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.

cropped-cropped-20130628_1545261.jpg

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.

 

 

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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, 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.

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.

Posted in Caribbean, Cricket, Leadership, Management, Sport

Cricket in the modern Caribbean

The imperatives of growth of development for the modern cricketer to “advance the cricketer’s mentality by two decades with respect to information technology, strategic planning, psychological dexterity and financial organisation” as expressed by Professor Hilary Beckles are the obvious options for West Indies cricket to compete over the next decade or more. Those ideals are fair in light of how elite sporting teams and countries have armed themselves to go after the competitive edge.

So much has been made about the performance of the West Indies team or lack thereof in the last 20 years and so many ideas are tossed around as to the solutions. I am here to suggest that it will take a number of initiatives to be taken on, implemented and the results evaluated.

Team-Building

The issue surrounding the current leadership of the WICB, while it is being suggested it is one man’s responsibility, Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron, must be placed in the context of a few things

  • The record of the last decade and the “cleaning up” of relationships that have had to take place
  • Attempt to unite a region already divided geographically, socially, economically – all of which are in the struggle for survival
  • The structure may need some tweaking to go after a more successful business model

In the last two years though some positive things have taken place and with time the outcomes can be beneficial to the region and the team will improve on its performance and the joy of watching West Indies cricket return to this region.

The re-organisation of the structure; the WICB Professional Cricket League (PCL) draft to include 105 additional players; the selection of a new team of selectors; the training and development programmes to include so much more accountability are just some of the things President Cameron and his team have initiated and with the appropriate and applicable buy-in by the varying levels of stakeholders could see growth in the short to medium terms.

Here are some updates from a recent quarterly meeting http://windiescricket.com/news/outcomes-wicb-quarterly-meeting

The massive question is? Is this a profitable solution? Now profit can be seen as two-fold – money in the bank shared equitably among the major stakeholders and social capital where there is agreement enough for us to exist.

I saw a column recently suggesting that the current leadership of the WICB is mostly focusing on earnings as opposed to strengthening the intellectual capacity of the player and technical communities. I suggest we can do both. And we all have a role to play. It is always easy to point to the issues, but it seems we are afraid to offer workable solutions.

The fact is there is a lot of money for athletes in general to make and if an organisation is not committed to managing a process where the balance is to be affected, then the life after sport matter is at serious risk. The definition of today’s athlete is not merely a physical being with great skills; but one which is a champion on and off the field. The announcement that 20-time grand slam winner (tennis) Serena Williams will study medicine after retirement suggests that the balance between ‘dollars and sense’ can be achieved.

The Caribbean region has so much potential and with cricket being one area of unity should be seen as important enough for the region to come to terms with its ability to make this region a force.

WICB ICC

Dave Cameron, N Srinivasan, Michael Muirhead during the International Cricket Council’s annual conference at the Barbados Hilton from June 22- 26. Photo by Randy Brooks/Brooks LaTouche Photography

The sport then has to be able to attract

  • Television rights at the highest/competitive levels
  • A bunch of athletes who are committed to building the sport and their own personal development
  • Proper venues to host events
  • Schools which see cricket not just as a sport, but as a tool for social development
  • Visitors to the region who still see West Indies cricket as the most exciting to watch

We can acknowledge the gaps, but I daresay, cricket has a new paradigm. It is ours to manage.

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

An economic model for sport in Jamaica?

KINGSTON, March 22 – Jamaica’s sport industry really deserves better management; one which focuses on a commercial model which can turn the economic wheels and do what is required. Any industry/sector which has a good-working economic model can do a few things
• Provide employment
• Generate wealth for individuals and organisations
• Provide a glorious opportunity for exposure for goods and services
• Be a facilitator for the development of content worthy of international consumption
• If invested properly, be a source for infrastructure development

Historically, Jamaica’s sport prowess began in 1948 at the Summer Olympic Games in London and since then the world has watched us dominate in a variety of areas on and off the field. The most outstanding being in track and field, football (soccer), basketball, boxing, netball, cricket, swimming and to a lesser extent volleyball, hockey and badminton. David Weller’s medal in cycling at the 1980 Summer Olympics is a standout.
Not many countries Jamaica’s size has affected and impacted on the rest of the world, the way the island has and I would recommend that there must be a group of visionaries who could steer the sport industry in a way that the island’s economic woes start gliding up towards a massive success story.

