Olga Polyakova

Dr Olga Polyakova PhD, LLM, MSc, BSc (Hons)

Principal Lecturer and Strategic Projects Lead


I joined Sheffield Business School as a Principal Lecturer and Strategic Projects Lead in February 2022. I am currently responsible for research, partnerships, and course development in the Events Management subject group. Prior to moving into a Strategic Projects Lead role with Sheffield Business School, I was the Programme Leader for MSc Sport Business Management in the Academy of Sport and Physical Activity at SHU which included coordinating a group of the course staff, ensuring an outstanding student experience, market leading delivery and strong student recruitment on the course. Over the past years, I have led on international academic partnerships and business development activities with industry, both domestically and abroad. Before joining SHU in 2013, I lectured at Huddersfield Business School.

Alongside my career in academia, I am passionate about yoga which I have been practicing for over 17 years. This passion led me to get qualified as a yoga teacher and subsequently gain a PhD degree in fitness service quality. My other research interests are in the areas of consumer behaviour and esports. In addition, I have recently completed a second Master's degree - LLM International Sports Law in Practice.



I hold two first degrees from Bratsk State University, Russia - BSc (Hons) Public Management and Governance and BA Language Interpretation and Translation. In 2009, I won the Russian President Scholarship for studying abroad and moved to the UK to undertake MSc Business Project Management programme at the University of Huddersfield. I became one of 40 undergraduate students from the whole Russian population who received this award in that year and was sponsored by the Russian Ministry of Education for postgraduate studies abroad. Shortly after completion of my MSc (with an award 'Best student in Business Project Management” from Association for Project Management), I was granted a scholarship by the University of Huddersfield Business School for undertaking PhD in Business Studies.

Between 2013 and 2022 I taught on Sport Business Management undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at Sheffield Hallam and worked closely with the Sport Industry Research Centre. My subject expertise includes areas of sports business, services marketing and research methods. I specialise in consumer behaviour, esports and service quality in fitness industry and these are the areas which I presented conference papers and published my research in. I am a reviewer for 'Sport, Business and Management: an International Journal' and 'European Sport Management Quarterly', a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a completer of Aurora HE women-only leadership programme in 2019/20.

I have been championing values of equality, diversity and inclusion throughout my academic career. Between 2016 and 2021, I was the course leader for MSc Sport Business Management programme and pioneered a launch of inclusive curriculum on the degree, which subsequently achieved a continued presence in the SportBusiness rankings as top 40 course globally and top 20 in Europe. Since 2021 I have taken up a role of an Inclusive Hallam Champion (the university-wide role) and I am continuing to embody the Hallam Values within and outside Sheffield Hallam University in my current role as a Principal Lecturer.

Specialist areas of interest

Events Management



College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences

Subject area

Sports Marketing
Research methods
Interdisciplinary research projects


BSc Sport Business Management
MSc Sport Business Management

  • Marketing Communications (UG, SHAPE Hong Kong)
  • Sport Research in Practice (UG)
  • Researching Sport Management (PG)
  • Dissertation project (PG)


Service quality in the fitness industry
Digital fitness consumers
Consumer-focused outcomes in esports sponsorship


Collaborators and sponsors

Enterprise educators UK
Sheffield IAPT, NHS Foundation Trust


Key Publications

Polyakova, O., & Ramchandani, G. (2020). Perceived service quality among regular users of gyms in public sports centres in the UK. Managing Sport and Leisure. http://doi.org/10.1080/23750472.2020.1853594

Journal articles

Polyakova, O., & Perveeva, V.A. (2024). Comparative Analysis of Customer Satisfaction with Online and Offline Fitness Programs. Journal of Siberian Federal University - Humanities and Social Sciences, 17 (2), 247-256.

Erlikh, V.V., Korableva, Y.B., Epishev, V.V., & Polyakova, O. (2018). Effect of postural balance on changes in the electrocardiography parameters of wrestlers. Human Sport Medicine, 18 (S), 13-18. http://doi.org/10.14529/hsm18s02

Polyakova, O., & Mirza, M.T. (2016). Service quality models in the context of the fitness industry. Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, 6 (3), 360-382. http://doi.org/10.1108/SBM-04-2014-0015

Flint, S., Peake, R., Plumley, D.J., Polyakova, O., Reale, S., Wilson, R., ... Pheonix, F. (2015). The impact of athlete endorsement on estimates of nutritional content of food meals. Appetite, 87, 395. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2014.12.174

Polyakova, O., & Mirza, M. (2015). Perceived service quality models: are they still relevant? The Marketing Review, 15 (1), 59-82. http://doi.org/10.1362/146934715X14267608178721

Flint, S., Plumley, D.J., Peake, R., & Polyakova, O. (2014). Using sport as a tool to market unhealthy food. European Journal of Business and Social Sciences, 2 (12), 15-25. http://www.ejbss.com/volume-2-number-12-2014.aspx

Conference papers

Polyakova, O., Karagiorgos, T., Konstantinidis, K., & Alexandris, K. (2023). Testing the influence of event quality on participants’ involvement in an international sport event: The case of Oceanman Open-Water Swimming Series [abstract only]. In European Association of Sport Management, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 12 September 2023 - 15 September 2023 (pp. 260). EASM: https://easm2023.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/EASM-Belfast-2023-Conference-Abstracts-31-10-2023-With-Logos.pdf

Polyakova, O., & Alexandris, K. (2023). Evaluation of consumer-focused outcomes in the context of esports sponsorship [abstract only]. In World Association for Sport Management, Doha, Qatar, 5 March 2023 - 8 March 2023. Lithuanian Sports University: https://wasmorg.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Final-version-WASM-Abstract-Book-2023-01-12.pdf

Polyakova, O., & Alexandris, K. (2022). Attitudes and intentions toward purchasing sponsors’ products among users with different involvement profiles: the case of esports. In European Association of Sport Management, University of Innsbruck, SoWi Campus, Austria, 5 September 2022 - 8 September 2022. https://easm2022.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/EASM2022_Innsbruck_Book_of_Abstracts.pdf

Polyakova, O., & Ramchandani, G. (2019). Perceptions Of Service Quality Among Frequent Users Of Gyms In England. In European Association of Sport Management, Seville, Spain, 3 September 2019 - 6 September 2019.

Polyakova, O., & Ramchandani, G. Exercise frequency and service quality perceptions in sport and fitness industry. In Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand 2015 Conference, Hobart, Australia.

Book chapters

Polyakova, O., & Alexandris, K. (2023). Antecedents and outcomes of sponsorship in the context of Esports. In Leng, H.K., & Zhang, J. (Eds.) Sports Sponsorship and Branding: Global Perspectives and Emerging Trends. (pp. 56-74). London: Routledge: http://doi.org/10.4324/9781003458890

Other activities

- European Sport Management Quarterly
- Managing Sport and Leisure
- Sport, Business and Management: an International Journal

External examiner:
- Global Online MSc in Sport Business, Management and Policy, Manchester Metropolitan
University, 2018 – Present.
- BA (Hons) Business Administration and Management (delivered by collaborative partner in
Philippines - Southville International School Affiliated with Foreign Universities), De Montfort
University, 2020 - Present.

External advisor (on approval and validation panels):
- University of Northampton, May 2021
- University of East London, February 2021
- London Metropolitan University, February 2020
- Buckinghamshire New University, 2015
- University of Central Lancaster, 2014

Postgraduate supervision

Service quality in the fitness industry
Sport consumer behaviour


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