Fulham FC: Brand Champions

For sports fans, Fulham F.C. is not the first soccer club that comes to mind when thinking of the U.K. While teams like Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United may have better name recognition internationally, lesser-known London clubs such as Fulham provide unmatched access to student groups, including the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business delegation that visited the team’s headquarters in January. The students were in London as part of two annual winter session business courses, one studying International Marketing and the other Wealth Management.

Fulham is London’s oldest professional football club and has played in the historic, riverside Craven Cottage stadium since 1896. Following a tour of the stadium, Iowa students met with Mike McSweeney, current CEO of Fulham Football Club Foundation, who discussed marketing and brand management strategies, as well as aspects of the financial management required to drive a successful sports enterprise. Students were especially responsive to a discussion around strategies in place to regain access to the Premier League, England’s top-tier league. Students appreciated McSweeney’s candor and insights.

Fulham has a number of ties to the U.S., including former national team players Clint Dempsey and fan favorite Brian McBride. Another connection is club owner Shahid Khan, Pakistani-American business tycoon and owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who purchased the team in 2013.

Education is central to the mission of the team’s charitable foundation. Fulham regularly partners with Accent to design custom experiences for university students, including workshops that challenge students to contemplate the inner workings of a professional sports club, stadium, and charity through real case studies that build from the learning objectives of the program, whether business, communication and public relations, or sustainability. …better still if the program coincides with a game day!