Posted in Caribbean, Cricket, Management, Sport

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.

NAGICO Super50 Logo-2016 general

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.

 

 

Posted in Branding, Caribbean, Leadership, Management, Media, Music, Sport

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

Posted in Caribbean, Cricket, Leadership, Management, Sport

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

Posted in Branding, Caribbean, Media, Reggae Boyz

Football is of great value to the Jamaican economy

KINGSTON, October 10 – Quite the contrary, Sport is not just fun and games. It is so much more. It is actually BIG business. Since Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz qualified for France in 1998 I think there began a realization among the sport power brokers in Jamaica that there are major business opportunities in sport. Football at the time is and remains the number one sport in the world. That measurement is the television audience which is growing closer to 4 billion. The recent World Cup Football 2014 held in Brazil saw world record figures.

Take for example, the match between the USA and Ghana was watched by 11.1 million on ESPN in the United States, setting a new record for ESPN coverage of a men’s FIFA World Cup match. Another highlight is 42.9 million watched Brazil and Croatia on Brazilian channel TV Globo, the highest sports broadcast of 2014. You can read the full article here http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/news/y=2014/m=6/news=tv-viewing-breaks-records-in-first-fifa-world-cup-matches-2378078.html

Read this report if you have the time too and you will see that WC 2014 was a watershed moment for football (soccer) in the USA as the viewership was more than the 2014 NBA final and the 2013 Major League Baseball series http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/44/29/89/fifaworldcupinnumbers_120714_v7_eng_neutral.pdf – that is a major accomplishment.

Amidst all the recent FIFA issues with its leadership and the calls from sponsors and other supporters for its President, Sepp Blatter to step away; the sport is enjoying its highest level of visibility ever. Here is another bit of information confirming the sport’s popularity http://sports-facts.top5.com/the-worlds-top-5-most-watched-sporting-events/?page=2

How can Jamaica benefit?

Saw a feature by Andrew C Edwards recently talking about developing the Jamaican footballer. Here is the link to the article http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Lessons-from-afar-as-we-aim-to-develop-the-total-Jamaican-footballer_19232628 – “One of the key points he made though, was Our players must demonstrate an insatiable appetite for winning; they must demonstrate a desire to win at all times regardless of circumstance. For all intents and purposes, winning is not only measured by results, or at least not by immediate results when dealing with young players. Learning to play the game “properly” is an important seed for the fruit of future winnings.”

I also wrote some months ago that Jamaica needs the football programme http://carolebeckford.blogspot.com/2012/10/jamaica-needs-football-programme.html – the point of the article was to highlight that Jamaica being able to maintain stability – The administration of the JFF has to then focus on accountability, transparency and must engage the newest forms of management expertise available, using technology to enhance its message. The support services for the sport have to be managed using the tertiary level institutions allowing for young players to move on to collegiate football to gain valuable experience on and off the field. The number of coaches, officials must increase, but offer quality and impartial service all aimed at growing the sport. Jamaica has to go back to the day where the natural progression from primary to college football is seen as the way to enter the national programme, developing the Jamaican Brand of Football. The island currently boasts the fastest men and women in the world. What of football? Isn’t it high time the Jamaican football brand is known and established into the minds of people firstly in Jamaica and also to the rest of the world.

Although the country has a number of sporting disciplines which can attract certain levels of financial investment, I believe that without a stable football programme – the sport assets of Jamaica are at risk.

Let’s play ball!

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

Jamaica has to develop its sport industry

KINGSTON, September 10 – Jamaica’s participation in world events has been ongoing for almost 70 years. The 1948 Summer Olympic Games in London is recorded as one of the first major events. What this signifies that the island has valued the work of sportsmen and women from way back then. Internationally an Olympic Gold medal epitomizes the highest achievement any athlete or team can get aside from the now more commercially viable trade of the highest paid athlete in your field. Back then the sport was done for glory to self, country and family and even school/institution…fast forward to now, it is now that and how much money can one make to earn and live a decent life.

The professionalism of sport has raised a number of issues and the sport that can attract the highest number of television viewers globally is determined as the “richest” sport in the world. We have also seen where the franchise system has been used effectively to show some level of equity among the professional athletes. Common to all sporting disciplines though is the amount of endorsements and salaries a “star” player/athlete can attract.

