Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Management, Media, Sport, Track and Field

Star athletes and Social Media

Saturday, January 27 – Elite and star-athletes have way more opportunities in 2018 and beyond; but they also have way more responsibilities. In every corner of the globe there is an athlete that is or on their way to “stardom”.

The star effect has number of situations to consider

  • Performance on the field/court/ring should always be on top
  • Performance off the field/in the boardroom/bank should also always be on top
  • Performance on social media platforms better be on top

The salary disparity continues; and while some sporting bodies have made an effort to level the playing field there is still a wide gap. The sport that still attract the top salaries are football (soccer), basketball, golf, tennis and the NFL. Formula One, Boxing and track and field have quality representation over quantity.

Forbes in mid year, 2017, released the top paid athletes https://nypost.com/2017/06/07/the-top-25-highest-paid-athletes-in-the-world-for-2017-are/ – occupying the top five spots were soccer, basketball and golf.

The top ten however identifies the variety in endorsements which ranges from 3m – 58 million dollars; salaries ran from 6m to 58 million dollars. Tennis (Roger Federer has prize money); he won 6m for the period under review and topped the endorsement with 58 million.

The top ten athletes also dominate social media with Cristiano Ronaldo sharing with 188 million between Twitter and Instagram. While we are on the matter of social media, this is an important method of communicating today and what is posted can be considered news, views and for the sponsor partners, endorsements.

That brings me to the point the appropriateness of the use of social media which the stars can be judged harshly for sharing a view on anything from their latest shoes, shirt to politics. More and more social media is the place where it all happens. This means though that the philosophy, brand and values, beliefs of the super star must come through.

We have seen recently where a male tennis player in the Australian Open was offensive with him having to delete tweets. One headline read – Tennys Sandgren defends tweets again at Australian Open; while this happened Tennys Sandgren deletes tweets after denying far-right sympathies at Australian Open https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/jan/22/tennys-sandgren-alt-right-australian-open-twitter

Here are some tips that could be useful

  • Establish a presence on social media
  • Be professional
  • Develop a daily/weekly routine
  • You may even consider scheduling posts (Have a team to manage as your audience grows)
  • The ball is always in your court
  • Always maintain your brand philosophy
  • Keep your posts short and simple
  • Use what is called rich media (videos, audio, pictures and related links)
  • Develop a bank of stories
  • Never feel entitled

The demand for content has grown. Social media can play a massive role. Use it to help your brand.

#StayInTheGame

Sports Marketing

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Posted in Leadership, Management

The Office Party

Lots of folks look forward to this time of year when they get to ‘let their hair down’ at the office party. It seems though in the age of misconduct, lots of folks are also stopping to take the time to reconsider how and what to do at the office party.

Let me declare early, a party is just a place to have a good time. Once I go, I intend to have a good time; which means – very little food (I never go anywhere hungry); drinks, chatter and dancing. That is what a party is supposed to be. So, for example, after my office party this year, I had to ice my knee regularly for two days after. I am ready for the next one.

That said, I thought I would share some tips that I have found useful over the years:

  • Wear what you feel comfortable in

o   If there is a dress theme, participate, it helps to put you in the mood

  • Go with enough time to meet and greet your colleagues
  • Take pictures with the team

o   Sidebar – take them before you get all sweaty from dancing

  • Don’t overeat, people do take notice
  • Don’t overdrink, people will notice too

Now here’s the part when it gets really interesting:

  • Dancing

o   Enjoy the music

o   Dance and have fun

o   Take a water/drink break ever so often

o   Shake a leg with your boss; shake a leg with your team that reports to you

Note: I am among the first set of dancers once the music is great (live or recorded)

If your office allows you to take your spouse, there is no rule which says you can’t dance with a team member; however, be modest. If you go the party alone, ENJOY. Dancing is an expressive way of thinking, so in dancing and expressing, make sure you are ok to look the person in the eye the next day at work. In other words, do not over express. Too many stories of why have come out of these situations.

Enjoy yourself at the office party, but try not to do anything you’ll regret.

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Athletes, Caribbean, Coaching, Football, Jamaica, Leadership, Management, Sport

Football in Jamaica – the preferred pathway

November 12 – Even before the 2017 version of the Manning, DaCosta, Ben Francis, Walker and Flow Super Cup competitions end, I would like to make some suggestions to the folks who manage football in Jamaica. This includes all the organizations with Prep, Primary, High, Club and Elite football under its purview.

The traditional competitions all together have brought us to the ultimate in 1998, when Jamaica participated in the World Cup of Football. That is what all countries dream of.

What has happened since? And what will happen now? I have suggested over and over that Jamaica needs the football program. It is the sport that will bring the best opportunity for investment and the sport that is likely to attract the greatest level of support in sponsorship, if shown to be well-organized and bearing fruit.

What does this mean?

  1. Prepare a plan that speaks to the pathway to achieve the ultimate (another appearance in World Cup)
  2. Invest in the technical development of all those involved – coaches, officials, strength and conditioning experts, academicians, analysts, other support teams
  3. Improve the facilities – for competition, for training and preparation
  4. ISSA and the JFF must sit together and figure out how the schools’ program feed into the professional/elite program, and what if any adjustments are required     Team-Building       This system then has to match what our competitors are doing globally in this particular age group. We will match the outputs to see what adjustment may be necessary to ensure that the Under 17, Under 23 and Senior levels of football are on par. In the meantime, the academic development  of the athletes must also be comparable. ISSA as a governing body for school sports require a research unit to assemble this information and put a strategic plan to share with its stakeholders for 1. Buy-in 2. Delivery and ultimately for results. Development takes time and we have to be prepared to do the work.

For Jamaica to get back to the World Cup, the timeframe for this cycle, 2017 – 2022, must be in planning stage now and I would hope that this planning in happening behind the scenes. Remember now, sport is judged (ultimately) by Olympic medals, appearances in World Cup/Championship and athletes being able to the among those with the biggest pay checks and endorsement packages.

Is our system ready to absorb this? If so, it is time. So whether the remedy is to reorganize school football, club football and senior program, then now is as good a time. We can acknowledge our traditions by maintaining names of competitions etc, but we must embrace a new way of thinking and approach the sport as a business to meet the goal as required.

The 17-year old in Germany, England, Australia and Brazil is on a path to World Cup…are our players at the same age at the same point? We can no longer depend on talent, as we have seen where that has placed us. We need strategy at all levels to compete.

You may refer to this column I wrote July this year, http://web.jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20170724/carole-beckford-jamaica-and-football-leadership

Or you can go back to October 2012 http://carolebeckford.blogspot.com/2012/10/jamaica-needs-football-programme.html

#GetinTheGame

 

 

 

Posted in Athletes, Football, Jamaica, Leadership, Management, politics, Sport

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

Posted in Athletes, Branding, Caribbean, Jamaica, Management, Sport

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!

Posted in Athletes, Branding, Jamaica, Management, Sport, Track and Field

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!

 

Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Caribbean, Jamaica, Leadership, Management, Track and Field

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.