By Lewis Wiseman

UCFB students arrived in Melbourne last week ready to learn about the ever-growing sports industry in Australia.

Before all of that though, each of the 26 students had a free weekend to immerse themselves in the city, watch some live sport and enjoy the vivid nightlife of Melbourne.

The first event on the schedule was a live Twenty20 cricket game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground – Melbourne Stars vs Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League.

The Melbourne Stars just edged the match in front of a 28,000 strong home crowd, and for the UCFB students it was a fun day out in the sun at one of the biggest stadiums in the world.

As it was an afternoon game, it allowed students to use it as a springboard into their first night out on the town. Some of them ventured to another sporting match across the road, Melbourne City vs Newcastle Jets in the Hyundai A-League.

Others journeyed into the famous Flinders Street Station to begin what could be described as an Aussie pub cricket match, bouncing around different pubs and bars in the city centre, and from reports it sounds like a good night was had by all.

Sunday was a completely free day for all students with some spending their time sightseeing in the city, and others heading to the beaches of St Kilda and Frankston. It was a great day in sunny Australia and once the sun had set it was time to sleep ahead of the first day of the Summit on Monday.

The day began with a behind the scenes tour of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, starting from the middle of the pitch itself. It really was an amazing and unique experience for UCFB students to stand on the turf at the biggest stadium in the Southern Hemisphere.

Jennifer Watt, General Manager of Commercial Operations & Partnerships at the Melbourne Cricket Club, spoke to students on day one of the Summit.

The first speaker of the session was Jennifer Watt, General Manager, Commercial Operations & Partnerships at the Melbourne Cricket Club.  The session was a fascinating insight into the Melbourne cricket landscape and how the MCG’s business model operates across different sporting codes.

Next up was a presentation from Essendon Football Club’s Chief Executive Officer, Xavier Campbell. A very knowledgeable and senior businessman, Xavier gave students a chance to see what challenges a CEO of a leading sports club has to overcome.

Finally, students got their first chance to network at the summit at an event held in the Tom Wills room at the MCG. In excess of 30 Australian sports industry professionals interacted with UCFB students in what was a very loud but positive affair.

Looking ahead the students have four more days in Melbourne with a number of guest speaker sessions planned, not to mention a trip to the first Grand Slam tennis event of the year – the Australian Open. We can’t wait.