Posted in Athletes, Branding, Jamaica, Sport, sport fan, Sports, Track and Field

Sport Fans – What are we missing?

KINGSTON – Sport fans globally have been lamenting the absence of live sport that they can watch on screens or even attend considering we are all being affected by this covid19 pandemic.

What is true though, this is one of the toughest periods sport fans have gone through in the last twenty years.

  • We were 65 matches in the NBA season.
  • The English Premier League (EPL) did not go beyond the March 14 date.
    • (Liverpool – two matches away from being declared winner)
  • UEFA has suspended and pushed back dates of all its leagues
    • February 19 a match was held in Milan – Atalanta vs Valencia
  • MLB was in the pre-season. March 26 was supposed to be opening day.
    • The Nationals are the defending champions  
  • NFL was doing combines and getting ready for draft (April 23 – 25) this will be virtual
  • ESPN will show The Last Dance – the Michael Jordan series
    • Originally set for June and will be brought forward to Sunday, April 19
  • WNBA draft is coming up in May and could be virtual

The Summer Olympics was scheduled for July 24 to August 9 and sport fans were all lining up.

On the track and field calendar, the World Indoor Track and Field, Nanjing was the first event to be postponed from the IAAF calendar and all the other Diamond League events, World Continental Tour (which includes the Racers Grand Prix event in Jamaica) are all being affected.

We are looking at hundreds of hours of TV/Sport content, live and delayed that, we, as sport fans are all missing.

What about the athletes?

With five sporting disciplines (Baseball/Softball, Karate, Skateboarding, Sport climbing and Surfing) to be added to the existing 28, apart from the athletes who were gearing up for the 33 sporting disciplines in this year’s planned Summer Olympics, all the other leagues and competitions listed above would see a significant percentage of the world’s best athletes on show.

The major brands, Nike, Adidas, Puma, Reebok, Under Armour would be in the world’s eyes. Some of us would be ordering stuff online and even when we attend some of the meets, we would acquire the latest merchandise that is available.

The athletes would wear the latest set of gear that has been made and we consumers would grab this up at every chance we get.

Opportunity for athletes during COVID

  • Stay safe and follow the protocols
  • Show us snippets of you working out in your branded gear
  • Give tips that can be used to inspire the world as you would always do
  • Keep all your fans informed; you may even get new fans

No one will or should be able to say when any major sporting event will return to the court, field or track, but one thing is sure, live sport is a thing.

Until then, cherish the memories… of sport!

Stay in the Game!

Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Sport, Sports, Track and Field

Jamaica’s Sport Industry

Jamaica’s sport industry will be hit hard with the advent of the corona virus pandemic.

The first blow came when the Inter Secondary Schools Sport Association (ISSA) was forced to cancel the 2020 edition of the Boys and Girls Championship. The event which was scheduled for March 24 – 28 was called off on Wednesday, March 11 by a team comprising the Ministry of Health and Wellness, ISSA and the lead sponsor partner, Grace Kennedy.

ISSA was quick out the blocks in estimating that at least J$150 million would have been lost. That amount would have included not just sponsor contribution, but income from broadcast rights, tickets and concessions.

The annual CHAMPS event is but one of the major calendar events which has been affected. The other sporting disciplines include an incomplete Red Stripe Premier League; Netball Jamaica was just about getting ready to start their national league in all divisions; an international volleyball club championship, scheduled for the weekend before CHAMPS, was also canceled along with several other competitions.

Subsequently, all public sporting and entertainment events have been postponed or cancelled. The only sporting event which managed to keep its foot in the door was horseracing which saw its last event being held on Saturday, March 21.

The effects on the system cannot be quantified just yet, but there are several layers that will be impacted. First off, all the athletes in all sports elite and amateur have been affected. While they are unable to compete, they are now unable to train.

Additionally, service providers, those employed directly and indirectly will all be affected; because with no events being held, there is no revenue being generated and therefore a lot of those in that industry will receive reduced pay packages for a limited time. Those who offer freelance services are on a wait and see game.

