26 Junio 2017

Interview to Thorsten Wagner, MBA Sports Management student who participates as a volunteer in the organization of the Champions League Final Four of handball (June 2017)


How was your experience in the Final Four?

The EHF Final 4 weekend was a very exciting experience. This event is well-known for the enthusiasm of the fans of the participating teams and for the pre-game shows that set new standards in the show industry.

The Lanxess Arena in Cologne is a huge multifunctional arena that offers a lot of space in the beautiful city in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Handball is such an intensive and fascinating sport. Three of the four games were decided by only one point difference – mostly scored in the last seconds of the game. All in all, it was an awesome experience.


How did you get the opportunity to help during the event?

So, one of the professors during the MBA Sports Management, Miguel Mateo Marcellan, is the Head of Media & TV for the EHF Final4. During his lectures we talked about the organization of a tournament like the EHF Handball Champions League focusing on his department, the media support.

He was looking for a person willing to accompany journalists of Barça TV, one of the participating teams, during the weekend. Therefore it was necessary to speak German and Spanish.

In fact, Barcelona won the most EHF Champions League championships (9 titles) so I was pretty excited to accompany its journalists.


What were your main responsibilities?

The Friday before the tournament, I met the staff related to EHF Media Team and many responsible persons from the organization. They showed me around and we installed some systems for the media coverage.

When the Barça journalists arrived, I showed them the arena and their working areas.  

Barça TV had three areas they were working in:

A media bus to edit their footage, a spot in the tunnel the players walked through after the games for interviews and a kind of a VIP box in the arena for recordings and further interviews with coaches or other journalists.

We were explained where to find all necessary resources and I translated to the journalists the parts they didn’t understand.

On the weekend, I accompanied players, coaches and journalists to the box of Barça TV for interviews and made sure they have everything they needed. It actually was quite exhausting to walk that much the entire weekend.


Did you manage to adapt quickly in the working environment?

Yes, definitely. All persons of the organization were very nice. The journalists of Barça TV integrated me quickly into their group and we actually had a lot of fun.

As the Lanxess Arena is a big facility, orientation was hard at the beginning and it took me a day to know the fastest routes.


What did you like the most about your volunteer experience?

In general I like to speak in different languages and be in contact with people. The weekend provided all that. I got to know a lot of nice persons with different responsibilities and duties.


Do you recommend to do volunteer activities to future students?

I definitely do, it’s a great opportunity to experience a major sports event from the bottom. Furthermore, volunteering offers exposure to other people that have connections that you can benefit from in personal life.


What advice do you have for those beginning the same process next year?

In my opinion, volunteering at sports event is essential to understand the process of managing any major event.

Don’t wait for UCAM to provide an opportunity to help, search for some tournaments yourself. Lastly, enjoy the event and try to network as much as possible.


How has the MBA Sports Management helped to prepare you for a sports event like this?

Well, I think the study course helped me to be more self-confident. We got to learn from professionals in the sector, we visited so many sports institutions and clubs and finally we had to do an internship. The knowledge and the experience acquired in the course helped a lot.