International Centre for
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Mon. 14 August 2017

“FIFA Master” Alumni – Where are they now? – John Barton

John Barton

Current Position: Head of Sponsorship Sales at TEAM Marketing

Year of graduation: 2001 (1st Edition)

Nationality: British

What does your current role involve?

After a few years working as a shipping litigation lawyer in London, fate led me to read a short article in the newspaper one Sunday about a new “FIFA Masters” course starting in September 2000 and I took the chance to try to change career and follow my passion for sport. After the course, I spent a year at FIFA in the Players’ Status Department and then moved to TEAM Marketing, UEFA’s marketing agency for its club competitions, where I have been for 15 years. I began as a lawyer, mainly drafting and negotiating sponsorship and broadcast contracts, which gave me a very good understanding of how the different parts of the business fit together. At the same time, I was lucky enough to also go to UEFA Champions League matches as a venue manager, working with the home club and broadcast and sponsor partners to deliver the matches, and I loved being so close to the game itself.

This led me to a move into commercial operations, where I spent a number of years working on delivering the commercial elements for both the regular season and finals of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

In 2012, when UEFA in-sourced the operations and TEAM became even more commercially focused, I needed to re-invent myself again and, this time, moved into sponsorship sales. This involves being up to date with the latest trends in the industry and working with other internal departments at TEAM and with UEFA to develop a compelling commercial programme for partners. Once this commercial concept has been agreed, the next step is to go out into the market to speak to prospective partners about the available opportunities and to try to convince them that a UEFA club competition partnership is the most effective marketing tool for them.

Which aspects of the FIFA Master course have helped you most in your career?

Given that I have worked in a number of very varied areas at TEAM over the years, I think the breadth of the course really helped me the most as it gives you a wide-ranging knowledge across a number of areas and helps you to appreciate the bigger picture. More specifically, without the 2 days that we spent in Neuchatel analysing the key aspects of TV contracts, I would never have got the job at TEAM in the first place!

What advice would you give to future students on the course?

Make sure that you engage fully in all areas of the course, not just the specific area that you see as your focus when you begin, as it gives you a much broader understanding of the sports industry and you never know when it may come in useful.


The “FIFA Master” is organized by the CIES in partnership with De Montfort University (Leicester, UK), SDA Bocconi School of Management (Milan, Italy) and the University of Neuchâtel.

Discover more examples of inspiring “FIFA Master” alumni career paths by clicking here.

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