There are a number of estimates for the world sport industry’s value and the last one according to AT Kearney is 648 million US dollars. However, a KPMG study also shows that those figures will grow from between 11 – 15 per cent up to 20 years from now because of the demand of consumers. The point is, sport is BIG business.

The information exists globally and Jamaica recognizing the value of sport to its GDP need to determine how it will put systems in place to show how the sector can be developed into an industry.

Support for athletes in Jamaica

Jamaica’s ability to prepare athletes for international competition at the World Championship and Olympic levels is an indication of some seriousness about sport as an industry. The number of sporting disciplines are now over 40 and each constitutionally have management teams which are elected by a democratic process. The Ministry of Labour also has information which declares that the sector employs up to 28,000 and that accounts for its contribution to society. To indicate some of those in the sector are teachers, coaches, match officials, journalists, psychologists, trainers, nutritionists, sports scientists, educators. Those are just some categories for now. The professional athletes are now becoming a larger bunch within that sector. That to me is enough to constitute growth from a sector to an industry. The fact that sport can attract earnings from

  • Content
  • Events
  • Rights
  • Packages

FG-Sports-Market-4

Properties. The properties managed by rights owners are the intangible assets that draw fans and money. They include a wide range of parties, including leagues (Red Stripe Premier League) Netball Jamaica Super League; Teams (Harbour View Football Club, Racers and MVP) and athletes.

Rights management. Historically, monetization of properties was based on gate “take” (revenues) but now professional sports depend on media and marketing rights for more sources of revenues. Rights owners, or sports agencies acting on their behalf, not only structure the deals but also trade media and marketing rights.

Events. Effective rights management depends first on operating live events. An enjoyable experience for fans can create additional opportunities for revenue.

Content. The stadiums can only seat a certain number of fans, but packaging content for broadcasters’ and sponsors’ needs is a vital part of creating revenue in modern sports.

Structured around these four pillars, the sports value chain becomes a virtuous circle. Shaping a property can help increase its value through tailored rights management and content packaging can make it more attractive. For example, when cricket organizers created “Twenty20” cricket in 2003, shortening the typical game from several days to a few hours, they shaped a format better suited to live broadcasting.

– See more at: https://www.atkearney.com/paper/-/asset_publisher/dVxv4Hz2h8bS/content/the-sports-market/10192#sthash.MMBhn7Vs.dpuf

Jamaica vs Global Trends 

Jamaica has done consistently well in track and field globally. The medal tally has put the island in the top five nations of the over 200 countries that participate in those events. Jamaica’s ranking in football has been inconsistent falling in and out of the top 100. That is a recipe for not being able to attract significant sums of partnership for football and so the preparation of the national football team is always at risk. Why have I drawn those comparisons? Globally, football remains the sport with the biggest number of global viewers and is determined the richest sport in the world. FIFA despite its recent controversy has managed to keep football on top of its game. Forbes valued the 2010 World Cup in South Africa at US$147,000,000 – but attracted three million attendees. Forbes has also listed in a report published last year, that the among the top sporting brands are the Super Bowl, Summer Olympics, Major League Baseball and the UEFA Champions League. Importantly though the Olympics has the highest TV Revenue of a whopping 3.8 billion dollars.

Jamaica must aim to do well in the football programme to be able to negotiate better investment opportunities for its sport assets. While track and field, netball and even swimming based on medal tally and world ranking can be considered Jamaica’s top sporting disciplines, those sporting disciplines do not offer the best bargaining opportunities.

Institutionalizing a national sport policy has to be of great importance at this juncture as in a developing economy a government/policy leaders have to be able to determine how it facilitates the sectors which offer the best return on investment while showing credence to those sectors which offer greatest opportunities for its residence to do business and acquire wealth.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in its Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica (ESSJ) has over the years cursorily indicated that the Sport sectors contributes up to three per cent to GDP. Those figures are limited to the system’s inability to collect figures from events, media and other areas of income. Those are some of the things that have to be improved to enable sport as an economic activity in the Jamaican context. The plan going forward must realise that

  • Sport is a service sector
  • Sport employs people
  • Sport uses equipment and supplies of high value
  • Sport can be tangibly presented as economic impact
  • Sport is a sector that should be incentivised to attract public-private sector partnership

How to help athletes 

As recommended in other spaces, I would like the following to happen less than a year before the #RoadToRio2016 and even while the 2018 World Cup Football campaign is on…

