ULMS Electronic Module Catalogue

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code ULMS856
Coordinator Dr DS Parnell
Marketing (ULMS)
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2023-24 Level 7 FHEQ First Semester 15

Pre-requisites before taking this module (other modules and/or general educational/academic requirements):


Modules for which this module is a pre-requisite:


Programme(s) (including Year of Study) to which this module is available on a required basis:


Programme(s) (including Year of Study) to which this module is available on an optional basis:


Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 10



Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 125


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Multiple choice test There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment. Assessment Schedule (When): Semester one  30         
Multiple choice test There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment. Assessment Schedule (When): Semester one  30         
Multiple choice test There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment. Assessment Schedule (When): Semester one  30         
Individual essay There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment. Assessment Schedule (When): Semester one    100       


The module aims to:

Provide students with a detailed understanding of the context of the 'global' sports business environment, its determinants, challenges, and future trajectory;

Help students develop critical thinking skills in the global sports business context from perspectives of governance, ethics and sustainability;

Help students develop as independent learners, comfortable with taking responsibility and being accountable for their actions, choices and outcomes.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Develop an ability to think critically about contemporary challenges in sports business;

(LO2) Be able to critically apply broader concerns of ethics and sustainability in a global sports business context;

(LO3) Evaluate the future challenges and developments of the sports business and comment on implications for management practice;

(LO4) Appreciate wider conceptualisations of consumption and critically evaluate implications for associated social practices;

(LO5) Develop a critical understanding of, and appreciation for, entrepreneurial activity and the contribution of micro and small businesses;

(LO6) Appraise the global/local challenges and debates inherent in the sports business environment, in such a way as to inform management decision-making.

(S1) International awareness. International cases in the business of sport will be used to support and illustrate theory. Guest speakers invited to deliver lectures will also give talks on internationally orientated roles in the business of sport, their experiences, and recommendations. Students will also be encouraged to keep up-to-date with current affairs in both developed, and developing sports markets.

(S2) Ethical awareness. A specific lecture block will be delivered on ethics. Further, a substantial part of the module reading list will be related to ethics and governance in the business of sport, and will also feature as a critical juncture in the essay assignment. During in-class activities, students will also be encouraged to reflect ethically on examples and cases, and present arguments to peers.

(S3) Think sustainably. Sustainability (social, economic, and environmental) considerations form the main conceptual undercurrent to this module. Students will be asked, for all topics, to reflect critically from the point of sustainability. Reflection on live cases, developments in sustainable practice, and industry insight delivered through guest talks will reinforce and develop this position.

(S4) Lifelong learning skills. At level 7, it is a requirement that students move beyond the recommended reading list, and are constantly engaged in their subject. The module demands students to evidence engagement in the wider literature and to showcase skills that evidence lifelong learning. Students will also be encouraged to support arguments and in-class discussions with readings and theoretical positions gained from readings conducted outside of class.

(S5) Critical problem solving skills. A core feature of both assignments is critical analysis. Further, during in-class activities students will be asked to consider various cases in the international business of sport through critical lens – such as sustainability, ethics and governance.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

2 hour lecture x 5 weeks
2 hour seminar x 5 weeks
1 hour asynchronous learning x 5 weeks
125 hours self-directed learning

A core function of this module is to introduce students to the different conceptualisations, determinants and global / local nature of the sport sector. As such it is necessary to ensure students are both informed of theoretical concepts, but at the same time given the opportunity to engage with rich case-studies of actual practice and social impact for reflection, and to empirically ground their thoughts and perspectives.

This approach further reflects the module aims in terms of introducing and critically analysing core theoretical constructs, while also allowing students to consider the potential for fresh and alternative practices in sports business.



Global structure of sport:

The core aim of this topic is to introduce students to the perceived global nature of sports business, and to engage them in critical discussion about whether sport is actually global, or a more ‘multidomestic’ industry than transcends traditional geographical boundaries. Here we introduce the nature and scope of sports brands, different organisational structures and the managerial challenges associated with balancing the local/global tensions of sports business. This insight also provides a backdrop for the core issues and business themes that will come later in their programme, as well as providing students with ‘touch-points’ to develop their own interests in sport outside of the classroom.

Commercialisation of sport:

The commercialisation of sport cannot be pinpointed as having occurred at a specific point in time, or within a specific nation, or sport. Instead, the commercialisation of different sports, an d the subsequent formation of sports brands is seen as an evolutionary process. This topic is designed to give students historical insight into some of the key trigger points from around the world that have led to the commercialisation and formation of sports markets. The aim here is to better understand how, why, and in what circumstances various professional sports have commercialised. An important part of this is to establish the consequences of this development (positive and negative), but also to pose questions as to how ‘new’ or ‘developing’ markets can successfully commercialise in a socially positive way.

Emerging markets:

By this stage in the module students should have a good understanding of what sport is, how the sport arena has formed and changed over time, and what the commercialisation of sport means to society, organizations, and the people involved in sport. The next stage is to introduce students to the idea of ‘emerging markets’ and ‘multiplicity of markets’ – for example, some economies are developing infant sport industries i.e. football in China – emerging market, nations that already have established sports markets i.e. football in the UK are starting to create new versions of existing markets i.e. women’s football; Futsal in the UK – market multiplicity. This provides the theoretical base for discussions on how different social, cultural, political, and technological developments (from topic 1) influence the development, (de)normalization, and representation of markets. International cases will be used prominently here to illustrate and aid discussion.

Consuming sport:

The aim of this topic is to broaden the student’s conceptualisation of ‘consumption’, exploring all of the key market actors that partake in the exchange processes of consuming sport. Further, an important aspect of this topic is to differentiate betw een the consumption of professional sport (entertainment; fandom etc.) and participation sport. The consumption of experience, and the recent shift towards a service-dominant conceptualisation of market value are key parts of this topic. Debates surrounding whether or not fans can/should be called ‘consumers’ will naturally surface, leading into the next topic.


Having established the social, and economic roots of sport, attention is drawn to the need to balance social and commercial activities with environmental concerns. Legislative developments, the concept of ‘legacy’ from mega sporting-events, amongst others, will be introduced and debated. An important feature of this topic is to reflect on historical practices and debate these developments from a sustainability perspective. Many of our students will come from developing/emerging sports markets and an integral part of their development through this course should be to learn f rom developed economies – both in terms of what has been positive, and in terms of how future developments can be more sustainable. This topic can also be used to reflect on commercialization agendas, consumption practices covered earlier in the module.

Governance and ethics:

The commercialisation and marketization of professional sport has brought many challenges in terms of the organisation and governance of various sports at regional, national, and supranational level. This topic is designed to expose students to the complex political nature of sport governance, and encourage them to develop skills in ethics and moral awareness as to assist with management decision making and governance.

Sports enterprise development:

Sports business is often considered in terms of large, corporate organisations at the elite level of the industry. This perspective ignores many of the micro businesses (MBs) and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that play importan t roles in the functioning and shaping of the ‘sport market’. This topic seeks to expose students to examples of such enterprises, but also to the processes, motivations and challenges of such organisations. The aim here is to broaden student’s perspectives of ‘sports business’ and to also appeal to those students who may consider themselves more entrepreneurial by nature.

The future of sport:

The module concludes with some insight into the future trajectory of sports business. The main focus here is on ‘digital sport’. There is a growing connection between the digital world and the sports world. ‘Digital’ is changing the way business content is developed, who creates it, how it is distributed, and how communities are shaped and engaged. This does not just mean social media, but also e-sports gaming and fantasy, big data, wearable technology, and digital marketing.

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at readinglists.liverpool.ac.uk. Click here to access the reading lists for this module.