Academic Advisors

Meet the BCW Sport Academic Advisors

BCW Sports Academic Advisors is a network of highly recognised academics specialised in sports management issues and related topics such as communication, marketing, management, economics and law. Each Academic Advisor is a specialist in one of these areas and provides BCW Sports with expert support on these topics.

The contact with the group of Academic Advisors ensures that BCW Sports is always informed about the latest research and findings for the benefit of our clients. BCW Sports on the other hand can provide a link between the academic world and the practitioners in the world of sports – communicating and combining knowledge and experience to the benefit of all parties and generating inspiration for new and needed research.

Prof. Dr. Helmut Digel

Prof. Dr. Helmut Digel’s experience as a professor of Sociology of Sport at the Institute of Sports Science at the University of Tuebingen spans many decades. His research interests are in the areas of Sport Science and Sociology of Sport. His extensive knowledge in these areas has helped in his involvement on many national and international associations, including among others key roles within the National Olympic Committee of Germany and current Council Member of the International Athletics Association Federation (IAAF), where he also served Vice President for six years.

Prof. Dr. Michael McNamee

Prof. Dr. Michael McNamee is a professor of Applied Ethics at the School of Human and Health Sciences at Swansea University. His research interests are in the ethics of medicine and healthcare and the ethics of sport. His extensive knowledge in this research area helps him with his involvement on many national and international associations including the European College of Sport Science and the International Council for sport Science and Physical Education.

Dr. Robert Kaspar

Dr. Robert Kaspar currently serves as a special events coordinator with the organising committee of world´s largest sport and humanitarian event, the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 to be staged in Austria.

Since 1994 Dr. Kaspar has served in a number of mega event companies, ranging from an International Garden Exposition, the European Capital of Culture Graz 2003 to the FIS Ski World Championships in Ramsau 1999 and St. Anton 2001. From 2001 – 2003 he acted as CEO for the Salzburg 2010 Olympic Winter Games bidding committee.

Dr. Kaspar has published widely in the field of mega events in sports and culture and co-edited a textbook on “The Business of Events Management” with Pearson Education in 2014. From 2004 – 2016 Robert headed degree programmes at Austrian universities of applied sciences from “Tourism & Leisure Management”, “Marketing & Communications Management” to “Sports, Culture & Events Management”.

Dr. Kaspar is an international professor with the Russian International Olympic University in Sochi, Russia since 2014 where his focus is on sports tourism. He lectures at the SKEMA Business School in Sofia Antipolis in France on sports and events management and at various Austrian universities on a wide range of subjects from international sports to events management. Currently he is also a member of an international team of sports experts developing a bachelor degree program in sports management at The Hague University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.

Dr. Kaspar has obtained his Doctorate in International Business Administration at the Vienna University of Economics after having researched and studied in New Zealand, Spain and Sweden.

Rick Burton

Rick Burton is an award-winning teacher, dynamic public speaker, national and international columnist and renowned branding strategist. He has published research and commentary in more than 20 publications including the New York Times, Advertising Age, Sport Marketing Quarterly, Sports Business Journal, Marketing Management and the International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship. He served as the Chief Marketing Officer for the United States Olympic Committee during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and also as the Commissioner of the National Basketball League in Sydney, Australia (2003-2007). Before that he was vice president for Clarion Performance Properties where he supplied strategic marketing counsel for the National Football League, Gillette and Universal Studios.

He has frequently been sought out by the world’s news media for his opinions on major sports issues and has worked in various capacities for organizations such as the National Hockey League, Disney, NIKE, Visa, Miller Brewing Company, the J-League, Philippine Basketball Association and SportAccord.

Dr. Andrew Smith

Dr. Andrew Smith is a Reader in Tourism and Events within the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of Westminster.

