March 24th 2014

How do you run a football business?

Martin Kind, CEO of the KIND Group & Director of Hannover96

An unusual talk was held in the framework of the MCI Alumni & Friends lecture series on March 18, 2014. Martin Kind, entrepreneur and Director of the German premiere league football club Hannover 96 offered insights into the exciting world of professional football to an interested audience in a packed Great Hall at the MCI

As the CEO of a family company, Martin Kind characterizes his business as a work of love and passion. “Work has got to be fun if you want it to be successful,” he is convinced.

In 1997, when he became Director of the Hannoverscher Sportverein von 1896 e.V., which was insolvent at the time, he was confronted with the challenge of rescuing a non-profit association from a difficult situation as a business venture. He knocked on various doors in an attempt to find investors, and those attempts have proven to be highly successful. Today the club is playing in the German premiere league and is now financially healthy.

The road to success involved restructuring the non-profit organization with its focus on recreational sport and hiving off the football club as a commercial venture in the corresponding legal form.

Martin Kind is very much aware of the fact that football has a social function and also a strong emotional element. For him personally, “Emotions are allowed during the match, but afterwards the brain has to take over again.”

In addition to the legal aspects and the strength of the brand image, otherfactors are also important for the success of a football club as a commercial venture such as investments and innovation.

With the construction of a stadium for the 2006 World Cup, Hannover 96 took a big step forward into a healthy future. For Martin Kind, this redevelopment phase is now complete and the time has come to initiate a phase of consolidation and further growth with a sensible and realistic approach.

A lively discussion rounded off a successful evening.

The event was chaired by Professor Hubert J. Siller, Program Director for Tourism.