After the Master in Sport Management, Rutger Buijs started working as an intern in the sponsorship department at AFC Ajax, where he has now been hired as a sponsorship coordinator.
“My first working day was very special. I have been a huge fan of Ajax since I was little and that I am working here now is obviously very special. But even now, it is still special when I walk to work and see the Johan Cruijff ArenA in the background. Then I really look forward to making it a great day,” Rutger Buijs proudly says.
“I ended up at Ajax in 2017 through the Ajax Talent Day,” continues the Cruyff alumnus. “After having completed several rounds, I was the selected one and was given the opportunity to work as an intern in the sponsorship department. But the road was pretty hard and bumpy.
After I got my bachelor’s degree in sport management, I did not manage to find a job in the sports industry. That’s why I started working at an insurance office to gain work experience and in 2016 I started the Master in Sport Management at Johan Cruyff Institute. I was hoping that with this master’s program I would come closer to my goal to work in the sports industry, and I managed to do it. Without these studies I would never have been able to do an internship at Ajax. I have now completed my internship and have been working as a sponsorship coordinator for six months now.”
“Ajax is the biggest football club in the Netherlands and must always perform, whether it is on the pitch or in the office”
Working for a top club requires a lot of time and energy. How has the Ajax employee experienced his position so far? “I really like it! We work with a close and strong team and all the departments want to help each other to let the club grow as much as possible. The pressure is always high, but that is also necessary. Ajax is the biggest football club in the Netherlands and must always perform, whether it is on the pitch or in the office. We want to be the best at everything we do and that’s how I characterize myself as well. I therefore do not see the workload as negative. I too want to continue to develop myself every day, keeping in mind that I want to be the best. My ambition is to become a sponsorship account manager in the short term.”
“Content is becoming increasingly important, both for the sponsor and for the sponsored organization”
The world of sport sponsorship is changing. This can be seen in the developments in data, social involvement, social media and privacy. In the Netherlands, sport sponsorship expenses have been under pressure for years. The budgets for sponsorship rights are decreasing, but the budgets for activating sponsorship are getting bigger. What trends and developments does Buijs see within the world of sport sponsorship? “One of the biggest trends is that content is becoming increasingly important, both for the sponsor and for the sponsored organization. This means that we at Ajax also have to deal with this more and more. I predict that the future of sport sponsorship will focus much more on this. Just placing logos is no longer sufficient nowadays, although it will always remain important.”
Buijs is living a dream for many, and proves that everything is possible. “When I was working in the financial industry two years ago, I have never stopped believing that I would work for my favourite football club someday. That is why I am in this position today. My advice to everyone who dreams of working for Ajax: keep believing in your dreams and go for it, 100%.”
STUDY PROGRAMS JOHAN CRUYFF INSTITUTE AMSTERDAM