Executive Master in Sport Governance (MESGO)
MESGO is a highly acclaimed, exclusive programme for sports industry leaders who are looking to strengthen their strategic thinking in the evolving world of global sports governance, and who are keen to access a unique network of influential business experts.APPLY NOW
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MESGO is an exciting international master’s programme that combines a multidisciplinary approach to learning with an in-depth analysis of the legal, political and economic issues in sport. It addresses the global issues faced by sports organisations today, such as the specificity of sport, competitive balance, commercial rights, the prevention of match-fixing, anti-doping, social dialogue, social responsibility and good governance. Nine week-long sessions are offered, each in an international location and each providing a unique opportunity to learn from the elite leaders within the sports industry.
Session 1: Context of International Sport
During the first session of MESGO, you will develop an understanding of the institutional and economic operating environment of European and international sport, and define the concepts of governance in the sporting context, the specificity of sport and the European model of sport by assessing:
- The European sport’s stakeholder universe;
- The impact of globalisation on the organisation of sport in Europe;
- The impact of de-regulated markets on competitive balance in European sports;
- The recent history of state intervention in European sport, notably by the European Union (EU), and its consequences;
- The role of international sporting federations, including the Olympic movement, and of international regulatory bodies e.g. the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Session 2: Governance of Sports Organisations
Lausanne's region, Switzerland
The second session will focus on the core mission and objectives of sports governing bodies and elaborate on the various structural forms, corporate governance systems, management decision-making processes and commercial revenue-generating activities through which sports governing bodies operationalise their mission and objectives by assessing:
- The development and organisation of major international sports governing bodies and of the Olympic movement;
- The internal governance and administrative structures of sports governing bodies;
- The organisational structure of event organisers, professional leagues and organisations representing professional players;
- The organisation of solidarity mechanisms supporting the “grassroots” of the sporting pyramid;
- The commercial revenue-generating activities of sports governing bodies;
- The parallel organisational development of non-sports-related non-governmental bodies such as the Red Cross and the United Nations.
Session 3: Competition Design and Regulation
The third session will illustrate the range of contrasting regulatory systems employed by different sports to organise successful sporting competitions, outlining their respective strengths and weaknesses in the context of sports’ “special” economic framework by assessing:
- The role of sports governing bodies/competition organisers in the achievement of competitive balance/uncertainty of outcome in competitions and the maintenance of financial stability through coordination, redistribution and regulatory mechanisms;
- The specific role of licensing/financial fair play systems in ensuring economic stability in a professional sport;
- The importance of the effective regulation of sports labour markets for the maintenance of healthy sporting competition and the sporting pyramid system;
- The implications of different club ownership structures with regard to organisational behaviour, i.e. privately owned clubs (Chelsea FC) v listed companies (AS Roma) v cooperatively owned clubs (FC Barcelona).
Session 4: Legal Frameworks
The fourth session of MESGO will explain the wider legal context in which sports governing bodies operate, particularly as regards the European Union, and outline the range of legal mechanisms at their disposal in their governance and regulatory roles by assessing:
- The legal challenges facing sports governing bodies, including commercial, labour-related and disciplinary disputes;
- The varied nature of international sports law;
- The organisation and management of the in-house legal department of a sports governing body;
- The internal and external management of legal disputes with a specific focus on alternative dispute resolution mechanisms;
- The role of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS);
- The influence of the European Union and other, global legal jurisdictions on the regulatory role of sports governing bodies and the recent history of legal interventions in the sport environment;
- The role of lobbying at national and European level.
Session 5: Strategic Marketing
The fifth session of MESGO will analyse the importance of a strategic marketing approach to sports properties to create value in the short and long term by assessing:
- The need for strategic marketing of sport and sports properties with a look at the different steps involved;
- The definition of a sports brand and how the brand should work across different touch points;
- The definition and packaging of commercial rights and how they are brought to market, in terms of:
- Media rights in an era of convergence,
- Sponsorship rights and latest trends,
- Merchandising and licensing,
- Ticketing and hospitality;
- How to marry the rapidly changing digital marketing landscape with sports promotion and the concept of commercial rights;
- The use of research and customer insights as the basis for strategic marketing.
