Multimillion-pound expansion of Northern UCFB operations

Brendan Flood

University Campus of Football Business (UCFB) is planning a multimillion-pound investment in its Manchester campus and headquarters.

The Manchester expansion will be similar to the £110m upgrade at its London operation, next to Wembley Stadium, and will create 50 jobs.

The growth strategy is linked to the launch of UCFB’s Global Institute of Sport (GIS), a new division specialising in Master’s degrees and executive education, which also includes investment of a further £6m in developing additional campuses with its stadium partners around the world in the coming three years.

UCFB and GIS are led by Manchester business entrepreneur and Burnley FC director, Brendan Flood.

He said: “We have a long-term vision for UCFB in Manchester that is centred around delivering world-class higher education in state-of-the-art facilities.

“Following the opening of our new head offices at Piccadilly 111 and student space at Piccadilly Place in 2019, further job opportunities and significant investment in our facilities is the next exciting phase of our growth.

“The launch of our Global Institute of Sport will help fast-track these plans over the coming years as UCFB continues to make strides in important overseas markets, further promoting the work staff and students do in Manchester and around the UK.”

GIS and UCFB say they will be enrolling around 2,500 students across the Etihad Campus, Wembley and Global Online campuses this September.

The launch of GIS will also see the addition of a world-class executive education portfolio led by Manchester–based VSI Executive Education and an industry advisory board packed with leading names in the world of sport.

GIS will offer current and aspiring sports professionals the chance to expand and excel in the industry with a number of university degrees and specialist programmes spanning leadership, finance and business, delivered by some of the most experienced and respected practitioners from education and sport.

Students will learn at some of the world’s leading sports destinations, including UCFB’s existing campus locations in Manchester and London, which
include Etihad and Wembley stadia, respectively.

Further GIS Study Hubs include Red Bull Arena at New York Metro, Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Toronto FC’s BMO Field, and the incredible Melbourne Cricket Ground, where annual GIS Sports Summits are hosted.

Several degree programmes are also available to study online, allowing students greater flexibility around their studies.

GIS students will also have the opportunity to attend a La Liga Summit for the first time in 2020/21 to grow their network and understanding of Spanish football.

Brendan Flood, who founded UCFB in 2010, said: “The introduction of the Global Institute of Sport marks an historic milestone in the journey of UCFB and our postgraduate provision.

“In our 10th year since we began with a campus at Turf Moor we are proud to be delivering world-class higher education across the globe to over 2,500 students.

“This is an exciting moment as we diversify further into multi-sport education on four continents.”

He added: “Having admired what VSI has been doing for many years we’re delighted to partner with them to provide unique executive education for sport.

“Their addition to the UCFB and GIS family solidifies our place as the go-to organisation for lifelong learning in sport globally.”

VSI alumni include ECB director and former England cricketer Ashley Giles, Olympic medal winning gymnast Beth Tweddle, and Salford Red Devils chief executive Ian Blease.

The new industry advisory board boasts former Premier League footballer and now Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra, CONCACAF director of development Jason Roberts and Melbourne Cricket Club’s GM commercial operations & partnerships Jennifer Watt.

GIS president, Sharona Friedman, said: “The launch of the Global Institute of Sport is the culmination of several years’ work to build the best Master’s-level sports education experience in the world.

Sharona Friedman

“We’re proud to present an enviable Industry Advisory Board and Executive Leadership Team spanning four continents to guide our curriculum and mould the future leaders of this sector.

“We’re providing students with increased networking opportunities between our iconic stadium venues and online, as well as short courses to ensure they have the soft skills that will matter in tomorrow’s market.”

She added: “The education on offer to GIS students will be truly one-of-a-kind and I’m excited to meet our cohort starting in September.”

As part of GIS’s launch, four networking centres in Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai and Singapore will also open to allow students and alumni the chance to expand their contacts base, as well as enable these destinations to take their sports industries to the next level with GIS’s executive education portfolio.