Elite Athletes

While the elite (professional athlete) may have a lifeline through the partnership with their sponsor partners, for example gear and beverage companies and other short-term partners. We await feedback from that group.

With every aspect of the industry almost coming to a halt, the fall out will be devastating. There is no timeline for the restart of any leagues now on hold. Some have been postponed indefinitely and some are considering cancellation.

National Sport budget

As a background, the Jamaican system has never been able to record a correct estimate of the contribution of the sport industry to its gross domestic product (GDP); but the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in its annual public, the Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica (ESSJ) suggests that sports (an entertainment) contribute a combined figure of up to 3.5 per cent.

The GDP as reported for the 2019 period is $14.516 billion. The sport figure would therefore be close to $500 million.

When the Government presented its 2019/2020 budget for $803 billion the allocation for sport was $4.119 billion; a figure that has shown steady increase over the years. Certainly, in the last decade the country has participated in two Summer Olympic Games – 2012, 2016 and was about to go to its third in 2020, now postponed to 2021.

The global impact is severe and already we are seeing fallouts from all the major leagues in every sport. All have had an impact on its salaries for its professional players, full and part time staff.

We now have to live through the memories of sport, games we all love so much.

#StayInTheGame

Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Track and Field

Chris Taylor looks to return for the 2019/2020 season

The following is a statement from Christopher Taylor

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Since my last run at the Grace/ISSA Boys and Girls Championship in March this year, I discovered I have an injury which requires me to seek extensive treatment. I have decided to undergo that treatment overseas along with recovery.

At the new facility

My focus now is full recovery for the 2019/2020 track and field season.

Leading up to “Champs” a lot of misinformation has been published and I want to use this opportunity to clear the air.

  • There was an incident with a teacher and members of the track team in December 2018
  • At no time during that incident I made any physical contact with any teacher
  • The incident was unfortunate and as the Captain of the track team at the time, I acted in the most responsible way, which I believed helped to prevent any further physical altercations

That said, I am satisfied that I have served Calabar with distinction on and off the track. I achieved a number of personal and professional goals while being a student and I want to use this opportunity to thank my family, the entire school family (past and present) and the Jamaican people at home and abroad.

Working out

While I am overseas, along with my rehabilitation process, I will also be looking at opportunities for tertiary education. As soon as more updates are available, my team will communicate the progress made.

Thanks for the continued support.

Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Caribbean, Cricket, Jamaica, Jamaica Tourist Board, JTB, Media, Track and Field, travel

BRING BACK JAMAICA SPORT

ON A COUCH SOMEWHERE – Back in 2012 there was a group called Sport Tourism Implementation Committee (STIC) and in 2014, there was Jamaica Sport. What was important, even with the name change, the group was assembled to provide the framework to sustainably develop sports tourism as well as leverage local and international sports events to increase visitor arrivals to the island.

National StadiumThe group was chaired by Chris Dehring with a mix of public and private sector sport officials to include skill sets of content development, planning, marketing, operations, venue development, legal to name a few. The combined years of experience could be compared to any other global sporting body and could possibly outscore given the resources, which were available at the time.

Here is a release from the Ministry of Tourism http://www.mot.gov.jm/news-releases/new-‘jamaica-sport’-entity-launched-develop-sports-tourism-locally

Jamaica sport logo

During the tenure, we worked closer with the Jamaica Tourist Board, the agency with responsibility to market Jamaica’s Brand and made considerable leap into hosting events which at the time satisfied steadily, the mandate set:

  • Growing sport in communities
  • Employing and/or using sport officials to manage events
  • Attracting tourists to Jamaica (heads to beds)
  • Considerable media attention
  • Strengthening and deepening Jamaica’s position in the Sport Tourism market

In 2015, with the limitations we had on the immigration form, the JTB was able to capture this information

Jamaica Sport

The point here is, there was tremendous potential. It was also indicated that Sport Tourists have considerable higher spend per day and will return for a vacation after. Those trends have been reported globally, so we were on to something.

