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

The Business of West Indies Cricket – 2016 and beyond

Sunday, August 7 –

At a time when the Summer Olympics is happening in Brazil, world sports take centre stage and the discussions are varied. These discussions range from salaries of international stars to which sports will be in the next Summer Olympic Games. The IOC even used the opportunity to announce five disciplines which they plan to include in 2020 – these are baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing.

Also in the last week, Forbes revealed the 2016 world’s highest paid athletes. No cricket athlete is on that list. There was no cricketer in the top-100 either. In the top 50 though, basketball and the National Football League (NFL) dominated with 12 and 13 athletes respectively. Football (Soccer) and baseball each had six; while tennis had five including one female; golf, racing, boxing and track and field completed the list. The range of the salaries (without endorsements) were from a low of $26.1m to a high of $88m.

See the complete Forbes list http://www.forbes.com/athletes/list/2/#tab:overall

What does this mean for the business of cricket? What does this mean for cricketers in the Caribbean and their abilities to earn salaries they can consider competitive among their peers as elite athletes?

Cricket is in the top five most watched sports for a global television audience, however most of us know where a considerable amount of that audience comes from. What then can the International Cricket Council (ICC) do to generate interest in attracting a more varied group? Lots of points to consider.

TopTenMostWatchedSports

The real reason for this column though is to look seriously at the key success factors in the developing a cricket industry in the Caribbean and thus making it attractive to attract a wider pool of talent and corporate support to build relationships and partnerships of value.

Here is a look at some variables

  • Number of competitions regionally
  • Number of competitions internationally
  • Number of employees (athletes/cricketers) and their salaries
  • Value of corporate investment
  • Value of endorsements to athletes and teams/franchises
  • Television and media rights

The discussion has to be pushed beyond the basic, but instead really focus on

  • Who views the product
  • In what form
  • How long they view the product
  • What are the preferred forms?

Then the discussion moves to – what adjustments will the administration do to create additional value around the product?

Reach

At the moment the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has access to 300 players in tcompetition each year at several levels in and out of the region. In a move which could help consolidate the value – maybe there is a way to look at who are the most valuable players – male/female. There are clear examples how other worldwide leagues promote their elite personalities. Also those personalities have to be prepared to turn on each time on the field of play and offer consistent performances. The cliché of “cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties” is being outweighed as the competition across the board with other elite athletes makes it harder for fans to watch a game where athletes/players go scoreless today and scores 200 tomorrow…but instead should be one where players “show up” each time.

Am I asking for too much? Maybe I am, but in 2016, those are some harsh realities facing cricket as a sport and the television audience watching cricket is not as ‘powerful’ to swing the marketing dollar enough to its benefit to attract major support.

The Caribbean population is certainly not enough to generate any considerable dent in stirring the pot; however, the influence of a value-added personality who can perform on and off the field could be the start of how cricket can convert to a more lucrative position.

Over the next cricket year, the number of days would almost double from 60 in the last period to 105 and that gives the game additional opportunities for packaging; but that should and must have some star-power. Who will it be?

 

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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.

TBOS logo Small

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 Cricket, Sport

The facts about the WICB & Cameron

March 18 – Today I am also going to talk about the WICB under Dave Cameron and a team he has assembled along with the Cricket Community. He became President March 2013 and since then, the following has happened
1. There are now 90 First Class players contracted – what this means, they have a (cricket) job
2. There are 11 women who are contracted – same rule as above
3. There are 15 players who are “retained” – at a significantly higher salary than the other two groups
4. We have a number of players on pay-per-play
5. The 50-over version of the game has been expanded. This year 27 games in 18 days
6. The Regional 4Day has also been expanded – two seasons of 10 rounds of games – first time in the history of 1st class cricket
7. The CPL is the region’s T20 (yes it is) it is a partnership with the WICB – with additional salaries ranging from US$5,000 – US$150,000 per game + incentives
8. The players have windows to ply their trade overseas and the IPL schedule is open to all those who qualify
9. The deficit has been reduced and in the last Financial year which ended Sep 30, 2015 a surplus of US$3.5 million was reached
10. WIPA & WICB have a much better relationship & the astronomical legal fees have moved from 2.4 million to under 400K last year.

Let us talk about CHANGE – and the impact 116 paid players have on different economies in the region. That has to be sustained so the teams can compete with their peers worldwide.

Since 1928 – the West Indies has had 19 interruptions in tours and while we do not want to see walk outs – they happen. How we manage that going forward is key.

