ISPO’s role in mentoring future sports entrepreneurs

Students of the MSc in Sports Industry Management attended ISPO in Munich and gained invaluable experience!

ISPO, the world’s largest trade show for the sports business sector, took place in Munich from 5 – 8 February 2017. The trade show is growing steadily every year and 2017’s show saw a record 2,732 exhibitors and more than 85,000 visitors from 120 different countries. Students from the MSc in Sports Industry Management of emlyon business school attended the show again this year!

From learning about developing a brand’s vision to building an interest in a specific sector and growing their professional network, Guillaume from France, Jasper from Germany, and Maina from Kenya, students of the MSc in Sports Industry Management, have a lot to share about their experience at ISPO Munich.


Highlights from ISPO Munich 2017


The show offered students the opportunity to meet and engage with CEOs of large organisations and learn more about the trends that are currently shaping the sector.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to connect with the decision makers at Vibram and Molibso.” shares Jasper, a student of the programme. “Meeting the people behind these brands was such a valuable experience.”

Fellow student Guillaume can only agree. “Being able to have a casual conversation with a CEO and discuss running a business in the sports industry is priceless. These meetings gave us the opportunity to make an impression and some of us might have found internship opportunities at ISPO. We came back with so many contacts and a much bigger network.” said Guillaume.


Despite the show’s busy schedule, many brands that were contacted by Antoine Haincourt, Head of the MSc in Sports Industry Management at emlyon business school and Eugenio di Maria, Editor of Sporting Goods Industry magazine and very active in the development of the programme,  made themselves available to meet with the students.

Ryan Gellert, Patagonia’s General Manager, was one of them. He presented the brand and its philosophy based on “less process more impact” in one of ISPO’s private showrooms where he also met with Jasper and Guillaume. “Patagonia was one of the first large organisations that I could actually connect with. They showed me that you can run a large company and still care about your employees.” shared Jasper.

Students also had the opportunity to meet with Victor Duran, Chief Executive Officer of Intersport International, who talked about the challenges the global sports group is currently facing. Centered around the stakes of revitalising the brand and redefining the in-store experience, the CEO talked about the E-commerce strategy of the group and mentioned that Intersport’s aim is about regaining its position as “first destination” for customers. Victor Duran also took time to give students hints & tips about their future career in the sports industry. Which job should you start your career with? Where should you work? The CEO had an open discussion with the students about these important elements to consider for their future career.



  • VIDEO testimonial: Hear from Maina after he met with ISPO Director Tobias Gröber.
  • VIDEO testimonial: See what Tobias Gröber, Director of ISPO, has to say about the MSc in Sports Industry Management

Guillaume connected with Hans Smith, Cofounder and CEO of Armada Skis, and discussed their shared passion for skiing. Jasper spoke to Andy Gugenheimer of Sportgroup who said that “45% of businesses fail because of timing. Having the right team is just as important as timing and you’ll need funding to get your idea out there. If you don’t necessarily have the funds to make your idea happen, partner with people who are also inspired by your idea.”

The show also gave students the opportunity to discuss international markets and trends. Maina, a student from Kenya, got the chance to meet with Tobias Gröber, Director of ISPO, to discuss sports business opportunities in Africa.

While ISPO opens students minds up to new possibilities, it also emphasises major trends in the sports industry such as digitalisation. An increasing amount of exhibitors are showcasing electronic products every year, such as ski poles equipped with sensor technology, virtual reality headsets for a more emotional shopping experience and a digital ski trainer in an inlay sole.


Tips for students attending ISPO 2018

  • Do some research on the brands that will be attending the show so that you can plan out your visit
  • Organise yourself into groups of people who have common interests
  • Make a list of who you want to meet and what their names are so that you can ask for them by name
  • Use one day for exploration and one day to meet people.


Trade shows come and go but those that last bring the most value to both exhibitors and visitors. With the sports business world being so fast paced, shows such as ISPO play an

important role in bringing key industry players and influencers together to encourage engagement and growth. It also gives businesses the opportunity to connect with the future generation of sports entrepreneurs and even potentially identify future employees.

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