Jamaica and Football Leadership

Football, potentially the sport to bring biggest economic returns to Jamaica is searching for a new President. Since Jamaica’s qualification to the World Cup in 1998, successes have been intermittent.

Football is the richest sport globally. Football also has the biggest television audience globally. Outside of the National Basketball Association (NBA), USA-based, football players combined represent the highest paid athletes in the world. That says a lot; but doesn’t quite add up for Jamaica.

Read here for reference http://www.totalsportek.com/most-popular-sports/

The search for a new President to lead Jamaica into the 2022 and 2026 World Cups (which should be the aim); must be based on a number of things. I will attempt to highlight some qualities, skill-sets and maybe even personality traits of who I think the leader should have most if not all.

The person should be

  • A Leader
  • A Manager
  • A mobilizer
  • A doer
  • A visionary

That leader should be a contemporary leader, one who can take us from vision to reality. There are some key success factors that this leader should be able to manage in the vision to reality road. He/She must be aware of the:

  • Political
  • Economic
  • Social
  • Technological

…impact the sport has to offer and therefore requires a team that can deliver with all this in mind. I know some of you are reading this and saying, but that is storybook type leadership. True, these things are written in books, but having worked in a few sporting organizations, I can tell you of the value of these factors.

In plain language though…it is important to have someone who knows the lay of the land; but should possess the pizzazz needed to transform national expectations to international goals, while attending to the needs of the boardroom.

The business of football is massive and with so many options to choose from in terms of income stream for athletes; income stream for countries via hosting of events and just the networking opportunities; Jamaica must seek to mobilize the best sporting mind to lead what could one of the biggest decisions we are due to take in Jamaica in a long time.

My suggestion is: go rational and not emotional; think with your head and not your heart. At the risk of sounding cold, pick the person who can transform the football in Jamaica into the most successful sporting bodies.

I won’t use this article to pick who I think is best to lead, but what I can say is the person exists in Jamaica.

What this means therefore is

  • Fix the schools’ programme (Manning and Dacosta Cups)
  • Fix the club system (make it more manageable and meaningful)
  • Prepare an international calendar
  • Host more matches at home (the office is a great location)
  • Negotiate good deals for broadcast
  • Expand your manager roles in your clubs. Have people who know the business manage players for the best results
  • Grow the business so experts/employees get paid competitive salaries

Nationally, we need to:

  • Improve playing facilities
    • Only use certified grounds
  • Review roster of officials
  • Have a better mix of experts at the top

Football globally has enough politics…so I say “stay away from the politicians.”

Jamaica needs a well-run football programme to sustain its stay as a sporting brand with all the returns necessary. Choose wisely!

#StayInTheGame

Modernizing Sport in Jamaica

July 1 – With the guard changing on and off the field of play for athletes and administrators in Jamaica; there is a glorious now opportunity to modernize and look at new and innovative ways to manage sport in Jamaica.

Also, maybe it is time we look away from volunteerism at some levels and pay those with the expertise to run sport in a way that is professional. What is expected from sport in terms of results is not sustainable if at all levels, experts aren’t paid for their services.

That said, the industry now has to place sharp focus on prioritizing its assets and point itself towards achieving the best return on investment and by extension, while meeting the other aims of:

  • creating the best environment for athletes to perform at a maximum
  • consolidating the technical expertise to ensure all athletes benefit from the best
  • focus on care – pre, during and post
  • partnerships that will offer the athletes income that is on par with what is happening globally
  • partnering with academic institutions to provide the research necessary to prepare for the next generation
  • providing and upgrading facilities for athletes
  • fan engagement for events
  • being considered a more serious seat at the table of the Tourism product.

We are way ahead of just the feel good moments which we get when our teams/athletes win; but those of us in the know should look at the more knowledge-based approach to offer solutions for the athletes, management and eventually the country to benefit from earnings from events; an industry that employs people and one that also balances people’s lives.

We cannot be satisfied with what we have now. When we look at what athletes, brands and media rights contribute to an overall pot, it must be disheartening to see that as an island, Jamaica has the talent, technical expertise and business expertise to have a sporting industry that is making a greater contribution to its GDP.

We all know the sport we should do well at to attract the big bucks, but as it is a diverse sector, we depend on those that is of great networking value, attracts the biggest crowds, has the greatest social appeal; we therefore should combine these for a successful model.