Dr. Smith teaches BA modules in tourism and events and the new MA Mega-Events module. His research focuses on leveraging image, tourism and regeneration benefits from sport events and he has been involved in various research projects on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

He has published research on the relationship between sport events, tourism and urban regeneration and was involved in evaluating the SRB programme associated with Manchester’s 2002 Commonwealth Games as well as the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Catherine Monnin

Catherine Monnin is an experienced academic in the field of communication. She is responsible for the planning and lecturing the communication course at the EPFL, an internationally respected university. Catherine Monnin is often used by the media to comment on communication techniques, lately in connection with the French Presidency election.


Anastasios Kaburakis

Tassos Kaburakis has an extensive academic career within the field of sports law and management. He has held several faculty appointments at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Indiana University Bloomington, Washington University Law School in St. Louis, and is presently an Assistant Professor of Management and Sports Business at the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University. Prior to academia, he practiced law and is licensed through the Thessaloniki Bar Association.

His sporting involvement began while in Greece where he coached basketball at the junior and professional club levels, the national teams of Greece, and served the Greek Basketball Federation, FIBA, and several European educational institutions on legal and policy matters. He regularly consults international sport governing bodies and sport industry stakeholders. He is the founder and manager of Nomos LLC.

Dr. Timo J. Santalainen

Dr. Santalainen’s professional career has been a combination of academia, business and consulting (ABC). He is currently an Adjunct Professor of International Management and Strategy at the Helsinki School of Economics. His previous academic positions include visiting professorships at Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management (USA and France), Texas Tech University (USA), Mississippi State University (USA). He has also been an Adjunct Faculty Member at the European Institute of Purchasing Management (France) and at the Management Centre Europe (Belgium).

He is a founding member of Strategic Management Society, Member of the Editorial Review Board of Human Resource Planning, Member of the Executive Advisory Panel of The Executive, and Member of Academy of Management, USA.

Dr. Santalainen has been Outstanding Teacher of the year and Outstanding Professor of the Year at Helsinki School of Economics. He has also received the Best European Innovation of Bank Marketing. He and Risto Tainio won the “Douglas McGregor Memorial Award” for significant contribution to leadership thinking.

Dr. André Boder

Dr. André Boder is a renowned expert in the field of knowledge management. An extensive international academic career combined with years of practical experience within corporations has made Dr. André Boder one of the world’s top advisors in developing learning and knowledge sharing platforms. Formerly the lead of the Knowledge Sharing Project at the European Football Federation (UEFA), Dr. Boder has recently opened his own company SmartStory. In addition, Dr. Boder is a professional skydiving instructor with 3 world championships attended.


Prof. Cees Vervoorn

Dr. Cees Vervoorn has been involved in sport and sport performance on all levels throughout his career.

Currently a Lector/Professor of “Elite Sports and Education” at the University of Amsterdam, Dr. Vervoorn also holds roles as an advisor to the National Olympic Committee in the Netherlands and the Ministries of Education and Sports on matters related to (Elite) Sports and Education as well as on the field of Health and Research.

Besides his academic interests, Dr. Vervoorn has been very active in elite sport. As a swimmer he participated in the Olympic Games in 1976, 1980 and 1984. He also coached the Dutch National Swim team for the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympics and was appointed Chef de Mission of the National Paralympic Team for the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. Dr. Vervoorn has worked with many elite teams including the Dutch National Swim Team, and Dutch Speed-skaters and currently sits on the boards of many sport bodies including AFC Ajax and the National Anti-Doping Authority.

Dr. Lisa Neirotti

Dr Neirotti is currently an Associate Professor at George Washington University and specialises in sport and event management and marketing. She is also President for the Washinton DC chapter of the Women in Sports and Events (WISE), MEMOS professor, and holds roles at the Sports Travel Magazine (Editorial Board) and the National Association of Sports Commissions.

Besides her academic interests, Dr Neirotti is the recipient of the Fulbright specialist award as well as the Sports Tourism Innovator Award. With her experience, Dr Neirotti will be mainly focusing on the domain of Sport Tourism as a BCW Sports practice Academic Advisor.

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