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CEO of a Sports Organisation


School - Salford Business School

Subject area - Business and Management

Start Date(s): September


MBA: two years part-time (Home/EU students only)

PgDip: two years part-time (International non-Tier 4 students only)

PgCert: one year part-time (International non-Tier 4 students only)

In Brief:

  • Develop the essential skills and knowledge required for the role of CEO of a sports organisation
  • Includes guest lectures from leading speakers from the worlds of business and sport
  • Delivered in a blended format which allows you to fit your studies around your career. International students who require a visa should apply for a PgCert using a Short-term Study Visa.
  • A part-time only course
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

In the world of sport, the position of Chief Executive has never been as critical or as high-profile.

Managing huge financial growth, increasing corporate governance responsibilities and the demands of challenging stakeholders, chief executives need advanced skills and knowledge to succeed in this challenging but immensely exciting industry.

VSI Executive Education, the team behind the world’s first MSc in Sports Directorship, has responded to market demand and developed a programme that creates a professional role for CEOs across sport and provides leaders with the knowledge, understanding and skills to succeed in one of the most demanding positions in the sports industry.

At Salford Business School, we’re proud to work in collaboration with VSI Executive Education on this innovative programme. Studying for an MBA CEO of a Sports Organisation means that you will benefit from the specialist knowledge of our academics, the cutting edge research from our Centre for Sports Business and the relationships we maintain with our industry partners worldwide.

This is a closed programme. For all enquiries, please contact:


Call: 0345 45 99 765


Awards and Accreditation

Course Details

Whether it’s in football, cricket, Formula One or athletics, the role of CEO entails being ultimately responsible for all day-to-day management decisions as well as the implementation of the organisation’s long and short-term plans.

Often, even the most talented and innovative athletes, coaches and managers lack the formal strategic and leadership skills to operate successfully in such a challenging environment. Whilst traditional business and management programmes are beneficial, the challenges faced by the Chief Executives of sporting organisations differ greatly from those faced by CEOs in other industries.

Covering leadership, strategic planning, operational management, commercialisation, marketing and communications, this programme not only accredits you with an MBA, it provides unrivalled preparation for the role of CEO of a sports organisation.

Delivered both remotely and on-campus at Salford, the MBA CEO of a Sports Organisation fits around your busy schedule, whilst allowing you to benefit from specialist tuition and a series of industry guests.

The need for innovative, highly educated and ambitious individuals has never been greater in the world of sport. Embark on the MBA CEO of a Sports Organisation and develop the skills and knowledge you need to excel.

Year 1    

This module will enable you to enhance and develop your knowledge and skills in relation to the critical appraisal of financial decisions and their impact upon various stakeholders of an organisation.

Learning Outcomes
  • Apply and evaluate microeconomic theory to show how individuals and firms make decisions and assess critically how they respond to changes in factors such as prices, income, uncertainty and government policy
  • Identify the macro-environmental forces impacting on strategic decision-making across a range of organisations
  • Explain and evaluate the purpose, nature and uses of accounting information and financial statements
  • Identify the major classes of financial risks that businesses face and evaluate critically the practical significance of financial management practice
  • Evaluate critically different stakeholders’ perceptions of sustainability and ethics and how these impact on business performance.

This module will give you a critical understanding of operations management and the role of operations manager. It will also enable you to critically evaluate and apply contemporary frameworks with regard to practical marketing within operational contexts.

Learning Outcomes
  • Understand and critique the latest ideas and themes in the field of marketing and operations theory and practice
  • Effectively apply analytical frameworks in the field of marketing and operations that inform existing practices
  • Assess and critically discuss the contrasting views that scholars and practitioners advocate for the management of marketing and the management of operations and its impact to organisational success
  • Collect and analyse secondary data, draw conclusions from that data and present findings in the context of published research and within practitioner environments
  • Critically assess definitions and concepts for measuring organisational performance through management frameworks and structures.

Year 2

This module will enable you to critically evaluate creative leadership styles in diverse, complex and multicultural contexts. It will also enable you to evaluate critically the nature of power, governance, negotiation, and decision making in local and global circumstances, as well as appraise strategic people management practices.

Learning Outcomes
  • Demonstrate how to organise and renew strategic purpose in complex, constantly changing local and global circumstances using personal autonomy
  • Evidence the engagement of people, working in groups and project teams in order to implement strategic purpose using leadership skills
  • Evaluate how to engage people in continuous learning in order to enable the capacity to adapt to change in the external market and to initiate change
  • Effective communication of flexible configuration and reconfiguration of action practices
  • Be able to develop creative and critical reflective practitioner capabilities relevant to leadership of an enterprise (institutional and executive leadership) and in an enterprise (operational and frontline leadership).

