The media, communications and marketing departments of football clubs are becoming bigger and more important every season. As the voice of the club, fans digest their every word and post 24 hours a day all around the world. Because of this, GIS’ MSc Football Communications & Digital Marketing programme was born. Here, programme leader Shana Axcell explains what students can expect on the programme at UCFB Wembley and UCFB Etihad Campus…

Why should students choose to join the MSc Football Communications & Digital Marketing programme? 

The success of football clubs in this day and age is very much dependent on their communications with not just their local fans, but also their overseas fan base. This programme covers all the online and offline fan engagement strategies that football clubs are utilising to develop long-term relationships with current fans and potential fans in the future. Fan engagement and monetisation of fan engagement is at the heart of a football club and this programme offers students to not only analyse good practise industry and academic papers, but also to develop the acumen to design their own unique marketing strategies for football organisations.

What can they expect from it and how will it set up or benefit their careers going forward? 

Students will gain both academic and industry knowledge in how football organisations handle their marketing activities to engage their fans, but also all of their stakeholders. The programme covers topics such as fan engagement, digital marketing, multimedia football journalism, public relations and crisis management in football. We provide students with ideas they can take forward to implement in the workplace, but also the necessary skills, in particular digital marketing skills, to be at the forefront of football communications.

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Students also have access to a number of great industry guest speakers during their studies. Can you tell us more about that? 

Our lecturers and the wider network of GIS provide students with access to great industry speakers. Some of our high-profile industry speakers include Adam Field (Head of Global Fan Engagement at Chelsea FC), David Moat (Head of Arsenal FC Women’s Communications), Tom Rowell (Head of Marketing at Everton FC) and Alex Tunbridge (CEO of Stevenage FC). Over and above these in-class guest speakers, our Employability & Enrichment team have also offered numerous well-known guest speakers including Ed Coan (Former Head of Marketing at the FA) and Paul O’Brien (Head of Marketing at Watford FC).

There are a significant number of elite sports clubs and organisations in and around London and Manchester. How does this help students with their studies and the opportunities available to them? 

Through our E&E team, we have the ability to offer students unique internships within the football industry being at the heart of England’s biggest cities, with London’s Wembley Stadium also being home to The Football Association.

What do you think makes our campus cities like London and Manchester such great places for students to study in?  

London and Manchester are leading sporting capitals, but also multi-cultural cities that offer students diverse opportunities.