UCLan Alumnus, Matt, shares his journey to his Formula 1 job
Matt Deacon is living his dream job, working as a Media Manager in Formula One.
Fed up with his job working nights at a supermarket in Southampton, Matt decided to study Sports Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire. He now spends his weekends in locations like Monaco and America and Asia, following top drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
When Mat met a professional sports journalist, who was a UCLan graduate during his volunteering experience, the encounter made Matt realise he wanted to work in sports media.
Matt said: “He recommended studying Sports Journalism at UCLan. I compared the course with similar courses across the country, but UCLan’s strong links to various media and sports organisations meant that it was an easy decision, even if it was halfway across the country. I arranged a visit to see the campus and Preston itself and knew there was nowhere else I’d rather study.”
When Matt left college, he got a job and worked in retail for a few years as a retail manager. He opted not to go to university at first as he didn’t know what he wanted to do. When he was no longer enjoying his job, Matt started volunteering at a community radio station to do something different. He began broadcasting live radio commentaries covering the local non-league football teams and got an insight of what a career in sports journalism might be like.
During his degree, Matt was awarded The Matthew Hesketh Award for Sports Journalism. Reflecting on the award, he said: “Winning secured me a placement at Chelsea Football Club where I was able to really experience what it was like to be in such an environment, not just the hard work, but the perks of the job that came with it.”
"Winning the Matthew Hesketh Award and graduating with a first-class degree will obviously stay with me forever, but so will the friendships I made there"— Matt Deacon, Sports Journalism graduate
Whilst studying for his degree, Matt worked part-time as a Matchday Announcer at Accrington Stanley Football Club. This allowed him to get behind the scenes at a professional football club. Matt helped by contributing reports and articles for the club’s website and he attended press conferences.
A few months before he was due to graduate, Matt secured the Head of Media position at Accrington Stanley. He said: “I count myself incredibly fortunate to have landed such a role before graduating. It was an amazing experience and I was able to witness and report on some truly historic moments for the club.”
Currently, Matt works as a F1 Media Manager for Formula 1. Within this role Matt gets to travel the world with F1, deal with events, help manage media contact and work with the F1 teams to help shape and share communications. When he is not at a circuit, Matt is usually based at their offices in central London where he manages press enquiries and interviews.
Looking back at his memories at UCLan, Matt said: “Winning the Matthew Hesketh Award and graduating with a first-class degree will obviously stay with me forever, but so will the
friendships I made there. That group made my time at UCLan even more enjoyable but the staff are definitely a close second. Their passion and knowledge of their respective subjects made the sessions, lectures and news days informative and entertaining. I’ll remember the facilities we used such as the AVID suite or the TV gallery and radio studios too, though I see a new TV gallery has already been installed since I left!”
When asked what advice he would give to future students, Matt commented: “Do it. Whatever your circumstances if you’re thinking of doing something similar then go for it. Find a way. The opportunities are limitless and you’ll meet remarkable people and experience amazing things. There might be setbacks along the way but pick yourself up and keep going. Every day’s a school day. You might not find it easy but keep working and keep improving. Take the opportunities when they come. Look for opportunities when they don’t.
He continued: “We all get nervous and we all make mistakes, it’s how we learn so never be afraid of going for it and giving it your all. If you can look at yourself and say truthfully that you’ve done the best that you can do, then you can feel satisfied. If you can’t honestly say that then don’t give up until you can.”