In recent years, sport has developed into a vibrant multi-billion dollar industry. In parallel, sports businesses have been subject to increasing professionalization, leading to a growing need for qualified executives. This entails a rapid rise in the demand for adequate training, which cannot be satisfied by existing development concepts. For in many places, the distance between academia and industry practice is simply too great.

With the goal to prepare future leaders and high potentials in the best possible fashion for future challenges in sports business, SPONSORs, the leading provider of information and organiser of conferences in sports business, and WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, one of the most renowned business schools in Europe, have joined forces to establish SPOAC – Sports Business Academy by WHU.

SPOAC brings together the expertise of these two institutions, each a leader in their respective fields. In addition, SPOAC closely cooperates with leading institutions in sports, media and business, which contribute their expert knowledge to the SPOAC programs.

At its core, the SPOAC offers

  • part-time degree and non-degree programs ranging from Excellence Programs to an MBA,
  • the best from science and industry practice from leading institutions in the field,
  • guaranteed access to and networking with decision-makers in sports business.


WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

Erkrather Straße 224a
40233 Düsseldorf


The SPOAC faculty consists of distinguished professors in their respective subjects and leading industry experts. In addition to profound functional expertise, the professors of WHU and its partner universities have a great deal of experience in management practice. The faculty are complemented with guest lectures by high-ranking executives from sports business.

Prof. Dr. Simon Chadwick 

M4 | Sports Marketing

Prof. Dr. Christoph Hienerth

Modul: From Idea to Impact

Prof. Dr. Jochen Menges 

M5 | Leadership

Prof. Dr. Christina Günther 

M2 | From Idea to Impact

Prof. Dr. Ove

M7 | Selling Sports Rights

Prof. Dr. Christian Schlereth

M3 | From Traditional to New Media

Prof. Dr. Christian Andres

M6 | Accounting and Finance


By means of innovative learning methods developed by Harvard Business School, among others, and a clear focus on the challenges the industry faces, students receive the best possible training that will enable them to assume leadership roles within the sports business industry in the future.

Case Method

Integrating real-life case studies from the sports business industry into the curriculum gives students the opportunity to discuss and solve management tasks with practical relevance. Professors guide the discussions and actively involve students according to their prior professional experience. The intensive discussions foster a pragmatic, solution-oriented approach and ensure sustainable learning progress.

Consulting Field Study

In the course of the Consulting Field Study, students develop a solution to a challenge that a SPOAC partner is currently facing. Supported by mentors, the participants develop concepts and present them to leading representatives of the partners.


An interdisciplinary approach is taken to consider the sports business industry from a variety of different angles (incl. sports, media, sponsors) so as to foster the development of successful business models. SPOAC’s initiators believe that new ideas can only be developed by breaking down conventional thought patterns and triggering a change of perspective.

Multimedia Learning Platform

An interactive multimedia online learning platform helps students prepare for the attendance sessions ("Blended Learning"). The innovative learning concept offers students the greatest possible flexibility in terms of both location and time, and enables optimal learning successes.


Students at SPOAC benefit from unique career development opportunities: they gain exclusive access to industry knowledge, partners and decision-makers from the SPONSORs and WHU networks. At all times, achieving personal career goals is at the core of the individual support SPOAC provides.

Industry Knowledge

SPOAC students gain unrestricted access to the latest information, analyses and background reports from the industry via the SPONSORs media for the duration of their program. With over 30,000 articles, the SPONSORs archive contains comprehensive information on all aspects of relevance to sports business. There is also an opportunity to conduct background interviews with SPONSORs editors.

SPONSORS Conferences

The annual SPONSORs conferences cover all aspects of relevance to the industry and, with a cumulative total of 300 speakers and 3,200 participants, are the leading events in their respective fields in Europe. Besides the transfer of practical knowledge, the conferences are also an ideal platform to introduce SPOAC students to selected participants.


Students’ building and expanding their personal networks is fostered during SPOAC programs. Students have the opportunity to participate in exclusive “invitation only” SPONSORs events with decision-makers, and thus to build long-term relationships for their future careers.

Career counselling

Reflection on one’s capabilities and personality plays a decisive role in achieving of career goals. To be able to analyse and exploit existing potentials, students have the opportunity to participate in personal coaching and to obtain career advice from the SPONSORs management team.


SPOAC – Sports Business Academy currently partners with the German Football League (DFL), German Football Association (DFB), German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), WWP Weirather – Wenzel & Partner, Nielsen Sports and Microsoft which rank among the leading institutions and companies in sports business. The cooperation with industry trendsetters reinforces the link between science and practice, and ensures that the SPOAC degree and non-degree programs are geared towards industry needs.

Students gain unique access to decision-makers from the industry. What’s more, the partners are able to leverage SPOAC as an essential recruiting platform to acquire new highly-qualified employees.


SPOAC was founded by WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management,
a privately-funded business school, and SPONSORs, the leading information
provider and conference organiser in sports business.

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management is a state-approved international private business school. It is considered among the best in Germany and enjoys an outstanding international reputation with almost 200 partner universities.


SPONSORs is the leading German-language information provider and conference organiser in sports business. With over 15,000 daily readers and more than 3,200 conference participants every year, SPONSORs is the leading specialist medium, and offers a unique network of decision-makers from within the sports business industry.