Edster Sy worked as a chemistry and robotics teacher at Grace Christian College and coached basketball at the Jose Rizal University when he chanced upon a newspaper ad about a course that offered to “strengthen management skills among sports and fitness professionals”.
That course was the Post-Graduate Diploma in Sports and Recreation Management, created under the partnership between the De La Salle University Graduate School of Business, headed then by former Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Philip Ella Juico, and Mylene Dayrit, CEO of Gold’s Gym.
Coach Edster lost no chance in applying for the program and even claimed that he was its very first enrollee. “I have always been a sportsman. I am very passionate about basketball and volleyball. I wanted to equip myself in sport management so if an opportunity opens up in the sport industry, then I will be qualified for it,” he says.
During the program, students evaluated sport case studies, created wellness programs and strategic plans, as well as stage actual sporting events—particularly the UAAP swimming events held at the Trace College in Laguna that led to forming a sport events company, Sports Management Solutions, with his classmates and professors.
Through these endeavors, Coach Edster understood the potentials of the sport industry. The firsthand experiences of his professors, some of whom are practitioners and former national athletes, including Olympian swimmer Guy Concepcion and SEA Games dragon boat medalist Geraldine Bernardo, made the learnings even more invaluable.
After finishing the course, Coach Edster landed several other sport-related jobs that included tournament management and sport marketing consultancy for clothing brands. He also set up the Headstart Sports Academy, which focused on organizing sport camps. The biggest sport events that he has staged so far include the Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship (PSSBC) and the ASEAN Veterans Basketball Tour.
True to his basketball roots, Coach Edster became basketball program head for several schools thereafter, such as Chiang Kai Shek College, Singapore School of Manila, Adamson University High School, and now for the National University Bullpups. Every now and then, you will also see Coach Edster on TV as a sports commentator.
Ably, Coach Edster has incorporated his love for sports with the business side of it, proving sports can be a viable means of livelihood.
Though the diploma program was dropped after 4 years from its inception, there appears to be a growing interest and demand for sport management courses in the country. To date, there are around 11 colleges and universities that mostly offer a hybrid Bachelor of Physical Education with Sport and Wellness Management (BPE-SWM, as per CHED Memo No. 23 s.2011). However, Coach Edster laments the lack in depth and involvement, wherein students can undergo internships with professional sport teams, national sport associations, and other sport industries.
Despite that, Coach Edster believes that there is a bright future for sport management. The knowledge one will acquire, combined with the right attitude and stakeholder management are the necessary ingredients to give any aspiring sport entrepreneur or sport professional economic success. “There are a lot of opportunities in this career. However, sportsmen usually lack the management skills to turn their passion into profit, while those who may have the management skills do not understand sports,” he explains.
His advocacies include helping athletes manage their career especially during “life after sports”. Coach Edster also endeavors to lend his expertise to the national teams and sports associations towards self-sufficiency through professional management, marketing and sponsorship.
To contact Coach Edster Sy, you may email him at [email protected]. To catch talks from “sportpreneurs” and sport brands in the upcoming1st International Sport Business Convergence (SportBizCon 2018), on August 18-19, 2018, at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City. Stay tuned for more details!