Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Caribbean, Coaching, Cricket, Jamaica, Sports, Track and Field

Caribbean is ready for the Business of Sport

On an island, October 10 – The call for a Caribbean Sport Summit has not gone unnoticed. The Caribbean has over the last decade experienced significant exposure for its elite athletes in the sporting areas of track and field, basketball, NFL, netball, cricket and swimming. Football has received considerable exposure with players competing for several professional teams worldwide, but no team from this region has been to the World Cup.

There are direct results which can be used to measure success in sporting terms

  1. How many medals has the Caribbean won at the Summer Olympic Games since 2004 in Athens?
  2. How many countries’ teams have gone to the World Cup Football since 2006?
  3. How many other teams have been ranked in the top three in the world in any sport?
  4. How many more tourists are coming to the region because of sport?
  5. How have media earnings increased because of well negotiated media rights?

The answer to these questions can provide a general status of the Caribbean Sport Economy. There are some additional factors which we can use to judge success or maybe in this case progress. For example, a number of universities have added a comprehensive sport curriculum to their academic calendar. That is indeed a positive signal as it indicates a strong intention to train people to support the growth and further development of the sport industry.

The global sporting picture looks great with an estimated value of US$504 million. The alarming sport betting figure is over a trillion dollars. And the USA with a considerable sport market share will, according to Forbes, grow to $73.5 million by 2019. Those are all great signs. How then can the Caribbean capitalise and maximise its earnings from this industry?

Five years ago, a group of professionals – attorneys, business planner and a sport management expert joined forces to create The Business of Sport. The business, based in Jamaica hosted conferences and workshops which focused on dialog and results on issues relating to

  • Branding
    • Companies and Athletes
  • Marketing
  • Event planning
  • Media Rights
  • Use of Social media
  • Social issues in Sport
  • Use of Technology in Sport
  • Athlete Management
  • Intellectual Property
  • Role of Athletes

Since then many federations have changed formats of their competitions; changed approach to their programmes and consulted with varying performance programmes aimed at attracting more investment and better athletes. That discussion continues.

What should now happen is, as we approach 20 years after the start of the millennium, all concerned should be reorganising policies and programmes while maintaining contact with resources which can help to maintain and improve standards all around.

The Summits are sometimes largely a “talk shop” however, there are relationships that can be strengthened to bring a greater focus on sport as a tool for economic development for the Caribbean. The 2017 version of The Business of Sport is scheduled for Kingston, May 18 & 19. Information on the schedule will be out soon where you can register to participate. In the meantime, follow us on https://www.facebook.com/businessofsport/

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Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Leadership, Management, Sport

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.

Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Caribbean

ATHLETES MUST SHOW UP FOR WORK

March 12 – An athlete’s job has changed in the last decade. While the primary focus is still to perform well in their respective discipline, the job has become more diverse. It is therefore the responsibility of the athlete and management team to determine a few things

  1. How am I going to maintain and improve my performance aiming at all times for world-class standards?
  2. How am I going to attract the most lucrative deals to ensure that my earnings are maximised?
  3. How am I going to meet the demands of the market by being a role model and one worthy of emulating?
  4. How am I going to play by the rules, yet fulfil the changing demand of organisations that keep me in check?
  5. How am I going to become satisfied knowing that once I retired I can be able to maintain my living standards, while even still contributing to the development of my sport?

There are some organisations we need to focus on like the World Anti-Doping Agency, established since 1999 – aimed at leading a collaborative worldwide movement for doping-free sport. This organisation today can impact on an athlete’s life in such a way, that in one act, can end a career or cause irreparable damage.

The recent disclosure of Maria Sharapova ten-year use of a banned substance is just one of the many incidents which have become public, but WADA is clear on their mandate and you can read here to see how they function https://www.wada-ama.org/en/who-we-are

A significant number of athletes across all sporting disciplines have received from a slap on the wrist to suspensions to life bans

This is track and field’s list https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_doping_cases_in_athletics

This is the NBA’s list https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_banned_or_suspended_by_the_NBA

This is the list of 99 who has tested positive for meldonium, the substance Sharapova has been using for ten years https://www.newstalk.com/99-athletes-have-already-tested-positive-for-meldonium-this-year

Some would say we are in a crisis with the use of drug in sport, but are we? What it really boils down to, is the athlete is the ONLY one responsible for anything that is ingested. Simple.

MONEY MAKING TIME

Athletes now are making far more money than a lot of other professionals, and like the traditional pros, they have support teams, or at least they should. Part of having a management team is to

  1. Ensure that team is equipped to guide you accordingly
  2. Make business and related decisions in the best interest of the team and/or the athlete
  3. Be aware
  4. Represent the “brand” in a way that is always up to international standard

So for example, completing whereabouts forms each quarter, while a tedious exercise, is one which is way too simple to be ignored.

We know that earnings are important to an athlete’s existence, however, the more an athlete earns is the more responsibility that comes with that. It is key to note too that while it is important to have a number of relationships with brands, they each have their own mode of operation and want different things at different times and could make the athlete work far harder off the field of play than one. There is an important way to strike that balance – work with brands that compliment.

VALUE OF AN ATHLETE

As mentioned earlier, athletes are top earners and like any other professional MUST see their craft as a job which is important to their well-being and to the support of their families. One simple click on Social Media can cause tremendous damage; one (failed) missed test is a reputational issue and could cause potential partners to reconsider their options to work with an athlete. So while there are far more opportunities, there are far more responsibilities.

Here is my recommendation to all athletes

  • Show up for work
  • Train hard to beat the world
  • Be responsible in public spaces
  • Attend workshops and seminars once in a while
  • Visit with other professional athletes if you can
  • Engage a capable team of professionals for support
  • Follow the rules
  • Use social media responsibly
  • Plan for an after life

Those recommendations look simple but it is hard work, but once you are up to it, you can do it.

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.

FG-Sports-Market-4

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.

mainstadium2.jpg

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 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 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.

http://www.caribank.org/uploads/2015/02/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.