In addition to studying a mix of subjects developed by both these renowned institutions, Torrens University sports management students also get to complete a two-week intensive study unit with Real Madrid in Spain.
The two-week Real Madrid residency is an experiential and immersive study of sports facilities, their operations, design, marketing and management, and the role they play in the cultural landscape of a city.
The unit takes place in the final part of this unique Sport Management MBA program.
It’s a great opportunity for students to network, visit facilities and learn about the international business of sports management directly from sport business leaders at one of the world’s most successful sports clubs, before they go on to graduate. Plus, it’s also a lot of fun.
What do Sports Management students learn and do at Real Madrid Graduate School?
Thankfully, you don’t have to guess. We asked sports management students and staff who recently returned from the Real Madrid residency to put together some daily notes as they followed the two-week schedule.
Week One in Madrid
During the first week, students complete a combination of guided tours to sports facilities around Madrid and intensive masterclasses taught by top sporting executives at the Real Madrid FC and the Real Madrid Graduate School. The sessions run from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., and then 4p.m. until 8 p.m. in the evening. The days are long but insightful and enjoyable.
Day One: Live Sport in Madrid
“The first day in Madrid and we have tickets to two unique sporting venues. We head to the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium at the Real Madrid Training Centre to witness the Real Madrid women’s football team play against Villarreal. Our first taste of football in Spain does not disappoint and the Real Madrid team earn their qualification for Champions League next season.
In the evening we have tickets to Atletico Madrid v Seville at the amazing Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. This stadium opened in 2018 and has already hosted a Champions League Final.
As you exit out of Metro station Estadio Metropolitano, you're greeted by the imposing yet spectacular El Estadio Wanda Metropolitano. Entering the stadium, you appreciate the thoughtful design that enables ease of spectator movement, an unencumbered view and a sensational atmosphere when 65,000 Atlético fans are in full voice.
A great way for Torrens University to begin the sports facility operations residency.” Jeremy Rompotis – Student
Day Two: The Global Football Economy Masterclass by Ornella Bellia
“Ornella Bellia, Head of Professional Football at FIFA, provided an overview of football’s economic, political and governance structure. “It was a privilege attending the Real Madrid Training Centre and listening to Ornella’s experience managing diverse stakeholders at the highest level of governance in the game. Ornella provided insight into the needs of players, clubs, leagues and federations and the various economic and political factors at play.” Alejandro Ramirez Davila – Student
Day Three: Facility Design with Javier Doña, and Digital Transformation Masterclass with Real Madrid
“MBA Sport students visited the campus of the Real Madrid Graduate School at Universidad Europea for masterclasses focused on facility design and technology. Javier Doña, an Advisor in Sports Stadia, provided the business model for sustainable sport facilities with examples from across the world.
Executives from Real Madrid FC, Sergio Cervantes and Enrique Uriel, then provided an insight into the redevelopment of Bernabeu Stadium, embracing the digital revolution and using technology to connect 600 million global fans with the stadium.” Michael Woodlands – Student
Day Four: Micro-sponsorship with Juan Focinos, and Global Partnership Masterclass with Real Madrid
“Students were given a detailed insight into corporate partnerships at the local community level and at the elite level with Real Madrid FC.
Juan Carlos Fociños is responsible for sponsorship at a local basketball academy in Madrid and also teaches in the MBA program at the Real Madrid Graduate School. Juan focused on micro sponsorship and highlighted his process of generating local, community sponsorship to support junior sport and reduce the costs for parents and participants. The afternoon switched to global partnerships with three Executives from Real Madrid FC outlining their focus on strategy, creation/sales and activation.” Jackson Landy – Student
Day Five: Tour of Real Madrid Training Centre and National Golf Center Masterclass
“Day five of the residency presented an incredible opportunity for students to tour the Real Madrid training facility, Ciudad Real Madrid. The tour was enhanced by the presence of club legend Emilio Butragueño, who spent more than an hour with the group. It is an amazing facility with 13 full size football pitches, 4 basketball courts, a hotel for the first team, accommodation for young members of the academy, office space for over 400 staff and all the medical, high performance and training facilities any club needs. All students were in awe of this world-leading sports training facility that is 40,000 m2. Real Madrid FC have an additional 80,000 m2 of available land for future growth and development.” Daegal Richardson – Student
Later in the day we learned that football is not the only popular sport in Madrid. “Students were warmly welcomed by Juan Antonio Fernandez, General Manager of the National Golf Center in Madrid. The club is now attracting people with affordable membership fees, quality food and hospitality in the restaurant, and a gourmet golf experience at their driving range.” - Gabriel Mendoza – Student
Day Six: Get Together Football Tournament at Real Madrid Training Center and Content Creation Masterclass with Real Madrid
“Torrens University MBA Sports Management students participated in an outstanding cross-cultural experience at the Real Madrid Training Centre with the Europea Universidad students from all over the world.