Session 6: Sports Events
During the sixth session of MESGO, you will learn and discuss the critical elements in successful sports event organisation by assessing:
- The range of sports event types;
- Risk assessment and management;
- The human resource strategies, event and facility security, safety strategies;
- The technological/media challenges: media integrity and environmental/ecological challenges;
- Crisis management and communication strategies;
- The strategies implemented by public authorities to host sports events;
- The relations and responsibility issues between public authorities, local organising committees, national federations and the owners of events;
- The business models related to the construction and exploitation of event facilities
Session 7: Ethics and Integrity
Frankfurt's region, Germany
The seventh session of MESGO explains the range of ethical challenges facing sports organisations and outline key mechanisms for addressing them by assessing:
- The theoretical foundation of ethics and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in sport (fairness, integrity, respect, equity as practical guidelines for management decision-making);
- Regulatory mechanisms for addressing economic corruption;
- Anti-doping policy, including the history of the international regulatory response and the establishment and practices of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA);
- Anti-discrimination policies used to address racism and discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation and disability;
- The ethical responsibility and challenges of the media;
- Sustainable education programmes (their importance but also their effectiveness or lack thereof);
- Sport, sports events, sustainability and legacy.
Session 8: The North American Sports Model
New York City, USA
During the eight session of MESGO, you will analyse the organisation of professional sports in North America by assessing:
- The economic and regulatory structure used to achieve competitive balance and financial stability in the four major North American professional sport leagues – the NFL (American Football), NBA (Basketball), MLB (Baseball) and NHL (Ice Hockey) – and the challenges faced by an “evolving” professional elite sport (the case of MLS (Soccer));
- Player salary regulation (e.g. wage caps, luxury tax) and player recruitment regulation (e.g. player draft system);
- The collective selling of media rights as a redistributive tool;
- The collective selling and redistribution of league merchandising revenues;
- The use of a franchise system with geographic monopoly;
- The use of collective bargaining agreement as a key element of the regulation of and exemptions from competition law;
- The organisation of American college sports, and its relationship with professional sports organisations (e.g. player development role).
Session 9: The Future of Sport
Drawing on the material of the eight previous sessions and based on the analysis of the development of sport in Asia over the last ten years, the ninth and final session will conclude the MESGO programme by offering an overview of the key challenges that sports governing bodies may face in the future. Asia is indeed of particular interest, considering the various challenges the continent has taken up (demographic, economic, political, etc.).
Learning from the Asian experience, this session aims to anticipate the main challenges ahead for sport and society by providing managers with tools to face the future, by assessing:
- The international environment of their organisations;
- The definition and implementation of an organisational mission;
- The organisation of an effective governance structure for both grassroots and professional sport;
- The challenges to the integrity of sporting competitions and wider ethical challenges;
- The development of successful strategies for the future of European sports governing bodies.
Vivas & Graduation Ceremony
UEFA HQ, Nyon, Switzerland
The viva (oral defence of professional thesis) is the final examination undergone by participants who have been successful in their class participation and continuous assessments. The vivas will be followed by a graduation ceremony at which the participants can celebrate their achievements. Beyond that, the participants are invited to keep in touch with each other by joining the MESGO alumni community.
After completing MESGO, participants will be able to:
- anticipate forthcoming key challenges;
- exploit the dynamics and adopt a solution-driven attitude;
- positively impact the development of sport governance.
Industry influencers working in sports organisations (not only football): associations, clubs, leagues, players’ unions, public authorities, international institutions and partner organisations of sports bodies
Every second year. Sixth intake starts in autumn 2020
Seven sessions in Europe, one in the United States and one in Asia
€17,900 (scholarships available for people working in football)
Number of participants
Executive Master, 60 ECTS credits
Applications currently open
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MESGO offered me a variety of new perspectives and contacts which helps me to better coordinate my work on an international scale. The various themed sessions offered me deep insights into areas, which I am normally not confronted with in my day-to-day work. It forced me to think outside the box and also created new ideas for my day-to-day business .
Being part of the MESGO group gave me a wider view of the issues I have to face in my role and it gave me some great experience that I can bring to my daily work.
Birkbeck Sport Business Centre, University of London
CDES, University of Limoges
INEFC, Generalitat de Catalunya
Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz
HEC Lausanne, University of Lausanne
International Basketball Federation (FIBA)
European Handball Federation (EHF)
International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)
the Council of Europe and the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS)