On becoming a professional athlete

September 25 – With more money being pumped into professional sport globally, there are more athletes who are intent on becoming pros. But there are some basic pointers those athletes need to follow. Here are some:

  1. Get involved at a fairly young age
  2. Train smartly with someone who has your best interest
  3. Dedicate yourself to a sustained programme with clear goals
  4. Keep your body in great shape
    1. Eat right, if you can afford it, employ a nutritionist
  5. Pursue education, it will help later on
    1. You may even apply for a scholarship
  6. Join a club that promotes your sport

There are some other basics (health-wise) that you will need to check regularly

  • Eyesight and hearing
  • Reflexes
  • Heart condition
  • Dental

Additionally, as you head towards the pro-game, secure some skills sets around you, which are necessary for you and your management team to be successful

  • Legal
    • Intellectual property
    • Image rights
    • Copyright
  • Financial and Auditing (compliance)
  • Planning and Budgeting
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Branding
  • Commercial
  • Stylist/Lifestyle coach
  • Management – events, photo shoots, courtesy calls

Finally, be willing to compete hard and smart at all times; be disciplined and have your passport ready to travel.

 

This is really a snapchat of a professional’s athlete’s life, until next time…stay in the game.

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Jamaica -transforming creative to lucrative

Tuesday, August 30 – As always following any major sporting or entertainment event where Jamaica is represented there is talk of who, what, where, when, why and how. I got into a bit of struggle with contending views on how the country can embrace the current overflow of skills sets in those two major sectors (creative industries) and help to make it a more meaningful effort for all of us and by extension convert to wealth/income.

The post read: 

You know what the athletes and artistes would be happy with:
1. Proper training facilities
2. Pre, during and post care – health, other medical and policy to guide post life
3. Access to markets to maximise their earnings
4. Access to academic discourse to assess their experience
5. Boardroom access
6. Financial management and planning
For a country that has so much contributing to sport and entertainment we are obligated to putting those in place. The rest will come.

We are always in a dilemma about how we celebrate our athletes and artistes. There is even a question about who is an icon versus who is a legend? And by extension, does any of them deserve “national hero” status. While I acknowledge the impact our elite stars make, the continuation of an environment conducive to producing more is more my concern.

Up to December 2015, it is reported that the global creative industries with a two trillion earning represents 3 per cent of the world’s GDP and City Lab explains here http://www.citylab.com/work/2015/12/the-global-creative-economy-is-big-business/422013/

The role an economy like Jamaica plays in identifying what it’s good at and then to convert that to wealth creation for its people, becomes a monumental task especially for a people steeped in tradition. The people – a significant portion is still about the country producing experts in medicine, legal and even divinity related works. I say those are necessary. However in a global economy where a “good time” is being demanded more and more, sport and entertainment’s value are of greater importance.

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The chart above essentially explains the model and if we have a market willing to consume not just products and services along with the Jamaican experience, then what is the issue. The marketing studies have been done. So too the feasibility studies and whether it is the influence of our former political leaders, current athletes and entertainers, it is high time we convert. We need the plan and we need to see this through.

Jamaica needs to do something about it and do it now. It is time we change the game.

Coaching in 2016 and beyond

May 29 – Elite athletes should have access to the best technical expertise available.  

“Coaching is the universal language of change and learning.”

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One of the missions of any sporting organisation must be to prepare its coaches to be the best. And while it is doing that ensure that the sport also has access to its best athletes. That relationship, if well organised is the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship for the specific sport to maximise its economic activity.

The history of coaching does not meet the traditional skill set where the roles of purpose, knowledge base, organisation and ethics are clearly outlined; however, over the last two decades there has been an increase in who we classify as “elite coaches” – those who are considered as being the best; transforms the best and gets the best out of any category of athlete.

Sport more than ever now plays a significant role in income generation and a well-coached   fully focused winning team provide entertainment to spectators, communities, sponsors, athletes, coaches and administrators.

Coaching has therefore moved from the largely volunteer role it had been to the more sophisticated and competitive profession where institutions and organisations go after the “best” coaches for a multiplicity of reasons.

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The National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL) and the English Premier League (EPL) are three organisations which move around coaches based on a projected number of wins within a season or a contract term. These organisations essentially work with the saying “you are as good as your last win.”