As the organizations meet in the upcoming months, a Think Tank must be a priority to look at a strategic plan for the next five to ten years for sport. My only request, is leave the politicians out of the mix. Following the strategic plan completion, we then put the cards on the table; show them the figures and negotiate waivers, support and legislation which will help to grow the industry.

Let’s Stay in the Game!

Fan Engagement and Ticketing – CHAMPS

March 31 – As the Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) mulls over its management of the current ticketing fiasco, it should equally seek to re-engage fans. Sport has evolved so much that those fans who go out to watch live sport, seek meaningful ways in which to be occupied at the event.

Before I get into the suggestions for Fan Engagement though, I want to make it clear, that the solution I am recommending to ISSA can provide a few positives for them:

  1. More money from ticketing
  2. Attraction of a whole new set of fans
  3. Indication that they are moving into the modern era of event management

As one considered an export in the Business of Sport, I want to offer solution to make the product better, stronger and sustainable. What is clear though, is ISSA has to be prepared to access expertise which are clearly beyond their current operations. An organisation has to outsource roles which are not easily available, but have team members, monitor to ensure all goals are being met.

TICKETS

Since the grandstand is the major issue here, there is a way that there can be significant revenue generation, but a formula has to be reached. My assessment is based on the estimation of the 5,900 available seats. Secure 500 as Season Passes at a premium rate. Those season pass holders are you key customers who regardless of whether they attend CHAMPS or not, will pay for the tickets. Let’s look at Spike Lee for example he has been a season-ticket holder for the New York Knicks for many years dating back to 1985. He is said to pay US$3,600 for each of those two tickets he has, a far cry from the $500 paid in 1995. Spike, despite his fame from his film career, is well known as a Knicks Fan. I am here to suggest we can find 500 CHAMPS fans. The package could offer parking and memorabilia and even time with sponsors.

The other 5,400 tickets can be available online and at box offices and be broken down in a way that the organisation still stands to earn. Fans have become more sophisticated and with more sporting events around, have become accustomed to first class hospitality. Fans all across the world buy tickets for major sporting events in countries thousands of miles away…they are done online and there is fan satisfaction. CHAMPS is a major event!

Back to Fan Engagement, ISSA and major sponsors should do the following

  • Have focus groups
  • Collate recommendations
  • Make an announcement for CHAMPS 2018 in October 2017 so fans will have enough time to plan.

It is also time there is a CHAMPS application (A CHAMPS app) – one that engages the related group of the athletes who are actually competing. The millennials and Generation Z groups are key to the development of the CHAMPS brand going forward. With home television audiences growing and some of us (older folks) are tired of the physical tussle to get in and out of venues, ISSA has to look at refocusing its marketing to a more fan-sensitive meet. I don’t believe any time soon, Jamaica will be able to afford a new stadium; I expect an upgrade soon. In the meantime though, we must make the best of the facility we have.

The other sport which can help the stadium in filling seats more than the average ten per year is football. The Reggae Boyz will have to go after World Cup glory again and that will offer an additional 10 – 15 days.

While I am annoyed at the way CHAMPS is being managed and marketed, I think the process for a solution is in close sights. I urge ISSA to consult.

Let’s monetize the game!

 

Ticketing Solution for ISSA and CHAMPS

March 29 – Here’s a suggestion for ISSA and tickets for 2018 CHAMPS

1. Have an international ticketing solution that can have patrons purchase online
2. Ensure the seating for the National Stadium is also online so people can choose seats.
3. I know the Stadium seating was reduced for patrons in 2002 (15 years ago) so here’s how you handle that part

a. Allocate seating in this way
i) Overseas/Diaspora – 10 per cent
ii) Season pass holders – 15 per cent
iii) Regular patrons – 50 per cent
iv) Sponsors – 15 per cent
v) Walk ins – 10 per cent

We can’t have such an international meet with the best performances on the track and field anywhere in the world and not have first-class services to back that up. ISSA’s way is BACKWARD and not in keeping with any international standards at all. Also I suggested we do this too:

1. Have online tickets available one month before
2. Sell tickets from the Box office – two weeks before
3. Increase tickets each year by up to 11 per cent – to keep out the scalpers

Patrons will pay with a first class service. I am really bothered that in 2017, we operating like we in the dark ages. Additionally if ISSA want additional revenue they may make better use of the Hospitality Suites at the Stadium. I hope we can improve on this very important issue.

