9 days ago - Politics and Society

SPORTS LEADERSHIP PROGRAM: AN ORIGINAL INITIATIVE BY FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY (FIU) AND THE ARGENTINE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (AFA)

By Jose Daniel Salinardi

SPORTS LEADERSHIP PROGRAM: AN ORIGINAL INITIATIVE BY FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY (FIU) AND THE ARGENTINE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (AFA)

The "Global Executive Program in Sports Leadership" will focus on the methodology and models of sports management.

SPORTS LEADERSHIP PROGRAM: AN ORIGINAL INITIATIVE BY FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY (FIU) AND THE ARGENTINE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (AFA)

The "Global Executive Program in Sports Leadership" will focus on the methodology and models of sports management.

It began on June 27, coinciding with the new edition of the "Copa America" held in the United States, featuring a very enlightening session on the global expansion strategy of the Argentine Football Association. This first edition will run until August 29, with accessibility for everyone through a hybrid format with in-person classes and "online" access (available for up to 365 days, so interested individuals can enroll and follow the program regardless of their location).

The 10 modules that comprise the joint FIU/AFA program will cover topics such as club administration, match day operations, press and communications, youth development, player management, sports science, nutrition and rehabilitation, women's soccer, brand building and leveraging globalization, national team coaching, federations, confederations, and FIFA, and the future of soccer.

The program's organization and management is headed by the Director of the "Kimberley Green Latin American and Caribbean Center" at Florida International University, Anthony Pereira, and Professor Eduardo Gamarra of the same university. They are assisted by our dear friend and Colombian colleague, Paola Serna, a journalist, producer, and presenter who recently moderated the module "A Focus on Club Structures," featuring Nicoló Zini, Vice President of Commercial Development in Miami, from the Organizing Committee of the "2026 FIFA World Cup," which will be held in three countries simultaneously: the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

Paola kindly shared with us the main points of her conversation with the representative of the International Football Federation (FIFA) about the organization's strategy for the upcoming World Cup, as well as the significant impact of Lionel Messi's presence in the United States as a player for "Inter Miami CF" (Inter Miami CF) on promoting the sport in the country. Mr. Nicoló Zini has extensive experience in this particular issue, having previously worked for almost three years at this soccer club and over four years at "Fútbol Club Barcelona" before joining FIFA.

In his words, the 2026 FIFA World Cup "will be the largest and most powerful soccer World Cup ever seen, featuring 48 national teams and taking place in three countries: the United States (11 cities including Miami, Los Angeles, and New York), Mexico (3 cities), and Canada (2 cities)." He estimated an average attendance of 60,000 spectators per match and highlighted that, in the specific case of Miami, the city will host 7 matches, expecting an influx of approximately 700,000 non-resident attendees, both national and international.

According to him, the year 2024 is a time for organizational deployment, determination of different venues, and analysis of existing infrastructure, while 2025 will mark the beginning of the commercial strategy for this global sporting event.

Additionally, Zini stated that the United States aims to become a global center for sporting events and elaborated on the impact of Lionel Messi's addition to "Inter Miami CF" on soccer. "Messi accelerated a process that was already underway: Americans needed a catalyst to unleash their passion for soccer," he said. Highlighting the significance of the Argentine star in the strategy to make soccer a mainstream sport in the United States, he also warned about the challenges facing Major League Soccer (MLS), particularly how to maintain its relevance once prominent figures like Messi retire from active play. MLS had been a slowly growing league with conservative strategies until the arrival of the Argentine national team captain, following the end of his contract with French club "Paris Saint-Germain," sparked a literal "soccer explosion" in the United States.

Zini posed the question, "How can the U.S. Major League Soccer strategy be adapted to maintain its value beyond the prominent figures that make up its teams?" Or in other words: how to transition from a conservative attitude to a more aggressive, commercially speaking, strategy that accelerates growth beyond Messi's presence? "The United States has many sports talents; what is needed is adequate resource allocation to allow this talent to emerge and generate value."

From left to right: Nicoló Zini, Keyvan Heydari, Anthony Pereira, Paola Serna, and Eduardo Gamarra

The United States is preparing to become the sports capital of Latin America. It's not just about soccer, and Florida International University understands this as its program integrates all sports. While soccer has marked the beginning of this original, interesting, and valuable alternative taking advantage of a new edition of the "Copa America" in that country; basketball, American football, baseball, ice hockey will also have their space, and as with the current edition of this leadership and management program for sports entities, it will feature prominent speakers (executives, players, specialists) from each particular sport.

We thank the executives of Florida International University (FIU) and our esteemed Paola Serna for providing us with extensive information about this initiative to disseminate it jointly through Poder & Dinero, and FinGurú. For those interested in this program and wanting to participate in its modules, more information can be found on Instagram @fiulacc or on the "FIU Kimberley Green Latin American and Caribbean Center" website https://lacc.fiu.edu

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Jose Daniel Salinardi

Jose Daniel Salinardi

Jose Daniel Salinardi is a Certified Public Accountant graduated from the School of Economics of the University of Buenos Aires.

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