Some conservative figures…Cricket alone can account for anywhere up from US$100million a year of business in the region and that figure does not include athletes’ endorsements. All of our players live in the region. That can triple in three years – give it time. This is considerable based on the size of our economies in the region. This figure does not include what individual countries earn when we host a tour.

We want CHANGE – let’s be the change and play our respective roles.

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 Uncategorized

WICB made notable achievements in spite of …

KINGSTON, January 27 – Whycliffe ‘Dave” Cameron became president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) March 27, 2013. He and his team in spite of harsh economic times have delivered on a few things outlined below. There was an obvious spoke in the regional cricket body’s wheel with the tour of India (October 2014) being cut short, but some bold and innovative steps were taken.

A statement from the President on Monday stated – “Resolving the issues currently facing West Indies cricket are of paramount importance. The WICB is therefore acknowledging the process based on its constitutional rules to end the impasse between the itself and the BCCI. Following the incident, we sought advice from several levels including Prime Ministers, CARICOM and a Task Force Team at which we acted to reach a consensus. The discussions and negotiations continue and we are mindful of the impact on the cricket in the West Indies. As President, I take full responsibility, however, I am part of a team and we are working assiduously to make those adjustments in the best interest of the game. We ask for patience from the people of the Caribbean and to all our fans worldwide.”

Here are some of the achievements the team lead by Cameron has made:

  • 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)
  • CPL negotiation which has helped the current competitions being held – more money for our players
  • WICB/UTech Coaches’ Courses and in other tertiary institutions across the region
  • Umpires back on the international panel
  • Exposure to the Balanced Scorecard method of measuring KPIs incorporating all Territorial Boards and Board Members
  • Elite Team Tour – business, psychological, cultural adjustment for management and players – first ever done.
  • WICB’s valued input in the prospects for the Future Tours programme offering countries in the top eight to have more games amongst themselves
  • Appointed on the ICC Executive, Development and Nominations Committee
  • Relationship with Digicel and Scotiabank are in tact
  • Awarded ICC events
    • Annual Conference in June 2015 in Barbados
    • Women’s World Cup Tournament  for 2018
    • Under 19 World Cup 2022
  • New ICC Womens’ Championship League – providing for more opportunities for female players
  • The inclusion of our legends of West Indies Cricket in our setup – from the selectors to the dressing room.
  • Winning series against Bangladesh in the Caribbean, leveling ODI series in New Zealand, winning T20 in South Africa.  Ireland Tour 2013
  • Approved the inclusion of a Team Physiotherapist for each Franchise

The election exercise is due for March 2015 and is scheduled for Jamaica.

Posted in Advertising, Caribbean, Leadership, Sport

The Change for West Indies Cricket

KINGSTON, December 30 – When Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron realised he had to mount a campaign to former President, Julian Hunte, he assembled a team which created a number of tools to see his way into his presidency in 2013. Cameron who had previously served on the Board of Directors of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) since 2002, was criticized in some circles for being a part of the slip of the fortunes. Cameron has expressed his views on that publicly and now in the seat, intends as he has been to lead the WICB and the Cricket into building and framing an industry.

The licensed financial broker has been around the sport for some three decades serving at several levels as a player, administrator, planner and marketer. He has academic training at the graduate and post graduate levels in Hotel Management and Management Information Systems respectively.

I have offered to present some background before I delve into the points of CHANGE.

WIPA and WICB 

When Cameron took office he mentioned his intentions to foster a more harmonious relationship with the players association as it would help in his bid to realign the Human Resource Management status of the players fraternity. His ideas would include effective leadership, inter-personal relationships and better communication generally. This resulted for example in a WICB/WIPA – annual awards, held jointly for the first time in July 2013 in T&T; that event was jointly hosted again in Kingston in July this year. In October, an elite team building tour was held and was against done in collaboration with WIPA and WICB. That team tour focused on boardroom and off the pitch activities aimed at building better rapport with management and players.

Since those events other initiatives have been pursued and the four-day professional tournament now on is another result of collaboration with WIPA and WICB. In September 2014, an ESPN Cric Info headline “WICB WIPA sign new agreement – ending years of bitter dispute… http://www.espncricinfo.com/westindies/content/story/782193.html

In a Gleaner article in October – WICB endorses WIPA http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20141016/sports/sports4.html

Dave Cameron

Close to us in the United States, the player associations while clear about their roles are created with the aim to foster relationships to the benefit of the game, and except for the fourth lockout in the NBA’s history in 2011, the player association works with the NBA on common goals. That lockout incidentally was about salaries – the structure and the division of revenue – sounds familiar? With a canceled pre-season, the league games were reduced from 82 to 66. The losses were in TV broadcast rights and fans were cheated. is that equivalent to abandoning a tour? You answer.