Chronixx and Adidas – music and sport – play

March 12 – In 2015, one headline read – Adidas is having a huge year, thanks to Kayne and Pharrell; in 2016 Pharrell is boosting sales more than… while in a lifestyle publication somewhere else, A Deep Dive into Spezial, Adidas’ best kept secret. This was obviously part of the company’s ongoing efforts to add entertainment to its current focus of sport.

Adidas is more known for sporting greats and this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Adidas_sponsorships has an updated list of all the sport teams and athletes they have supported from all the way back in 1936 when USA great, Jesse Owen wore Adidas in the Summer Olympic Games.

The corporate site found at this link has a more updated version of what is profiled now and it is an interesting trek – take a look when you have a chance http://www.global.adidas.com/

In the Caribbean, some names associated with the German, 68-year old company are Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, Veronica Campbell Brown and Bahamian Shaunae Miller.

In 2015, while Adidas became more popular on social media than Nike, the sales from Nike’s basketball shoes managed to outsell their Adidas counterparts 92 per cent to 5.5 per cent. Adidas has since acquired big-name players like, James Harden, John Wall, Derrick Rose and Tim Duncan, to name a few.

Anyway, back to the music the combined impact that Kanye, Pharrell and Chronixx combine to 37.1 million just on Twitter. The three have distinct characteristics which are endearing to the public and even with the differences in the three, they are common in the partnership with Adidas.

Chronixx has a tough act to follow and with all the valuable exposure he has had on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in recent years, his concerts in Central Park along with his ongoing schedule, he is readying for becoming a Brand Ambassador for Adidas.

ChronixxAdidas

Chronixx is Jamaican. He epitomizes the essence of Jamaica and from all signs, has the potential to be a major player on the international music scene. This relationship with Adidas is one which, if played strategically, could take him places.

The music and sport mix will work. The music and sport mix has worked. The music and sport mix will continue to work. Chronixx and Adidas are just the latest example. See the full story here http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/09/adidas-partners-with-reggae-star-chronixx-rivals-rihannas-puma-fenty.html

We salute you Chronixx!

Dahlia Harris – Country Wedding

January 28 – We promised you Part II.

Since the last time we spoke, Dahlia has been ‘playing’ Ring Games, one of her latest projects. That has been making circles around Jamaica and has even had a marathon run on TVJ. Now when you hear marathon, you think of those other series some of us like to watch on international networks, but no, Ring Games made it!

Ring Games is an intriguing romantic comedy that explores the challenges of relationships when family and society come into play.

Here is an excerpt of an interaction Dahlia had since Ring Games came on TVJ – When a grade two student asks “why you don’t leave Betty alone? then the senior citizen in the store says “your father deserves happiness, you need to go back to America! “I don’t need a thing more to reinforce what I know about the impact of local television. Now if we could only get Corporate Jamaica to acknowledge this and throw support behind local programmes.

Here is feedback on Ring Games, from a writer/producer/marketer, “Hi Dahlia Harris, I noticed that Ring Games is a rising plot… with the characters developing into a revelation of who they are… Keep it going. I am in support of all drama programmes local… While we will not be able to shoot Empire or The Good Wife here, we certainly can keep something like this going…”

Now we asked this hard-working lady a few other questions to include sport, theatre and Portmore.

Before we get there though, there is some more exciting news. Coming in February there is a production called Country Wedding. You won’t want to miss that.

COUNTRY WEDDING opens on February 14. Mas Aaron’s one nephew Glenmore is finally back from London where he has been studying Agricultural Management. He is not just the pride and joy of the Watson clan, but a shining example of how “brightness” can elevate you ‘to de worl’.

country-wedding

Mas’ Aaron can’t wait to reap the rewards of his investment in Glenmore however, his young nephew is only here to bid farewell as he aims to join his British fiancée Annabelle in colder climes. With the help of the village busy- body Miss Nella, Mas’ Aaron offers to host a real COUNTRY WEDDING, but his plan is to pull the love birds apart so he can hold on to the Watson legacy.

