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Business in Sport Knowledge Cluster

News updates

October 2016: The UK Sport Dev Network is looking to fill three key positions for a term of 3 years each. These are: Conference and Events Lead, Communications Lead, and Research Lead.

September 2016: The Business in Sport cluster is hosting a Women in Sport event on Tuesday 4 October 2016 with a panel including Stephanie Houghton MBE, captain of the England women’s national football team.

September 2016: Catherine Elliott will attend Hogeschool Rotterdam’s International Meeting in November 2016.

September 2016: An abstract by Dr Barbara Bell for the 9th Meeting of the Transnational Working Group for the Study of Gender and Sport in November at Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany has been accepted.

September 2016: Welcome to new cluster member Dr Rory Shand.

August 2016: Dr Chris Mackintosh was interviewed for the BBC Radio 4 programme PM with Eddie Mair regarding sports participation among the populace since the London Olympics in 2012. The interview is available to listen to until mid-September at (after 36 minutes).

July 2016: Call for papers regarding the politics and policies of austerity and their impact on sport, leisure and public health for the International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics.

July 2016: Dr Chris Mackintosh presented a paper co-written with Dr Natalie Darko (Nottngham Trent) entitled ‘“There are no parents in the stands”: Sport, Physical Education, Cultural value and Motivation in the Caribbean, a case study of Antigua and Barbuda’ at the Higher Education and Sport Studies Conference in Trindad and Tobago.

June 2016: Why Sports Media Group in association with Black Country Consortium and the Black Country BeActive Partnership are proud to present The Future of Sport, Employment, Skills and Apprenticeships 2016.

June 2016: The Business in Sport cluster was mentioned in a BBC Radio Five Live broadcast on June 19th entitled Dementia and the power of sport (iTunes link). The programme featured the work of the Sporting Memories Foundation whose director, Tony Jameson-Allen, delivered a keynote speech at our Sports Volunteering Conference in May.

May 2016: Dr Chris Mackintosh has won a bid from the Japan Society (jointly with Professor H. Kudo, University of Tokyo) for the Promotion of Science to host seminar series focused on community sport policy, legacy and management (€23,000).

May 2016: Dr Chris Mackintosh has recently been commissioned to undertake research which will inform the new National Training and Education of volunteers in golf programme in 2017.

April 2016: Welcome to Dr Chris Mackintosh, who joins MMU Business School and the Cluster from Liverpool John Moores.

April 2016: The 2nd MMU Sports Volunteering Conference entitled Sports Volunteering in the Current Landscape will take place on May 4th.

The Business in Sport knowledge cluster is a network of professionals who combine academic expertise and practitioner experience.

What do we do?

Our Mission

Our mission is to disseminate knowledge and promote best practice, both nationally and internationally in the field of sport management and marketing.

Our Aims

The aims of the Group are to:

  • Explore the inter-relationships between sport, business and society.
  • Engage and collaborate with practitioners in the sector to discover and disseminate best practice.
  • Integrate research with innovative teaching practices to disseminate knowledge and promote engaged learning.
  • Develop a programme of conferences, seminars and training workshops and publications devoted to the Business in Sport.
  • Grow Postgraduate research in the field.
  • Establish national and international research relationships that draw in visiting scholars and encourage collaborative projects.
Who are we?

Cluster Team

Dr Daniel Parnell (co-leader), Catherine Elliott (co-leader), Prof Paul Holmes, Prof Mark James, Dr Barbara Bell, Dr Mike Bull, Dr Ian Grime, Dr Chris Mackintosh, Dr Rory Shand, Dr Sara Ward, Peter Betts, Louisa-Jane Hallas, Jeff McCarthy, Jordan Peel, Jonathan Sibley, Marc Taylor, Anne Thompson.

Inter-Faculty Colleagues

Dr Carrie Dunn, Ian Atkin, Ryan Groom, Andy Baird.


We welcome enquiries and members from any discipline who share a passion for knowing more about the interaction between sport, business and society. For more information, please contact either Dr Dan Parnell or Catherine Elliott.


Dr Daniel Parnell

Dan is primarily interested in the social role of sport, specifically football, through the evaluation of organisations and interventions using mixed and multi-method approaches – both quantitative and qualitative.

