTACT

If you would like to find out more please email:
ISH@buckingham.ac.uk