I reflect on the roles of Don Nelson and Phil Jackson two NBA coaches were both successful as players and coaches. Both have philosophies they have used to their advantage. Nelson masterminded the concept of a power forward, while Jackson perfected the triangle offense; but also his use of Zen techniques to assemble some of USA’s best basketballers while getting them to win. I look at football in the EPL and Alex Ferguson’s record speaks for itself.

Today, an elite coach is not who is simply technically strong, but instead one who designs and uses philosophies to achieve the ultimate gain of converting his/her team to win over a sustained period.

The training of coaches is available at several levels

  • Teacher-training institutions
  • Sport Colleges and Universities
  • Olympic Federations through the IOC’s programmes
    • Other sporting Federations have accredited levels of courses which are applicable for its different categories of athletes
  • Other supplementary short courses are available on several platforms

Standards have been and continue to be set and more and more sporting franchises and organisations go after the most qualified. The coaching situation has evolved.

The profession, coaching, has to first of all look at reinforcing education, deployment of those resources while regulating rules to engage the wide variety of skills on offer, but the ultimate is to get a winning formula of winning team and coach.

Coaching along age-group teams moves from getting players/athletes to enjoy their game (children) and to compete fiercely for titles and in recent years attract a substantial salary package. Sport also influences social and cultural boundaries and the value of those factors, while immeasurable, have an important place in the sporting model of any organisation.

The European Coaching Council in 2007 proposed a paper which suggested that coaching roles and qualifications be separated, but cited the need to map what is considered competencies for specific coaching roles. The coaching role is defined whether you are one of the following:

  • Apprentice coach
  • Coach
  • Senior Coach
  • Master Coach

Some regions including USA, Europe, Australia have established professional associations for coaching ensuring the profession is fiercely protected and where only members of the profession can practice. Some sporting federations have a similar model where coaches have to achieve a certain level of qualification and accreditation to coach at a particular level.

In the coaching environment these days there is a variety of qualifications, accreditation and opportunities for coaches at every level to gain the requisite training and exposure to make it to the top. These days you are either a pre-coach, volunteer coach or a professional coach. Coaching like so many other professions, have become competitive and attracts good pay packages. It is therefore important that organisations prepare its technical teams to get the best out of its athletes/players.

Caribbean Sport Business…or not?

 

April 9 – The history of sport suggests it was built purely for entertainment. In the development of modern sport regardless of where it came from, the Industrial Revolution and mass production brought increased leisure which offered an opportunity for people to have more time to engage in playing or watching, and later gambling on spectator sports. These phenomena somewhat helped to allow less elitism in and offered greater accessibility of sports of many kinds. Mass media and global communication + professionalism then became prevalent in sports, and this pushed the envelope making sport one of the biggest industries today.

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Former British Prime Minister, John Major said in 1995 – We invented the majority of the world’s great sports…19th century Britain was the cradle of a leisure revolution every bit as significant as the agricultural and industrial revolutions we launched in the century before. Cricket, being a popular sport in Britain, had its own evolution – and when John Leach write in 2005 he explained that political, social and economic conditions in the aftermath of the Restoration (1660) encouraged excessive gambling, so much so that a Gambling Act was deemed necessary in 1664. He went to suggest that cricket, horse racing and boxing (i.e., prize fighting) were financed by gambling interests. Leach explained that it was the habit of cricket patrons, all of whom were gamblers, to form strong teams through the 18th century to represent their interests.

The rise of professional sport worldwide though created what was thought at the time to be a balance between work and leisure and while sport was largely seen as entertainment, there were more and more opportunities being created for athletes to earn significant sums of money from a routine which made them fit, competitive and in some cases, depending on the sport, strong.

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The path along which sport’s history has coincided with wars and other important social development, still contend that professional sport goes against what is considered the ethos of sport, that is, pure enjoyment rather than earning a living from sport. That debate will never end. However, in 2016 and beyond, even though amateur athletes outnumber professional athletes, far more are earning a living from sport.

With salaries for sure, there will be disputes and the incredible mix of athlete, agent, manager, publicist, sponsor, endorsements provide and create a conundrum for those who want to benefit and those who contribute to the beneficiaries. Also how could I not add the mix of media rights and now the latest social media. A simple example is – if you can rack up millions of followers on any of the platforms, an athlete’s value can be enhanced tremendously even with basic representation in the sport on the field of play.

