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CONTRIBUTORS INCLUDE:

B AR O N E S S TAN N I GRE Y-THOM P S ON

KE VIN PIE T E R SE N

K ATE RICHARDS ON-WAL SH

SIR MO FAR AH

SIR HUGH ROBER T S ON

SIR CR AIG RE E DIE

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SPORT | THE BREWERY

SPORT


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THE BREWERY JOURNAL The Brewery at freuds is a strategic communications consultancy. We partner with corporations, brands, governments and individuals to build and protect reputation and help them to better connect with the world around them. The Brewery at freuds was founded on the belief that good communications can make the world a better place. We exist to raise that bar.

EDITORIAL AND DESIGN: THE BREWERY AT FREUDS Editor in Chief

EDWARD AMORY

Managing Editors SAMUEL SMITH & STUART DAVIS Executive Consultants

SCOTT LANGHAM & JAMES CORNELIUS

Executive Producer

MICHAEL BODANSKY

Design and Infographics

DONYA DAVIS & ALEXANDRA ZIELASKIEWICZ

Illustrations

KINGSLEY NEBECHI

For any Brewery Journal enquiries contact: alice.barrell@freuds.com

Chairman MATTHEW FREUD

For general enquiries contact info@freuds.com Follow freuds: @insidefreuds | www.freuds.com freuds, 1 Stephen Street, London, W1T 1AL

Copyright © The Brewery (London) Ltd. 2017. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without the prior permission in writing from the owner. The greatest care has been taken to ensure accuracy but the publisher can accept no responsibility for errors or omissions, nor for any liability occasioned by relying on its content.

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6 8 14 18 22 26 32 38 44 50 58 64 80 86 90 94 98 104 108 112

Editorial The Power of Sport Tracey Crouch MP | Minister for Sport and MP for Chatham & Aylesford Twitter, Trust & Fans Kevin Pietersen MBE | Former England Cricket Captain The News of Sport Dan Roan | BBC Sports Editor Are Medals Enough? Sir Hugh Robertson | Chairman, British Olympic Association Sports as Brands Dan Johnson | Former Director of Communications, Premier League Social Impact Sir Mo Farah | Four-time Olympic Gold Medallist The Gender Gap Kate Richardson-Walsh OBE | Team GB Gold Medal Winning Hockey Captain Evolving a Sport Chris Kermode | Executive Chairman & President, ATP World Tour Sustainable Success Jo Grindley | Head of Commercial, Marketing, Communications and Events at Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) – Land Rover BAR Doping in Sport: What are the lessons? Sir Craig Reedie | President, World Anti-Doping Agency Insight The Fan Ben Jackson | Associate Director, freuds & Stuart Davis | Senior Account Director, freuds Sports Stars Q&A Dylan Hartley & Ellie Simmonds OBE Paralympic Perception Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE | Eleven-time Paralympic Gold Medallist, Parliamentarian and Chair of ukactive Going Global: The Scramble for Supporters Elliot Richardson | Co-Founder and President, Dugout The Power of Diversity Roisin Wood | CEO, Kick It Out Death of the Pundit Liam Harrington | CEO, UNILAD The Magic of Movement Sheila Mitchell | Marketing Director, Public Health England An eSports Revolution Spike Laurie | Senior Director of Global Publisher & Developer Relations, ESL 5


EDITORIAL Sport around the world plays an increasingly important role in defining the identity of its supporters. But its relationship with those supporters is changing. They are likely to be watching electronically, not in person. They may well not live in the country in which the team or individual that they follow comes from. Their support is a personal choice, but it has huge commercial implications. They have access to infinitely more information, through a greater variety of channels, about both sporting events and the stars who participate in them. Some of this information is positive – much is negative – and all of it has a direct impact on the supporters themselves, but also on the global business of sport being built around them. In this new sporting world, sportsmen and women, governing bodies, teams, politicians, and broadcasters are all struggling to redefine their roles. This journal maps this new world, and asks what changes must be made if sport is not to lose the vital emotional connection to those who watch it. Tracey Crouch – football coach, MP and UK minister – talks about the unique power of sport to bridge national and cultural barriers. She asks what must be done to protect sport’s integrity and to ensure that young people still regard its stars as positive role models. Sir Hugh Robertson, Chairman of the British Olympic Association, looks at the role that Olympic success plays in our national life, and defends the focus on winning medals. Sir Craig Reedie, whose role as President of the World Anti-Doping Agency has placed him in the eye of recent media storms, sets out how a new partnership of regulators, pharmaceutical companies and athletes can 6


protect the future of sport. Dan Roan, BBC Sports Editor,

races. Liam Harrington, CEO of UNILAD, the online

warns against regarding the media as the enemy.

entertainment platform, explains how traditional sports will need to change to adapt to a world of social media.

Governing bodies increasingly recognise the

When Ben Jackson and Stuart Davis from freuds

requirement to change. Chris Kermode, Executive Chairman and President of the ATP World Tour,

interviewed fans around the world, it was clear that the

speculates about quite dramatic upheavals to the rules of

fans were deeply conflicted about the impact of money on

tennis, including shorter matches, count-down clocks and

the games that they love. Paul Burnham, who set up the

players donning wearable technology during matches.

‘Barmy Army’ of England cricket fans in 1994, insists that

Sportsmen and women themselves also recognise the

sports must ‘treat their supporters like fans and not simply

need for change. Kevin Pietersen, the iconic cricketer,

customers’. But the definition of sport itself is changing. Spike

considers the impact of social media, and argues that more sports should consider putting microphones on

Laurie, who works with ESL, the world’s largest eSports

players. Kate Richardson-Walsh, the gold medal winning

firm, describes a new era in which fans come to stadia to

British hockey captain, argues that female sports stars

watch competitive video gamers. But they face the same

should get a better deal, and have a responsibility to

core issues of trust; ESL is a founding member of the

speak out on important causes.

ESports Integrity Coalition. This is an era of tumultuous change in sport, and this

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has used her position as a disabled athlete to help bring about change,

journal charts some of that journey. It’s not yet possible to

as has Ellie Simmonds, the swimmer. Roisin Wood, CEO

see where it will end, but some trends are clear. The freuds

of Kick It Out which tackles discrimination in football,

insight research at the heart of this publication makes

believes that the commercialisation of sport has helped

it clear that falling trust in sport could undermine its

limit discrimination, because brands don’t want to be

commercial success. One in three Britons has less faith in

associated with bad behaviour. Sheila Mitchell, from

the industry than a year ago; nearly a third of football fans

Public Health England, argues that brands working with

say that they are less likely to buy merchandise as a result

sports can positively impact a nation’s health.

of declining trust. Integrity and profits go hand in hand.

The tension between sport as emotional and athletic

But there is also a positive message. Sir Mo Farah

exercise, and as a commercial proposition, is explored

discusses using his profile to criticise the travel ban

by several contributors. Dan Johnson, who was until

proposed by President Trump. As he says: ‘I’m not a

recently the Premier League’s Communications Director,

politician and my place is on the track, but that was a

says that it is time everyone associated with football

moment I needed to speak up’.

accepts that they are a brand as well as a sport. Jo

It’s a reminder that the uplifting power of sport goes

Grindley, the Chief Marketing Officer for BAR Land

far beyond the track and the pitch. Sport at its best is a

Rover, which has been challenging for the America’s Cup,

celebration of the best of humanity; this journal explores

talks about building a sustainable business and winning

how to keep it that way. 7


THE POWER OF SP OR T TRACEY CROUCH MP MINISTER FOR SPORT A N D M P F O R C H AT H A M & AY L E S F O R D

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Sport is always a bit like a rollercoaster. As fans, we go through breathtaking highs and crushing lows as we support our national teams and back clubs and individual athletes. We revel in the victories and cope as best we can with the defeats and disappointments, some of which remain etched in our memories for decades. As a Tottenham fan I am barely over our capitulation to Coventry City in the 1987 FA Cup Final. But in the past few years the rollercoaster that sport has been on has felt even more heady than usual. We have had huge highs, like London hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 and TeamGB’s and ParalympicsGB’s sensational medal hauls on home soil. These were then surpassed quite remarkably four years later in Rio – the first time a host nation has done better at a subsequent away Games. There have been incredible football stories too. Few people at the start of the 2015-16 season would have tipped Leicester City to become Premier League champions, but they did: a remarkable achievement. Wales making the semi-finals of the European Championships last summer brought a nation together in what was an inspirational run. And Manchester City’s Women’s Team winning a domestic double last year was exceptional. The continued growth in women’s sport in Britain has been hugely positive too. England’s football, rugby and cricket teams are all enjoying success, the structure around women’s sport is becoming more professional, and participation at the grassroots is on the rise – helped by campaigns like Sport England’s “This Girl Can”. But there have been notable lows in sport as well. Recently, it has felt that sport has lurched from one high-profile crisis to the next, with much of the drama playing out off the pitch, court, track and road. The corruption scandal at FIFA was extraordinary and led to criminal investigations that are still ongoing, and the long-overdue end of Sepp Blatter’s reign. There were also match-fixing allegations in tennis which have led to tighter controls being brought in to better protect the sport. Athletics has been rocked by the Russian doping scandal, after Professor McLaren’s explosive independent report for WADA lit the blue touch paper and helped uncover widespread doping in Russia. This saw their athletes banned from international athletics competitions and then the Paralympic Games. It hasn’t been plain sailing on home shores either. Questions are being asked, and an independent investigation has been launched into the culture within British Cycling, amid allegations of sexism and bullying. The full findings of the investigation are yet to come out, as I write this, but it is expected to make tough reading for many involved in the sport.   But do all these controversies and governance issues really matter to sports fans? The ones who tune in, cheer on the athletes as medals are won and embrace major tournaments like football 10


TRACEY CROUCH MP

FORMER FIFA PRESIDENT SEPP BLATTER, NOW BANNED FROM FOOTBALL, IS STILL BEING INVESTIGATED OVER ALLEGATIONS OF BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION 11


“The fact is that sports stars are role models, whether some like that tag or not”

World Cups with such enthusiasm? Do they really care

models, whether some like that tag or not. Their hard

about the stuff that happens off the pitch and away from

work, sacrifices and dedication are qualities that children

the cut and thrust of competition? I think the answer is

can learn from, teaching them important life lessons.

an emphatic yes.

So when there are questions raised about sport’s

Sport is something that millions of people around the

integrity, allegations about corruption and concern about

globe put their faith and hope in. It provides an escape

the way sport is governed – it matters.

from the daily grind of life and has a unique power to

If sports fans lose faith in what they see in front of

bring people together from different cultures, countries,

them, if they don’t trust those that run sport or believe

and continents. Therefore upholding the integrity of

it to be corrupt, then the consequences will be hugely

sport and helping to ensure it is governed properly is of

damaging. Broadcasters and all-important sponsors could

the utmost importance.

choose to walk away. Fans could turn their back on sport,

Young people look up to and idolise professional

leading to attendances and television viewing figures

sports stars, marvelling at their incredible talents and

declining sharply. Young people who look up to sports

achievements. The fact is that sports stars are role

stars will look elsewhere for their idols and inspiration. 12


TRACEY CROUCH MP

In today’s fast-moving digital world sport is

Olympic Committee, the federations that represent both

competing with a whole host of other interests for young

Summer and Winter Olympic sports, the Commonwealth

people’s attention, and it is vital that sport has its house

Games Federation, the United Nations Office of Drugs

in order and sends a message: that corruption and

and Crime and the Organisation for Economic Co-

cheating have no place here.

operation and Development.