What was evident though is the negotiation which included the players association and the parent body which ended in the game being the winner. So the question here is, when and how can West Indies Cricket win? I should also point out that at no time a politician got involved. David Stern, the NBA Commissioner at the time along with Derek Fisher and his team from the players association handled the matter. How then can the cricket fraternity manage its affairs in a way that cricket will win.

The NBA’s rules regarding players though makes it more reasonable for players and their affairs to be managed and I am asserting that maybe the Caribbean outfit should adopt a few rules of which some commercial-minded ones be included. For example, if you have intention to play for the elite team, you must at least have one year at a college/university. Since 2006, the NBA no longer drafts high school students – they must go to College. That rule should apply in cricket and maybe some of the quality issues we have with commitment, concentration, dedication and even general understanding of the game would create an environment which players are better able to adopt to a professional outfit as their peers in other sporting disciplines – specifically for team sports.

CAMERON’S WISHES 

Cameron aimed to lead a team that managed over improved development of cricket talent, improved revenue growth, regional unity and pride. He continues on the path to lead a team to manage, monitor and reinforce ways to solidify partnerships. While the Indian Tour walk off throws a spoke in the wheel of the plans of the current administration – the fall out presents an opportunity to fine tune and implement rules and regulations for a more sophisticated yet efficient management and administration.

Maybe it is time to clean house and chart a new way forward. The management of cricket has largely been lead in years gone by with a high emotional quotient and that cannot be the basis by which a commercial model is built. Players must be selected based on results which are facilitated through regional, collegiate and high school competitions. Like any other sporting model there is a basis on which players grow and develop into their game. I would suggest that by the time they reach the selection for the elite team stage, they would have completed up to 2,000 hours of play – which represents 20 per cent of the mastery status to be achieved to be considered an expert. Malcolm Gladwell suggests in his book the Outliers that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. He went to say that “The elite don’t just work harder than everybody else. At some point the elites fall in love with practice to the point where they want to do little else.”

Cameron and Nathan

How can we match those standards with our athletes in the region, in this case the cricketers? I would add to that if you insist on playing at the elite level, CLR James’ Beyond the Boundary should be a required reading. The athletes we compete with internationally are all satisfying those standards and if we are to maintain or surpass, we must compete on and off the field.

STRUCTURE

The current management structure includes a Secretariat based in Antigua monitored and evaluated by an elected body of 12 persons from the six territories with a CARICOM recommended person and two from the private sector. That body every quarter and when required, meet to decide on the matters which may arise and look at ways to improve the management. That structure can do with an overall in a few years after the Board has come over the India walk-out hump and look at a model where a small but efficient team is paid to handle the affairs, while generating enough income to employ others in the region to operate a similar outfit in each territory.

Cricket, due to the population in India and Pakistan, is the second most watched sport on TV in the world and broadcast rights form an important part of that income. We must be creative going forward.

Cameron may be up for a challenge in March 2015 and if so, it is time to think on how his leadership has been in the last two years. His focus then was on participation, human resource management and operations, accountability and responsibility. I doubt that will change.

Moving the cricket forward on all planes is priority…

WI team

Posted in Leadership, Media, Sport

NO TEAM BUS FOR JAMAICAN TEAM

KINGSTON, December 7 – Jamaican first class players have had to car pool to go back to hotel following day three of the WICB Professional now on across the region. Jamaica is hosting at Sabina Park in Kingston.

Two sets of players were seen entering personal cars and upon inquiry we were told that a team bus has only been provided for the visiting Leeward Islands team.

A few concerned fans asked some more questions and we were reliably informed that this is happening for the second day in a row. The visiting team had access to a JUTC bus.

A director of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) who has asked not to be named has expressed “embarrassment at the situation and is hoping that the situation be adjusted in time for the final day…Monday.

“I am also concerned about the safety of the players,” the director commented and “this should not happen,” he said.

Only two days ago, with just over a year in office the JCA released a four-page list of achievements.

20141207_104544

Jamaica needs 36 runs with six wickets in hand in search of a third win.The Leeward Islands Hurricanes made 313 all out to hand Jamaica a 195-run chase.

Thomas, Campbell, Mitchell went reasonably cheap, but captain Tamar Lambert had a good knock of 45 to balance his team’s chances at a comeback. David Bernard Jr and John Campbell took the score to 160-4 in 46 overs. Campbell 63* & Bernard 33* were the not out batsmen for the home team.

You may watch live stream of the games at http://www.windiescrikcet.com