Students were allocated to mixed teams following a registration process. A total of twelve teams competed for the Premiership Cup with a series of minor round matches to determine who would play off in the final. The final was a superb display of sportsmanship by both teams and included three students from Torrens University, with the winning goal being scored by one of our very own.
This once in a lifetime experience was a brilliant networking opportunity for all students and staff. The added bonus of gracing the prestigious hallowed turf of the most successful sporting club in the world completed the experience.” Shawn Ford – Student
“In the afternoon, we were briefed by Francois Guerin, Chief Content Officer for Real Madrid, only hours before Real Madrid were playing their final game in the La Liga season. Francois made it clear that Real Madrid needed to think like a media company and control its own content if they were to continue growing its 392 million fans on social media.
Hours later, we are walking into the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium with 52,000 fans to celebrate Real Madrid’s final game in La Liga. “The anticipation one feels on arrival into the precinct, soaking up the pre-match buzz around the stadium was all that we had imagined and more. It is truly imposing with the marquees, pop-up bars and food stalls and the noise of the fans in the shadows of the stadium, creating an electric atmosphere. The tradition and old school charm, the ‘coliseum’ effect that Santiago Bernabéu has, is addictive and keeps fans coming back. The new stadium, once finished, will be a cathedral to not only football but provide Madrid with the iconic monument it is looking for.” - Lazarus Gremos – Student
Week Two in Madrid
In the second week, students have fewer sessions but more free time, and time to work in groups on their assessment.
Day Seven: Retail Business Masterclass with Real Madrid
“An amazing insight from Juan Martinez Pelaez, Head of Retail Sales at Real Madrid, who is responsible for non-match day revenue at Stadium Bernabéu, including the stadium tour, museum and megastore. These revenue streams are going through a re-development but will take the Real Madrid experience to the next level. Juan is also responsible for Real Madrid stores scattered throughout the city, and is exploring other ventures, like Real Madrid cafes, exhibitions and theme parks.” - Greg Wallace – Student
Day Eight: Hosting Olympic Events with Ramiro Lahera and tour of Wanda Metropolitano Stadium
“An informative session from Ramiro Lahera who has an amazing insight into the bidding and hosting of the Olympic Games. Securing the Olympics is one achievement that has failed Madrid, with the city bidding for the event on three separate occasions. The missed opportunity however has provided a wonderful footprint for Atletico Madrid, who have secured land at the proposed Olympic precinct for their new stadium, Wanda Metropolitano.
We had an exclusive tour of Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, home of Atletico Madrid FC. The tour was hosted by Javier Dona, Professor from Universidad Europea and included the player change-rooms, pitch, President’s Room, VIP and corporate areas throughout the facility, Media Center, Museum and Megastore. The stadium was preparing to host the Rolling Stones – a great insight into the stadium expanding its business model beyond sport” - Emanuela Bosio – Student
Day Nine: LaLiga Masterclass with Jose M. Gotor
“Students were fortunate to visit the home of professional football in Spain, LaLiga HQ, for an insightful talk surrounding the league’s revolution from 2013 to today, under their new president Javier Tebas.
In the nine years since Tebas had taken over the Presidency, LaLiga has eliminated the tax debts of the clubs, increased its own profitability, instilled a robust financial fair play system, created a more evenly distributed TV rights package and dramatically increased its reach in markets around the world, where previously there was little to no awareness, let alone engagement.
José explained the methodology for generating this growth, which was through the use of contra deals with social media influencers, and worldwide celebrities to reach specific markets.” - Nathan Gould – Student
Day Ten: Spartan Race Masterclass with Angel Sanz
An amazing masterclass to finish the program with Angel Sanz, Head of Spartan Race in Spain, explaining the concept, the Spartan philosophy and the expansion into Spain. Spartan has become the world’s most popular obstacle course race with additional trail events, functional fitness challenges, multi-stage mountain bike races and team-based endurance missions. “Angel has so much passion and enthusiasm for the event that you want to start training immediately and challenge yourself at the next event.” Ratinder – Student
Day Eleven: Final Session Featuring Presentations and Ceremony
The final day featured presentations from students and an official closing of the program, after which students could reflect, network and go out and enjoy their last weekend in Madrid.
“One word to describe the trip: exceptional, on all fronts,” said Matt Duldig, one of the 35 Torrens University students who participated in the 2022 Real Madrid residency. “The learnings, the masterclasses, and then just looking around at an unbelievable city and getting to visit two really unique stadiums.”
The two-week program offers a transformative insight into stadiums and international sports management, essential for students as they launch into their careers in the industry.
Follow these links for information about how you can go and visit Real Madrid as part of the Master of Business Administration (Sport Management), and Master of Business Administration Sports Management (Advanced) or see here if you’d like to find out more about the unique partnership between Real Madrid Graduate School and Torrens University Australia.