US students see how UK professional sports clubs operate on week long visit
Students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have been given a taste of how the sports industry works stateside after welcoming visitors from North Carolina State University (NC State).
Students from the US university spent a week in Preston working with final year UCLan sports management students sharing their knowledge of how sports industries work in both countries. This included examining gender and sexual equality, sports culture in high schools and the lucrative business of US university sports teams with more than 60,000 spectators regularly attending college American Football games.
Dr Mike Edwards, Associate Professor in Sport Management at NC State, commented: “This visit is part of a three-year collaboration with UCLan which has allowed us to work on joint research projects and bring our students together to gain an international perspective on their studies. Last year we welcomed UCLan to North Carolina and it’s great that this year we have been able to visit Preston and give our students a taste of what it’s like to study sports management in the UK.”
During the week-long visit the US cohort visited Sale Sharks Rugby Union Club, Blackburn Rovers FC and Manchester City FC to see how UK professional sports clubs operate. The students also worked together to deliver a conference and share research knowledge.
"Last year we welcomed UCLan to North Carolina and it’s great that this year we have been able to visit Preston and give our students a taste of what it’s like to study sports management in the UK"
Alex Blough, a 21-year-old sports management student from NC State, said: “It’s been very enlightening and we’ve discovered similarities and differences in both cultures that have been surprising. Tackling homophobia in professional sport in America isn’t as high on the agenda as in the UK so learning about the Football Association’s campaign to address it was very interesting.”
Final year UCLan sports management student 28-year-old Rachael Durband said: “It’s good to get a different perspective and listening to the North Carolina students talk about sports culture in the US has been very beneficial. Equality for women’s sports in America is way ahead of the UK and we can learn something from that.”
The UCLan trip to North Carolina last year gave the Preston visitors a chance to teach in local schools, deliver coaching sessions and visit some of the university’s world-class sports facilities. Both universities are planning to continue the partnership with more collaborative research projects, joint lectures and future student exchanges.