Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is former Manager of International and New Business for Borussia Dortmund, Mano Nhouvannasak!

Tell us about yourself, what roles have you done previously?

I’m Mano Nhouvannasak, 33 years old, and I previously worked for Borussia Dortmund as Manager of International & New Business as part of the internationalization of the club in the APAC region. Working in the football industry, I gained experience in how to deal with business partners and business cultures in a workaday life where I started my career working at a developing football federation in Laos as Marketing Director and CEO of the domestic league to the Bundesliga clubs VfL Wolfsburg as Manager of International Development and Borussia Dortmund as mentioned above. 

Mano Nhouvannasak

What did you do in your roles?

Throughout my previous positions, I generally was responsible for managing business development, planning and implementation of marketing initiatives, relationships with brands and institutions, organised events ranging from partner activations to professional football matches. At the Laos Football Federation, the main task was to develop the football from scratch and you were automatically responsible for almost everything whilst my role with Wolfsburg and BVB to grow the clubs internationally by actively working on the brand growth, partners, DFL and its international approach, marketing strategies, localised digital content, commercialization, youth development, action plans such as first team and legend appearances etc. In the last few years I focused specifically on developing new business opportunities. My career requirements and cultural background profile matched precisely to the the task of presenting German football internationally.

Mano Nhouvannasak


What does a normal week look like for you?

There is almost never a normal week, in this industry you have to be flexible and adapt to what’s happening on the pitch especially when you work for a club, it is fast paced. 

My hobby was really becoming a job. I was working eight hours a day, then coming home and working another few hours into the night and as well a lot of travel and culture becomes a part of your life and this is what makes this industry is so enjoyable.

Mano Nhouvannasak


How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport? 

I have always been deeply passionate about football or sports as many of us, especially when you dreamt of becoming a professional football player. As a player, I never could reach the professional level in Europe, hence, I juggled around amateur leagues, and luckily had the chance to play for the Laos’ national team and in the Thai League, which was a short but exceptional experience and generally my first taste of the football landscape in Asia. I saw how difficult it is in Asia to transition to another career after your playing time is up. That’s why I decided on my pathway early on to quit my career and finish my studies in sports management in order to remain in sports off the pitch an it has worked out for me.


What’s been your favorite moment whilst working in sports?

After a tough week or when your job is done, my most favorite moment is always finally watching the game in the stadium and enjoying the intensive atmosphere. This always reminds me how proud and meaningful it is to work for the club and its people. 


What do you think is next for your career and industry?

After my journey with a developing football federation, modern and traditional football clubs, my career journey in the sports industry will continue by joining an innovative sports startup. Stay tuned!

I predict the impacts of the sports industry of 2020 will be felt for years to come, and 2021 will be a pivotal year—challenging leagues, fans, media, and athletes, alike in new and unexpected ways. However I believe there will be opportunities to explore for sports business to thrive in the future obviously by leveraging digital tools to drive new sports revenue streams, addressing social responsibility and exploring new ways to fuel year-round fan engagement.

Mano Nhouvannasak


What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?

I’d say it doesn’t matter where or at what position you start working in the industry, work experience in different sectors in sports can be crucial and always try to get help to from industry networks, friends where you can explore further opportunity to branch out from the workplace and learn new information in a social setting. Using your strengths are the basis and always keep working on your weaknesses.

How to follow Mano Nhouvannasak on social media…

You can connect with me on LinkedIn.

Thanks for reading our Industry Insider with Mano Nhouvannasak! If you want to read more from our Industry Insider series, you can do so by clicking here.