In the UK, we are doing our bit to ensure that

It is vital that collaboration happens on an

happens. We want our sports governing bodies to lead

international scale so that we can best tackle the threat of

the way on good governance – helping to show what best

corruption in sport, and the UK government will continue

practice looks like – which can then be replicated in other

to play a leading role in this area. It is a shining example

countries overseas.

of our commitment to an outward-looking global Britain

This is why last autumn we launched the Code for

which works with allies and partners to shape decisions

Sports Governance in the UK, which will ensure that our

across the world.

sports governing bodies are world-leading in this area.

Of course, sport will always have that rollercoaster

This is about sports bodies being more transparent and

feeling to it, with dreams fulfilled some days and

accountable, with improved gender representation on

disappointed on others. It is the sense of the unknown

boards to help shape sport at all levels in the UK – from

that gives sport its unmistakable drama. However, I hope

the grassroots to the elite.

in the future the drama is solely provided by the athletes

We have been clear with governing bodies that if they

and teams in competition, rather than controversies that

do not become compliant with the code then they will

bring sport’s integrity into question.

have public funding withheld, and we will channel that

Sports fans the world over deserve nothing less and

investment through other organisations that do have the

all of us that work in this fantastic sector have a duty to

highest governance standards. Community sport projects

ensure that fair play, integrity, and all of the positivity

will not suffer as a result, but it will be organisations

that comes through sport prevails.

other than governing bodies that deliver the work on the ground to encourage participation. This push on governance came off the back of a major consultation of sport administrators led by UK Sport, the body which supports Britain’s elite athletes across Olympic and Paralympic sport, and Sport England which invests in community sport to encourage mass participation. It found that 98% of 200 organisations questioned, felt that sports bodies should be more transparent, and 78% agreed that there needed to be increased diversity in bodies that receive public funding. I am very pleased with the positive, proactive response we have had from the governing bodies. The majority have drawn up strong plans to improve their governance and become compliant with the code by the end of October this year. As well as this work on home soil we are also working with stakeholders internationally to help improve sports governance across the world. At the global Anti-Corruption

Tracey Crouch is a British Conservative Party

Summit held in London last May the International Sports

politician and MP for Chatham and Aylesford,

Integrity Partnership was formed – an initiative that

having won the seat in the 2010 election. She

is bringing together governments, international sports

was made Minister for Sport in 2015, and is a

bodies, and relevant global organisations to strengthen

qualified FA football coach, managing a youth

efforts to tackle corruption in sport.

girls' football team alongside her Parliamentary

The Partnership has buy-in from the International

commitments. 13


TWITTER, TRUST

& Fans

KEVIN PIETERSEN MBE FORMER ENGL AND CRICKET C APTAIN

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Kevin Pietersen MBE

Do you know the biggest

lot more reserved and closed-off. A

pressure on sports stars today?

lot more in your bubble. I’ve been

Social media. Every time you finish a match, you’ve got thousands of people commenting on everything you’ve

burnt that many times I just totally close it off. Recently in Melbourne, I was approached by a British tennis

done. As soon as I turn on my phone

player who wanted a picture. To be

at the end of an innings I’ve got that

honest, I was absolutely hammered

instant feedback from the public –

and had been on the drinks since

whether it’s been a good innings or

lunchtime, so I barely remember it

a bad one.

happening! But I have had a rule

That brings new pressure we just didn’t have when I started

for many years that I won’t pose for a single picture with anybody if

playing, and if you’re having a bad

I’ve had too many drinks, and that

time on the field it can really get to

occasion was no different.

you. I’ve played for different teams

The next day I find out that

across the world and social media is

he’s criticised me on Twitter for not

absolutely massive everywhere. No

giving him a picture. What can you

matter what players say in public,

do? I’ve been stung before by that

most are really, really conscious of

type of thing - finding myself on the

what is being said about them on

front pages of the paper and getting

Twitter, Facebook and the rest.

fined by the authorities. That’s why

Social media is actually much bigger than traditional media now.

rules are rules! Just look at what happened to

When I was in Australia playing and

Wayne Rooney when he went to that

commentating for the Big Bash we

wedding and the guests sold the

had 12 million people watching our

pictures to the tabloids! Rooney is

videos on Facebook every single day.

someone we should be celebrating

Compare that to the matches on TV,

– an absolute legend – but instead

where we’re happy if we get over a

we’re hammering him for letting his

million people. It’s mind blowing.

guard down and having fun. That’s

But criticism isn’t the only

the danger of social media – it

stress for athletes when it comes

means athletes have to be suspicious

to social media. The smartphone

and can’t let their guard down with

has been a total game changer and

fans in the ways they did years ago.

while they’re great in many ways (I

Another rule is to be super

go crazy when I can’t get my 4G for

careful when using social media.

Instagram!), they have built a real

Politics, money, race and religion

barrier between players and fans.

are all things that I’ve learned you

To be honest, because of

should probably just leave alone –

smartphones I walk around thinking that every single person is basically a journalist now. You have to be a

they are too risky. Having said that, I still absolutely love social media! As a sportsman

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KEVIN PIETERSEN BATTING FOR THE MELBOURNE STARS – WITH HELMET CAMERA AND MICROPHONE - DURING THE 2017 ‘BIG BASH’ IN AUSTRALIA

with a big global following –

rhinos. There’s only about 20,000

impact has been huge: equivalent

especially in the UK, Australia and

rhinos left and if we don’t do

to millions of dollars’ worth of

South Africa – I have an important

something to stop the poaching

marketing, all for free! That’s what the power of sport can do.

role to play in engaging with fans, but

and murder then they will become

also speaking out on issues I really

extinct. That’s something we cannot

care about.

allow to happen.

As a South African by birth and someone who was brought up in

Take golf, which is a huge passion of mine. Every single golf

From that first trip, I thought, “How can I help?” How can I use my

tournament should have players who are mic-ed up, so that the

Africa, safari and wildlife has always

profile to help the campaign and

been a big part of my life. You are not

raise money? What I’ve discovered is

throughout their rounds. It’s like

born in Africa, Africa is born in you.

that social media is absolutely vital.

when you watch rugby and hear

About three years ago, I went on a conservation trip with [former

Out in Australia I decided to put

commentators can speak to them

the referee talking to the captains.

rhino stickers on my cricket bats

Those moments when you see

South African wicketkeeper] Mark

to raise awareness of the campaign,

things that are happening in real

Boucher’s Legacy charity, which

and then used my social media

time and you’re thinking, “What is

campaigns for the protection of

profiles to amplify everything. The

that guy doing?” Technology means

16


Kevin Pietersen MBE

“The impact of social media has been huge: equivalent to millions of dollars’ worth of marketing, all for free!”

you find out in real time and that’s part of the experience. I’ve been mic-ed up when I’m

here to entertain, so we need to

first two sets and then I was out at the

bring the fans closer to the game.

bar for a couple of sets and then I was

We need to try new things and

back in. It is just too long.

playing cricket. Even if I’ve been

not be afraid of what some critics

playing badly or I have a bad knock,

might say. We have to build that

things up. It’s about being bold,

I understand that the average fan

engagement with our fans, to give

embracing new technology and

might occasionally swear too. If I

them a reason to watch.

nick off for nought and I’ve got the mic on, well that’s just life! I’ve had

We also need to think about the

We shouldn’t be scared to shake

taking risks – that’s how we change sport for the better.

format of our sports – how can we

other occasions where I’ve been

make them faster, more exciting

chatting to the commentators while

and more entertaining? Golf and

I’m batting and I say to them, “Right,

tennis are things that could definitely

Kevin Pietersen MBE is a South African-born

if he’s gonna bowl the ball there, I’m

change. I watched Federer recently at

English professional cricketer. He plays cricket

gonna hit him there”. That gives the

the Rod Laver Arena for three-and-a-

for a number of twenty20 franchises across

fan an unbelievable insight.

half hours and I was like, “Dude I’m

the world as well as working as a broadcaster

outta here!” I went and watched the

and expert pundit.

Sport needs to realise that we’re

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DAN ROAN BBC SPORTS EDITOR 18


DAN ROAN

These are truly extraordinary times for sport,

had failed a drugs test for Meldonium did not enable

and for those of us in the media trying to cover

her to avoid a two year suspension, but she did seize

the relentless news cycle it generates.

the PR initiative and took early control of the narrative.

Since becoming the BBC’s Sports Editor in late

Lucrative sponsorship contracts may have been

2014, a significant proportion of my time has been spent

preserved as a result.

reporting on a variety of governance, corruption and

While presiding over the FIFA corruption scandal,

doping scandals.

former President Sepp Blatter went into siege mode,

Increasingly political, commercial and (of course)

refusing to engage with the media for months. By the

legal, sport has regularly been brought into disrepute,

time he did, it was way too late – the crisis had engulfed

and hence finds itself under more scrutiny from

his organisation and he was forced to step down. Even

journalists than ever before.

some of FIFA’s sponsors, previously silent for so long,

At times of crisis, it is easy to regard the media as

recognised the need to take a stand and speak out. Closer

the enemy. But while it may be tempting to put up

to home, Roy Hodgson was reluctant to front up to the

the blockades and remain silent, it has arguably never

media after England’s dismal defeat to Iceland at Euro

been more important for sports institutions to properly

2016, telling me and other journalists gathered at the

communicate. Sports leaders, once granted autonomy

team’s Chantilly base for the now-traditional post-

and trusted to self-govern, are no longer afforded such

mortem, “I don’t know what I’m doing here”.

a privilege. The spectacular downfalls – to varying

His disappointment was understandable, but

degrees – of athletes like Lance Armstrong, Oscar

the manager came across as evasive and even a little

Pistorius, and Tiger Woods, previously regarded as

disrespectful towards the many fans who had spent

almost untouchable at the height of their fame, have

thousands of pounds supporting a failing team, and who

helped ensure that deference has been replaced with

wanted answers. When the FA parted company with

scepticism. Fans, sponsors, regulators and government

his replacement Sam Allardyce after just one match in

are all more informed and expect transparency. Ticket

charge – following an undercover newspaper sting – the

sales, public funding, commercial deals and reputations

Chairman Greg Clarke made himself available to the

are all at stake.

media just hours after the news broke. This helped their

Last year, with a state-sponsored doping scandal

reasoning and decisiveness was part of our coverage that

intensifying, the Russian government granted me

evening. Alternatively, the FA were seen to be way too

exclusive access to the infamous Moscow lab where the

slow to properly respond to the shocking child sex abuse

astonishing conspiracy had begun, and also gave the

scandal that exploded a few months later.

