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.

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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

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, 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, Music, Reggae

State of the Music Symposium – Day 2

KINGSTON, March 1 – It has been established that education is to be a key ingredient to the development of Jamaica’s music industry – that was a recurring sentiment expressed by members of the Jamaican music industry at the inaugural State of the Music Symposium held at JAMPRO in association with the UWI and the Jamaica Reggae Industry Associations (JARIA). 

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While a session was dedicated to the “Education” subject on which Seretse Small, Steve Golding and Ibo Cooper spoke, the clear message was that there are different levels of education which were to be undertaken to ensure the industry remains viable. The arguments ranged from the 

  • formal setting of the classroom 
  • use of patois to teach English 
  • re-engineering of the practitioners for greater awareness 

The presence of Chronnix and Gramps Morgan though was well received as the general audience felt it was that the “artiste were sharing and becoming part of the decision making in the industry.” Gramps spoke on the Changing Business Models panel and focused on Radio where he has been a host for at least five years. Morgan in his deliberations spoke of the lessons he has learnt as he journeys into a new aspect of the business, but wants an opportunity to “play music on Jamaican radio.” He also lamented that the Jamaican story is still largely untold and wants the Music Industry players to be a large part of that. 

Chronnix and his management team sat in the audience; but his actual attendance was well received. 

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In earlier presentations, Dr Deborah Hickling and Jeremy Harding spoke from different perspectives, but agreed that Policy needs to meet the Practitioners – the language needs to be consistent along with the aims and objectives for desired results. 

Studios – home based or big studious – have they changed the Sound? Some suggested it did, while others didn’t, but the voices of Ibo Cooper, Mikie Bennet and the Chimney Music representative agreed that apprenticeship was crucial to the technical growth of that side of the business. 

Kellisa McDonald spoke on the topic Artistes as Entrepreneurs and issued a challenge to the leaders in the industry to use innovation, incorporate more visuals in the music and to use music as a tool to analyse social behaviour. McDonald is part of the set up for Chronnix. 

Day TWO looks at 

  • The State of Legislation: Media and Music
  • The Business of Music Events, Festivals and Promotion
  • Artiste Management and Music Business Personnel Development
  • Operations and Associations: How to make them more efficient and effective?
  • The State of Music, Film and Publishing
  • The Way Forward

Speakers are to include Nigel Staff, Herbie Miller, Clyde McKenzie, Johann Dawes and Kellie Magnus and Dr. Sonjah Stanley Niaah. 

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Posted in Branding, Leadership, Sport

JOA ENGAGES SPORTS ADMINISTRATORS IN ADVANCE SPORTS MANAGEMENT COURSE

KINGSTON – November 19 – Jamaica’s Sporting Administrators are benefiting from an International Olympic Committee (IOC) programme – the Advancement Sport Management Course (ASMC), now on at the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) office in Kingston. A total of 33 candidates have been participating in the course which began September 28 and will run until January 11, 2014.

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“I am pleased to announce that no one has dropped out of the course since it started and I want to mention this against the background of an industry in Jamaica, largely run by volunteers,” said a cheerful sounding JOA President, Mike Fennell.

Fennell added that “the attendance so far has shown the commitment and dedication of the sports administrators and their focus on building a stronger foundation for the benefit of athletes under their guidance.”

The candidates have come from 11 sporting disciplines along with private, public and academic institutions. There is one high school senior among the group.

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The ASMC is being delivered in six modules and takes an in depth look at organising, managing, human resource management, finance and planning, marketing and planning a major sporting event and is offered using face-to-face, online, and field work interactions for the 106 day period and covering 75 hours of tuition.

The JOA President says he is keen on ensuring that the sports administrators “get involved in training and development based on the international standards, while having an opportunity to build the capacity of their own associations and the ASMC provides that framework. The dynamics and demands of sports management change each day and unless our leaders and managers remain on the cutting edge, then the industry won’t grow. We continuously emphasize that just as how athletes have to train consistently to improve performance, so do administrators to achieve higher standards.”

The course is now half way through and the modules which have dealt with organising, managing and human resource planning are now complete. Candidates are also involved in cross training and for the rest of this calendar year, will attend each other’s sporting associations’ meetings to observe proceedings.

Fennell himself was one of the guest presenters and another JOA stalwart, Compton Rodney will zone in on the accounting and budgeting areas to be discussed in the next module. JOA, director, Yvonne Kong, under whose portfolio this course falls, is making plans for a second course to be offered starting April 2014.

The course director, trained by the IOC, facilitating this six-module course is Carole Beckford. She participated in the IOC programme in 2010.

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Contact:               Mike Fennell, Yvonne Kong – Jamaica Olympic Association – (876) 927 3017/8