UCFB students Kerry Fothergill and Max Thornburn have recently returned from an unparalleled opportunity of working in the marketing department of top flight Brazilian football club Figueirense FC. The work placement coincided with the opening league fixtures and gave the two UCFB students unprecedented behind the scenes access to the start of a new footballing season in Brazil.

Upon arriving in Florianopolis, the home town of Figueirense FC in southern Brazil, Kerry and Max were instantly made to feel at home and the two UCFB students immediately became involved with the daily marketing activities of the football club. This included meetings in which plans were outlined for the opening games of the 2016 Santa Catarina Championship season. They were grateful to be given the opportunity and responsibility to make their own recommendations for the upcoming games and, with the assistance of the marketing manager, they planned their strategies and then implemented them for the club.

UCFB Students Kerry Fothergill and Max Thornburn with the Figueirense FC marketing team

UCFB Students Kerry Fothergill and Max Thornburn with the Figueirense FC marketing team

With a focus on social media, Max suggested the use of Snapchat and the utilisation of Periscope to help grow Figueirense’s social media platforms and increase fan engagement and awareness. During the week he prepared his strategy and on the opening game of the season he uploaded content that included behind the scenes pre-match access and fans celebrating a goal in the stands.

On this social media coverage, which included one of his personal highlights of the two weeks, Max commented:

“As the game was about to begin, I experienced one of the most exciting moments of my trip when I walked out with the players to Periscope the pre-match. I was so thrilled to be a part of their first game and to walk out in front of the Figueirense faithful. It was a small glimpse into the pride that all players must feel when they walk out of the tunnel to the excitement of a cheering crowd.”

The social media initiative that Max implemented was a resounding success with a clear increase in fan engagement across the club’s social media channels.

Tunnel Vision: first home match of the season as the players walk out for the game

Tunnel Vision: first home match of the season as the players walk out for the game

In parallel, Kerry was keen to analyse the data that the football club had regarding season tickets and attendance, and develop ideas to attract more families to match days. Her recommendations included children’s activities such as a penalty shootout against the mascot at half time and face painting for the young fans before and during the game.
Second year Football Business & Media student at UCFB Wembley, Kerry could not hide her excitement about the impact of her role, stating:

“It has just been confirmed that the club will have face painting again this weekend. It is great to think that an idea I suggested will continue when I am not there. The club will hopefully continue this activity throughout the season.”

Figueirense FC Stadium

Figueirense FC Stadium

Being involved with the marketing activities of the football club for two weeks meant that Kerry and Max managed to gain a unique, behind the scenes and holistic experience into what it requires to work in the marketing department of a football club. Other notable activities that they contributed to included helping to produce a promotional video that was to be used as a marketing tool to attract tourists in the region to match days, helping with the football club’s rigorous work in the local community and coming up with ideas to present new players of the football club to the fans.

Additionally, Kerry and Max produced a senior level strategic management report, focusing on the football club’s website, in particular how to improve it and how to retain and measure the football club’s fan data. The two UCFB students are still in touch with the marketing department at Figueirense FC and are enthusiastically monitoring developments to see whether any more of their recommendations will be implemented over the course of the season and beyond.

The two-week work placement gave Kerry and Max not only the opportunity to work hands on within a football club in a different country, but also gave them insight into a new culture and traditions. They overcame the language barrier, made new friends on the other side of the world and were overall humbled by how welcomed they were made to feel by their hosts during their time there. Both students returned back to the United Kingdom and their studies with lasting impressions and unforgettable memories.

Kerry Fothergill and Max Thornburn in the Press Zone

Kerry Fothergill and Max Thornburn in the Press Zone

Third year student Max Thornburn, graduating this year from the Football Business & Marketing programme at UCFB Burnley, reflected on his time in Brazil:

“My time at Figueirense FC was unforgettable and extremely valuable to my aspirations to work within the football industry. It was fascinating to compare how a football club in another part of the world was run and internally organised. Above all I was fortunate to have an opportunity to experience many diverse aspects of the work within the marketing and media departments.

“I witnessed first-hand the work that goes into promoting and producing the first game of the season. From attending the televised league press conference, preparing players kits, attending club meetings, distributing food to the less fortunate local community, my own efforts to expand the club’s social media and the thrill of game day, I was privileged to have a whirlwind snapshot of the multifaceted world of Brazilian football and culture.

“The people I met at the club during my time in Brazil will remain long-term friends and I can’t thank both them and UCFB enough for everything they did to make it a wonderful experience. Both Kerry and I had a fantastic time in Florianopolis, and the experience is one I will never forget. Obrigado a todos!”

 

Read about the BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing degree at UCFB

Read about the BA (Hons) Football Business & Media degree at UCFB