Currently he conducts research with a number of football clubs in England and key strategic stakeholders in football (and sport), including the Football League Trust, the English Premier League, the English Homeless FA, International Olympic Committee and the Football Foundation – the UK’s largest sports charity). This work concerns research with participants across the lifespan (including ‘hard-to-reach’ groups), and extends to coaches, managers, chief executives, funders, policy makers and other stakeholders.

During his career, he has also led a number of club-based interventions including those based within the Everton Active Family Centre, a unique centre based at Goodison Park the home of Everton Football Club). He has completed the national evaluation of the Extra Time programme, alongside the completion of a further three national evaluations concerning school sport, coach education and sustainable community facility investment. On top of this, he is interested in the impact of austerity driven policy measures on the provision of sport and leisure, sport management and Public Health.

Dan’s recent publications also include:

Catherine Elliott

Catherine joined Manchester Met in 2014 having previously worked as a lecturer and course leader for various sports courses within the University and FE sectors. Catherine has responsibility for the preparation and delivery of the following modules:

  • Introduction to Sports Management and Marketing
  • Sports Events Design and Development
  • Sports Professionalism and Practice and Leadership in Context

In addition, Catherine is also year tutor (L5), personal tutor (L5), dissertation supervisor (L6) and a placement tutor. As co-lead of the Business in Sport Knowledge Cluster, Catherine supports and organises a programme of conferences, seminars and training workshops devoted to examining the business of sport in its widest meaning.

Catherine is studying for a PhD at MMU, which explores the management of volunteers within sports organisations. Research interests include all aspects of volunteering, community sport, sports events, and employability.

Prior to teaching Catherine worked in community training and recruitment and has experience of networking, sales and partnership building/stakeholder engagement. A qualified Outdoor Instructor with experience of expedition training and assessing and leading groups on indoor and outdoor rock climbing. Catherine is also a qualified Gymnastics Coach and volunteers as a Coach for The Best Centre and Burnley Gymnastics Club and regularly volunteers at Sports Events in Manchester and Lancashire.

Conferences Organised

  • Sports Volunteering Conference: ‘Turning potential into Legacy’, September 2014 Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Sports Volunteering Conference: ‘Sports Volunteering in the Current Landscape’, May 2016, Manchester Metropolitan University

International Partnerships Developed

  • Heilbronn University, Germany
    In January 2016, 19 Sports Management Students and 2 staff from Heilbronn University, Germany visited Manchester Metropolitan for 1 day with presentations from staff, external partners, sport activities and an evening social.
  • Hogeschool Rotterdam, Netherlands
    In April 2015 and January 2016, 18 students Sports Marketing students and 3 staff from Hogeschool Rotterdam. There were several presentations from staff and students, sports activities, visits to sports organisations, guest speakers and evening socials.
  • ILEPS Ecole, Paris, France
    In April 2016, 45 students completing the MA in Sports Management and 5 staff from ILEPS visited Manchester Metropolitan University for a lecture from Dr Chris Mackintosh, group activities, and a tour of sport facilities. The students also conducted live research with local companies and sports groups to inform a presentation as part of an assessment whilst in the UK.
  • Centenary College, New Jersey, USA
    Working with Centenary College to produce joint projects for students from both institutions to collaborate on.

Professor Mark James

Mark is one of the country’s leading experts on sports law and Olympic law. He re-joined Manchester Law School in January 2016 to take up the position of Director of Research. Mark’s first appointment at MMU was in 1997 where he lectured in criminal law and sports law, and developed the innovative MA Sport and the Law. In 2006, Mark moved to University of Salford to help establish the Salford Law School. During his time there, he was appointed to a number of positions: Reader in Law, Associate Head (Research), Director of the Salford Centre of Legal Research, and served two years as Head of School. From 2013 to 2015, he was also Director of REF Strategy at Northumbria Law School.

Mark’s research specialisms include:

  • Olympic law and the relationship between preserving the image and ideals of the Olympics and protecting the commercial rights associated with the Games.
  • The regulation of space and behaviour in and around sports mega events.
  • The regulation of football spectators.
  • The legality of ticket touting.

Mark’s recent publications also include:

Dr Barbara Bell

Barbara’s research interests that are related to the Business in Sport cluster involve the management of community sport, social sport marketing, and equity-based sport programmes. She is particularly interested in the evaluation of the wider social impacts of sport programmes and sport policies.