  • Finalise negotiations for the health scheme with the athletes contributing
  • Offer them access to nutrition services
  • Upgrade existing training venues with better accessories for support
  • Complete equipment inventory so the necessary shot term waivers can be applied
  • Look at the academic curriculum in educational institutions to ensure the offerings are projected towards the expected changes in the business of sport
  • Implement as much of the national sport policy as possible
  • Rationalise existing agencies that has sport as a subject

Regionally there are some opportunities are available too and with the current population the Caribbean can benefit from shared services https://carolebeckford.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/elite-centre-concept-for-the-caribbean/

In 2012 I made this call http://carolebeckford.blogspot.com/2012/10/jamaica-needs-football-programme.html – that is still relevant today – #RoadToRussia2018

Jamaica’s efforts are commendable, but it presents an opportunity to be creative over the next five year cycle to seriously make sport an industry of choice for Jamaica.

#JustDoIt

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Caribbean, Cricket, Leadership, Management, Sport, Track and Field

Elite Centre Concept for the Caribbean

Warner Robins, August 25 – The Caribbean’s athletic prowess is once again on display as the athletes participate in the 15th World Championships in Track and Field in Beijing, China. Jamaica, the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Anguilla, Barbados have all gone into advance rounds and finals of a variety of events.

Usain Bolt’s defence of his 100 metres title created a BUZZ; Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce also had a successful defence of her 100 metres title; the 400 metres hurdles bronze medallist, Jeffrey Gibson from the Bahamas was exhilarating; O’Dayne Richards showed why the Commonwealth title was worth something in the men’s shot putt, copping a bronze medal…I could go on. The four Jamaicans in the 400 metres final and so many other stories are what are keeping the headlines changing day by day across track and field world.

The Caribbean is obviously a hot bed of talent and with football (soccer); cricket, basketball, swimming, baseball, netball as major sporting disciplines the islanders excel in, the region should find a way to unite to build, sustain and improve on its current showing. Not many developing regions have this quality talent along with other intangibles such as will power, grit, determination – what the region does have though to complement the talent is strong technical support. A major gap though is facilities and that is of great importance to an athlete’s development for any kind of competition on the world stage.

University of the West Indies and other Caribbean organisations

The UWI was built as a public educational institution which was to serve 18 English-speaking countries in the Caribbean to at the time unearth, unlock and develop economic growth through sectors of interest. The UWI has remained largely traditional in its output and has provided excellent scholars in those areas. But since 1948 when a few islands started participated in world sport at several levels including the Summer Olympic Games, the World Cup of Football and other well-known events, the UWI would have had enough time to consider developing work aimed at what was called the non-traditional sector – sports and culture.

The Caribbean has proven over the over in the last 30 years that its strength in the now more commonly called Creative Sector – has great potential for the region’s economic pursuits. The CARICOM, Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) are two organisations that I am hoping along with the UWI can help the region in realising how those industries can be monetized for economic benefits.

In previous deliberations I have not been kind to CARICOM as I think they have ‘dropped the ball’ however with the region’s leadership changing hands and mind set, I am hoping for a positive turnaround. CEDA has stepped out of its comfort zone and has touched on the Creative Sector in an encouraging way. Here are some examples

Expansion of the Cultural and Creative Industries http://chamber.org.tt/articles/expansion-of-the-cultural-and-creative-industries/

JAMPRO teams with ITC, CEDA to push craft & textile http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/JAMPRO-teams-with-ITC–CEDA-to-push-regional-crafts–textiles_9255634

You can also glance through a few newsletters here http://www.creativeindustriesexchange.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=32&Itemid=100096

Heard a recent interview with Heads of Sport departments for some of Jamaica’s top tertiary institutions and it was inspiring for a number of reasons. The three organisations were UWI, Mona; University of Technology and GC Foster College. The men are all under 40; they mentioned some of the areas of interest to grow sport included facility development as a central argument. While exclaiming that the programme of continuity is on; they all thought that equally the next line of coaches are already in training and some are already working at the top/elite level.

The Collegiate Sport system is closes to what can bridge the gap at this stage. I did an article in 2011 and there is some relevance today http://carolebeckford.blogspot.com/2011/09/college-system-briding-gap.html

What really needs to happen?

The resources of the Caribbean can be shared as there are enough islands with the same goals of attaining World Championship participation and Olympic glory. The question we ask can each island maintain its current status in sport development or should some resources be shared?