The world’s 100 best/highest paid athletes cumulatively banked $3.2 billion over the last 12 months according to Forbes http://www.forbes.com/athletes/list/#tab:overall

Among the biggest sport contract now on the table is a US$325 million 13-year contract for Miami Marlins’, Giancarlo Stanton, which makes him earn an average of US$154,000 per game.

I want to talk about pay disputes and professional sport and list a few things that are common worldwide and in going forward how the Caribbean, specifically Cricket, can benefit from this process. Labour relations models for sport exist popularly in US Sport but there are several things we can learn. Salary caps, limiting to how much athletes can be paid, form one part of the puzzle and the Franchise system which has been implemented for West Indies Cricket can facilitate that for starters. The truth is, the Caribbean countries may have little resources to invest, however, if each country makes significant investment in the sport sector, athletes will be able to exist in a more enabling environment.

Salary caps determine an interesting rivalry between owners, in this case, WICB and WIPA and the players and sets a tone for the emergence of free agency, which is this case, the players who are not retained whether in the elite list of 15; the 90 first class players or the 11 women. As the formula is now, the lion share of the available funds say that the 15 elite players earn 57 per cent of the overall earnings of WI Cricket’s pot and the reaming 43 per cent is shared among the rest (101 players including 11 women).

The collective bargaining agreement process is also another way and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) has made attempts to get this right… in spite of the differences that players feel not enough is being done, the methodology to get to the most suitable place is being sought. Sharing revenues and power is quite an irony, as there isn’t one without the other. Players know that and so their role is to get as much as is available. At some point though the value of the purse has to be declared and that sharing has to be based on that figure. WIPA and the WICB have exposed its figures and so the current set up, which has seen adjustments and increases in instances is what currently entails. See details of how WIPA has shown the categories of earnings for cricketers in the region http://jamaica-star.com/article/sports/20160215/here-are-numbers-hinds-responds-sammy-outlines-payment-packages

Some sporting discipline use the salary cap methodology, while baseball for example uses what is called a payroll tax, which taxes salaries over an agreed amount. The enforcement of salary caps may be a good method of control in a market where the investment in sport through endorsements is high. Sport today is largely affected by market conditions, such as media broadcast rights, ticketing/attendance, subscriptions, deals with venues, hospitality suite rentals, social media hits for exposure among a few other variables.

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Owners may and will have to determine how to re-engage players/athletes so both benefit one way or another. There is an important role for corporate and public sector to agree on a few things to make this model work in the Caribbean and if this region, which boasts one of the highest numbers of elite athletes per capita can’t see the opportunity for sport as a sector to flourish, then we are much further behind than we really think. The rich legacy of sport in the Caribbean must be protected and enhanced. Sport, is not only big business, but it is a career choice for many and should be welcomed. However, it is important to use existing models – combine them and see what works best for us. Here’s to better Physical Education programmes in the schools, more investment from Governments and their subsidiaries, sustainable incorporation of high performance programmes, well-paid athletes and a Caribbean Sport industry we can all be proud of.

Carole has 29 years of experience in journalism in several subject areas, but suggests her work in sport administration, management and publishing are her greatest achievements.

The Caribbean’s lost decade(s) in sport

April 9 – When one thinks of a list professional athletes from the Caribbean, Jamaican, Lindy Delapenha comes to mind as one of the pioneers. It has been widely reported that he was the first Jamaican ever to play professional football in the UK. He served in the British army and played football where he was identified and got a trial first with Arsenal. He never did play for them, but instead, played for Portsmouth in 1948 where he won a championship medal. Two years later he transferred to Middlesbrough where his career took off and he was the leading goal scorer for three seasons from the 1951 to 1956 period. In total he appeared in 270 games where he scored 93 league and FA Cup goals. He moved back to Jamaica thereafter and pursued a career in broadcasting – but continued his sojourn in sport where he played cricket and football.

Lindy

Another Jamaican, Allan Cole played professional football between 1968 and 1972 for Atlanta Chiefs and Nautico in Brazil. Reports show that he scored three goals on those two missions.