BBC some time with the country’s under-fire Sports

But the choice of how to communicate is also

Minister. It did not prevent many Russian athletes being

important. When former rider Sir Bradley Wiggins

banned from the Rio Games, of course, but at least it

first reacted to the controversy over his use of banned

demonstrated a degree of openness, and a willingness to

medication before major races, he spoke, not to a

answer some tough questions.

cycling reporter, or even a sports journalist, but to a

Similarly, tennis superstar Maria Sharapova’s

political one: Andrew Marr. That may have ensured a

carefully crafted admission on live television that she

slightly less forensic interrogation, but it also backfired,

19


BBC SPORTS EDITOR DAN ROAN BROADCASTING FROM RIO

“SOME IN SPORT SEEM TO FORGET THAT JOURNALISTS ARE NOT FANS OR COMMERCIAL PARTNERS”

with some of the more technical questions not asked and therefore left unanswered. His second broadcast interview – months later, to “Soccer AM” – was even less productive. The influence of broadcast rights, an issue peculiar to sport, is another thorny issue. Too often, especially in football, it determines who enjoys access. More and more interviews seem to be conducted by in-house TV channels. Sometimes this is understandable. Control is retained, and with more and more clubs resembling media entertainment businesses, there is inevitably less dependency on outside platforms.   Perhaps all this explains why some in sport often seem to forget that journalists are not fans or commercial partners. That coverage cannot always be overwhelmingly positive, and that balanced, impartial reporting is a core part of the job. The Qatari organisers of the 2022 World Cup, for instance, may not like it but the media will – and must – continue to ask questions about promised reform of the country’s controversial labour laws. And welcoming such scrutiny – rather than withdrawing access to journalists who dare to cover such issues – can go a long way to convincing the world that progress is being made. 20


DAN ROAN

In terms of broadcast news, sport traditionally propped up the running orders of TV bulletins – the “and finally…” item. No longer. With London 2012 acting as something of a watershed, sport has gone mainstream. It now regularly provides the lead story for the BBC’s flagship News at Ten, something unheard of until relatively recently. And while scandal and intrigue sells of course, it is not just bad news that cuts through. TeamGB, ParalympicsGB, Wales at the Euros, Andy Murray, Laura Trott and Jason Kenny, Leicester City: just a few examples of the recent British success stories that have generated remarkable levels of coverage, and provided the drama, escapism, and inspiration that make sport such a popular entertainment commodity. But in each of these cases, the media has been handled positively,

SEPP BLATTER HAS BEEN PERSISTENTLY DOGGED BY CLAIMS OF

honestly, and as a friend rather than a foe. 

CORRUPTION AND FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT

Social media now provides a platform for those in sport to develop their brands, tell their stories, and directly reach their fans. Sport sells. But this is about more than just money. American football star Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest against racial Premier League supremo Richard Scudamore has

oppression challenged the assumption that in an age of

admitted such a revolution is highly unlikely to happen

lucrative endorsements and anodyne interviews, athletes must remain neutral and somehow removed from society.

in England, where clubs still retain a sense of paranoia

Certainly, Donald Trump’s presidency may make more

around certain sections of the media, and prefer to keep it

US sports stars feel like they need to reveal their opinions.

at arm’s length. One need only recall the surprise that met

Basketball star Steph Curry recently felt the need to make

an exclusive interview the BBC conducted with Raheem

clear his disapproval of Trump’s policies after the CEO

Sterling in 2015 about his frustration at former club

of his sponsor Under Armour praised the new President,

Liverpool FC. A footballer being this open and honest

sparking calls for a consumer boycott.

about how he feels is still regarded as a rarity. Punditry and commentary may be an increasingly

By having the courage to make public her fears that she had been the victim of sexism, cyclist Jess Varnish

regular career move for sports stars once they hang

has raised some very important questions for the whole

up their boots, racket, or spikes. But the days when

of British sport, forcing it to ask whether medals have been

journalists and sports stars mixed socially and enjoyed

won at the expense of welfare. And at a time when the vast

a relationship of mutual trust and respect appear over.

amounts of money in sports has meant clubs and athletes –

Sports and the media may need each other more than

and their communities – seem further apart than ever, the

ever. But this special relationship still requires work. 

media is a crucial means of bridging that divide. And yet there is still a reluctance – a nervousness to let the media get too close. Despite paying billions to secure live TV rights, Sky and BT can only imagine the kind of access to players and managers that their counterparts covering US sport enjoy. There, journalists

Dan Roan is the BBC Sports Editor. Dan covers

are welcomed inside the locker-room to conduct

both major events and news stories, and has

interviews after each and every match, and the idea of

reported from the biggest tournaments around

banning reporters for writing critically would rarely be

the world, including football’s World Cup, the

even considered.

Rugby World Cup and the Olympic Games.

21


ARE MEDALS ENOUGH?

SIR HUGH ROBERTSON C H A I R M A N , B R I T I S H O LY M P I C A S S O C I AT I O N PHOTOGRAPHY ANDY J RYAN/BOA

22


sir hugh robertson

We live in interesting and uncertain times.

perform better in an Olympic Games than the one they

Anti-establishment candidates are thriving

just hosted.

across Europe and in the United States. At

I believe that success of this kind is good for the

home we face Brexit and there are fundamental

country. It inspires people young and old and makes the

and far-reaching questions to be answered in

country feel better about itself and its place in the world

health, education, social care and about the

as a successful, outward-looking nation. It opens doors

Union. In sport, questions around doping,

and provides a new platform from which to develop sport

governance, integrity, funding, and the value

and generate commercial opportunities at both high-

of sport in a modern society seem to dominate

performance and community level. To put it bluntly, if

every conversation and much of the press and

we give it up, or lose focus, we will soon look back with

broadcast coverage.

wistful eyes and a heavy heart at this golden period for

Yet amongst all this, it is worth remembering that

British Olympic sport.

British sport has rarely been such a success story. In

However, with success comes scrutiny. Since the 65

the Olympic world, in Rio, just under a year ago, the

medals in London and (more so) the 67 in Rio, British

collective efforts of our national governing bodies and

sport has become the subject of heightened examination.

their extraordinary athletes saw one of the greatest

Many of the questions relate to how and why our nation

results in the history of sport in our country.

has sustained success, but an increasing amount are now

A total of sixty-seven medals, golds in more sports

angled towards the value of high-performance sport.

than any other nation, and the first country ever to

It seems the better we become at winning medals

BRITISH SPORTS STAR JESSICA ENNIS-HILL IN ACTION

23


the more we are inclined to ask why

by the high-performance system

the winning of medals. They are part of a wider system that encompasses

it matters. Not just why it matters,

through its talent scouts. They will

but does it matter more? Does it

also doubtless have been inspired

the Home Country Sports Councils,

matter more than the health of the

by someone who went before them

whose job is to increase participation.

nation? Does it matter more than

– people who enjoyed success at the

Yet, like the BOA, they do

facility provision? Does it matter

highest level and left a mark on a

understand that being integral to

more than grassroots participation?

young mind.

I believe that the choice between the two is a false distinction.

the system – from grassroots to

So yes, success does matter. Capturing “inspiration” and turning

Success at high-performance and

it into qualitative and quantitative

community level are two sides of

evidence is, of course, the challenge.

Olympic standard – means there is a wider responsibility upon us all. That is why the athletes funded by UK Sport have done

the same coin and both are integral

At the British Olympic

parts of a cohesive national sports

Association, we are taking fresh

engagements and volunteering

tens of thousands of community

policy. Never once have I met

steps to tell this story. Just days

hours: in schools, at local clubs, in

anyone in the high-performance

after the Olympic Games the ‘I

prisons and with young people. This

network that does not understand

Am Team GB’ event – run in

interface is where social impact

the importance of improved health

conjunction with The National

becomes a reality.

and lifestyle education, new gyms,

Lottery, UK Sport and ITV – saw

tracks or pools, or indeed getting

nearly one million people take part

more children to try sport.

The BOA’s youth engagement programme, Get Set, has reached

in some form of physical activity

6.5 million young people since

across Olympic and non-Olympic

2012 through programmes based

everyone in elite sport was nurtured

disciplines. Three months after the

on the Olympic and Paralympic

through the sporting ecosystem, in

event, 56% of those who took part

values and sport. The Road to Rio

youth teams, school teams on local

confirmed they were doing more

programme saw young people

parks and pitches, with amateur

exercise and activity as a result.

virtually travel the distance to

The reason for this is that almost

coaches, through family support, before eventually being enveloped

The job of UK Sport – the UK’s elite sport funding body – is to fund

GB OLYMPIC CYCLIST PHILIP HINDES CELEBRATES ANOTHER WIN

24

Rio through undertaking physical activity, and 71% of teachers agreed


sir hugh hugh robertson robertson sir

GB OLYMPIC SAILING TEAM

the programme has contributed to

continuous campaign of ongoing

increasing participation in physical

engagement. We are exploring how

activity. Underpinning this are the

Team GB’s attraction can encourage

faces these young people recognise:

people in our city centres to take

the likes of the Brownlee brothers,

10,000 steps around their favourite

gymnast Amy Tinkler and boxer

shops, or turn a train journey into a

Nicola Adams.

cycle ride or brisk walk.

We understand that success at

Of course, all of these things can

an Olympic Games is in itself not

be done in isolation but they work

enough, but our data shows that by

more effectively if supported by the

harnessing the inspiration a Games

nation’s Olympic and Paralympic

can provide we have added great

heroes. Success brings with it great

benefit to society. London 2012 saw an extra 1.8

national pride, a sense of achievement, confidence and capability.

million people take up sport in the

The fusion of world class

period from which it was awarded

performance and increased long

in 2005 through to today. Some

term participation in sport is not an

question this, or state that it is not

either-or choice, they are completely

enough, but do not underestimate

complimentary.

the scale of such a task at a time

“WITH SUCCESS COMES SCRUTINY”

The concerns associated with

when the distractions of the digital

the drive for a winning culture that

age and alternative entertainment

have been highlighted in recent

activities have never been greater.

months must be addressed – and

British Olympic Association and previously

we believe they are – but we must

Minister for Sport. He was knighted for his work

continues to grow and we are

ensure we do not abandon a world

on the Olympics in 2012, where, as Minister, he was

developing strategies to move

class and proven model for success.

responsible for the day-to-day running of both the

The ‘I Am Team GB’ concept

this from a one-off moment to a

Sir Hugh Robertson is the Chairman of the

2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. 25


26


DAN JOHNSON

Sports as Brands

DAN JOHNSON FORMER DIRECTOR OF CO M M U N I C AT I O N S , PREMIER LEAGUE 27


Some years ago, the Premier League was asked to

but other activities like music and dance, as well as links

enter an industry award category as ‘Brand of the

to education and employment services. It has had a

Year’. We were quite taken aback to be seen in

positive impact on tens of thousands of young people’s

the same category as some of the biggest brands

lives. However, the best way to get across the overarching

in global sport – the likes of Nike and Adidas –

narrative that Premier League Kicks improves young

hugely successful companies who have marketed

people’s lives is to tell their stories. The device we chose

lifestyles, movements and values as well as

is personal and creative; getting clubs to nominate their

running shoes and training kit.