Barbara’s recent publications include:

Dr Mike Bull

Mike joined Manchester Metropoltan University in 2002 as a Research Fellow in the Centre for Enterprise and worked on several ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council), ERDF (European Regeneration Development Fund) and ESF (European Social Fund) projects between then and 2009, when he moved across to the Department of Management taking up the post of Senior Lecturer.

Mike gained his PhD The Development of Social Enterprise in the UK: Some operational and theoretical contributions to knowledge in June 2015 from Manchester Met.

Mike has 16 years expeeince in the printing industry in the private, public and third sector including HMSO (Her Majesty’s Stationery Office), Remploy Limited, and numerous roles in SMEs.

Research expertise

  • Chair of The Social and Sustainable Enterprise Network, Special Interest Group, Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Advisory Board member of Social Enterprise Journal
  • Member of the UK Society for Co-operative studies
  • Member of the Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship


  • Ridley-Duff, R. & Bull, M. (2015) Understanding Social Enterprise Theory and Practice, SAGE.

Refereed journal articles

  • Seanor, P., Bull, M., Baines, S. & Purcell, M. (2014) ‘Where social enterprise practitioners draw the line: Towards an understanding of movement from social entrepreneurship as boundary work’, International Journal of Public Sector Management, 27 (4), pp.353–368.
  • Seanor, P., Bull, M., Baines, S. & Ridley-Duff, R. (2013) ‘Narratives of transition from social to enterprise: You can't get there from here!’, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research. 19 (3), pp.324–343.
  • Wilson, D, & Bull, M. (2013) SROI in Practice: The Wooden Canal Boat ProjectSocial Enterprise Journal, 9 (3), pp.315–325.

Chapters in books

  • Ridley-Duff, R & Bull, M. (2013) ‘Social Innovation for Value Creation’ in: Laasch, O. & Conway, R. (2013) Principles of Responsible Business, Centage.

Dr Chris Mackintosh

Chris is an experienced and research informed senior lecturer whose current research interests include: theories of governance, partnership working, mega-event legacy, sport management in international contexts (Antigua and Barbuda, Japan and Holland), National Governing Body of Sport (NGB) research and evaluation systems, and qualitative methodologies in policy evaluation research.

He has supervised PhDs regarding organisational management, evaluation, public policy and qualitative research, and a number of central government & NGB advisory roles in sport management expertise. Chris has also succeded in generating income of over £200,000 across six projects between 2010–16.

Chris has recently been awarded his Doctoral degree from Liverpool John Moores University for the thesis entitled ‘The paradox of English sport development policy and practice: Examining the mass participation agenda during an era of austerity and continued change’.

Chris’s recent publications include:

Dr Rory Shand

Dr Rory Shand is Senior Lecturer in Public Services and Programme Leader for Politics and Public Services at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research interests focus on governance networks and regeneration initiatives. He is author of Governing Sustainable Urban Renewal: Partnerships in Action (Routledge, 2013) and The Governance of Sustainable Rural Renewal: A Comparative Global Perspective (Routledge, 2016). He also has further forthcoming monographs with Palgrave McMillan and Routledge.

Dr Shand has published in several journals including Policy Studies and International Labour Review. He has worked on funded projects from the ESRC and HEFCE and has worked with the Department for Communities and Local Government and various think tanks.

Dr Sara Ward

Sara joined MMU Business School in 2008 and currently teaches on the BA (Hons) Sports Management and the BA (Hons) Sport Marketing Management degree at undergraduate level. She is also the Joint Course Leader on the Master of Sport Directorship (MSD) Course.

Sara’s current PhD research interests are focused on English and German football clubs corporate governance strategies and alternative Non-profit ownership structures predominantly looking at the Supporter Ownership business model. She has so far visited Hamburg SV, Exeter City FC, Brentford FC, Chester FC, Stockport County FC and FC United of Manchester.

