Everything you need to know to develop your sports business

In the spirit of sports, starting and running a successful sports business can be an exciting journey filled with both rewards and challenges. It, however, requires more than just passion for the game. In today’s dynamic world of sport entrepreneurship, innovation is one of the key ingredients for success. Whether you’re launching revolutionary sport technology or a sports apparel brand, navigating that path effectively, requires having a well-defined and sustainable business strategy, good understanding of your market, out-of-the-box thinking, and strong branding. AISTS’ short programme Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Sport is designed to introduce aspiring sport entrepreneurs to these concepts at both theoretical and practical level, and equip them with the knowledge and tools needed to turn their sport business ideas to success.

Here we’ll walk you through the essential steps to successfully kickstart and navigate your sports business journey.

Define Your Business Strategy with the Business Model Canvas

Before diving into your sports business venture, it’s crucial to define the key components of your strategy. One effective tool for doing this is the Business Model Canvas, developed by Yves Pigneur and Alexander Osterwalder from our fellow University of Lausanne. Canvas is a strategic management tool which provides a visual framework to effectively map out your business model and outline the fundamental elements of your business. Covering aspects like customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partners, and cost structure, this tool helps you gain clarity on your business model and identify areas for optimization and innovation.

Business model canvas template
Template source: strategyzer.com

Market Opportunities: Where to Play

To launch and run a sustainable sport business, one must possess a keen awareness of not just the current state of the playing field but also possible market trends and opportunities. Sustainability in the sports business also goes beyond just financial aspects – technological, social, regulatory and even geo-political aspects all come into play. AISTS’ program on Sport Entrepreneurship teaches students to tailor their business strategy to capitalize on opportunities and mitigate risks, ensuring long-term business sustainability.

Embrace Design Thinking for Innovation

Innovative thinking lies at the heart of successful sports businesses. An excellent approach to spark innovation in business strategizing is Design thinking. It is a creative problem-solving approach that emphasizes user-centric solutions developed through an iterative process covering several stages: empathizing with your audience, defining the problem, ideating solutions, creating prototypes, and testing them. Design thinking can be very effective for uncovering unique opportunities and creating value for your customers, thus setting your sports business apart from the competition.

Design planning session
Design Thinking is an iterative process whose goal is creative problem-solving focused on the user.

Harness the Power of Branding and Storytelling

Sport is about experiences, the excitement, and the thrill of connection. Branding and storytelling are integral to shaping perceptions, creating lasting impressions and successful connections with fans, customers, partners, sponsors. Effective branding goes beyond logos, colour palettes and slogans; it’s about conveying a compelling story and connecting with audiences on a deeper level. Through strategic storytelling across various channels, from social media to experiential marketing, you can engage consumers and foster brand affinity, driving business growth and success.

Girl holding basketball
Visual branding and storytelling need to align with the brand philosophy and mission.

We saw that developing a successful sports business is a multifaceted journey that requires careful planning, innovation, and effectively connecting with customers. AISTS’ short program Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Sport teaches you how to leverage concepts like the Business Model Canvas, design thinking, and branding and storytelling, to position your business for long-term success in the competitive sports industry. To enhance your capabilities to lead and innovate in this exciting industry, apply for the program here and prepare yourself to successfully navigate the challenges and seize opportunities in the dynamic world of sports entrepreneurship.

Experience the world of sport in the Olympic Capital

Participants attend several full-day workshops throughout the programme to experience sport. These sessions are delivered by the sport organisations and federations themselves and provide a unique hands-on experience and well as an ideal opportunity to connect to our alumni and experts working in the industry.