The Friday Five: Mohamed Osama, Chief Content Officer at Arqam FC
The Friday Five is a series of questions about careers and thoughts on the sports marketing industry. The same five questions, just with a different person each time.
This time round we're joined by Mohamed Osama, Chief Content Officer at Arqam FC.
How did you first get into the industry?
Though I studied medicine at Cairo University; I fell in love with the sports digital content field back in 2014, starting as an editor at KingFut. I then gained first-hand experience with social media management, graphic design and content planning, before starting my own business in 2014, ArqamFC.
ArqamFC, operating in the data and digital content fields, allowed me to get involved with large scale hiring processes, project management, marketing and more. All which gave me the skills to pursue opportunities and transfer my knowledge to others, which led of course to the growth of our clientele list, team, and business overall.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Well we’ve so many challenges on daily basis, but of course the biggest one this past year, and surely the one the whole world faces at the moment, is the global pandemic.
The situation changed the way we operate in so many ways when generating on-ground project. Such as the projects our team worked on, the Total CAF Champions League and the Men’s World Handball Championship.
No fans, new safety precautions.
The fans were still there, watching and cheering from different places, we had to transfer their emotions to the world, capture it, and tell their stories. since their reactions always the main fuel to the people’s excitement and love to the game.
Resetting shirts in the dressing room for that perfect shot? No more an option as you can’t touch any item in the dressing room anymore. We had to co-ordinate the tiniest details before games so we can ensure everything is in place for that piece of content we are generating on match-day.
Also, if you sum up our role into a simple word that everyone gets, it’s part of the entertainment business. So finding new ways regularly and consistently to bring new experiences to fans behind the screens it’s certainly a challenge that everyone operating in the field finds.
Group brainstorming sessions are my way of facing this challenge, I am lucky to have some of the most creative brains there is working alongside me on daily basis, with so many backgrounds and interests, which allows us to sculpt and mould ideas as they come to shape.
What are you most proud of in your career so far?
What I am most proud of is creating opportunities! Making it possible for others to join in on the fun! #SMSports is a tough field to get into, especially in the MENA region.
We’ve had so many accomplishments over the years at ArqamFC: being trusted by the world’s biggest brands on large-scale projects such as the Asian Cup, the Total CAF CL or the World Handball Championship. But, as I mentioned, my favourite is allowing others to be part of this and add the value they have been hungry to provide. The pool of talent in the MENA region is just amazing.
There is no clear educational pathway at universities here. But that’s getting better year in year out. Plus, who cares what you have studied at this day and age? Most of the people I have hired are self educated, people with extreme passion to the business who add to their experience on daily basis in so many different ways.
What are your main priorities for the next 12 months?
Expanding to other territories and sports, and really put the ArqamFC out there more and more.
We’ve successfully done both recently, working on the gigantic Men’s World Handball Championship which allowed us to deliver unique digital experience in a completely new sports, handball. And what an experience it was!
We’ve ticked the expanding to new territories box recently too!
However, we are looking to really go above and beyond in those two areas as 2021 progresses.
Doing both, it’s of course very important to keep our team members safe. In 2020 we’ve worked in four different countries, and clients and partners have been incredible keeping all participating parties healthy. Tests every 48 hours during competitions, strict ground rules and precautions, etc. The return of sports saw many changes to how games and events are organised, and coping with those from a content creation perspective is important.
What advice would you give to somebody looking for their first job in sports marketing?
Start a personal project. Whether it’s a fan account for your favourite club, or something different, kick things off. It will be a testing field for what you learn as well as teaching you lots of technicalities in the process.
It will allow you to get creative too with no restrictions, and no fear of having big mistakes or errors.
It will also be proof of your skills, because a lot of companies that are looking for new hires, they want to see how passionate you are about "their vacancy" as well as wanting to see "inside your brain". The ideas you have and your own style will be very visible on that project and will surely help you jumping on your first opportunity.