Refereed journal articles

  • Ward, S.J., Hines, A. & Scanlon, T. (2015) ‘Mutuality and Football – The Perfect Match?’, Journal of Sport Management.
  • Ward, S.J., Hines, A., Scanlon, T. & J. Lammert (2015) ‘Mutuality and German Football – an Exemplar of Sustainable Sport Governance Structures?’, European Sport Management Quarterly.
  • Ward, S.J., Scanlon, T. & Hines, A. (2013) ‘Mutuality Ownership Form and Professional Sports: Football’, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 42 (4), pp.763–780.


  • Ward, S.J., Hines, A. & Scanlon, T. (2015) Memorandum of Written Evidence to the Committee – January 2015, Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement.

Louisa-Jane Hallas

Louisa joined MMU Busienss School in 2015 on the PhD programme to research governance in sporting social enterprises. Her research interests include sport business, social enterprises, sport governance and sport psychology. Louisa has an MBA, First Class BSc (Hons) in Sports Coaching and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has previously worked in the public sector, third sector for 20 years and has established her own sporting social enterprise.

Jeff McCarthy

Jeff is a senior digital & sport marketing specialist. Since 1996, experience in Ecommerce, internet retail, mobile marketing, digital and direct marketing in B2B and B2C environments. Skills include social media, digital publishing & magazines, email marketing, SEO, PPC, mobile marketing, affiliate, database marketing.

Jeff is nearing the final phase of his PhD, entitled Social Media: Friend or Foe of the Football Club? and is also an internationally published author in academic and practitioner journals.

He formerly ran his own digital agency before transferring to academia with MMU. Joined the Operational Board of the Manchester Publicity Association in February 2015, to help nurture and retain NW talent by forging exciting career pathways.

A highly experienced speaker/trainer for CIM, IDM, Econsultancy, MMU Business School, MMC Learning, and more, Jeff has a particularly strong track record in sports marketing, mail order, retail, B2B, online gaming & sports betting. In his spare time, Jeff’s maintains a running/eating/drinking blog called RunEatRepeat.

Refereed journal articles

  • McCarthy, J., Rowley, J., Pioch, E., & Ashworth, C.J. (2014) ‘Managing brand presence through social media: the case of UK football clubs’, Internet Research, 24 (2), pp.181–204. (This paper achieved 13th position in the Internet Research top 20 downloads for 2014.)

Chapters in books

  • J. Rowley, CJ. Ashworth, J. McCarthy (2014). Social media: The issues, benefits, and strategies for brands. In: Integrating Social Media into Business Practice, Applications, Management, and Models. pp.98-126.

Jordan Peel

With corporate experience working for Coca Cola Enterprises and SME experience managing a sustainability consultancy, Jordan is a Senior Research Assistant for Southampton University on the Eco hair and Beauty Project. He is currently studying at Manchester Met Business School for an MSc in Environmental Management and Sustainable Development and working on a research project called Sustainable Development through sport, engaging Small and Medium size Sports Enterprises and consumers in socially responsible behaviour.

Jonathan Sibley

Jonathan joined MMUBS in 2015 and has responsibility for the preparation and delivery of lectures and workshops for the following modules: Event Project Management (Level 5), Sport and Events (Level 6) and International Events Management (Level 7). Jonathan is also, a personal tutor (Level 5), dissertation tutor (Level 6/7) and a placement tutor.

Having worked previously at Leeds Beckett University being responsible for the teaching of units relating to Event Finance and Technology, Event Support Services and Law, Project Management and Finance, Event Law and Administration, Event Marketing and Production of Events. Jonathan has also been responsible for delivering both lectures and seminars about Technology, Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility, Public Policy and the Professionalisation of the Events Industry as part of a Level 7 Contemporary Issues in Events Management unit.

Currently undertaking a PhD at Manchester Met, which is a Critical Analysis of a Systems Approach to Governance in English Football. Research interests include issues relating to sport and sports events relating to social responsibilities and governance.

Prior to working within Higher Education Jonathan held a variety of roles associated with the Events Industry including; working within a Professional Football Club; responsible for the management of projects relating to Sport, Health, Social Inclusion and Education as well as leading on the delivery of match day activities and special events on behalf of Football Club. Jonathan also worked on behalf of the Department for Education organising a number of national conferences and regional workshops as well as holding a post as an Event Executive within a Business to Business Event Agency where clients included regional development agencies, the CBI and the National Trust.