Kicks Heroes and then bring their stories to life through

The other reason we were sceptical about accepting

animation. It has been a great success with clubs and the

the invitation to enter a brand category is because

media really bought into it, which then allows us to sell

football clubs, leagues, and associations are phobic

in the scale of what the programme has achieved with

about the “b” word. The rogue deployment of “brand” –

secondary and tertiary messaging.

explicitly or implicitly – from a football suit can solicit

Similarly, the tenth anniversary of Premier Skills –

an extreme reaction from fans, some of whom deride the

the lead international programme, which runs across

commoditisation and commercialism associated with

26 countries and delivers coach education and English language skills in conjunction with the British Council

modern football.

– was marked with a photography exhibition. The

But is the concept of being a brand such a terrible

exhibition brought together strong, beautifully shot

thing? The power of brands to inspire and engage is universally recognised. The ability to hold brands to

images conveying the reach, impact, and emotion of

account for everything from customer service (or fan

what the programme has achieved so far, as well as the

engagement as we would have it) to their commitment

legacy left in those countries. The above examples perhaps speak to the

to CSR has never been greater, as the stinker of a letter

“surprising truths” about the Premier League, yet at the

to a faceless department has been replaced by an acerbic social media post for all to see, with a call to action that

same time they are central to what the organisation

lands in the mainstream media.

stands for. The recent work that has been done around developing a new visual identity, tone of voice

Should sports be reappraising themselves in the context of brands? Being clear on what you stand for

and values are essential to how the Premier League

and why; explaining why you engage in a broad range

continues to develop as a sporting competition and as

of activities, not just cataloguing them; connecting with

an organisation. The increasing equity of reputation and what

the full-range of fans, from hardcore to connected, but

people want their choices in life to say about them

not yet committed, in an open and conversational way is

– whether it’s the car they drive, what media they

crucial for sports brands. The same issues present themselves for modern

consume or what football team they support – is

brands as sports – relevancy, transparency, potency and

fundamental to the future success of businesses. People want to feel good about their choices even

accessibility.

if it is the case, as it is in football, that those choices are

At the Premier League we tackled this head on. It is not that we suddenly woke up to the fact that we needed

limited – who you support is often a quirk of birthright

to stand for these things; many of the elements that prove

or geography. The depth and commitment of support can

our brand attributes are activities central to what we and

vary wildly though. Clearly, we want to remove as many

our clubs have been doing for years. Two of the stand-out

barriers as possible to whole-hearted commitment.

programmes, Premier League Kicks and Premier Skills,

The launch of Premier League Primary Stars this

have just turned ten years old.

season was the biggest social intervention programme

However, the way we celebrated these was not with a

beyond football participation. The aim of the

blizzard of statistics, but individual, human stories.

programme is to make the Premier League and its clubs

Premier League Kicks is a social inclusion programme

even more relevant to primary school kids, their parents

that uses the pull of club coaches and associated activity

and teachers through the delivery of educational

to target young people at risk of offending in key crime

resources and training for P.E. teachers. The ambition

hours and areas – providing not only football sessions,

is to be in every primary school in England and Wales 28


DAN JOHNSON

CHILDREN IN A PREMIER SKILLS WORKSHOP, A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE PREMIER LEAGUE AND THE BRITISH COUNCIL, WHICH USES FOOTBALL AS A TOOL TO ENGAGE WITH AND DEVELOP THE SKILLS OF YOUNG PEOPLE

29


THE POWER OF THE PREMIER LEAGUE REACHES MILLIONS ACROSS THE WORLD

30


DAN JOHNSON

“Football clubs leagues, and associations are phobic about the “b” word”

by 2022. This is matched by the desire to

that the clubs recognise its ability to do the

have an impact that meets the needs of pupils,

right thing and help effect change.

teachers, and parents. The Premier League

Football is not immune from the

wants to be able to have a different type of

significant social forces currently at play. The

conversation with those who are connected to

sport needs to consider the impact of social

us but not, as yet, fully committed.

media consumption, piracy of content, time-

The Premier League has grown to become a central part of British culture.

poor individuals and families, and the rise of alternative leisure activities. Putting forward

People refer to something that is good as

who the Premier League is – and what it

being of “Premier League standard”. The

stands for – in a considered, structured and

breadth of society that expresses an interest

consistent way is critical to continued success.

and a knowledge of Premier League football is expanding rapidly and it is increasingly

It is time we accept that the Premier League is a brand that can use the breadth

used as the nation’s bellwether on key social

of its recognition in society to effectively

issues such as the Living Wage, disabled access

communicate its values to a global audience

and the equalities agenda. It is fortunate

of millions.

that the organisation not only recognises its responsibilities in these areas and others, but DAN JOHNSON served as Director of Communications at the Premier League from 2011 - 2017. 31


Social

IMPACT

PHOTOGRAPHY LEE MILLS

SIR MO FARAH F O U R - T I M E O LY M P I C GOLD MEDALLIST 32


Sir Mo farah

We caught up with four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah at a venue that played an important part in his career – St Mary’s University, London. Sir Mo attended St Mary’s back in 2001, after being awarded a scholarship to the Endurance Performance and Coaching Centre. 16 years later, he was back to celebrate the naming of the University’s athletics track in his honour – a recognition of the star’s achievements, which include winning four double titles at successive Olympic and World Championships, as well as an unbeaten record on the track at major international championships since 2011. Named by one commentator as “the greatest British sportsman of all time”, the past 12 months have been particularly momentous for Sir Mo – from cementing legendary status with two more gold medals in Rio, to speaking out against the President of the United States. We spoke to him about his career, speaking up for what he believes in, and his experiences with a certain Mr. Trump…

Is it good to be back at your old university? It’s great to be back! It’s a huge honour to have the track named after me – especially because it’s somewhere I put in so many hundreds of miles of training over the years! I used the facilities at St. Mary’s for ten years and have lots of good memories from my time here. Living in Oregon full time now, I do miss the UK and always love coming back to see familiar faces. The 2016 Olympics was huge for you – has it all sunk in yet? To have all your hard work pay off on the world stage is incredibly rewarding. In the run up to Rio I’d spent so much time away from my family, putting my body through hell every week just to get myself in the best physical and mental condition for the Games. For all that sacrifice to pay off was fantastic and it was great to bring home more golds for Team GB! I performed when it counted and had that bit of luck you need. But I’m very ambitious and I don’t spend too much time looking back. Rio is finished and there’s lots more to come over the next few months and years. Is there a single moment from the Rio Olympics that sticks out to you? When I went down in the 10k. That was honestly one of the hardest races of my life, and after I was tripped and hit the floor I thought it was all over. But I jumped up and dusted myself off – I had worked too hard to let it go like that, and luckily it happened early in the race so I had enough time to regain my composure and get back on track.

33


Plus, I had promised my daughter Rhianna that I would

like every newspaper covered the story! I’m just glad I

win a gold medal for her so there was no way I could

could reach so many people and lend my voice to all the

disappoint her! When I finally crossed the line, I was

millions who felt attacked by the ban – to let them know

shattered – emotionally and physically exhausted.

that they weren’t alone. If my actions played a big part in helping fight the ban then that makes me proud.

Moving away from racing, in January we saw you speak out against President Trump’s proposed

Why social media?

travel ban – dubbed by some a “Muslim ban” –

I love social media, as well as all new technology! Social

which threatened to prevent you returning to

media gives me the chance to speak to millions of people

your family in the US. Tell us about that.

all over the world at the press of a button. Instagram and

When I first heard about the policy I was furious. I was

Snapchat are my current favourites, and usually I keep

being told that I was not welcome in a country I had lived

my posts silly and fun! But for something serious like this

in for six years – where I pay taxes – a place my children

I had to express my views in writing, to get every word

call home. Even though I’m British, because I was born in

right, and that meant Facebook.

Somalia there was a real chance I would’ve been locked

Social media is a tool, and like any tool it can be used

out of the US. Nobody really knew what was going on.

for good or for bad. Facebook and Twitter help people

But this wasn’t just about me. The whole thing was

to be heard and feel represented. They’re not perfect – I

so unfair and didn’t make any sense. You can’t just ban

know first-hand that it can be difficult to drown out

people because of their religion – it’s totally ignorant and

people who just want to criticise and be negative. But

prejudiced. I wasn’t having any of it.

every high-profile person now knows that’s part of the deal with being famous. In this case, I could use social

Is that why you decided to speak out?

media to make a positive difference.

I knew I had to say something, especially because so

Plus, I was in a training camp in the middle of

many of the people affected would struggle to be heard

Ethiopia at the time so it wouldn’t exactly have been easy

by the people who matter. My success has given me an

to do interviews!

international profile and I felt the responsibility to speak up for everyone else. I said to my management team

Were you happy when you found out the ban

that I wanted to release a statement about what was

wouldn’t apply to you?

happening, so we worked together on a response that

Of course. As a father and a husband it was important

summed up how I felt. I was angry. I wanted people to

to confirm that I would be allowed home. The support

know that it was an unfair policy built on ignorance and

I got from people all over the world was fantastic and I

prejudice. Building walls between nations and blaming

think it made a big difference. But as I said at the time,

people because of the colour of their skin, or the religion

this was a bad policy based on religious discrimination.

they follow, is just wrong.

Just because I’m not personally affected doesn’t change

I’m not a politician and my place is on the track, but

that. The actions we’ve seen from US judges and all the

that was a moment I needed to speak up. At a certain

protests just show that Trump got this badly wrong.

level in sport, you’re always under the spotlight. That comes with positives and negatives of course, but it

Do you ever worry about something similar

means that I have a responsibility to my kids, and to

happening in the UK?

all my fans, to be a role model. To do the right thing.

I really hope not and I don’t see it happening. I couldn’t

Speaking out was the right thing.

speak a word of English when I first moved to Britain at the age of eight, but the country accepted me for who

Your intervention was widely covered by the

I am and gave me and my family a safe, happy place

world’s media – what did you think of the

to grow up. More than that, I was given the support

response? The response was huge and it was fantastic to get so much support. My statement on Facebook was liked

cont >>

by over a quarter of a million people, and it seemed 34


Sir Mo Mo farah farah Sir

PHOTOGRAPHY LEE MILLS 35


“I KNEW I HAD TO SAY SOMETHING... I WAS ANGRY”

MO FARAH AT ST. MARY ’S UNIVERSIT Y PHOTOGRAPHY SARAH MCKENNA AYRES

36


Sir Mo farah

to follow my dreams of running professionally. My story would not have been possible were it not for the compassion that I was shown. I am an immigrant who became a Knight – it’s crazy! But just think about the potential of all those people that Trump’s ban would turn away from the US. Think about all the amazing things they could do for the country. It would be a terrible waste. Moving away from politics, what’s next for you? Another busy season! The success I had last year was great – especially those Olympic golds – but after a win I’m immediately focused on the next race. I’ve got the World Championships coming up in London and I’d love to end my track career by repeating my 2012 success with two more golds in the Olympic Stadium. Everything I’m doing this year is geared up to the World Championships, but there are some big races before that which I’m really looking forward to. Do you plan on retiring after that? My plan is to focus on the road after the World Championships. I’ve achieved a lot in my career already, but moving from the track to longer races is a massive

“I AM AN IMMIGRANT WHO BECAME A KNIGHT – IT’S CRAZY!”

step and I will be focusing all my energy on that. Marathons are really hard, but everyone knows I don’t do things by half. I will put in the hard yards in training to give myself the best shot at success. After that, who knows?! There’s lots I want to try – whether its coaching, commentating or something else. Plus, I can’t wait to get to spend more time with my amazing family. It’s an exciting time!

