The long tradition of sports at ESSEC

The long tradition of sports at ESSEC

Sport is a key activity at ESSEC Business School. Excellence, sharing, going beyond one's limits: the values advocated by sports resonate with those of the school. This is echoed by the students, nearly a thousand of whom practice at least one sport on the Paris-Cergy Campus each year, either as a leisure activity or competitively. From an academic standpoint, ESSEC has also been providing cutting-edge expertise in the field of Sports & Business for several decades. Here is a look back at ESSEC's sporting tradition, marking the inauguration of the school's new gymnasium, the Sports & Recreation Center.

The year was 1973. ESSEC Business School left its location in central Paris and took the bold step of moving to the then new town of Cergy-Pontoise. The result: a brand new campus covering seven hectares. A gymnasium was built and the ESSEC Sports Office (BDS), a student organization in charge of sports activities, was founded.

Exactly half a century later, the school is once again demonstrating its local roots on the 50th anniversary of its establishment in Cergy-Pontoise, by inaugurating the first building of its Campus 2023 project: a new, state-of-the-art gymnasium, open to the region's community, complete with a 100% natural and recyclable linoleum playing surface; a 100% made-in-France and eco-certified climbing wall; an energy recovery system to recover thermal energy from wastewater; a rooftop tennis court; and an outreach program for local organizations and elementary schools. The business school has built an exceptional facility that will benefit the lives of its students as well as those from the surrounding area.

Encouraging sports activities, both recreational and competitive

With more than 30 sports activities offered to students, 17 active student sports organizations and more than 50 sports events organized each year, ESSEC demonstrates its desire to perpetuate the sports culture within its institution. In order to allow its students to practice sports at the highest level, ESSEC has set up a system of flexible schedules to allow students to organize their time around their chosen activities. Thursday afternoons for example are kept free to allow students to pursue their leisure activities, whether they be sports or other physical activities.

This sporting culture is also embodied in major sporting events. The organization and management of these events is a real logistical challenge, which allows the student organizers to put into practice the skills acquired during their studies.

-        ESSEC Champions Cup (formerly T5B, 5 balls tournament) is a competition combining different sports such as soccer, rugby, basketball, handball and beach volleyball. It brings together students from different schools over several days.

-        Trophée des rois is organized by the ESSEC Rowing Club (CAE), one of the oldest sports organizations at the school practicing this sport at a high level. It brings together over 300 participants from the best French and international schools on the Grand Canal of the Château de Versailles.

-        Urban Trail Cergy-Pontoisewas founded in 2014 by RAID ESSEC. This trail race passes through the greater urban area of Cergy-Pontoise, the goal being to create a link between ESSEC and the local community.

-        Cergy Street Festivalis an event for sport and culture. The objective of this event is to promote Cergy and its social mix through sports such as basketball, BMX, skateboarding, scooter, parkour, and break dancing.

 Historically, ESSEC Business School students have excelled in these competitions through their athletic prowess. For example, the ESSEC Football Club now has the most successful university football team in France. The ESSEC Rowing Club also shines every year with numerous national titles, both for men and women. The ESSEC Rugby Team is also a regular fixture at the school, including a French Cup/ Top 8 double in 2019. 

Training leaders in Sport Business Management

In addition to making sports accessible to all, ESSEC has also been supporting those who wish to work in the sports industry for many years. From 2002 to 2014, the International Sports Marketing Chair has been known for transmitting cutting-edge expertise in the field of sports business to its students, under the leadership of Professor Thierry Lardinoit. It has also made a significant contribution to the development of research in this field, notably through the establishment of an international observatory to measure the influence of audiovisual media on sports culture. At the same time, the Advanced Master's degree in Sports Management and Corporate Strategy has enabled many athletes, such as Tony Estanguet, three-time Olympic slalom canoe champion (C1), and Pascal Gentil, two-time Olympic bronze medalist in taekwondo, to prepare for their post-performance careers.

This academic commitment to the subjects of sports management and sports business continued with the creation in 2020 of the ESSEC Sports Chair, which today boasts prestigious partners. The ambition of this Chair, led by Professor Karoline Strauss, is to train future leaders in the field of sports business, and to enable them to understand this complex global industry, with multiple stakeholders and numerous trends such as new financing models, digital and e-sports.

Finally, the ESSEC Africa Campus in Rabat, Morocco, which also aims to reach out to local communities, recently signed a partnership agreement with the NGO Tibu Africa. This agreement is part of a pan-African program designed to transform young leaders with sports initiatives into social innovators in the field of development through sports. The ESSEC Africa Campus teams will be in charge of the pedagogical engineering for the pan-African program "63 African Sports Changemakers" led by Tibu Africa.

On course for Paris 2024

As a demonstration of the school's commitment to these issues, ESSEC applied for and obtained the "Generation 2024" certification for the Olympic and Paralympic Games organized by France in 2024. The awarding of this label underlines and reinforces ESSEC's pedagogical and sporting projects. It also aims to build bridges between the academic world and the sports movement in order to encourage young people to participate in physical activity and sports.

As part of this certification and the Olympic and Paralympic Week, from April 3 to 7, the BDS organized a meeting around handisport with the Novosports association, including a conference on the practice of handisport and an introduction to handi-volley. These two events were organized on the Paris-Cergy Campus.

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