Marc Taylor

Marc is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Strategy & Consultancy at Sheffield Hallam University. Having worked in a sports business consutancy and a wider IT services and management consultancy for 15 years, he has also just taken up an External Examiner’s post at a UK University listed in the Sports Business International Top 50 Postgraduate Sport Business courses and sits on the editorial panel of a sports related journal. Marc is studying a PhD at Liverpool, which is linked to strategy & governance in non-profit sporting organisations.

Anne Thompson

Anne came to MMUBS having worked in the sport industry for over 20 years, which has included working for several national sport organisations (Sport England, LOCOG) as well as a number of Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), and Local Authorities.

Anne teaches across a number of the Units that form part of the BA (Hons) Sport Management and Sport Marketing Management degree programmes. This includes Anne acting as the Unit Leader for The Business of Sport (BOS), as well as teaching on Introduction to Sport Management and Marketing (ISMM), Sport Policy and Sustainability (SP&S) and Strategic Sport Management (SSM).

In addition, Anne is also year tutor (L6), personal tutor (L6), dissertation supervisor (L6) and a placement tutor.

Anne is studying for a PhD at the University of Chester, which will explore and examine organisational change in sport organisations.

Recent reports include:

  • Thompson, A.L. (2010) Sport Sector for the England’s Northwest, Northwest Regional Development Agency (Warrington, UK.
Teaching & Research


Across our team, we have a wide-range of expertise and have undertaken projects in a number of areas, including:

  • Sport Policy
  • Volunteering
  • Governance and Ownership
  • Social Enterprise and the Third Sector
  • Employability
  • Managing Change
  • Digital Marketing
  • Leadership
  • Enterprise & Small Business Growth
Advisory Board

The Business in Sport knowledge cluster currently works in close collaboration with an advisory board made up of professionals from leading sports organisations in the North West. Their role is to guide and advise the Group on the contemporary organisational and business issues impacting the sector.

Board members

  • Tom Flower — Head of Community, Wigan Athletic FC.
  • Bernie Jones — Chief Executive, Trafford Community Leisure Trust.
  • Graham Herstell — Director, Basketball Manchester Giants.
  • John Eady — Director, Knight, Kavanagh & Page.
  • Simon Hill — Co-Owner & Race Director, XtraMile Events.
  • Ben Williams — Strategic Lead (Local Relations), Sport England.
  • Yawar Abbas — Principal Events Manager, Manchester City Council.
  • Mumtaz Bashir — Managing Director, Women International Collaborate Co. Ltd & ex-Volunteer Project Manager, London 2012.
  • Harry Korkou — Head of Sport, Manchester Metropolitan University.
  • Neil Hurran — Strategic Lead for Sport, Manchester Metropolitan University.
  • Louise Spencer — ex-sport administration (professional clubs).
International Partnerships 2016–17

We have developed a number of international partnerships, allowing us to share a number of activities. One such example is when MMU students met with students from Hogeschool Rotterdam at Etihad Stadium.

More information to follow…

  • Volunteering Insight Report for Sport England, March 2014 (PDF, 1.54mb)

    Led by Ryan Groom, along with William Taylor (also from Manchester Metropolitan University) and Lee Nelson (University of Hull), the report was conducted over a four week period in March 2014.

    Among the key findings were:

    • The number of adults volunteering in 2012–13 is down from 6 million the previous year to 5.2 million.
    • Key motivations behind volunteering included: a love for sport, giving back to sport, child involvement, volunteering linked to education and employment, career aspirations and social connection.
    • Whereas noted barriers to volunteering included: time, motivation, financial constraints, responsibility, awareness, lack of confidence and knowledge, administration and bureaucracy, and professionalisation.
    • Preparation and training were highlighted to be important for volunteering.
    • Important factors influencing the retention of volunteers included: rewards, recognition (even a simple ‘thank you’), providing qualifications and expenses, clear roles and on-going support.
    • Factors leading to drop outs included: personal circumstances, organisational circumstances, lack of enjoyment, child dropout, financial issues, qualifications, and (micro)political influences.

For more information

  • Cluster Leaders:
    Dr Dan Parnell & Catherine Elliott
  • Address:
    Knowledge Hub,
    Manchester Metropolitan University
    Business School,
    All Saints Campus,
    Oxford Road,
    Manchester, M15 6BH,
    United Kingdom
  • Email: or