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The 70s produced a longer list which was filled up with mostly cricketers at the time and in 1977 there was the World Series Cricket, which at the time was a break away (outfit) professional cricket competition organised by an Australian, Kerry Packer. He owned then, a television station called Nine Network. The matches organised, competed directly with international cricket and had a distinct influence on the nature of the game, still permeating the sport today. The Packer Series as it was popularly called then was successful because players thought they were not paid enough and Packer provided those opportunities. He wrestled with the Australian Broadcasting Association (ABC) for exclusive rights of the regular cricket and Packer not getting his wish started his own series.

Secret agreements at the time were signed with three leading captains, West Indies – Clive Lloyd; Australia – Greg Chappell and England – Tony Greig. The series also included top players from Pakistan and South Africa. The Packer story in another form has continued to disrupt the ICC’s hold on cricket which has kept them on their toes. The West Indies remained an active participant. Packer also had his eyes on the rugby league but his attempt at that failed. News came out that a book by former player agent, Ricky Nixon offers details on how Packer operated http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/kerry-packer-considered-a-rebel-afl-league-book-claims-20160407-go0txz.html

Allen Stanford was next and he “used” the West Indies as a place to go up against the more formal systems of the International Cricket Council (ICC). It is important to note, that India, where the T20 format of the game now thrives, had vowed some years ago, never to play this version. How times have changed. Here cricket expert writer, Tim Wigmore gives his account of how the World T20 was formed http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/971333.html

Since those heady years from 1977 to now, the Caribbean has had its own fair share of professional athletes in other sporting disciplines, from football, basketball, track and field, horseracing, boxing and in recent times a few women have gotten contracts to play netball in the Pacific.

How then has this economically-vulnerable region capitalized on the Business of Sport? Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica have pretty much lead the way with the number of pro-athletes across the board. FIFA World Cup Qualification, performances in World Championships in Athletics, the NBA, the NFL have all had decent representation from a wide range of Caribbean athletes. The value of those athletes along with cricket rack up a considerable sum and so far this year we as a region have not figured out a workable formula to estimate the value of sport to the Caribbean economy.

Jamaica in a publication by its Planning Institute, Economic and Social Survey, indicates that Sport as a sector, contributes up to 3 per cent to its gross domestic product. Those figures are conservatively measured by major events, visitor spend and to some extent earnings of the athletes. That in itself is limited. You can visit the PIOJ’s website at www.pioj.gov.jm

That is a programme I would wish to see taken on by an institution like the Mona School of Business, a UWI subsidiary, similar to that of the University of Pennsylvania’s – The Wharton School – use its research efforts to track non-traditional contributors to an economy. The release of that information highlighting trends and forecasts should help to guide/influence government and private sector should be mandated, as it is key in determining how some related decisions are made. In developing the variables to be measured, like that of the international global sport index, there has to be room for that process to take place, and now.

From the perspective of the Business of Sport, a question to ask, Was the 2000 – 2009 decade, the lost decade for the Caribbean Sport Economy? We have ten refurbished or new cricket venues which were built in time for 2007 for the Cricket World Cup. Trinidad and Tobago also built and refurbished facilities to host the Under 17 World Cup. While that was going on Trinidad and Tobago qualified for the final round of the FIFA World Cup in 2006, but exited at the group stage without winning a game, and Jamaica back in 1998.

It was only later in the decade in 2009 in Berlin, after the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, that Usain Bolt excited the world with 9.58 and 19.19 seconds in the 100 and 200 metres respectively and track and field, with far less valued endorsements, gained traction in the global sport market for the region. The irony is – in spite of a significant dent in the hearts and minds of people, the global dollar value of track and field doesn’t quite measure up to its competitors in football, basketball or cricket.

Already half way through this decade, where is the region’s focus on sport as a sector to even energise private sector to invest more and for governments to facilitate sustained development in this obviously growing industry.

Some questions to be answered:

  1. How many tourists have come to the region because of sporting events?
  2. How have the existing venues been used for hosting of major events?
  3. Which organisation in the Caribbean is tracking those earnings and analysing them for use to promote or even to focus, re-focus our attention on what is in the best interest for the region?
  4. How have our academic institutions used the performances of the region’s athletes in the last 20 years to project and forecast for 20 years to come?
  5. Which Caribbean institution is most able to lead the charge in determining the way forward for sport business in the Caribbean?
  6. Who is preparing the Business of Sport model for the Caribbean? And who is ready to support?

