With our MSc Management (Sport) course now open for applications, we turned to our partner organisation, Swansea City AFC, to ask the Head of Commercial questions about how she got to where she is and what it's like being on the Senior Management Team of such a well-known sports brand. 

What does your job entail?

I manage the retail, ticketing, hospitality, sales, partnerships, media and catering and stadium events departments

Describe your job in three words:

  • Diverse
  • Engaging
  • Important

What has been your career highlight?

Becoming the Head of Commercial at Swansea City AFC, in October 2019

Rebecca Edwards-Symmons

Head of Commercial at Swansea City AFC

Rebecca Edwards-Symmons smiling to camera

How did you end up where you are now?

I was studying Dance in Chichester University and slipped a disc in my back which ended my original career path. Started in advertising in the Evening Post when I was 19, then was promoted to head of motors in a move to the Western Mail in Cardiff. Was head hunted by Yell.com to be part of its launching decade and that’s when my career in digital began. I was then headhunted by Amazon 7 years later and was part of a business development team launching 3 businesses in the UK (working alongside the US) to enhance its Amazon Prime platform. We launched Amazon Tickets, Amazon Destinations and Amazon Local. The roles were vast and covered so many elements of the commercial business, but travelling back and forth to London became tiresome and I couldn’t maintain the travelling whilst having a small child at the time.

I had been a season ticket holder for 17 years and longed to have a role at Swansea City AFC. A role came up at the club which was very much entry level, and I knew I had to start again to prove my value before settling in a role that was more aligned to the positions I was used to.

I started as a Digital Media Manager and quickly was promoted to Head of Digital within 18months. Then in October 2019, I was promoted to Head of Commercial at the club and I now sit on the senior management team with the Chairman, Head of Operations and CFO. To say I am living the dream is an understatement, but there is no other role that I would like to do.

What are the key skills required in your role (is this reflective of similar roles in other sport organisations)?

Huge understanding of commercialisation on every level and a well balanced strong mind, as this role has so many variants. After all we are here to enhance and support the 11 men on the pitch every weekend.

What managerial roles exist within Swansea City AFC, and is this a reflection of managerial roles in other sporting organisations?

I have 6 department managers reporting to me and I am just running the Commercial business. There are another 5 in Operations etc. There are a lot of management roles within a football club across a wide spectrum of responsibilities and departments.

Would you like to see more females in managerial roles within sport?

Absolutely, if they are the right candidates for the job of course. We don’t want women there to just be a woman in a role rather than a man. But we want the right PEOPLE in the right jobs.

What would you say to someone considering studying the MSc Management (Sport) course?

The course would definitely give you an advantageous edge against any other applicant when applying for a role in sport. The skills that the course will give you are well rounded and it’s the reality of how sports businesses work. I would also encourage placements and work experience within businesses like mine, because that’s when you will truly realise how a sports organisation works. You can never get too much experience!


Date published: 13/02/2021