The inspiration behind this article is how the Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) continues to mishandle the Boys and Girls Championships in a way that borders on a misfortune. The fact that they are able to attract massive sponsorship from two or more of Jamaica’s organisations (LIME and Grace) is an indication of the value of the product. However the management of related events cannot be relegated to the 2.8 million in Jamaica and the additional figure in the Diaspora, but be imposed on an international audience which demands Jamaican content.

The exposure thus far would assume an exposure to 5.6 million, but that breakdown is accustomed to this product, what of the rest of the world. Events of the CHAMPS nature have so many money making components which can be explored, exploited and maximised to earn so much more money that it is time that those opportunities be explored.

Here are some areas of value
• Ticketing
• Media broadcast
• Merchandising
• Social media
• Satellite venues

Let’s focus on ticketing for a moment and consider, in addition to the National Stadium, three other locations across Jamaica. Events management units in Jamaica with the calibre of Main Events could replicate the vibe at Champs to attract a fair sized crowd, who would otherwise enjoy watching live broadcast of the event over the five days. The sponsors could benefit too from the showcase of products and services at said locations – getting value for money. Also with additional resources the broadcast house could capitalise on additional viewers by offering interactive also on locations. The technical equipment is available.

The NFL, NBA are franchises which make up to 20 per cent of their earnings from media broadcast according to A.T. Kearney which follows a particular model, I would suggest that can be fashioned to suit Jamaica. And in additional to ticketing could account to up to 40 per cent of the earnings. What those franchises have been able to do is creating an entertaining experience for fans. Satellite venues have been tried and proven successfully and maybe what Grace and LIME can consider for 2016 is to do road shows up to a month before CHAMPS to bring awareness to the communities close to where the satellite venues would be located. Those I
would suggest would be in town centres where there is a mass appeal. So many roads shows have taken place and I would have hoped the companies’ research units would have access to that information to support this idea/ideal.

The fact is, while there is a call for a new stadium, the CHAMPS event is one of a few events which maximises the venue’s use and not sufficient enough for that type of investment at the moment. I was a witness to satellite venues at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England in 2002, when as part of a touring group, we had mostly tickets to netball, but we were happy to learn we could watch other events from a park nearby. Big screens were retrofitted with a template for crawls and spot advertisements so no one lost.
Social Media reach is now of tremendous value and the reach (multiplier) effect can provide useful information as to where your audience is. The analytics tool is also worthy of investment. Imagine getting Chris Gayle, Usain Bolt and Cedella Marley to tweet each day about #Champs2015 – together they reach up to 7 million together based on follower numbers, but reach, mentions and retweets add up to at least fives the amount. A Social Media expert team should be considered to explore those options.

The merchandising opportunity is underutilised and while the top schools use CHAMPS as a way to reach their market; Jamaica’s brand is not figured here. In the Boys category the top three, Jamaica College, Kingston College and Calabar have clear lines to reach their markets, and I would imagine the co-ed schools e.g. St. Jago; however, it is ultimately Jamaica that is on show so the discerning fan would want to wear something Jamaican. I support the use of research to fine tune already available information to inform the ISSA group of these opportunities for a greater reach of this event called CHAMPS.

Jamaicans are quick to boast that it may be the biggest high school meet anywhere in the world and maybe it is, but that is a purely emotional declaration; because until we are able to clearly see the streams of income and the impact it has on earnings for a variety of people, then we are back to square one.