Over the last two years or so, I have read some interesting Sport books – Phil Jackson’s 11 Rings: Secret of Success; John Calipiri’s – Coaching from the Inside Out and now Tim S. Grover’s – Relentless each of which showed that while each player had their own way of doing things; some of the professionals who offered them services were the same though. For example, so many NBA players have the same Psychologist, Trainer, Agent and even Publicist; but what remains is the individual mark of that athlete.

What would it take the shared-service concept to be used at the elite level with different sporting disciplines? Why wouldn’t Jason Holder, Julian Forte and Kelli-Ann Baptiste have the same trainer for example? Before you jump all over this article…let me help guide you.

Preparation here means early work, fitness, endurance, psychological and even lifestyle – this is what elite centres do. What this would do is integrate the roles so football players, track and field athletes, cricketers, netballers, swimmers in the same place before competition so there is interaction from early. There is some amount of evidence that elite centres work. In Australia for example they have 117. We would have seen how the Australian sport industry has flourished in recent years. There is even an association of sport centres and they are meeting in Puerto as I write http://sportperformancecentres.org/ there are best practices. Some countries that are members include Brazil, Canada and there are numerous centres worldwide.

The Caribbean seems set to overtake and surpass its previous years of dominance in some disciplines; however, like West Indies Cricket, while we were relaxing and enjoying the ride, others were watching and using our own strategies to beat us.

This article is pointing towards a recovery period for West Indies Cricket in the short, medium and long terms where if we take the shared-resources approach the improvement can be massive over sustained periods.

I am proposing within the next five years we try the following:

  • Have all elite Caribbean athletes across all disciplines meet for at least two weeks each year for preparatory work
  • Have their coaches interface at some levels too
  • Create an opportunity where applicable to have them coordinate on community development projects

This list is not limited to the three suggestions, but it is a start. Maybe I am being selfish as the premise of this recommendation is to benefit cricket directly, however, I guarantee with the kind of talent we have there can be merit to this approach. The concept of the Elite Sport Centre is not new and the Caribbean can benefit greatly.

I end with this quote from Relentless – “If you are a true competitor, you always feel pressure to attack and conquer, you thrive on it. You intentionally create situations to jack up the pressure even higher, challenging yourself to prove what you are capable of. Be a Cleaner – every moment is a pressure situation, everything is always on the line.” Tim S. Grover

Be RELENTLESS!

Posted in Branding, Caribbean, Cricket, Leadership, Management, Media, Sport

WI Cricket on a new path

KINGSTON, August 16 – The Caribbean is largely a group of islands that are developing countries. What this means is their economies are largely dependent on the sectors which can earn the fastest return on the investment. The Caribbean’s economic outlook as published by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has revealed that the islands that are tourism-dependent are the fastest growing. The global economic output expanded by an average of 3.3 per cent. However there were islands reporting growth of 4.2 per cent (St. Kitts & Nevis); 4.0 per cent (Turks and Caicos) and 3.8 per cent (Guyana). While those figures may not have any direct impact on what I am about to suggest, the Caribbean is and always will have the potential to grow.

Click to access CDB-2014-Caribbean-Economic-Review-and-Outlook-for-2015.pdf

Caribbean tourism and the way it is viewed by tourists and those who manage has changed and once we admit that then we are off to a great start. Tourism is officially about the authentic experience of a destination – its people, food, attraction, history, culture, sport, night life and efficiencies. We have to move past the sun, sea and sand concept which has been overused. The sophisticated tourist of 2015 and beyond wants more.

Cricket as a focus for the Caribbean

Let me therefore get to the point,  I want to make… for the last 20 years, West Indies Cricket has not performed up to standard and outside of the shortened version of the game, the ranking has been less than favourable. What that suggests too is successive management and leadership teams have failed to put in place the environment to do a few things

  • Create and sustain an effective development programme
  • Attract the best Caribbean athletes to the game of cricket
  • Create an environment which should make more of our cricketers marketable and more attractive to brands worldwide
  • Attract partnerships to spur positive economic activity
  • Partner with the players association for more feasible programmes

All these and more made cricket unattractive to the discerning eye. During that time too, the media had a field day with the animosity that grew with several sections of the cricket fraternity. Very few of the stories though focused on how the failing image of cricket can be recovered. During that time too, the CARICOM committee on cricket forgot its role; secondary schools across the region paid less attention to teaching cricket as a subject in Physical Education; sponsors turned a blind eye and the small core of the fraternity maintained a stranglehold and pretty much did what they wanted to do.  Those years could be dubbed – the Broken Image of WI Cricket.