SIR MO FARAH is a multiple Olympic champion and the UK’s most decorated track athlete. Mo recently became the first athlete to win three long-distance doubles at successive World Championship and Olympic Games when he won double gold in Rio 2016. Mo was knighted in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for his services to athletics. 37


38


KATE RICHARDSON-WALSH OBE

THE GENDER GAP K ATE RICHARDSON-WALSH OBE TEAM GB GOLD MEDAL WINNING HOCKEY CAPTAIN There are lots of pressures I feel as a female sportsperson. As a woman, I think you’re caught in a Catch 22 situation, where on the one hand you just want to be known for your performance and the athlete that you are. Yet at the same time, you have to work hard to gain any kind of visibility, and even to get any type of endorsement deal. As female hockey players, we often have nothing more than a stick contract, which is usually a very small amount of money. So, to change that into something more professional, and to gain more media attention, 39


“Playing sport at an elite level as a woman gives you a different perspective”

you have to do things that athletes in other sports simply don’t have to do. You have to do lots of photo shoots and media (which I actually enjoy!) – but at the same time you don’t want it to take away from what you do on the field. Serena Williams has spoken powerfully about this balance and she’s a fantastic ambassador for female sports stars everywhere. I find it interesting that she’s the greatest female tennis player of all time, yet she’s had to do things that the likes of Roger Federer haven’t in order to gain that level of fame. I try to use the media as a tool to drive the profile of my sport. If we want hockey to be seen as professional – if we want to compete for better TV broadcasting rights and more newspaper articles – then we have to work with the media to get the best for us, as well as the best for them. However, during the Olympics my teammates and I decided as a squad that we were going to come off social media altogether until the end of the tournament. That was a massive decision because we are all very active on social media and because it’s such an important part of engaging with fans. But we had a conversation as a group about the dangers of social media and the negative impact it can have. For example, some of my teammates have had comments online about how they look in a skirt, or commenting on their body shape. We weren’t prepared for that, and nobody should have to deal with that. If something like that knocks one person on the team, it affects the whole team. Our coach spoke passionately about the power of social media, and said that the best way to build our reputation was to focus everything on winning medals – not on curating an online fan base. Of course, we love tweeting and 40


KATE RICHARDSON-WALSH OBE

41


“WE SHOULD USE OUR PROFILES TO FIGHT FOR WHAT WE BELIEVE IN”

42


KATE RICHARDSON-WALSH OBE

posting on Instagram, and we love interacting with fans

money, but the more open and transparent we can be, the

and sponsors – but it’s important to know when to switch

fairer and more equal things will become. Unless people

on and when to switch off. Our gold medals show that the

talk about it, things are never going to change.

approach was the right one!

As we push for gender equality in sport we’ll create

But it’s vital to engage with fans in person too – not

a virtuous circle. As we create more role models that

just online. I’ve absolutely loved going into schools and

inspire young people with sporting aspirations, more will

talking about my background, what I was like when I

take up the game. At the start of my career, the female

was their age, and giving them the opportunity to ask

athletes that I particularly admired were Sally Gunnell

me any questions. Kids can be quite unfiltered in their

and Martina Navratilova. They are both phenomenal

questioning so they often ask me anything!

athletes, but they also used their voices and profiles to

I also believe that as female sports stars we have a

make a positive difference.

responsibility to speak out about causes or issues that

We need to change things at the top too. A recent

are important to us. We should use our profiles to fight

survey by Women in Sport found that half of Sport

for what we believe in, even if it’s just being a role model

England and UK sport-funded national governing bodies

for others to follow. When I married my partner Helen

have fewer than 30% of non-executive director roles filled

(a fellow GB Hockey player) we didn’t seek to publicise

by women. This shows that while things are changing, we

it, but just by being a same-sex married couple in an

are nowhere near finished yet. We need to keep pushing,

Olympic winning team our wedding really got people

we need more role models, and we need more funding

talking about LGBT causes in sport. I firmly believe that

and sponsorship for women athletes.

the more we can talk openly about issues and problems

Sexism on and off the field is certainly difficult to

in our society, the better a culture we can create.

tackle. But there are lots of positives that are born out

Being a successful female sportsperson and role model

of the difficulties. The way I’ve always looked at life is

is a great honour and a responsibility that I take very

that you must make the very best of every situation. As

seriously. I speak about my sexuality openly, not because

a women’s hockey team, it’s made us more driven and

I feel pressure from fans or the media to open up, but

hungry. It’s made me more flexible, more organised and

because it’s so important to be honest, open and ready to

more diligent – all the things you need to be to get to the

talk about your life and how you’ve got to where you are.

very top of your sport.

I do feel more comfortable talking about issues like sexuality and equality at this stage in my career. But it’s important to recognise that it’s not so easy for people starting out at the bottom. Speaking out can be tough, not least because when you’re part of an association or a team, you might just be giving your personal views, but people might think you’re speaking on behalf of others. But the confidence to speak out is vital to empower us to question the old ways and drive change on issues like pay. For example, I heard after the last Olympics that a female teammate was being offered four times less than

Kate Richardson-Walsh OBE is an Olympic

a male counterpart for her stick sponsorship by the same

Gold and Bronze Medal winning English field

company – even though she won a medal and he didn’t!

hockey player. She was capped a record 375

That cannot be acceptable and we need to push back

times for her country and was the England and

when that happens.

Great Britain Captain for 13 years. She currently

Of course, it has become easier for me to negotiate

serves as an ambassador for the Women’s

on pay now that I’m a double Olympic medallist, but it

Sport Trust, supports disability hockey as an

shouldn’t be the case that you can only challenge sponsors

ambassador for Access Sport, and between

as a woman when you’re at the very top of your game.

2013 and 2016 was elected to the British

We need gender parity at all levels of sports. I think that

Olympic Association Athletes' Commission and

we can tend to be quite British and dislike talking about

the European Olympic Athletes’ Commission. 43


EV OLVI NG A SP OR T

44


CHRIS KERMODE

CHRIS KERMODE EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN A N D PR E S I D E N T, AT P WORLD TOUR 45


CHRIS KERMODE AND ANDY MURRAY PHOTOGRAPHY RED-PHOTOGRAPHIC.COM

Chris Kermode’s career as a professional tennis

It has been a privilege to preside as Executive Chairman

player was played out primarily on the Satellite

and President of the ATP since January 2014. For more

circuit in the 1980s, where he reached a career-

than a decade, men’s professional tennis has been in a

high world ranking of 742. Following his playing

golden generation of players that have taken the game

career, he went into the music business, before

to new heights. The likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal,

eventually moving back into tennis, where his

Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray have attracted record

track record as an innovator and visionary

audiences on-site, on television and online as the so-called

has seen him reach the highest echelons of the

“Big Four” have captivated audiences worldwide with

administrative side of the sport. Kermode stands

titanic clashes on some of the biggest stages in world sport.

as Executive Chairman and President of the

A supporting cast featuring the likes of Stan Wawrinka,

ATP, the governing body of men’s professional

Juan Martín del Potro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and many

tennis, at a time when many believe the sport to

more, has also played a critical role, and the depth of talent

be at a crossroads. As many observers and fans

on the ATP World Tour has been phenomenal.

worldwide prepare for the end of the so-called

The sport has enjoyed tremendous growth during this

“Big Four” era in Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and

time: total prize money at ATP World Tour tournaments

Murray, Kermode explains how he is leading the

will have more than doubled in the last 10 years, reaching

ATP through a key transition period in tennis.

US $135 million in 2018. The global television viewership for the ATP World Tour has grown by more than 100% since 2008, when a number of structural changes were made to the Tour. More than one billion viewers watched ATP World Tour tennis in 2016 – a tremendous 46


CHRIS KERMODE

milestone and achievement that the

past 40 years – such as Connors,

new 21-and-under season finale

players have played a huge part in.

Borg, McEnroe, Becker, Agassi and

tournament.

But, as many fans and observers

Sampras – illustrates that. We’re

The future of men’s tennis

think ahead to life after the ‘Big Four’,

confident in the ability of our sport to

looks promising, especially with

where does the sport go from here?

continue to do that, and we believe in

such a strong group of emerging

Finding an answer to this

the strength of our global platform of

young players who come from

question is paramount. Roger and

tournaments to continue to showcase

such a geographically diverse

Rafa are two of the most iconic

the world’s greatest athletes.

stars in sporting history. Their

The reality is that the sport

spread, covering key markets around the world – from North

unexpected run to this year’s

is not going to lose the ‘Big Four’

Australian Open final produced yet

from one year to the next. It will

America, to Europe, Asia, Australia and more. The ATP World Tour is

another massive spike in audience

be a gradual process that will likely

one of the few truly global sports

reach for men’s professional tennis.

span three to five years, and that’s

properties out there, spanning 64

It’s hard to quantify precisely how

a long time in our sport. Where will

tournaments in 31 countries across

much of the growth in the sport

the likes of Kei Nishikori, Grigor

five continents, so to have a global

we have seen in the last 15 years or

Dimitrov, Milos Raonic, Nick

spread of players is critical.

so should be attributed directly to

Kyrgios or Alexander Zverev be in

Just as importantly, the Next

them, but their contributions have

five years’ time? We can’t predict

been immense, both in terms of

which players will breakthrough on

testing ground for innovation and

captivating audiences worldwide

the biggest stages, yet we can have

any potential rule changes we are

on the court, as well as leading by

confidence in the capacity of our

considering. Historically, trialling

example away from the court.

biggest tournaments to create stars

innovations or rule changes has

in years to come.

been tough in what is a traditionally

That being said, no player is bigger than the sport, and men’s tennis has an uncanny ability to

As a governing body, we have a responsibility to look towards the

Gen ATP Finals will serve as a

conservative sport. Yet I believe we have a responsibility to explore

consistently produce global stars

future. That’s one reason why we’ve

how we can change. We have a

that transcend the game. A look at

set up the inaugural Next Gen ATP

clean slate with this new event in

some of the champions over the

Finals in Milan this November – a

Milan – a rare luxury – and we

RE A S PA N S ED N E O N I T E EN DW N “AT T A TO R D E E T R R T, E PA SHO C R U P D E PRO TO B R U WE TO Y P A A D W R A U E O H T L SEL AND D N EA G T” A C K U C A D P PRO 47


“Do we need shorter sets and matches? Would countdown clocks between points add to the spectacle?”

are going to make the most of it.

and matches? Should electronic

Across everything we look at the

line calling replace traditional

objective will be to innovate without

line judges? Would countdown

undermining the credibility and

clocks between points add to the

integrity of the competition.

spectacle? Do players need such a

So, in the coming weeks and

long warm up before matches? Do

months, we’ll be asking the fans

we provide adequate player access

what innovations they would like to

at tournaments to both media and

see. As much as this event is about

fans? Should players be wearing

promoting the next generation of

wearable technology and how could

players, it’s also about determining

that data enrich the fan experience?

how to attract the next generation

How do we effectively integrate

of fans. Kids today are consuming

social media channels with more

entertainment in a completely

traditional linear broadcast rights

different way to five years ago,

holders? These are just some of

never mind 20 years ago. Attention

the questions that only scratch the

spans are shorter and we need to be

surface of what we are potentially

prepared to adapt, package, and sell

looking to address with this event.

our product accordingly.

