Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Caribbean


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

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

This is the NBA’s list

This is the list of 99 who has tested positive for meldonium, the substance Sharapova has been using for ten years

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.


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.


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

Here is my recommendation to all athletes

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

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

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

Sports management and leadership going forward

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

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

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


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).


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

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.


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

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.


Posted in Uncategorized

Collaborative Governance for Minor Sports in Jamaica/Caribbean

KINGSTON, May 13  – So many cases of governance in sport have arisen over the last ten years and with regularity. There has been more scandals in sport in the last couple of years than we even care to remember. Although the sporting federations continue to earn millions of dollars and spread even wider the public trust in the leaders of the sport has taken a beating. The conference schedules for Sport Management have had way too many discussions on corruption matters and have even attracted the attention of international governing bodies and even political leaders.

The awareness is high, I believe and there is more evidence of even journalists chiming in on the corruption, doping, match fixing and related matters; the question is, is the integrity of sport being questioned. Recently New Zealand passed legislation to make match fixing a criminal offence. They did so by amending its Crime Act of 1961

New Zealand sport and recreation minister Murray McCully noted that  “New Zealand is not immune to the international risks of match-fixing, and we are taking pre-emptive steps to protect our well-deserved reputation for playing fair and the integrity of New Zealand sport,” 

The Caribbean region has come up short with that type of legislation and efforts are now being made to fix that through, an initiative lead by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). The process of collaboration will be revealed soon. 

The issue of governance takes on a different meaning depending on the region of the world you are in, but the issue of doping, match fixing and even scandals are common anywhere. From an athlete accepting an inappropriate gift to being caught with performance enhancing steroids, those are matters which directly affect the integrity of any sport and by extension its management and leadership.

The solution of collaborative governance is worth exploring as a way to minimize some of those matters as regions attempt to sanitize its own administrations. The common model looks at separate organizations with its own leadership structure focused on its own achievements; however the marketing, legal and financial needs are all similar, specifically with minor sports and maybe the time has come to consider collaborative governance. 

Research would and should form a key component to identify the needs of each sporting federation through its human resources and then address the common needs. Like in big companies some common services are outsourced, maybe those common needs could be addressed in one unit external to the federations, but based on its needs. 

Football, cricket, track and field are so far the major sports in the Caribbean and the others are minor based on the purpose of this article. Therefore the research should bear that in mind. 

This is open to a number of discussions that must begin to take place if the sport industry (worth billions) is to become a real potential for Caribbean athletes and their support teams. 

Let’s get in the game! 

Posted in Uncategorized

Jamaica has to capitalise on the opportunities in Sport

KINGSTON, April 5 – The sport business changes every day and with the competition even more fierce in the boardroom than on the field of play, one has to be aware of the ‘matters arising’. So much has changed in the last five years. It is absolutely necessary for officials to keep in touch with the trends, forecasts and proposed outcomes in the massive industry. 

Sport means different things to different people, but for those who want to have a grasp on what is going on you may want to speak to a few persons. Some of them like sport because it provides an opportunity for gambling while some simply want recreation. In examining those two different perspectives, one wants to win and that act of gambling is a game itself; while the other would like to be able to hike, walk, cycle, run a 5K, ski maybe just for fun. 

The point is though, the many areas of the sport business creates an opportunity for an entire population to participate. Here is how – the business itself focuses on value of teams, value of sponsor investment, money made from tickets, advertising through media, endorsements, sales at venues where major events are held and in more recent times the sport equipment consumers purchase as the fitness/wellness/healthy living lifestyles become more prominent. That in fact covers a wide cross-section of any population. 

In Jamaica for instance, the sporting areas most associated with any measure of success include football, cricket, track and field, netball and basketball – those attract the biggest crowds to date, hence considered major sport. If the franchise model is used, we should be able to calculate the investment made across the board in the five sporting areas in terms of 

  • national teams 
  • club and/or parish teams 
  • collegiate teams 
  • high school teams
  • other teams 

If these institutions keep accurate records, then it would not be difficult to ascertain the numbers and maybe, once and for all we may just be able to start offering better estimate of what the Jamaican sporting industry really does value. I have deliberately left out horseracing which can be addressed at some other point. Needless to say though its figures would surpass all the ones listed previously. 

International Trends 

Plunkett Research in the USA states that Sports are big business. Combined, the “Big 4” leagues in America, the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Baseball (MLB), bring in about $23 billion in revenue during a typical year, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. U.S. sporting equipment sales at retail sporting goods stores are $42.6 billion yearly, according to U.S. government figures. A reasonable estimate of the total U.S. sports market would be $440 to $470 billion yearly. However, the sports industry is so complex, including ticket sales, licensed products, sports video games, collectibles, sporting goods, sports-related advertising, endorsement income, stadium naming fees and facilities income, that it’s difficult to put an all-encompassing figure on annual revenue. When researching numbers in the sports industry, be prepared for apparent contradictions. For example, the NFL receives vastly more money each year for TV and cable broadcast rights than MLB, despite the fact that MLB teams play about 10 times more games each year than NFL teams.

This contradiction though is supported by the power of a Brand – NFL has key star personalities that the MLB at this stage and even with more games the pull of the NFL is stronger. We reflect on the NBA as with the continued personality competition between Kevin Durrant and Lebron James – that is helping the NBA right now. Just reflect on when Michael Jordan retired and you will understand. The MLB in recent times has been riddled with way too much controversy i.e. Alex Rodriquez and his shenanigans have created ‘doubt’ in consumers’ minds – even though the games are still well supported, media has not been able to transfer the excitement of the game even through advertising. The MLB may best try to ‘find’ a personality to re-assert the league in a more positive way. 