Jamaica’s rich sporting history was not to be put aside, as with the consistent excellent performances at international competitions (Summer and Winter Olympics, World Championships, Major League Soccer,) there was a steady build up of the curious and discerning tourist. What was also trending, if only for a specific time, was film crews from all over who would visit to film documentaries, photo shoots, commercials and to attend CHAMPS.

The Jamaica Tourist Board has the records of the events. While the major sporting disciplines were part of the mix, the team offered some insight on what happens when targeted and network sport like Karate, Beach Volleyball, Surfing and Badminton were supported. See excerpt of a report below:

Since November 2014, an investment of US$258,000 was made toward sporting events including: CONCACAF, Netball, Badminton, Track & Field (JIIM), ITF Tennis, Beach Volley, Cricket (CPL & WI v. AUS), Masters Football, Surfing, Golf, Endurance Running, Regional Swimming, and UANA Water Polo Championships.  This generated over 20,000 room nights (4,000 heads to beds) with an overall economic impact of approximately US$6M.

Fast forward to 2016 when Jamaica Sport was dissolved (without warning), we are still struggling to find a strong hold on how to market Jamaica as sport tourist destination.

As Dalton Myers suggested in this column, “maybe we not really ready” (I paraphrased); maybe we need to stop pretending that there is interest. I can’t help but think this is an opportunity missed (again).  Click here to read http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20180915/dalton-myers-we-are-not-ready-major-sporting-events

An outlook for opportunities could include events related to:

  • CHAMPS 2019 – March 26 – 30 – Kingston
  • World Championship 2019 (track and field)
  • Summer Olympic Games 2020
  • FIFA World Cup 2022

And here’s a reminder of why sport tourists visit a destination – to be active on and off the field/court or for nostalgia. Either way, Jamaica offers both. Let’s get this show on the road. #OneLove.

1496490787162

 

Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Jamaica, Track and Field

Track and Field – fan change or not?

Between 2002 and 2017, Jamaica’s track and field was on top of the world. The athletes consistently won medals at every major international meet and built and secured a reputation as “world beaters” in the 100, 200, 100 meters hurdles, 400 meters hurdles, 110 meters hurdles, to name a few and later in that 15-year span, field events made their own mark.
Jamaican Flag

In the absence of football being able to consistently perform at the top, Jamaica’s sport reputation and image was largely carried by track and field. Kudos to the other sporting disciplines which were able to send signals that they were also in the game.

Administratively on the international scene, Jamaicans were either appointed or kept their positions in senior and strategic roles in the IOC, Netball, Football, Volleyball, Badminton and Track and Field. Those roles are key in ensuring that Jamaica, as a developing nation, continue to receive capacity building on and off the field of play, while sitting at the table to influence or participate in decision-making at the global level.

The point of this article though is to impress on the JAAA, with just over a year to go for the World Championships in Qatar (September 28 – October 6) and the JOA, with the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo; put in place a comprehensive marketing and promotions plan which will serve to, most importantly, win new fans to the sport.cropped-sportsmarketing1.jpg

Outside of the die-hards that show up at a meet no matter what, the sport fan is becoming harder to please and what that means is some research and subsequent implementation of a plan could be what turns the support for our track and field athletes in the short to medium terms.

You may ask why research? The simple answer is the governing body would know
• Who is consuming the sport
• What they like about the sport or what they do not like
• What are the things that could change to make the sporting event more favorable to fans?
• Who are the athletes that can help to generate support from fans (more access to the athletes)?

Track and Field is ahead of most sport as internationally, the athletes are winning and that is a plus. That momentum therefore has to be built so by the time we get around to the World Championships, we will all be aware of:

• Who the athletes are
• What events the athletes compete in?
• How we can support their dreams with the support of fans

The individual nature of track and field may pose some challenge, but a meeting with the managers and agents could plant that initial seed and then get the athletes’ buy-in.

#StayInTheGame
#OneLove

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

Sport Academy – is really a concept, not a physical space

November 26 – Sport Academies have become popular globally. Since the 1970s, some societies deemed it important to balance the lives of youngsters who were choosing sport as a career. Since then, some of those have morphed into what we call High Performance Centers.