The exposure to the region whether assumed or not has been incredible and somehow the conversion has not taken place. The efforts by a failed single market economy programme, free movement as per the Treaty of Chaguaramus among other Caribbean-led initiatives have been thwarted by bureaucratic bundling by governments failing to acknowledge the role sport can play in economic activity.

In spite of pointing fingers toward West Indies Cricket, as a sporting body  which has been responsible for the highest circulation of funds in the region, at least for the last five years; and instead of building on that model, there are efforts to dismantle.

The results of the last three major world championships for the under 19, women and men show a win for the West Indies. We have defeated three countries with far more resources alone and cumulatively. The countries are India, Australia and England. That must account for something. Incidentally England was beaten twice.

I therefore suggest we seek to develop the strategies needed to push the Caribbean sport industry forward by first of all recognizing it officially and place well-needed resources to fuel the growth that is obvious.

Once again the Summer Olympic Games will happen and governments will scurry to talk about legacy programmes. What really should happen is UWI, CARICOM, Caribbean Export and each member country choose its best sporting minds and gather by October 2016 to chart a path forward.

When I started this article, I had intended to focus on a lost decade – 2000 to 2009; but here we are in 2016 with three years for this decade, and I wonder.

Let’s get in the game.

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ATHLETES, MONEY AND SPORT

February 22 – The United States of America has over 320 million people (census of 2014). The sport business flourishes in that country and will boast of their world series in basketball, ice hockey, baseball and the Super Bowl.

What we have seen though is, the massive support the sport business there attracts through broadcast rights. The impact of having that massive number is the reason why there is an almost 5-billion-dollar media rights for the National Football League (NFL) that is on TV for just over five months. There are 32 teams in that league.

Broadcast Rights

In the National Basketball Association (NBA) there are 30 teams. In December 2010, Forbes, the established business publication carried comments regarding the ‘watering down of the NBA’. Lebron James was quoted as saying there were too many teams and it is why the NBA has become the league of the rich and poor. Now that is just close to 600 players on the collective rosters.

The Forbes article also pointed out that while Miami, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles teams were set to make money, some teams from Atlanta, Indiana, Memphis and New Orleans could lose. What came out of that was players at the time got slightly higher than half of the revenue and to make the NBA work and satisfy the game and the league, those earnings from revenues were lowered. So rather than reducing the number of teams, the players made a sacrifice. The league is still on and fans are still enjoying the game. More players too are getting endorsements.

Now let’s look at the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the 62-year old organisation which in the last 20 years has had intermittently, due to disputes, four major interruptions in the regular season. While no games were lost in the 1995 season because of the July 1 to September 12 timeline, the league was still affected. In 1998, the 29 team franchises at the time, played only 50 games which equalled a loss of 200 days. There were interruptions again in 2011 and 2013. The point is, there can be interruptions, but the games go on.

PlayersUnion

And oh, the NBPA only requires 260 minimum players to sign up, up to 2013, they had 300. That translates to – not all players are members. What is even more interesting, one of the richest players in the league today, Lebron James, is a vice president of the players’ association. My understanding of that is, while he is “set” – he wants the best for the sport and those around him.

Just some information on the top paid players in the NBA the last three seasons – Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Lebron James, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh.

There are a bunch of players who have taken lower salaries and have a tremendous list of endorsements so their overall value is always being maximised. That is a model than can work and should work.

The point is – we here in the Caribbean have to figure a way to negotiate salaries, incentives, and emoluments whether you are retained (on a payroll) or you are a free agent. That process should not take away from the fact that in spite of how you feel about your parent-body, the game comes first. The focus should be on preparing in order to win. Endorsements will come. And in this competitive sporting arena, the Caribbean athletes are no longer competing in this region, but instead the walls of the elite athletes’ world are closing in.

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Get in the game and make sure you do what is required to stay in the game.

Ten Things An Athlete Must Always Remember

Saturday, January 9 – This week could almost be described a distraction to sports. After news flashed about the off the field matters of cricket’s Chris Gayle, football’s YaYa Toure and Luis Suarez, we now know that the off the field activities are scrutinized even more than ever. We also see where the IAAF and FIFA continue to make the news for boardroom issues rather than the next World Cup or Olympic Games.

With that said though and with the evidence and chronicling of all those events, are athletes role models or the right symbols? I leave that for you to answer.

