Mannheim Business School (MBS) – ranked as the top business school in Germany by the Financial Times – has announced their partnership with the elite German Bundesliga soccer team TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. The two organisations will be collaborating on innovative research and teaching projects with a focus on digitisation.
MBS are looking to profit from Hoffenheim’s cutting-edge digital training and research facilities. The overarching goal is smoother operations and greater insight for both parties. Mannheim B-school will gain access to the soccer club’s top-notch facilities, while Hoffenheim will get access to the top business minds in Germany for use in training and performance diagnostics. MBS president professor Jens Wüstemann commented:
An innovative approach and the right response to the challenges of digitisation will be key success factors for companies in the future. In this regard, TSG Hoffenheim is not only a national but also an international pioneer of professional football. We are happy to be both receiving and providing a new impetus in these areas.
Professor Wüstemann signed the agreement with Hoffenheim managing director Dr Peter Görlich – responsible for innovation, digitisation, and internationalisation at the club – in Mannheim last Tuesday.
There is no denying that sport is big business globally – PwC predicts the sports market in North America alone to reach USD 73.5 billion by 2019. With millions of dollars spent on player’s wages, stadiums, sponsorship, and the branding and marketing of teams, business skills in sport have become increasingly important.
With regards to the new partnership, Dr Sabine Staritz, director of corporate relations at MBS, said:
The demands on competitive athletes and top managers in many disciplines are very similar. It will be exciting to bring about the transfer of scientific concepts, and thus gain new insights. The first activities have already been planned: it is not only Mannheim students that will be working on specific issues in workshops and projects; researchers at the University of Mannheim will also have the opportunity to plan and implement projects together with TSG. The MBS corporate network will also be involved in the exchange of knowledge.
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Outside of Germany, specialised sports management MBA degrees have also become increasingly sought after. The George Washington University School of Business (GWSB) (US) offers an MBA specialisation in sports management designed to develop future sports industry leaders. In the UK, both the FA and the University of Liverpool Management School offer an MBA in Football Industries, which sees students placed on projects with top European soccer clubs like Liverpool, Manchester City, Celtic, and Galatasaray. At multi-campus EU Business School, MBA students can study sports management in big football cities like Barcelona and Munich.
Hoffenheim’s digital training and research facilities, which will be expanded by the construction of a research lab this year, include such high-tech devices as a training machine that shoots balls at different speeds and trajectories and a cognitive training unit that aims to reproduce the player perspective as realistically as possible. These tools pioneered by Hoffenheim have become intrinsic to Bundesliga training and performance diagnostics. Sports scientist and graduate psychologist Jan Mayer, who has also been the team psychologist for Hoffenheim since 2010, adds:
We are very pleased to have found a partner in MBS, with which we can implement the three cornerstones of the research lab: research, teaching, and knowledge transfer. Joint activities with MBS are already underway and the faculty and student feedback is extremely positive.
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