We can define a sport academy as a talent development program designed to create the best athletes in any sport; using specific techniques and a system to create excellence. The academy concept has the capacity to zone in on preparation, execution and after care.

Here is an example of why an Academy worked back in the 1970s. The Americans thought the team’s performance at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games was below par and Dr Carl Blyth and Dr Frederick Muller of the University of North Carolina in a report established a link that showed that preparation was lacking. The need for a sport institute (Academy) was revealed.

Since then the Academy concept has gone through several revisions. The Global Sports Academy, based in Alberta, Canada, has as its 2nd approach – we develop physical, mental and social growth. What I also realized, they “move students out of their comfort zone and into their learning and panic zones” – in other words, they prepare athletes to compete.

The High Performance Center today, does that and more. But what has also happened, is the HPC has developed into a concept which focuses on excellence, in some cases, specialization and the mental and social. What has changed though is the developing nations, largely with great talent, have been beaten in intense competitions and there was need for teams/athletes to learn how to finish. The Academy in its concept helps athletes develop the ‘competitive edge’.

The Academy concept caught on in the Caribbean region in the late 90s. The formation and standardized operations of track and field clubs based in the region; the HPC for cricket and academic institutions with curricula focused on preparation – became a thing.

We have seen the results of home trained athletes across the sporting disciplines and the medal table at the Olympic Games for the Caribbean shows the kind of growth which has taken place.

Fast forward to 2017, with developing economies unable to find budgets to fund programs of national priority; it has created the call for sporting federations to be more creative and the role of technical experts now got a chance to show their worth.

The experiment with cricket worked and to its credit did include some of the current members of the Test team. The center, based in Barbados (at the time) was officially opened in 2010 and was a partnership with the University of the West Indies. The center targeted players between the ages of 19 to 27. The first group of players were Shamarh Brooks, Jason Holder, Shane Dowrich (Barbados), Kyle Corbin, Kevin McClean (Combined Campuses & Colleges), Brandon Bess, Ravindra Chandrika, Veerasammy Permaul (Guyana), Nkrumah Bonner, Andre Creary (Jamaica), Kieran Powell, Devon Thomas (Leeward Islands), Shannon Gabriel (Trinidad and Tobago) Keron Cottoy, Delorn Johnson (Windward Islands).

The HPC in its original form has been discontinued. Since then, the franchise system has been developed. New systems have been in place and the results/records have a lot to tell the discerning public.

After four years of the Professional Cricket League (PCL) system with 10 rounds of 4-day cricket; two zones of 50-overs cricket with ten played within 30 days and a 6-weeks’ T20, regional cricketers have more than a fair chance to excel. What exists now in each region is a list of professional and coaching staff with upgraded skills sets (in two years, there has been two Level 3 coaches courses). The A Team has assembled for tours in and out of the region and the player pathway seems clearer. Selection remains subjective to the biased onlooker, but there are merits to the system, now in place.

I wanted to make the point though, HPCs in 2017 are but a concept, one which is determined by its focus on excellence, specialization and results; one supported by its participants committed to doing the tasks and programs required to compete. That I think, can be done in a physical space, but with things the way they are, can be done from anywhere, once the mindset of those involved are all on the same page.

High Performance

The ideal Caribbean would want a physical space; but with limitations, we must consider the options. Also it is an opportunity for teams and clubs within the region, while adopting in principle, the HPC plan, upgrade its facilities while finding ways and means to attract more participants to its programs.

I would want to suggest that in five years if the plans are adopted to fit each program in each territory, with decent facilities and more technically prepared officials; the HPC model would continue to create cricketers that can adapt to global demands; while importantly, earn enough to take care of their families.

Sporting federations today facilitate growth in key areas for its athletes by ensuring its stakeholders are given the chance to be up skilled to meet the dynamic global demands. They do this by creating an environment where this is possible. The HPC forms just one part of the ever changing cricket culture and market.

The challenge is therefore for the regional bodies to make this change and in their daily operations, surround themselves with the HPC focus and mentality. Cricket will win!

#StayInTheGame