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This blog will serve though as a reminder to all aspiring, current and even retired athletes that whether you are running, jumping, bowling, batting, swimming or riding, you are under constant watch and here are some things you should remember…

  1. Your sport is your work, and when you are at work, you should conduct yourselves in an appropriate manner
  2. When you are at work, you must consider your work colleagues and how your work may impact on them
  3. You are what you text, tweet, post on Facebook, YouTube or any other social media space
  4. Even in off-season you are still the star and so your conduct should still be in keeping with good standards
  5. During this time sit with an expert who can guide you on how to communicate in the most effective and efficient way
  6. Your country must come first. It is really where you got your start
  7. Align yourselves with the right brands and maximise while you are still active
  8. Create a Foundation somewhere in the middle of your career, it will become a great way to give back
  9. Sign autographs once in a while
  10. Do not ingest any substances you cannot declare

Leigh Steinberg in a column in 2012 wrote – professional sports is only a gateway for the few. But when Heavyweight Boxing Champion Lennox Lewis said on a public service announcement that “Real Men Don’t Hit Women” he made a great contribution to young people’s perception of what is embodied in true masculinity. Disaffected teenagers may tune out authority figures–parents, teachers, and commercial messages. A superstar athlete can permeate that perceptual screen to deliver a message of inspiration and hope.

Whether or not you choose to become a role model, you become one.

 

Quantity and Quality, the case for domestic cricket

January 3 – Ever since the West Indies team has performed under par at least in the last decade a number of suggestions have come forward regarding ways and means to improve its current state. In the last year though so many more of those recommendations have taken place and now the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and its partners must now determine and chart the way forward.

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From reports, studies, assessments and opinions from experts – cricket in the Caribbean must take centre stage to, among a number of things, help and develop economic activity and provide wealth to its players, technical teams and officials around the region. The WICB does have a lot of recommendations to fudge through, but it is safe to say WI cricket will be improving over the next three years.

A brief history of Caribbean is found here http://www.espncricinfo.com/westindies/content/story/259978.html- but what we know is the WICB has been associated with the International Cricket Council (ICC) since 1926 and first played Test Cricket in 1928 – so a lot of time in the next two years to celebrate “90”. There will be sometime for the region to unite for a milestone cause and any organisation with 90 years for anything under its belt must celebrate and with the anticipated turnaround of the game in the region, now is as good a time to plan.

Expanded domestic tournaments 

Over the last three years, the WICB has hosted with its partners a significant amount of domestic cricket. The four day competition, the Professional Cricket League in its second year, has ten games on its schedules for the participating teams. The NAGICO Super50 has also expanded and will in 2016 see eight teams competing between January 7 to 23.  The third year NAGICO Insurances-sponsored tournament will be co-hosted by Trinidad & Tobago and St. Kitts Nevis http://windiescricket.com/news/tt-st-kitts-host-nagico-super50 – Later in July the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in its fourth year will also have a new format http://cplt20.com/news/cpl-ensures-greater-excitement-new-draft-format-2016

CPL T20

What that says is from November back to July the region is able to host its best local talent. In between those months there are international tournaments in all three formats, T20, ODIs and Test for a full year’s schedule. An enterprising young cricketer anywhere from 17 to 40 has a distinct opportunity to earn and to be exposed to all levels of the game across the region and the world.

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The case for an improved product can be made if energies are focused on a few things

  • the best players must participate in the domestic tournaments
  • the top marketing companies in the region must support the game through its products and/or services
  • the preparation of these players must be of importance and must be handled by each region; the blue print is available
  • At least twice a year a camp is to be assembled to ensure players attain appropriate fitness levels and have an opportunity to bond at that level – time permitting. I am aware of the camps prior to departure for tournaments

The domestic tournaments ought to be used along with the approved development programmes in each territory and must be priority if we want positive change. The number of games (with expand formats) already matches the quantity; the best players available will create the quality. This substantiates the case for quantity and quality of regional (domestic) cricket and it will clear the path towards a positive case for the improved path of West Indies Cricket.

 

 

Sports management and leadership going forward

December 9 – For the purpose of this article, I will list a few things about the current global sports market and how it can impact on economic development. When we talk about the sports market today, we think of

  1. Broadcast rights – television, internet, mobile devices, satellite radio and local radio
  2. Sponsorship and Naming Rights
  3. Merchandising – from a pin to an anchor
  4. Ticketing

In other words the market is wide open. The audience is no longer divided by borders, but instead sports content can be consumed anywhere, anytime and anyone with a device and if one is at the right place at the right time.