The Jamaican sporting industry may lead the Caribbean in terms of what the perception is to the world and the personalities are more well known. Does the country though research its data to be able to inform its people of the opportunities that exist and how it can actually add to business and employment opportunities. The recommendations are: 

  • Tertiary level institutions should get more involved in research, development and innovation 
  • The already established officials should enhance their current base and widen scope by adding certification in related sport areas – management, science, marketing, legal 
  • Once and for all a proper stadium facility is needed 
  • Teachers’ College should have Physical Education in their curriculum to teach at the Primary level 

Jamaica’s advantage lie at the moment in the rich history of sport and the content is super-valuable. Its packaging is therefore key and with media outlets looking for unique content, maybe it is time that approach is taken. The platforms available for content are radio, television, mobile, games and big screens




Posted in Uncategorized

Physical Education – a must for Schools’ curriculum

As an advocate of the teaching of Physical Education in schools for children up to 17, I am also interested in having music be placed on that list too. There is no doubt that Jamaica’s competitive edge are in those two areas from all evidence, but I would suggest we protect the base of this body of work for sustainability and continuity. 

I am well aware that Physical Education means different things to different people but for children, parents, teachers, principals all have different perspectives and the variety of sportsmen and sportswomen have their own reasons for participating in physical activities. Expect different outcomes though as you set your goals to achieve the best results. 

Here are some obvious examples of learning that can take place during physical activities are: 

  • Fun and enjoyment 
  • Satisfaction of psychological needs
  • Satisfaction of social needs
  • Development of appreciation of fair play and general play 
  • Good sportsmanship 
  • Development of value system 
  • Improvement in human relations
  • Safety 

Taken from: Physical Education for Primary Schools by Edith Allen; Vilma Charlton; Joyce Taylor – 2009 (Chalkboard Press) 

The teaching of Physical Education in schools is part of a bigger development plan aimed at looking at and combining characteristics of children that move from adapting to specific environments to application of the skills set learnt for a more advanced situation. We tend to underestimate the power of what PE can offer, but this note is aimed at bringing about a greater awareness to all concerned. 

So much of what PE is – is really an educational course related to the physique of the human body when one learns and participates in primary and secondary schools, encouraging psychomotor learning in a play or movement exploration aimed at achieving good health – Wikipedia


Here are some strategic ways I am recommending that we can reach out to the wider community 

  • Eight out every ten primary school children should be physically activities, including those with disabilities 
  • Eight out every ten primary school children should be involved in at least two hours of physical education classes a week
  • Eight out every ten children from 11 – 17 years of age should be involved, not just in PE, but also in an extra curricular activity 

Taken from: Keeping Jamaica’s Sport on Track, Carole Beckford, 2007 – Pear Tree Press

The research information we need to gather should include use of minor games to make play comfortable but also enjoyable. Minor games will achieve that…however we ought to be able to speak to specific age groups. Who is the average five year old? etc….as the PE programme advances we can focus on strength, endurance, flexibility while as an elite athlete there is need for power, agility and speed. 

I think Jamaica is onto something big if we can focus our attention to these few details…



Posted in Leadership, Sport


Jamaica’s sport industry remains one of its most valuable and viable assets, if properly managed. It starts with some of the following 

  • recognition that sport is indeed an industry 
  • choosing the right people to lead
  • developing the most effective communication programmes to engage all its stakeholders 
  • engaging the tertiary institutions to conduct research, develop courses to enhance & evaluate programmes based on merit.


One should carefully note that a sport programme has some key components 

  • Management of resources – human, financial and physical 
  • Product Development
  • Marketing 
  • Education 
  • Evaluation 

The country has a wide range of talent in several sporting disciplines, all of which requires development. It is obvious there are some sports that have gotten far more support than the others, and by definition are designated major and minor sports. We can agree that football, cricket, track & field, netball and basketball are major; while all the others are minor. 

On the international scene however, competition has created

  • greater opportunities for professional athletes and for earning $$$
  • and for that there are those who want to damage the reputation of the sport

However, what administrators have to do is be aware of all the factors and employ strategies to ensure that the people under their care understand all the ramifications. 


I have long advocated for coordinated efforts on research, programme development, training, engagement of international partners; but paying keen attention to Jamaica’s own culture while not diluting it. The attempt by the major players in the business i.e. first world countries, is always to maintain their status-quo. If that is disturbed, there is always an attempt to “find out why”. 

Jamaica is boxing in a weight class way above its potential and if we think then that we won’t be scrutinized, then we are in for a rude awakening. What then must be a priority is 

  • Having all the facts
  • Institute meaningful programmes – social & educational to enhance the current system
  • Have research to back our claims 
  • Create economic models to make the industry work 
  • Legislate where necessary
  • Provide better infrastructure for athletes and technical preparation

The Inter-Collegiate Association should maybe see now as a time to combine its efforts with its specialties to contribute to a more meaningful sport industry. 

The worldwide sport industry’s value stands at an estimated range of 480 – 620 billion US dollars and is reportedly growing faster than national gross domestic product (GDP) rates around the world. With the framework that Jamaica has – if coordinated and managed, there is room to make the local industry profitable. 

The clear thing is Jamaica MUST employ all its resources to develop and grow its sport industry while being mindful of what is at stake. With more success comes more scrutiny. It therefore means that the stakeholders must be educated to deal with the industry from preparation to performance on and off the field of play.