Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Caribbean, Cricket, Jamaica, Media, Sport, Track and Field

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.

Allan-skill-cole-

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.

FG-Sports-Market-4

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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 Advertising, Caribbean, Leadership, Sport

The Change for West Indies Cricket

KINGSTON, December 30 – When Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron realised he had to mount a campaign to former President, Julian Hunte, he assembled a team which created a number of tools to see his way into his presidency in 2013. Cameron who had previously served on the Board of Directors of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) since 2002, was criticized in some circles for being a part of the slip of the fortunes. Cameron has expressed his views on that publicly and now in the seat, intends as he has been to lead the WICB and the Cricket into building and framing an industry.

The licensed financial broker has been around the sport for some three decades serving at several levels as a player, administrator, planner and marketer. He has academic training at the graduate and post graduate levels in Hotel Management and Management Information Systems respectively.

I have offered to present some background before I delve into the points of CHANGE.

WIPA and WICB 

When Cameron took office he mentioned his intentions to foster a more harmonious relationship with the players association as it would help in his bid to realign the Human Resource Management status of the players fraternity. His ideas would include effective leadership, inter-personal relationships and better communication generally. This resulted for example in a WICB/WIPA – annual awards, held jointly for the first time in July 2013 in T&T; that event was jointly hosted again in Kingston in July this year. In October, an elite team building tour was held and was against done in collaboration with WIPA and WICB. That team tour focused on boardroom and off the pitch activities aimed at building better rapport with management and players.

Since those events other initiatives have been pursued and the four-day professional tournament now on is another result of collaboration with WIPA and WICB. In September 2014, an ESPN Cric Info headline “WICB WIPA sign new agreement – ending years of bitter dispute… http://www.espncricinfo.com/westindies/content/story/782193.html

In a Gleaner article in October – WICB endorses WIPA http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20141016/sports/sports4.html

Dave Cameron

Close to us in the United States, the player associations while clear about their roles are created with the aim to foster relationships to the benefit of the game, and except for the fourth lockout in the NBA’s history in 2011, the player association works with the NBA on common goals. That lockout incidentally was about salaries – the structure and the division of revenue – sounds familiar? With a canceled pre-season, the league games were reduced from 82 to 66. The losses were in TV broadcast rights and fans were cheated. is that equivalent to abandoning a tour? You answer.

What was evident though is the negotiation which included the players association and the parent body which ended in the game being the winner. So the question here is, when and how can West Indies Cricket win? I should also point out that at no time a politician got involved. David Stern, the NBA Commissioner at the time along with Derek Fisher and his team from the players association handled the matter. How then can the cricket fraternity manage its affairs in a way that cricket will win.

The NBA’s rules regarding players though makes it more reasonable for players and their affairs to be managed and I am asserting that maybe the Caribbean outfit should adopt a few rules of which some commercial-minded ones be included. For example, if you have intention to play for the elite team, you must at least have one year at a college/university. Since 2006, the NBA no longer drafts high school students – they must go to College. That rule should apply in cricket and maybe some of the quality issues we have with commitment, concentration, dedication and even general understanding of the game would create an environment which players are better able to adopt to a professional outfit as their peers in other sporting disciplines – specifically for team sports.

CAMERON’S WISHES 

Cameron aimed to lead a team that managed over improved development of cricket talent, improved revenue growth, regional unity and pride. He continues on the path to lead a team to manage, monitor and reinforce ways to solidify partnerships. While the Indian Tour walk off throws a spoke in the wheel of the plans of the current administration – the fall out presents an opportunity to fine tune and implement rules and regulations for a more sophisticated yet efficient management and administration.

Maybe it is time to clean house and chart a new way forward. The management of cricket has largely been lead in years gone by with a high emotional quotient and that cannot be the basis by which a commercial model is built. Players must be selected based on results which are facilitated through regional, collegiate and high school competitions. Like any other sporting model there is a basis on which players grow and develop into their game. I would suggest that by the time they reach the selection for the elite team stage, they would have completed up to 2,000 hours of play – which represents 20 per cent of the mastery status to be achieved to be considered an expert. Malcolm Gladwell suggests in his book the Outliers that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. He went to say that “The elite don’t just work harder than everybody else. At some point the elites fall in love with practice to the point where they want to do little else.”

Cameron and Nathan

How can we match those standards with our athletes in the region, in this case the cricketers? I would add to that if you insist on playing at the elite level, CLR James’ Beyond the Boundary should be a required reading. The athletes we compete with internationally are all satisfying those standards and if we are to maintain or surpass, we must compete on and off the field.

STRUCTURE

The current management structure includes a Secretariat based in Antigua monitored and evaluated by an elected body of 12 persons from the six territories with a CARICOM recommended person and two from the private sector. That body every quarter and when required, meet to decide on the matters which may arise and look at ways to improve the management. That structure can do with an overall in a few years after the Board has come over the India walk-out hump and look at a model where a small but efficient team is paid to handle the affairs, while generating enough income to employ others in the region to operate a similar outfit in each territory.

Cricket, due to the population in India and Pakistan, is the second most watched sport on TV in the world and broadcast rights form an important part of that income. We must be creative going forward.

Cameron may be up for a challenge in March 2015 and if so, it is time to think on how his leadership has been in the last two years. His focus then was on participation, human resource management and operations, accountability and responsibility. I doubt that will change.

Moving the cricket forward on all planes is priority…

WI team