At UCFB students are regularly presented with opportunities to engage with experts in the sports industry to help aid their development. However, on this occasion, it was UCFB Wembley academic Shana Axcell who was aiming to widen her experience.

Shana, lecturer on the BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing and MSc International Sport Management programmes, was fortunate enough to attend the recent SportsPro Fan Conference at the state-of-the-art Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

We caught up with Shana to learn more about her experience, and the event itself…

How would you describe your experience at the recent SportsPro Fan conference? What did you take from it?

It was a fantastic experience and an amazing networking and learning opportunity. I was able to engage with some of the best marketing directors at major sports brands including FIFA, Formula 1, The Football Association and BBC Sport and learn about the latest marketing tools being used to engage with sports fans. There is currently a big push for marketing female football and the opportunities available to brands to capitalise on this market.

What were the benefits of being able to listen to and engage with a number of leading experts from across the globe?

Being able to relate theory to practise. A lot of the industry examples discussed at the conference will now be incorporated into my sports marketing modules at UCFB as case studies for the students to reflect on. Furthermore, some of the speakers at the conference have agreed to take part in guest speaker sessions for our students!

How do you think the experience will influence your role at UCFB?

It will enable me to provide real-world case studies to our students and provide them with an opportunity to listen to some of these experts as guest speakers over the coming academic year. In addition, it has also allowed me to share details about the conference with my colleagues from the media and journalism degrees.

Who was your favourite speaker and why?

There were so many brilliant speakers, but my favourite was probably Katy Leeson from Social Chain who manages the social media platforms for many of the biggest sports brands, including FIFA, BBC Sport and SkyBet. Her advice for sports brands to stand out on social media was SMART: shareable, memeable, accessible, relatable, topical.

The conference was held at the new £1 billion Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. What are your thoughts on the stadium and how key do you think these new elite stadiums are to sport and sports marketing?

It is an awe-inspiring stadium with every element focused on the fans’ needs and wants. The stadium is the tangible element that builds the brand loyalty and engagement of fans, but ultimately it is the experience within the stadium that makes memories last and enables fans to emotionally connect to the brand.

What would you say to any marketing students looking to forge a career within the industry? Would they benefit from attending similar events?

Absolutely. This is by far the most relevant conference for our sports marketing students. You will learn from the best sports marketing experts and be able to network with potential employers. Marketing students, and all UCFB students, should grab any work experience opportunities offered while they are studying - you never know where your work experience may lead you. Always be passionate and curious about your career.