At the end of it all, will

We expect this new event to

everything we look at be successful?

Chris Kermode is Executive Chairman & President at ATP World Tour. He has been

provide us with some invaluable

Almost certainly not. We may come

involved in tennis for over 30 years, first as a

findings, not only in terms of what

through it all and determine that

player, and then as Tournament Director of the

may work better for the product on

our rules should remain exactly as

Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club, as

court, but also for how we package,

they are. But at the very least we will

well as Managing Director of the season-

promote and sell the event and the

have had a look, and we will be all

ending ATP Finals from 2009-2013. Following

players away from the court.

the more knowledgeable for it as we

his career as a professional player, Kermode

develop the sport for the future.

worked as one of London’s top tennis coaches.

Do we need shorter sets

48


CHRIS KERMODE

49


SUSTAINABLE

50


JO GRINDLEY

SUCCESS

JO GRINDLEY HEAD OF COMMERCIAL, MARKETING, CO M M U N I C AT I O N S A N D E V E N T S AT B E N A I N S L I E RACING (BAR) – LAND ROVER BAR

51


SIR BEN AINSLIE IS AN BRITISH SPORTSMAN WHO IS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL SAILORS IN BRITISH HISTORY.

52


JO GRINDLEY

Speaking ahead of this year’s America’s Cup, we caught up with Land Rover BAR’s Jo Grindley to discover why the team places such a strong emphasis on competing sustainably.

How did BAR get started? In 2011, Ben had just qualified for the 2012 Olympics, but

programme should be, with Land Rover funding a PhD

he was already thinking further ahead and began setting

programme with Southampton University to see how we

up a team to challenge for the America’s Cup. We went to

can extract the fibres more efficiently, because we want to

Italy on a fundraising trip and he phoned the CEO of the

get to the stage where the fibres have more integrity.

America’s Cup Event Authority, Sir Russell Coutts, and ourselves a deadline of eight weeks to raise £25 million.

What lessons can sport learn from your work on sustainability?

We already had backers on board, like the entrepreneur

The key to our success in this area is that we have made

said: “I’d like to set up a team.” In the beginning we gave

Keith Mills and the TalkTalk chairman Charles Dunstone,

sustainability the core of everything we do as a team.

and we made it in time.

When you look at the America’s Cup, it’s at the very

How many people do you have working on the BAR team?

we lead the way and set an example to our fans, but also our commercial partners. Sport is such an engaging way

It ranges between 50 and 70 staff out in Bermuda,

to capture the attention of huge audiences and we are

pinnacle of the sport of sailing and it’s only right that

with the rest of the team based at our headquarters in

actively looking to work with other sports and sports

Portsmouth. So around 120 in total.

teams to further this agenda in the wider world. 

How closely are you being watched by your competitors?

Is the America’s Cup sustainable? There was a recent announcement on sustainability that

The rules say you are not allowed to shroud anything

five of the six challenging teams signed up to. We’ve tried

about the boat. So, all the other teams’ spies are there,

to dispel some of the preconceptions about the whole

whenever we go out training on the water. At our

elitism of the America’s Cup, because that is not Ben, and

Camber Quay base in Portsmouth we are surrounded

that’s not Ben’s background. So, we have school groups

by residential properties and some teams rent out flats

regularly coming through our doors to do the Land Rover

opposite us, so every time the doors open they are

engineering challenge, and we have developed something

clicking away with their cameras.

called BT Stem Crew, which is an online resource with

How important is sustainability to the team?

we do is all about forces, including lift, drag and weight,

At our first team meeting we identified sustainability as

so we put that into real life context and you can see

a key part of our strategy. We realised that you couldn’t

something tangible and understand it.

real life applications. It helps teach students that what

be a technical innovation company and not look at sustainability and the impact that you have. The two

“ALL THE OTHER TEAMS’ SPIES ARE THERE, WHENEVER WE GO OUT ON THE WATER”

naturally go together. Then we met with Wendy Schmidt, the co-founder of 11th Hour Racing, our sustainability partner. We already had a plan of what we wanted to achieve and they had a role in making that much, much bigger. Wendy said, early on: “If you are going to do it, do it properly.”  One of the biggest impacts of our work comes through the use of carbon fibre. We build our boats in carbon, but also our moulds. We are working on what the end-of-life 53


THE LAND ROVER BAR TEAM

“WE’VE TRIED TO DISPEL SOME OF THE PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE WHOLE ELITISM OF THE AMERICA’S CUP” 54


JO GRINDLEY

What have they done? Ben Ainslie Racing has 432 solar panels installed on the roof of the team’s Portsmouth HQ, providing 20% of the base’s power. Workers cycle, walk or car-share for their journey to work, and the canteen has Meatless Mondays to ensure a low carbon footprint.

Do your sponsors buy into your sustainability mission? It is part of our contract with them that they sign up to our sustainability ethos. So it’s not just lip service.  We are just a small sports team and ultimately our aim is to win the America’s Cup. We’re marrying that aim with becoming the most sustainable sports team, but we are not going to have a massive impact on our own. We need all our partners to work together and one of the projects for the Cup is to utilise the power of partnerships. For example, we have Meatless Mondays at our canteen because that can have a bigger impact than oil or cars do. But how many of our partners can also have Meatless Mondays in their staff canteen? And how many can have zero waste during that month-long period we are racing and how many can give up single-use plastics? Hopefully our partnerships will lead to behavioural change moving forwards and give people an opportunity to do some really simple things.

Where do you think the biggest gains are being made in sustainability in other sports? Formula E has gone a long way and as with any sport you need to encourage collaboration and learning. Recently I went to the Beyond Sport conference and it was really interesting to see so many sports wanting to find environmental solutions. It is true that sport has been amazing at driving social change, but it can make a positive impact on environmental issues too.

How can we build more sustainability into sport generally? The government is one of the biggest funders of sport in this country, yet there is no sustainability requirement within any bid. We need to help that process along by providing the case studies and the business plans and learnings that can be applied. That’s a big place of influence for us. 55


The Virtual Chase Boat. The team has removed the need for a boatload of racing technicians and engineers to trail the team every time it is on the water. This has significantly reduced the team’s carbon footprint, particularly given the fuel needed to keep up with an America’s Cup racing boat that can hit speeds of 40 mph. Instead, a black box housed on the boat’s wing collates all the sensor and video data and transmits it from Bermuda to mission control room in Camber Quay, Portsmouth instantaneously.

What about the America’s Cup being a sport of billionaires? That is the history of the America’s Cup, but that’s not

demographic and we can work with sporting bodies

our team. We are set up as a business, with Ben as the

around the country to show that it is an affordable option.

major shareholder. Team NZ are the ultimate commercial

We set the business up to be sustainable in the long

team, the ones we modelled ourselves on more than any

term, not just environmentally sustainable. We have

other. How do we change perceptions? We built this

always had an aspiration to look at the McLaren model as

building and we are bringing it to life, and hopefully just

they have an applied technology department, and with that

the excitement of it will engage more people in the sport

they developed their business far beyond just the sport

as a whole.

side of it. We wouldn’t have built a 17,000 sq foot building

Ben is not a billionaire and as a sportsman he has

and be working with our partners to sign long-term deals

taken a massive risk at the very height of his career.

if we didn’t want to give people continuity and confidence.

Most people choose to take the biggest cheque. As a

We would also love to grow more home grown talent

sport, sailing is keen to be seen more widely by a larger

within design engineering.

56


JO GRINDLEY

Jo Grindley is the Head of Commercial, Marketing, Communications and Events for Land Rover BAR. Jo has worked alongside Sir Ben Ainslie for 13 years, securing all his commercial funding through three Olympic campaigns. In 2011, the pair began their mission to set up an America’s Cup team to challenge for and win the trophy for Britain.

57


DOPING IN SPORT: What are the lessons?

SIR CRAIG REEDIE PRE SI DENT, WORL D ANT I-DOPI NG AG ENCY

58


sir craig reedie

59


Amidst other issues threatening sporting

WADA’s Pound Commission, and subsequent McLaren Investigation, exposed Russian state manipulation of the doping control process. It found more than 1,000 Russian athletes, across 30 sports, were involved in or benefited from “an institutional conspiracy” of doping. Russian athletes have been banned from all competitions since late 2015.

integrity, such as match fixing and illegal betting, doping remains the biggest scourge in our quest to level the playing field. As the global regulatory body, it is WADA which for the past 17 years has been responsible, along with its partners, for tackling this menace and upholding the rights of the clean athlete. It is also WADA that will continue to protect those rights by ensuring that all our stakeholders comply with the rules and spirit of the World Anti-Doping Code. WADA learned a tremendous amount from the outcomes of the Pound and McLaren investigations. In particular, the first McLaren Report necessitated a recommendation by WADA concerning athlete eligibility for the 2016 Rio Games. Certainly, governing

WADA’s compliance system would only be meaningful

bodies and sport federations have also learnt a great

and impactful if it came with consequences for those that

deal from these two investigations, not least how to

do not play by the rules. The anti-doping community

manage their respective (anti-doping) roles and how

agreed that such a system was needed to avoid a repeat of

to pursue doping cases when presented with non-

the fragmented approach that the McLaren investigation

analytical evidence of doping.

highlighted. Stakeholders agreed that, in order to fulfill

As it turns out, when we found ourselves in these

its leadership role, it should be for WADA to impose

unchartered waters, the clean sport movement has

predictable, proportionate yet meaningful consequences

turned this period around by engaging in broad dialogue

for those that subvert the rules. Only then, with revised

with our community. Over the course of several months,

rules allowing WADA to fulfill its regulatory role, would

our stakeholders publically voiced their opinions – and

organisations be deterred from becoming non-compliant

continue to do so to this day – about the world’s anti-

in the future.

doping system and how it could be improved to ensure

This new system, once implemented, would be a

that it is truly fit for the future; and how to ensure that

game-changer for the clean sport movement, and would

WADA, as the international leader of clean sport, has the

directly answer the loud call from the athlete community

ability to act as required in future.

for more meaningful consequences for those that do not

It was following a period of intense debate in

abide by clean sport. And it is the athletes, after all, who

late 2016 that the two sides of WADA – sport and

are WADA’s number one stakeholder because only they

government – rallied around the idea of an empowered

have the first-hand experience of the importance of clean

agency at our Foundation Board Meeting in November

sport, and the damage that can be inflicted by those that

2016. Stakeholders agreed a way forward for the anti-

dope and rob them of their place on the podium. WADA

doping movement, at the centre of which would be a new,

is pleased by this evolution and will continue pushing

graded sanctioning system for those that contravene

forward with the changes required to put such a system

world anti-doping rules in the future. They agreed that

into action.

60


DOPING SCANDALS, SUCH AS THE CASE OF CYCLIST LANCE ARMSTRONG, HAVE HAUNTED PROFESSIONAL SPORT FOR YEARS.