This module will enable you to develop an understanding of the social, economic and legal systems that govern a modern corporation in a sporting environment. It will also provide an understanding of the role of the board, the rights and responsibilities of shareholders in corporate decision making, whilst appreciating current ethical issues.

Learning Outcomes
  • Communicate effectively with the board and the Chair on all material matters and ensure the board is being provided with all information necessary to fulfil its legal duties and responsibilities
  • Ensure the organisation has appropriate governance policies in place and that these are regularly reviewed by the board
  • Understand the regulatory framework of international sport and the sources and structure of law within
  • Put effective succession plans in place for the position of CEO and all senior managers
  • Undertake bespoke units for different sports.
You will finish your degree with the Business Innovation Project (BIP)

By working on a live business project, you will be able to draw on your previous management experience and add in the learning from this programme to:

  • Undertake a rigorous and critical business project either in the UK or overseas
  • Understand and apply theory and practice to business/organisational issues by using appropriate research and problem-solving processes
  • Develop and demonstrate critical analysis, rigorous enquiry, clear expression, independent judgement and reflection using relevant theory.

Entry Requirements

You will need to have an undergraduate BSc (Hons) degree at 2:2 or above.

Interviews either in person or virtually are advised for the benefit of both parties.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.5 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.  Please note, this programme is not suitable for students on a Tier 4 visa. International students on other visa types may be eligible.  For information, visit or email

Suitable For

It takes an ambitious person to embark on the MBA CEO of a Sports Organisation. We’re looking for self-starters who possess a combination of skills, experience and ambition. You will already be working in sports management, for instance in a coaching, finance or marketing role, and looking for the next crucial step in your sporting career.Alternatively, you may already be in a high-level business role and seeking to make the move into sport to use your business skills in a new way. The course also offers ex-players and sports professionals a means to develop the business skills needed to take the step into the position of CEO. Many of our delegates spent their youth playing rather than studying and the course application process takes this into account. The course is designed to build on existing talents and experience whilst developing new leading edge skills that are in demand throughout the sporting community.

Ideally, students should be postgraduate or be able to demonstrate sufficient business experience to Salford Business School.


International students require a visa for study on this programme. Students should apply for a PGCert which covers the first two modules and is eligible for a short term study visa. Following successful completion, students can be accepted onto our PGDip to study modules 3 and 4; this will require a further short term study visa.

Students can top up to the MSc which will be distance learning delivered through our virtual learning environment and students will not need to come to the UK.

For information, visit or email


Taught over two years in four modules plus a work-based project, the MBA CEO of a Sports Organisation is delivered in a blended format which allows you to combine study and work in a way that best suits your working life. In each of the two years, you will spend six blocks of two days at Salford Business School with project work to be completed in your own time. You’ll finish your second year with a 6-month project based around an issue within your own organisation.

Modules are self-contained and delivered in sequence to ensure that all members of your cohort community can learn from each other’s experiences.

The programme is supplemented by informative guest lectures from leading speakers in the worlds of sport and business.


This course is designed to accommodate a variety of learning styles such as –

  • Online 30%
  • Face to face 70%
    • Group
    • Task driven
    • Activity based

Postgraduate Staff Profile

This programme will be led by senior members of the Centre for Sports Business (

Professor Chris Brady is the Director of the Centre for Sports Business. Additionally, he holds several other professional positions. He also acts as an independent commissioner on the Football Association’s Football Regulatory Authority and he is a member of the League Managers’ Association’s (LMA) Leadership and Education Advisory Board.

Professor Simon Chadwick is the Centre’s sports marketing expert and has helped UEFA create its Certificate and Diploma programmes in Football Management, which he continues to help deliver for the organisation. Alongside this, he has written a Marketing guide for UEFA which is being used by the organisation’s 54 member associations. Adding to this, he has planned and run a series of staff development programmes for the Chinese Football Association.


The sporting and leisure sector is recognised as one of the few sectors guaranteed to grow over the next 10 years. Careers and/or jobs with Sporting organisations and associated businesses will continue to grow with the industry as a whole. These can range from coaching directors to commercial directors; essentially the sports industry is catching up with all other business sectors and in doing so are providing the same roles and titles but in a more exciting environment.

Links with Industry

The Centre for Sports Business has links within the industry with most governing bodies, The FA, the LTA, County Cricket, UK Athletics and with player associations such as the PFA and WTA. It is has also worked with the League Managers Association. The Centre also has close links with analytics companies such as Prozone, EA Sports and the 21st Club. This is just a flavour of the relationships the Centre has with the industry and there are many more (check the website). The course’s industry partner, VSI, is fully immersed and networked in the industry.

Further Study

Find out more information about research opportunities here.

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