The ISSA model determines now that the Principals are in charge and that game has left them and an agency with the facility of an IMG can be formed here in Jamaica to manage an event of this kind and more. What that does too, is see the event from a totally different perspective with clear(er) objectives and outcomes. How the money is distributed can be managed by efficient and workable software. We got to start trusting each other to make the best decisions for everybody’s interest.

Also with all that money floating around, the top three schools in both categories should receive cash prizes to replenish the monies spent to prepare for the event. For me personally, CHAMPS is starting to look better from the TV screen and after 35 years of watching my first CHAMPS live, I am happy relaxing with a crew over drinks and food with the access to replay and more. But I know those fans who want to still watch it live. The event should be a positive experience either way.

From all indication, CHAMPS 2015 will be close and want to wish the schools and their teams, best wishes. March 24 -28 will be a remarkable set of days for Jamaica’s track and field and as the country prepares for Beijing in 2015 and Brazil in 2016, the future is indeed very promising.

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Enough work for all of us in Cricket

Sunday, February 8 – KINGSTON – West Indies Cricket received Test Status in 1928 and since then the team has been a consistent staple in cricket fans’ diets all the world over. The 15 countries of the Caribbean region have been through an interesting history and some 87 years later, the status of the game and its management are into question. The issue who plays what roles and how?

The history of the elite team’s performance in the 70’s and 80’s is well known and saw that team defeat their opponents one by one, week by week over consecutive seasons. The slide started mid nineties, some argue before, but in 1995 when the series in England tied 2-2, that was the end of a winning era. I covered parts of that tour for a newspaper.

During those years management roles and views have also changed. In the organisation’s history, the WICB now has its 18th president in Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron and the world of sport management has changed dramatically since Sir Harold Austin. The value of the sport industry now racks up a cool 648 billion US dollars in its earnings with franchises all over the world. The dilemma Cameron  and the Caribbean people face is how can the current unit attract sponsorship dollars to maintain an economic model worthy of encouraging players who are talented enough to play the game and earn enough to look after their families.

Cameron and Nathan

The politics of the Caribbean cricket could prevent the best leader and his/her team to enable an environment to make cricket an industry of any value. World statistics will tell you cricket is the second most watched sport on television only to football and those revenues could bear well for the region if the team starts to perform close to or at the top again.

The rebuilding process in light of the current chaos has a lot of work for the six million people in the English-speaking Caribbean and the personal attacks on a president who has in two brief years initiated, led and managed a considerable programme of positive change is unbelievable.

The team he has lead has had some wins ranging from impacting players to former players and the cricketing community feels more apart of the bigger picture. I would be naive to think that there would be no objections, but in going forward the Caribbean region could do with an industry beyond tourism to earn some well-needed funds in its coffers.

Here are some of those initiatives:

  • Re-signing agreement with ESPN for the NAGICO Super 50
    • More cricket on television in the region
  • PCL 4-day competition
    • 105 athletes who are being paid directly as a result of that reform
    • A few athletes who are on pay-per-play which widens the pool
    • More cricket – giving opportunities to more players – expanded 4 day PCL
  • WIPA/WICB Alignment
    • 2 years of the WICB/WIPA  Awards
    • Best relationship in the last decade
    • No legal issues
  • Deficit reduced
  • Establishment of the West Indies Retired Players Foundation with launches in at least three countries along with a few programmes to recognise the former players and look after their well-being
    • A fund raising Golf event due soon (WIRPF)

Cricket is that one sport to drive the revolution and Dave Cameron and his team can continue to lead that charge. The 40+ years old financial broker with under graduate and post graduate training in Hospitality Management and Management Information Systems has been involved the running of the sport at several levels and the engagement at several levels of the game from local to international has helped him hold a significantly better perspective on how to effect some of the changes required at this time.

Kensington T20

The Caribbean economy has gaps and if the region refocuses its attention on sport and the creative industry – that combination could be useful. The decision of the voters is key in the March 7 election scheduled for Kingston, Jamaica.