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.

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Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Sport

Jamaica -transforming creative to lucrative

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

The post read: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Cricket, Jamaica, Media, Sport, Sports

Caribbean Sport Business…or not?

 

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

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

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

ProSports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PayDispute

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

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

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 Advertising, Branding, Caribbean, Jamaica, Management, Media, Music, Sport

Marcia Forbes – the Phase 3 story

March 9 – Family life, work and travel are just three things that get Marcia Forbes excited. The first quarter of 2016 will just add even more joy to her life when the family is expected to welcome a baby. This will be Marcia’s first grandchild. Those are just some of the things that gets this hard-working, conscientious, caring woman on the go.

She is considered a social-media expert for more than one reason. She tweets a lot, with focus mainly on social issues; she posts across Instagram and Facebook and even runs live videos via Periscope. But Marcia is also a renowned author of social-media related matters through her 2012 publication – STREAMING: #Social Media, Mobile Lifestyles – 219 pages of relevant and often humorous short stories to explain and support findings from primary research on youth engagement via social networks and mobile phones.

Marcia’s role as an author throws back to her 2010 Music, Media & Adolescent Sexuality in Jamaica, a 224-pages account of “an extremely critical corner of the popular cultural landscape”, as described by the late Emeritus Professor, Barrington Chevannes. That book as well as STREAMING is known by university students in Jamaica where they stand as required or recommended text for a number of courses.

Marcia Forbes 2

Phase Three Productions Limited

So let me take you from the books for a while as we take you on a journey with this woman who heads one of the most diverse production companies in the Caribbean region and whose company accolades match up to the competitors in the international market. With just over 30 years in the business, Phase Three Productions Limited is a leading multi-media and television production company that specializes in large scale live sporting and entertainment events in high-definition format. That’s quite a mouthful.

This is the company that Marcia, her husband Richard, their son Delano and the Phase Three team have built. The company can boast a number of national, regional and international projects under its belt. World Cup Qualifiers football matches, CONCACAF Champions League matches played in Jamaica are examples of Phase Three’s ability to measure up to the rigours of producing content for worldwide distribution.

Phase 3 Productions

The family-owned organisation employs up to 100 freelancers on a regular and consistent basis along with its cadre of full time staff. The investment in cutting-edge technologies and equipment is just one of the many reasons why Phase Three is still in the business and can compete anywhere, anytime. Its support services for international crews and overseas media include logistic solutions and equipment. Training is ongoing to keep its staff and cadre of freelancers au fait with global services and the company’s integrity intact.

Marcia and her team firmly believe that “what people see and hear about themselves are what that nation comes to believe and accepts as its identity.” The company is committed to ensuring that the best comes out at all times. “Every service delivery, must positively position Jamaica,” says Marcia. Since 2012 the number of hours of local content the company has produced has increased, from 323 hours in 2012 to approximately 500 hours in 2014. What is even more instructive for this level of content is that up to 70 per cent of it is shown not just on Jamaican television, but a significant amount is shown overseas.

In 2013 for example, a total of 54 hours of one project was broadcast to the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, USA, Canada and a few other regions. That was as a result of Phase Three being an integral part of providing nine days of coverage of the CONCACAF Under 17 Women’s Football, live from Montego Bay. Sport forms a considerable amount of content in the output from Phase Three. But the company also covers a healthy staple of entertainment and corporate events.

Some of the local television shows that have had the company’s input include: Wray and Nephew Contender (live boxing), Talk up Yout (social issues), Red Stripe Premier Football Mondays, Flow Champions Cup, Arthur Guinness Day Live and KFC On the Verge to name a few…

So let’s go back just over a decade ago when Marcia’s son and senior partner, Delano Forbes, fresh from NYU, was a winning music video Director. The now CEO and Television Director can boast that he won awards for Best Music Video of the Year in 2002, 2003 and 2004 – presented by the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU). The Hideaway video with winner of NBC’s The Voice, Tessanne Chin, was also directed by Delano. So what we are talking about here inside Phase Three is a mix of technical, management and diverse offering all rolled in one.

Delano

Marcia really believes that the 290-billion-dollar global television industry has no place for anyone who is lazy; neither does it have any place for someone who is not willing to improve through training and development. Phase Three, constantly adjusting and re-fitting to meet the market’s needs, is clear on its mission to produce world-class audio-visual content for global consumption. They know very well of the competition in the region but are prepared to dive in strategically to provide needed services.

This is just a piece of the Phase Three story. And there is more, about Marcia…the university lecturer, the former nurse, the motivational speaker and the woman whose work has been recognised by her peers and more. We also will explore her work in volunteerism. Until next time…. here’s to Phase Three.

 

Posted in Branding, Leadership, Management, Sport

Ten Things An Athlete Must Always Remember

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Sports management and leadership going forward

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

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

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

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

Administration 

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

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

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

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

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

Caribbean in a dilemma

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

Here are some suggestions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team-Building