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Now, more athletes are getting paid and more athletes are getting a lot of money. Some sports however have to contend with the view that worldwide audiences among them vary depending on whether the event is a National Championship, Regional Championship, World Championship or is a feature of an Olympic Games (summer/winter).

Administration 

The sporting organisations which up to 30 years ago were largely run by volunteers are now being run by business executives with specific expertise in commercial operations, marketing and business development. What has happened too is the organisations are becoming flatter. The FIVB for example replaced the hierachy with a President, Executive Vice Presidents from the (strategic) regions and Commissions to ensure the work is carried out – see more on the structure here http://www.fivb.org/EN/FIVB/Executive_Committee.asp

While FIFA is currently experiencing turmoil and retains the number one slot for television audience worldwide, volleyball, unbelievably is in the top five. The beach element remains one of the most watched in the Summer Olympics Games. According to Mintzberg and Quinn (1991) “organisations with political designs have no dominant mechanism of coordination,”; in a table used by Thibault and Quarterman, Contemporary Sport Management, the summary shows that a sporting organisation with a simple design yields greater efficiency.

The publication goes on to state that the simple structures are accompanied by strategic plans to cope with the ‘environment’. The environment sport is in today speaks to commercial viability based on the four key areas mentioned in the top of this article.

Obviously the text would reference the information in a situation where the athletes/teams for which these plans are in effect for are at the top of their games and so all is required is to adjust structure and governance to bring success.

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Sporting dynasties are not on extended wins as much as they were and new franchises, teams, countries are emerging to clip the dominance of those which once were always winning. The scientific approach to sports is in play and those who invest from the bottom up will have sustained top performances for years to come.

Caribbean in a dilemma

The Caribbean Sporting Industry has to re-focus its attention on an economic model one which has teams/athletes that can attract highest levels of sponsor partnership; one where athletes get endorsements from products and services in the region and certainly where consumers can get access to the content. What then can the Caribbean do to ensure that it captures some of the pie of the ever-growing sport market?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Make travel across the Caribbean more reasonable and convenient
  • Upgrade venues to host traditional and non-traditional events
  • Maximise media rights arrangements
  • Train existing personnel and make efforts to attract the next generation to be a part of the industry
  • Tertiary-level institutions should do much more research into the prospects for the industry
  • Create a package of regional sporting ambassadors

The Caribbean has enough stars of its own, it can create applicable merchandise to supply the world as the events and venues are properly prepared and managed.

A recent cultural and creative industries study done by CISAC – the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers – is pleased to present the release of a new study published by EY titled “Cultural Times – The First Global Map of Cultural and Creative Industries”.

For the first time, this survey quantifies the global economic and social contribution of this important sector. The study analyses 11 Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) sectors: advertising, architecture, books, gaming, movies, music, newspapers/magazines, performing arts, radio, television and visual arts. The top three employers are visual arts (6.73m), books (3.67m) and music (3.98m). While the study has not pointed to sport content in particular – we know sport is such a valuable component to all the areas mentioned.

Read the study when you have the time http://www.worldcreative.org/

The need to consolidate all the efforts is urgent and the Caribbean has to identify that its culture (sport too) is world recognised as one of the most known worldwide, but the figures don’t add up.

The call is for the region to pull all the resources and use the 2016 Olympic preparation platform to guide and provide a template for three to five years.

Team-Building

CARICOM, Sport and Cricket

KINGSTON, November 7 – Much of what has been suggested by the CARICOM Committee on Cricket has already been put in Cricket operations and programmes by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) over the years. I have seen evidence of what former President, Julian Hunte instituted in his six years as head of that unit.

In 2009, Hunte disclosed that – contrary to popular belief – the Governance Review Committee report is being utilised. The Patterson Report, for example was commissioned by the WICB in 2007 to do a top-to-bottom review of the operations of West Indies cricket. But Hunte, the WICB president at the time said that the regional governing body had been, or was taking action on 47 of the 65 recommendations contained in the report, but there was only one with which the directors had extreme difficulty. Here is a news story which spoke of the issue at the time http://www.stabroeknews.com/2009/sports/08/11/%E2%80%98we%E2%80%99re-using-patterson-committee-report-says%E2%80%99-hunte/

The story went on to say too, that one recommendation which was not accepted in full was the proposal for the establishment for a new entity to be renamed and headed by a two-tiered body called a Cricket West Indies Council that would sit above the Cricket West Indies Board. That is still one of the main issues today, hence the call for the WICB to be dissolved.