“ THIS NEW SYSTEM, ONCE

The system is only as good as the players on the pitch What we have also learnt from the past couple of years

IMPLEMENTED, WOULD

is that a system is only as good as those players on the pitch who are tasked with putting rules into action. The

BE A GAME-CHANGER

introduction of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code brought with it significant changes, including four-year sanctions for first-time doping offences, a greater emphasis on

FOR THE CLEAN SPORT

intelligence and investigations, more of a focus on the sometimes negative influence of the athlete entourage, and

MOVEMENT”

a shift towards “smarter”, more intelligent testing. Whilst these rules are beginning to make inroads in the fight against doping, the appalling breaches of anti-doping rules (exposed by the Pound and McLaren investigations) proved that if there is a lack of human will to practice those rules effectively, then the system will not serve clean athletes as it should. So, this is where WADA’s enhanced compliance monitoring programme – underpinned by a new graded sanctioning system – will work to uphold standards and reinforce trust in clean sport.

61


SIR CRAIG REEDIE

62


Sir Craig Reedie

Lessons for other stakeholders It is not just WADA and other anti-doping organisations that have learnt from the events of the last couple of years. Take the pharmaceutical industry, for example, which will reflect on the events and realise that it, more than ever, has a mutual interest (along with the antidoping industry) in preserving clean sport, and protecting its own products – whether they be on the market already or pipeline products – from abuse and misuse by athletes. Indeed, WADA has for many years forged strong ties with the leading pharmaceutical organisations such as Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Roche.

“WITH ANTI-DOPING SO

These partnerships have allowed us to identify trends of legitimate medicinal substances that are being abused or misused by athletes looking to enhance their

WOEFULLY UNDERFUNDED,

performance, and to alert pharmaceutical companies to this abuse. The partnerships have also allowed

THERE EXISTS A REAL

pharmaceutical companies to inform WADA of medicinal substances in their pipeline which might have the characteristics of a substance that could be of interest

OPPORTUNITY FOR SPONSORS

to dopers. Partnerships with these aims will only have become more important in light of recent revelations

OR BROADCASTERS TO

regarding doping in sport. As sport becomes an ever more lucrative investment proposition, sponsors, brands and broadcasters continue

CONSIDER INVESTING IN

to associate themselves with the industry in increasing numbers. As I have proposed in the past, with anti-doping

CLEAN SPORT”

so woefully underfunded, sponsors and broadcasters should consider investing in clean sport, and aligning themselves with the strong values of our industry. The past two years have taught us that there is much to consider for those with a stake in global sport. Protecting the integrity of sport is at the core of everything WADA does. Sport is an incredible tool to foster and maintain moral values, develop character and positively shape the bodies and minds of future generations. It is vital to the existence of clean sport that we continue our work in partnership with the global antidoping community, and other stakeholders, to protect and honour those values intrinsic to sport.

Sir Craig Reedie is a British sports administrator and current President of the World Anti-Doping Agency. He is also the former Chairman of the British Olympic Association (1992–2005) and a Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee. 63


PUBLIC TRUST IN SPORT

Insight

Following a string of high profile scandals across the sporting world, what impact has this had on trust levels? Do globalisation and commercialisation pose a bigger threat to the relationship between fans and their sports? 64


TRUST IN SPORT

65


THE CHALLENGE

1 TRUST IN SPORT IS UNDER THREAT: ONE IN THREE (33%) BRITONS SAY THEY HAVE LESS FAITH IN THE INDUSTRY THAN THIS TIME LAST YEAR.

2

AS WELL AS RECENT SCANDALS, LONGER TERM FORCES SUCH AS GLOBALISATION AND COMMERCIALISATION ARE IMPACTING ON TRUST.

3

DECLINE IN TRUST IS BEGINNING TO HAVE AN IMPACT: THREE IN TEN (29%) FOOTBALL FANS ARE LESS LIKELY TO BUY MERCHANDISE AS A RESULT OF DECLINING TRUST.

66


TRUST IN SPORT

The relationship between fans and sport is at

advertisers and television is clear. And the threat to the

a tipping point, and if the past year has taught

sports industry is real. For example, one in four football

us anything, it is not to ignore the seemingly

fans say recent events make them less likely to attend

impossible.

a match. The focus groups underlined the risk posed

Through a national poll and two focus groups of

by alienating fans and three in ten are less likely to buy

sports fans in Birmingham, we set out to understand the

merchandise. One participant, echoing the sentiment of

impact that recent scandals such as corruption at FIFA

many others, told us:

and doping in cycling have had on trust. However, what

“They’re a bunch of overpaid tossers. I grew up

we uncovered suggests a longer term and more serious

watching a bunch of local lads who had come from

threat to trust in sport.

nothing. Now they’re not local anymore, they don’t care.”

The important role sport can play in society is clear.

The erosion of trust, both through scandals and

More than three quarters (77%) of Britons see elite sport

global forces, means that sports must adapt to rekindle

as inspirational and 73% say the diverse backgrounds

and nurture their relationships or they risk losing

of sporting stars in the UK today is a celebration of our

relevance. And the rebuilding of trust should start from

multicultural society. Indeed, seven in ten (71%) believe

those within the industry. The research found that fans

sport is a force for good.

are looking for their sports stars, associated brands and

Crucially though, trust is integral to sport: four in

governing bodies to take action and speak out against

five (83%) Britons say trust matters when it comes to

corruption and cheating where they see it.

enjoying sport. The fact that a third (33%) of Britons say

In the longer term, understanding what people

their trust in sport has declined underlines the urgency of

look for in sport – role models, inspiration, community,

the situation.

integrity and entertainment – must be at the centre of

Two in three (65%) Britons believe that there is

any strategy to adapt to the expectations of modern fans,

a widespread problem of ethics in sporting bodies

from the die-hards to the casual spectators.

and seven in ten (71%) think match fixing, bribery and corruption are significant issues. While football, cycling and athletics collect most of the distrust, this is manifested in different ways. Athletics and cycling are associated with doping, while perceived corruption in

METHODOLOGICAL NOTE

football’s top echelons damages trust.

FREUDS COMMISSIONED OMNISIS TO CONDUCT A POLL OF

But our research also identified wider trust

2,001 BRITISH ADULTS AGED 18+ ONLINE, BETWEEN 29 TH

challenges which have a longer-term risk of alienating

JANUARY AND 1 ST FEBRUARY 2017.

followers. With 74% agreeing that sports today are

FREUDS ALSO CONDUCTED TWO QUALITATIVE FOCUS

more “concerned with making money than providing

GROUPS OF EIGHT PEOPLE INTERESTED IN OR ACTIVELY

entertainment and enjoyment for their fans”, the

INTERESTED IN TENNIS, FOOTBALL AND ATHLETICS ON 8 TH

frustration with the monetisation of sport by sponsors,

FEBRUARY 2017 IN BIRMINGHAM.

67


33% ...believe that “trust in the sport industry has declined in the last 12 months�

68


TRUST IN SPORT

65% ...think that “there is a widespread problem of ethics in sporting bodies”

69


TRUST IN SPORTS Proportion who say “do not trust at all” for each sport

“The more they earn, the less you can trust them” - FEMALE, 20-40

TENNIS

SWIMMING

RUGBY

CRICKET

ATHLETICS

CYCLING

FOOTBALL

10 13% 14% 16% 20% 26% 36% %

70


TRUST IN SPORT

DRIVERS OF LOW TRUST Proportion who consider each problem widespread (8, 9 or 10 on 10 point scale) 1

Football FINANCIALLY CORRUPT

MATCH FIXING

47% 27% 2

Cycling DOPING

31% 3

Athletics DOPING

38% 71


72


TRUST IN SPORT

“When you see people cycling so fast, you think ‘that’s amazing, that’s superhuman’. And then you find out that it’s outside influence helping them do that – it’s not just their achievements as a sportsperson – that takes the mickey” - FEMALE, 40-60

73


BEYOND SCANDALS, COMMERCIALISATION AND GLOBALISATION ARE ERODING TRUST “I see the foreigners coming in, a lot of the Chinese owners and stuff, buying the clubs is a statement for them: ‘I own an English football club’”

CLUBS ARE A STATUS SYMBOL FOR OVERSEAS INVESTORS:

- MALE, 20-40

“I’m a bit sick of it. When you let big companies buy teams, you push out the local history”

CORPORATE OWNERSHIP IS UNDERMINING LOCAL TIES:

- MALE, 40-60

“You get sponsors trying to hide scandals so I think it goes all the way up”

SPONSORS ARE COLLUDING IN COVER-UPS TO PRESERVE PROFITS:

- MALE, 20-40

74


TRUST IN SPORT

“They’re a bunch of overpaid tossers. I grew up watching a bunch of local lads who had come from nothing. Now they’re not local anymore, they don’t care” - MALE, 40-60

75


IMPACT ON SPORT 37% 33%

26%

% less likely to SEE THEMSELVES AS A FAN

26% 17%

14%

% less likely to ATTEND MATCHES OF THIS SPORT

Fans of football (955), athletics (510), tennis (693) 76


TRUST IN SPORT

29% 15%

10%

% less likely to

BUY MERCHANDISE RELATED TO THE SPORT

I don’t think I’ll ever go again... When I used to go as a kid, the atmosphere was electric. Now there’s so much money in it, it doesn’t feel real anymore - MALE, 40-60

77


THE SOLUTIONS

GO

BE PUBLIC VOICES

IN RN

G BODIES S

HO

NSORS SHOU

DEMONSTRATE RESPONSIBLE VALUES

1

Speak out against rule breakers 54%

2

Act as role models 42%

3

Encourage governing bodies to be more transparent 34%

1

Ensure independent oversight (e.g. anti-corruption bodies) 52%

2

Provide formal safeguards 48%

3

Deliver financial transparency 43%

1

Speak out against rule breakers 47%

2

Hold their talent to account 41%

3

Demand increased transparency from governing bodies 39%

U :

ENSURE CHECKS & BALANCES

SPO

UL

LD

VE

PEOPLE SHO

D:

SP

TS OR

Fans expect different actors in the industry to play their part in solving the problems:

LD

:

78


TRUST IN SPORT

WHEN SPORT WORKS...

“WIDER HIGHS AND LOWS THAN

“YOU KNOW THAT THE WHOLE OF

ANYTHING YOU’LL EVER DO IN

YOUR CITY, THE WHOLE OF YOUR

YOUR LIFE, OTHER THAN CHILDREN.

COUNTRY IS FEELING THE SAME

YOU KNOW, YOU CRY AT THE

THING AT THE SAME TIME. NOTHING

ELATION OF IT”

COMPARES”

- MALE, 20-40

- FEMALE, 40-60

71% 77% Believe that “Sport at the highest level is a force for good in society”

Think that “Sport at the highest level inspires people”

79


The Fan BEN JACKSON A S S O C I AT E D I R E C T O R , F R E U D S STUART DAVIS SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR, FREUDS

If the heart of Americana is found on Route 66,

a half-time pie. “It used to be a sport for working class

then the soul of English football lies not far from

people. Now it’s become very middle class.”

the A66.