Greatful Valley gets turned upside down as the colourful sights and sounds of the COUNTRY WEDDING form a backdrop for secrets and schemes as they unfold. While the wedden booth goes up and the cakes get ready for the parade, Mas’ Aaron races against time to rekindle Glenmore’s love for the land of his birth. Is it enough to wrestle him away from Annabelle’s clutches or is this goodbye to all the traditions he holds dear?

And in between that, Dahlia and her peers in the business will be conducting workshops as part of the Caribbean Play Reading Series in New York. braata-productions

Q: As a Woman in Sport – how has you work in sport helped in your work in theatre

A: Like Sport, theatre is all about teamwork. Doesn’t matter if it’s a one woman show…without technical support it just doesn’t work. Sport has taught me that the success of the team cannot be overlooked if you hope to achieve individual success.  Respecting the contribution of every single individual is important to me. My work in Sport media taught me to focus on doing the job rather than trying to convince people that as a woman I was as capable as my male peers. Doing the job speaks for itself. Everything else is distracting. I apply that principle to theatre.  I work on getting it done.

Note: Dahlia still produces sport shows and was part of the memorable London 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

Dahlia’s passion spreads far and wide. We would not say ‘politics’ but maybe

Q: If you were Mayor of Portmore for a day, tell us some of the things you would like to see get done

A: If I were Mayor, Portmore would grab the opportunities that both Kingston and Montego Bay have failed to capture with respect to establishing themselves as a rival to other cultural capitals across the globe. The New York/London/Toronto models allow the business traveler to grab a taste of culture on the go.  I would develop areas where visitors could access local cuisine or even just drinks accompanied by live performances, where they could view night galleries and museums, where regional Arts festivals could be hosted twice a year, where Heritage tours are also accessible.  Thanks to both highways, north and south coast visitors could easily make a tour to Portmore a part of their itinerary.  Think about it. We have beaches, horseracing, a golf course just a stone’s throw away…we have the diversity to fulfill the needs of almost any traveler. I think the partnerships that have been forged with other cities with regards to developing effective climate change strategies in Portmore is a major accomplishment.  I would try to secure other partnerships in the areas of skills training and Arts development so that the citizens of Portmore are ready to take advantage of and sustain these programmes.

Now from all signals, 2016 was a good year for Dahlia and we asked:

Q: Would you have done anything different?
A: There are a number of projects I really wanted to get done but didn’t have the resources to get them completed. The world is clamouring for Jamaica.  Non-Jamaicans are taking advantage of that demand, churning out products that represent us but for the most part lack authenticity because they do not spring from our lived experiences.  We are way behind in maximising on this Brand that we all have created as Jamaicans.  The world isn’t waiting and as creatives we shouldn’t either.  While I will continue to lobby for support here in Jamaica, I will now be looking to garner support from overseas as well.
So there you have it! Who to tell what may happen after Country Wedding? 
#OneLove
Dahlia

Jamaica Is In – Sport and Tourism

Kingston, JAMAICA – Jamaica’s sport and tourism exploits are well known worldwide. The two industries separately account for a significant portion of the popularity of the island.

The product sport tourism, while not new, is one which Jamaica has great potential and Carole Beckford in her latest publication, Jamaica is In -Sport and Tourism has outlined her views on the subject matter.

book-cover-2016

Book Cover 

The 115-page book takes a comprehensive look at how sport, tourism, and sport tourism have evolved in a developing economy like Jamaica. The book covers the period 2007 – 2014 and looks at preparation for the Beijing and London Summer Olympic Games along with other events and/or activities which offered Jamaica a competitive advantage.

Beckford, in the book insists that the island possesses all elements of a formula for a successful sport tourism industry; but the agencies have been slow in implementing what is required to make the industry work.

Among a number of key issues discussed are sport and the environment; sport and politics; export of sport services and administrative structures, to name a few.

As a member of the Business of Sport team in Jamaica, she insists, sport and tourism combined are key to enhancing the island’s social and economic development, while achieving goals of inclusion.

With a body of work in sport at several levels covering almost three decades, Beckford thinks it is time Jamaica formalizes its plan to convert for a successful sport tourism business model to benefit the island.

Assistant Professor, David Edwards, Johnson and Wales University, Brand Specialist, David Faulks, Australia and Business Management expert, Horace Madison, New York have all given the publication thumbs up.

The book will is available online https://www.bookfusion.com/books/117289-jamaica-is-in-sport-and-tourism for US$17.50