Since then, Dave Cameron, President since 2013 has even accepted more of the recommendations from that Patterson report and has used up to 80 per cent of its recommendations but has opted not to add the additional layer as prescribed to turn the fortunes around of the WICB http://sundominica.com/articles/wicb-directors-to-discuss-governance-matters-at-an-2011/

This article clearly states the following:

  • The WICB has previously implemented over 80% of the recommendations of the Patterson Report and agreed to the majority of the Governance Committee report which was chaired by Charles Wilkin QC.
  • At a specially convened meeting of the members of the WICB in 2012, 10 of the 17 recommendations were agreed to. Specifically directors nominated by the Territorial Boards no longer represent the Territorial Boards at Annual General Meetings.
  • Further as generally recommended by the Patterson Report the WICB is about to conclude the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the six Professional Cricket League franchises. This follows the implementation of the PCL and the six franchises which are being independently and professionally administered through the Territorial Boards.

WICB Logo 1

The PCL now in its second year started on November 6 – you can catch live action here http://windiescricket.com/news/watch-live-pcl-r4day-round-1-day-2

The question is really, what has sparked this recommendation? This writer won’t make any assumptions, however, what I will point out to you are some inadequacies, inconsistencies and shoddy way in which CARICOM has treated sport in the last decade. Let me declare here too that I have been part of a team which helped to develop papers, spoken at meetings among other things on Sport and Sport Tourism and have been disappointed in the way the follow up has been handled. CARICOM no longer has a specific sport unit which is clear in my mind its lack of will to be an active participant in one of the fastest growing sectors in the world.

In 2008, CARICOM baulked on the idea of establishing a CARICOM Sports Commission, intended to outline ‘guidelines for member governments to place sport prominently in the matrix of regional development’ (Joseph, Keith. “Caricom Sports Commission an Urgent Necessity.” SVGOC. N.p., 13 Mar. 2008. Web. 2 July 2015.)  http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Sports-Commentary%3A-CARICOM-needs-renewed-attention-to-sports-26794.html

Here is another major programme on which CARICOM planned to implement and the status of that is on record as being behind its schedule 
http://www.caricom.org/jsp/community_organs/regionalsurvey_sportsprogrammes.jsp?menu=cob

A Caribbean Journal article almost five years ago asked this question – Where is the Caribbean Regional Sport Academy for Sport that CARICOM had in its plans?

http://caribjournal.com/2011/07/25/caricom-plans-regional-sports-academy/#

How can CARICOM really help?

CARICOM should start by doing the following:

  • Diversifying its institutions/associate institutions to include one which has sport at its core functions
  • Adding back the sport unit to its functions
  • Implementing the sport programmes it still has in study forms
  • Re-call the committee of Iva Gloudon, Yolande Selman, Richie Rchardson, Peter Adrien, Keith Joseph and I to update the proposal we made and add a young entrepreneur, an academic and an athlete to that team and ensure that this is done
  • Re-engage the PE teachers group to see how the teaching of Physical Education has evolved
  • Facilitate programmes to measure the success of home-grown Caribbean athletes and how they stack up to the rest of the world; while ensuring the next generation has a real chance
  • Look at the sport of choice for the ages of 12 – 19 and facilitate development

You see folks the CARICOM Report on the Cricket is not just about the cricket it really should be about the worldwide US$648 million industry and how we as a people can transform the talent which exists to create wealth, have the best facilities and have sport be a part of the Caribbean Economy as an option.

CARICOM like the UWI need to evaluate how it functions in region of such diversity but maintaining the core of what makes us as a people successful. WICB, CONCACAF, NORCECA all report to their international bodies and any indication of political interference sparks controversy.

The recommendations could help to bolster any opportunity to attract more committed talent to all our sporting disciplines including cricket. Sir Garry Sobers said it best recently when he remarked that the sport of cricket needed more committed players, now there is a great place to start. The return on investment in cricket is high as it is one of the most popular sporting disciplines in the world. It is time for CHANGE.

Team-Building