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ICMS Masterclass: Succeeding in the Business of Sport

ICMS Masterclass: Succeeding in the Business of Sport

October 19, 2022

Turning a passion for sport into a fulltime job is the dream of many hoping to make a career in the exciting and ever-growing billion dollar sports industry.

The recent ICMS exclusive Panel Masterclass featured a range of professionals who have become leaders in the business end of the sports industry.

Hosted by Dr Trevor Clark, ICMS Dean (Undergraduate) and former Rugby League Player, the panel included:

Samara Govender –Senior Brands Partnerships Manager at Football Australia

David Boyle – High-Performance Manager Officiating at National Rugby League

Andrew Fraser – Founder/Owner/Director of Sunstar Entertainment

Josh HusseyAthletes for Life, Director

Sport: So much more than just playing a game

From being a professional athlete to coaching, training, managing, teaching and more, journeys and careers in sport are so much broader than many people might imagine.

The panel demonstrated how varied roles are available, provided you can spot an opportunity and take it!

And while a background in sport is often naturally the case, being an elite athlete is not a prerequisite. All you need is passion and interest, drive and motivation; the same qualities that push athletes to go further and faster than ever before.

Expect the unexpected

When illness put paid to Samara’s dream of going to the Olympics as an athlete (waterpolo), she could never have foreseen that she would one day attend the Rio Olympics just in a different capacity.

Through building her career in sponsorships and marketing at major companies Optus and Telstra, she went to the Rio Olympics thanks to her experience in brand partnerships and activations.

She currently works with the Matildas (women’s Australian football team), and has been instrumental in building the numbers of spectators at stadiums, from 10 000 on average four years ago to over 25 000 supporters at Matildas games currently.

Likewise, in the case of Josh, a few bad injuries in a row pushed him out of rugby as a career, but this also pushed him closer towards his development work and relational management with the clubs he worked for.

While he found the transition from playing to being behind-the-scenes challenging, he found a path and was guided by his mentor towards well-being. He found a passion and love for helping athletes flourish and find success inside and outside the sporting arena, and is currently thriving in his role as Athletes For Life director.

As for Andrew, having scored over 7000 runs for the Manly Warringah District Cricket Club as a premiership player, while he is now a life member and honorary president of the club, he has moved over the past few years into capturing the visual spectacle of sport and entertainment through the founding of Sunstar Entertainment.

The company’s talent division includes Australian cricketers Mitchell Starc, Steve O’Keefe, Australian captain Meg Lanning, NSW Captain Alyssa Healy, plus Phoebe Litchfield, Joel & Ollie Davies, Jack and Mickey Edwards, Jordan Silk, Jessica Watson OAM and Hazem El Masri.

Sunstar are co-producers of the upcoming Netflix film, True Spirit, featuring the true story of Jessica Watson’s solo, nonstop voyage around the world at age 16.

His advice is to be as diverse as you can, speaking from experience where his career path has ranged from running events to talent management and production. According to him, diversity early on in your career can open many doors.

Part of the game but not a player

It’s not only the physical players on the pitch who take part in sport. David has always had a love and passion for sport. He is currently the High Performance Manager officiating at National Rugby League. While no longer a player, he is in the thick of the action!

It’s a dream job for many a rugby fan, and David offered the following advice to the panel audience: “If you think you can achieve and believe, you will get there.”

Sports industry under discussion

With most of the panellists in sports marketing, they shared their experience of the sports industry: that jobs may fluctuate and employee turnover may be high in the sports industry. They reckon that the most important thing to remember is that while you may focus on building your athlete or company’s brand, ‘build the brand you see in the mirror’.

As for the topic of women in sport, the panellists believe there needs to be greater support for an increase in participation and in building pathways via more funding and resources.

As a successful woman in the sports industry, Samara enjoyed the opportunity to speak about her individual path the ICMS Masterclass.

“It was fantastic to share my journey alongside these great professionals and to have such a big and enthusiastic audience,” Samara posted on her LinkedIn profile after the event.

“The future of sport sure is bright.”

For more information on the ICMS Bachelor of Business (Sports Management), click here.



Bachelor of Business (Sports Management), News