Here are some facts which I think can help you put WI cricket in context

  • Cricket is the second most viewed sport on television worldwide
  • There is a cricketer in the top 50 paid athletes in the world
  • Cricketers are among the top 100 athletes followed on Twitter/Facebook
  • West Indies Cricket is still among the most watched and up to five players from the current set up are among top cricket plays each month
  • Only recent was a cricket nominated for an ESPY award

Those facts make cricket even more attractive at the world-level. What of the West Indies? Fast forward to 2013 Summer when the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) was hosted for the first time and the region woke up to this spectacle. Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago are so far winners. Lots of questions are being asked about the economic potential or lack thereof of the CPL; which island is able to continue or not and with some of the other programmes worldwide accommodating less of our players, what will the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) do?

According to the developers, the Caribbean Premier League is a T20 tournament that showcases the beauty and talent of the Caribbean to the world. The best cricketers that the West Indies play alongside their international counterparts, in the unique carnival atmosphere for which the Caribbean is world-renowned. The CPL draws the attention of millions of cricket fans across the globe. That is the latest addition to the cricketing world from the Caribbean. Here is a fact though: The world still sees and ranks cricket based on Test and One Day International performance.

For more on the CPL go to http://cplt20.com/

Since the CPL, the WICB has developed the Professional Cricket League (PCL) – a four-day competition – for the last two seasons done the following

  • Assembled a bunch of professional players that can pay attention to just their game
  • Paid professional administrators at the territorial body level
  • Expanded the domestic season to, along with other tournaments, nine months
  • Presented more commercial assets for partnerships

With the PCL only starting last season, it is expected with support from the secondary schools system and the reorganisation of clubs in the region, the talent pool will not only grow in numbers but should expose the available talent.

Government has a role, but what…

Much has been suggested that the WICB has not listened to recommendations from reports etc, however, the real role of governments and other policy leaders should include

  • Ensuring that Physical Education remains a core subject at the secondary school level
    • Mandate that cricket be taught in schools so there is a path to growth
    • High school cricket>>>club cricket>>>regional cricket>>>>on the path to representing the WI
  • Provide incentives to clubs that perform at the top on and off the field
  • Encourage clubs to have foundations which serve to aid in continuity programmes
  • Facilitate the clubs to use cricket as a tool for social development and inclusion
  • Look at the academy model to re-engage youth at risk

The fact is, any country/region that has a top sporting team doing well will attract support from brands who desire the exposure and the Caribbean, being a hot bed of talent must refocus its attention on cricket, football and basketball as disciplines which worldwide attract the widest level of support including television rights which is among the top income earner. The political involvement from Government should be re-directed to development of programmes that encourages cricket to be taught in the classroom and nurtured at the secondary level.

The head of the players association has said the PCL is in its teething stages. Like in other jurisdictions where professionalization of sport is becoming more popular, participating for the first time in a professional set-up of that nature must help towards a successful programme in the medium to long term for the regional team. It has brought some success, but we know that for us to get what we really want out of this professional set-up we have to fix loopholes and keep improving the competition and the structure so we can produce outstanding cricketers and who play an outstanding brand of cricket for all to see and enjoy,” were some of the comments Wavell Hinds made.

Like in the other sporting disciplines, if the sport/subject is taught in organised formats, enhanced by age group competition at home and abroad, in three to five years, the national team will have much better options and with more effective and strategic coaching, can help push the WI team closer to the top.

While the legacy of the past is remarkable and should serve as inspiration to perform at the highest level, the current set up must represent its own generation with a bit of “history repeating itself” – WI must and should rise.

The decentralizing of the current system in the management of the WICB and its operations has placed the regional development squarely in the hands of the territorial boards. That same process empowers the territorial boards to act with goals in mind. The WICB has taken a consultative approach to the progressive move and with several rounds of interaction with the balanced-scorecard-approach; the path to growth is well on its way. The region has to buy in to that process. Even the town hall meetings form part of the consultation and a number of new measures have been put in place.

Governments therefore should create the enabling environment and allow the entrepreneurs and the business (private) sector to lead. The path to winning has to be declared…the time is now.