The global sports market is estimated to be worth nearly $700bn, and in the EU alone employs 1.7m people. That’s a lot of jobs, and consequently, a lot of people with stories to tell. With this in mind, Jack Glennon, a BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing graduate, saw a gap in the market for those insights to be heard. From this, Behind Sport was born; a website which tells those stories as well as keeping up-to-date with the latest sports business news. Here, Jack tells us more…

Tell us more about Behind Sport. What are its aspirations and what influenced your decision to start it?

Behind Sport is about telling the stories of those who work behind the scenes of the sports industry and make it what it is. We provide as much insight as we possibly can around what’s going on in the industry. COVID-19 threw a bit of a spanner in our plans meaning we had to postpone our launch slightly, but we adjusted our content strategy and decided to launch anyway during lockdown. Luckily, it’s worked out better than we could have ever imagined.

Our aspirations are simple really – we want to be the go-to place for everything sports business related. All of the latest news, insight pieces on the industry, interviews with sports business professionals and more.

We started Behind Sport because we felt what was currently out there in terms of sports business media wasn’t as good as it could be and there was a gap in the market we could sit in. Yes, news is covered, but no one was telling the stories of the people behind the scenes of the industry. Everything is the same and not very exciting, and we sat there thinking: ‘We can do better than this. The industry and the people in it deserve better.’

My business partner Ryan and I spent a lot of time prior to starting Behind Sport talking about this sort of stuff anyway, we would constantly be sending each other articles and different content from the industry. We both had ambitions to start a business so decided to combine the two and that’s where Behind Sport came from. Initially it was just going to be a Twitter account retweeting content that we liked, but as time progressed and we talked more we decided to build a full business around it. What you see currently with Behind Sport is only the beginning and a small selection of what we’ll be doing.

Jack speaks with UCFB co-founder Paul Fletcher.

It’s great that you’re shining a light on individuals across the many sectors of the sports industry. What is it about their stories that interests you?

No two stories are the same. There isn’t one defined path into the industry, everyone has made their own unique way, so it’s been really interesting to hear about the different ways people have ended up in their current roles. The Industry Insider series is allowing us to learn about so many different areas of the industry, especially ones that we probably wouldn’t have learned about previously. It’s been a great feature for us to run during lockdown, as we’ve had to quickly change strategy due to the obstacles the pandemic has created.

How have you gone about sourcing the case studies on the website?

The case studies in our Industry Insider series have been sourced from a number of places. Initially, quite a few came through contacts and friends we already had within the industry. A lot of them also came about simply by just asking via a cold DM on Twitter or Instagram. We were a bit wary of doing this at first and didn’t think we would get many replies but it turns out we were wrong.

One of the biggest surprises actually came from sending a message to Hayley McQueen of Sky Sports News. She followed us on Instagram before we had even posted anything and had less than 100 followers so we sent her a message, not really expecting a response, and she replied straight away saying she would love to take part. It goes to show that you should never be afraid of asking, the worst thing someone can say is no.

Just over a month ago we launched ‘Become a Contributor’ to see if anyone would like to contribute any articles and we’ve had some of our more recent Industry Insiders articles come through that as well.

While I’m here I might as well plug that a bit more. If there are any UCFB students or graduates that have something they would like to write about that is sports business related, we would love to hear from you. We’re looking for anything from marketing, fan engagement and social media, to finance and more. You can register your interest here.

Can you explain to us why there’s a close relationship between those that work in the sports industry and the importance of networking?

It’s everything. Without networking, Behind Sport wouldn’t be a thing; I met my business partner Ryan through networking. Whilst at UCFB I secured myself a work experience placement with Salford City FC, where Ryan is a part of the media team. Without me networking and building that friendship, the opportunity to work with Salford wouldn’t have happened which in turn would have meant that the idea and opportunity to start a business wouldn’t have ever materialised.

The world of sport is all about networking. It can seem daunting, and at times, a little bit pointless because it isn’t always clear how networking with someone could possibly benefit you, but it never hurts to have another contact in your network. I was never really a big fan of networking, I’m naturally introverted so you wouldn’t necessarily find me going around a room and introducing myself to everyone, but I have realised the importance of it through our journey as Behind Sport, as it has allowed us to turn an idea into an actual business.

What did you learn during your time at UCFB that you’ve been able to take into Behind Sport?

I took a lot away from my time at UCFB, more than I probably realised at the time. Obviously, I learnt a lot academically but some of the most valuable things I learnt were life related. For me the biggest thing is that results in life are a direct reflection of the work you put in. Work hard, and the results will show. UCFB also gave me the belief that I could do something like Behind Sport. My Football Business & Marketing lecturers Russell Preston and Mo Seedat were a big part of the reason I have fallen in love with the world of sports business. They were great mentors and still are.

What advice would you give students who’re about to graduate and enter the world of sport?

Don’t get disheartened. Life as we know it has changed a lot over the last six months with the COVID-19 pandemic, and given the predicted long recovery of the economy the opportunities in the job market may have changed a little as companies reassess and restructure to see themselves through this time. That unfortunately means that those entry level jobs may not be there that once were, but don’t get disheartened. If that is the case and the job hunt is taking a little while, put your time to good use and learn as much as you can around the area you want to go into. The sports industry is constantly evolving so keep up to date with things like the latest trends, platforms, news, algorithms and strategies. This will really help you when a job opportunity does present itself.

Don’t forget, we’re always looking for contributors at Behind Sport if you would like to keep your toe in the water whilst you’re on the job hunt. Finally, keep working hard. The work doesn’t stop once you graduate and the studying ends. Keep learning and improving and the results will speak for themselves.