He believes the enormous sums available to clubs and

Here, on a wintry Saturday afternoon, parents

players from TV rights - sold to broadcast English games

and children can be found strolling along the streets

around the world – have usurped the value of live fans.

of the smallest town ever to house a Premiership

In a world where Premier League scheduling is as

club. Here, passing close to the Lancashire lane where

likely to be influenced by Asian time zones as the last

the club’s owner was born, fans flock to watch a

train home, it’s no wonder Dave and Trev worry they are

team managed by an Englishman and dominated by

being neglected.

Home Nations players. A team that is determinedly

Indeed, much has been written in recent years about

unfashionable.

a growing divide between the demands and rights of

Burnley FC like it that way. Local.

fans who turn up week in, week out, and those governing

Dave and “Tricky” Trev are two friends who met 40

bodies, clubs and administrators who call the shots.

years ago after pledging their troth to their team. Trev

From rising ticket prices to players on weekly wages

Slack’s Nissan Micra, with its personallsed “BFC” plates,

higher than fans’ salaries, there are plenty of reasons why

has racked up thousands of miles over the years as these

today’s sports fans are increasingly disillusioned with the

devoted disciples of Burnley travelled the country. Dave’s

games they once loved.

allegiance goes further. He changed his surname by deed

But, as with everything in sport, it’s not as simple

poll from Beeston to Burnley, and boasts of not missing a

as that.

game in 43 years.

“No matter how much the money changes things, you

But these two “old timers” have noticed a wind of

still want to be part of it”, says Mr Burnley. He smiles:

change blowing through their beloved game.

“There is always more heart in the small clubs and the

“Football has changed,” Dave declares as we wait for

working-class clubs. It’s small-town mentality, big heart. 80


BEN JACKSON & STUART DAVIS

“IT’S THIS KIND OF LOYALTY THAT SAW MR BURNLEY CATCH PNEUMONIA THREE TIMES”

You can see from the local people what it means to be playing at this level. This is a tiny town of 73,000 people. It’s an amazing achievement.” In other words, change has not dimmed the passion, nor the pride of a community that comes together every weekend with one shared endeavour – cheering their boys to victory. That community spirit is evident in a packed working men’s club before the game, where fans put the world to rights over a pint of bitter from the local Moorhouse brewery. Global beers face the same disdain as global football stars here, in an electorate where almost 66% of voters voted Leave.  Dave describes the word community as meaning “commitment and loyalty.” In a transient, globalised world, it’s this kind of loyalty that saw him catch pneumonia three times after sleeping outside because he’d missed the last train after watching Burnley play.  Strange behaviour, but then that’s sport.

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FANS AT LAMBEAU FIELD STADIUM, NICKNAMED ‘THE FROZEN TUNDRA’ - GIVING RISE TO SOME UNUSUAL COSTUMES

Almost 4,000 miles away, the same loyalty is just

Uniquely for the NFL, the Packers are a publicly-

as prized in another small northern town closely

owned non-profit with an estimated 360,000 stockholders

linked to its sporting franchise. Green Bay,

– the vast majority of whom are local supporters. The team

population of just 100,000 in the unglamorous

uses this structure to do things differently, from keeping

northern state of Wisconsin, is a town famous for

ticket prices as low as possible to maintaining a stadium

being the world’s toilet paper capital. That, and

relatively free of corporate advertising.

having an NFL team which has punched above its

“People probably identify even more with the team,

weight for generations.

because the Green Bay Packers isn’t owned by any individual, it’s owned by the town”, Mark says.

Just like the Brexiteers of Burnley, the residents of

“We’re not underdogs, but we keep that feeling of

Green Bay are ambivalent to their big city cousins. After seven elections of voting for a Democrat, their state-wide

togetherness because of our size and our population.

turn-out for Trump last year shocked experts. But that

People love to go to the game, just as their fathers and

result pales in comparison to the turn-out for their local

grandfathers did.” The connection between players and fans has played

team. The current waiting list for season tickets to watch

a key role in the Packers being one of the NFL’s all-time

“their team”, the Green Bay Packers, is 96,000 names long, or a wait of 30 years. It means supporters hand

most successful franchises, currently ranking third of the

down their spots on the list in their wills.

32 teams. You might suppose that Green Bay offers a shining

“This is a team from a small town that grew into a big

example for sports teams across the world searching

dynasty,” says Green Bay Packers fan, Mark Pietras, who runs Packer City antiques in the town. “All the players

for that elusive combination: commercial and on-field

live in the town and could even be your neighbours.

success, but without the alienation of supporters and loosening of community bonds?

“The games are very family-oriented. Both my wife and

Well it won’t be replicated in the NFL. The

daughter go to the games and tailgaters often start arriving

organisation formally banned any further Green Bay

at 8am in the morning to enjoy the game,” he says.

Packers-type ownership structures, changing the NFL

For Packers supporters that loyalty is reinforced by

constitution back in 1960 to prevent another franchise

one other crucial factor - the fans own the team. 82


BEN JACKSON & STUART DAVIS

“THAT LOYALTY IS REINFORCED BY ONE OTHER CRUCIAL FACTOR – THE FANS OWN THE TEAM”

from going to the “Green Bay model”. Article V, Section 4 of the NFL Constitution: “Charitable organisations and/or corporations not organised for profit and not now a member of the league may not hold membership in the National Football League.” In a world where “purpose” and “authenticity” are never far from a spokesperson’s lips, this rule might seem crazy. But then again, that’s sport for you.

However, a tight knit group of sports enthusiasts need not own a franchise to feel that shared sense of community which makes sport so important. In the Yorkshire town of Thirsk, cycling fan Judith Worrall prefers a more dynamic relationship with her favourite sport of cycling. At a time when she was struggling with weight issues, Judith’s life was transformed when she saw an advert in Slimming World magazine for a cycling trip through India in 2011. It was the start of a passionate love affair with cycling that has since seen her peddling around Cuba, Tanzania, Cambodia and Vietnam. Enthusiastically, she returned to her beloved Yorkshire to set up a local women’s cycling club, the Yorkshire Lasses. The membership has quickly risen to 100 members, who all ride in an annual sportive, with a dedicated cycling forum on Facebook that recruited another 300 contributors in less than five years. “I am fitter than I ever have been, I sleep so much better and my skin is better. I feel stronger mentally and physically. Socially, I have a lot more friends”, Judith says. “My confidence and mental attitude have improved considerably. It has kept my weight down too.” “As a group of women, we all talk about things together that might not be possible anywhere else and we support each other. The rule for our Yorkshire Lasses Sportive is that no one leaves the race until everyone has finished.”

CYCLIST JUDITH WORRALL, FOUNDER OF THE

This description of the joys of sporting participation

YORKSHIRE LASS CYCLING CLUB, WHICH HOLDS ITS

rings true – shared enjoyment; excitement; a sense of

ANNUAL CHARITY SPORTIVE ON AUGUST 20TH

belonging. The way Judith engages with sport is very different from Mr Burnley, but on this principle they would surely agree. 83


“FANS ARE NOT ‘CUSTOMERS’ TEAMS ARE NOT ‘BRANDS’ SPORTS ARE NOT ‘PRODUCTS’”

Like Dave Burnley, Judith knows her sport is changing. Cycling has been harder hit than most over recent years by scandal and speculation, with heroes like Lance Armstrong dragged down from the pantheon of sporting legends and into the gutter. However, Judith insists her love of cycling will not waiver. “Reputation will go up and down over time, like any sport. I’m a very optimistic person. None of the people in our cycling group will be overly worried. It will be spoken about amongst the people I cycle with, but it’s nothing that will stop people connecting with the sport.” This is yet another demonstration of sport’s unique character. We know that trust in professional sport is declining, yet the impact of that shift is far from predictable and very difficult to gauge.

Fans today may not like elements of the sports

a clear understanding of the experience a fan craves when

they love – whether it be the impact of money,

following their team.

reputational scandals or the behaviour of players

“We have been very successful as a fan group, but

– but the prospect of leaving it behind entirely is

it’s still massively important that sports treat their

just too drastic to comprehend. The reality is that

supporters like fans and not simply customers,” he says.

sport brings people together in a way that almost

Time and again this point cropped up in our

nothing else can.

conversations with fans. Fans are not “customers”. Teams

Take the “Barmy Army”: the group of hardy, vocal,

are not “brands”. Sports are not “products”.

passionate fans who follow the England cricket team

Of course, this differentiation is not grounded in

across the world through thick and thin. Many fans who

fact. Even Mr Burnley is, by any measure, a “consumer”

join the ‘Army’ for each tour have little in common, save

of products from Burnley FC – whether that be match

a love of cricket (probably) and a desire to spend weeks

tickets, replica shirts or even club pies.

with their fellow Brits having fun in the sun.

But to confuse the commercial reality with fan

Paul Burnham, who set up the group in 1994 at the

perception is to risk ridicule or worse. Pity the stadium

nadir of England’s cricketing performance, says: “For a

announcer who uses the word “customer” instead

big overseas tour like the Ashes in Australia about half of

of “supporter”, or the club press release that eulogises

the 3,000 fans who travel will be first timers.”

“brand values”.

“Quite often the people who come might not normally

The joy of sport for so many fans is that it’s so

be part of a group, or be outgoing, but they enjoy the

different to anything else in their lives. It belongs in a

company of other like-minded people. A few years ago,

category all by itself, with a unique terminology and

the atmosphere might not have been right for women and

mindset to match.

children but now it is.”

At its best, watching sport is the chance to forget

The organisation has blossomed as fans join the

everyday worries. To come together with your fellow fan

ranks and head off on tour: fueled by that espirit du corps

and be transformed. Whether it’s a Federer backhand

that comes with cheering on your team, as well as a few

winner at Roland Garros or a scruffy 93rd minute

beers of course.

equaliser in Grimsby, the effect is the same. Anyone

Interestingly, Paul attributes much of the Barmy

involved in sport forgets that at their peril.

Army’s enduring popularity and commercial success with

84


BEN JACKSON & STUART DAVIS

THE BARMY ARMY IN HIGH SPIRITS

Back up the A66, agony waits for Dave and Tricky Trev. Just a week after achieving a precious draw with Premiership top dogs Chelsea, their beloved Burnley is about to be humiliatingly dumped out of the FA Cup by Lincoln City, a team outside the top four tiers of English football league. Burnley, a town that prides itself on overturning the odds, has itself been undone by a posse of underdogs. “It’s chalk and cheese this game sometimes,” says Dave looking on. “That lad playing up front for them, Rhead, was playing for the Butcher’s Arms in my town four years ago.”

Ben Jackson is an Associate Director at freuds

He stares across the pitch, where the opposition

who claims he supported Leicester City prior

fans have begun a delirious party and his own team

to 2015.

are walking off disconsolately. He shakes his head with disbelief. “The Butchers Arms,” he mutters, and turns

Stuart Davis is a Senior Account Director at

towards the exit.

freuds and long-suffering season ticket holder

That’s sport for you.

at Crystal Palace since the age of nine.

85


SPORTS STARS • Q&A

DYLAN HARTLEY

Dylan Hartley is the England rugby union captain and the most capped hooker in English rugby union history.

86


Sports Stars

1

What is it like to be a modern professional

is key. Of course, sometimes the last thing

athlete? What are the pressures you feel outside

you want to do is spend half an hour after a

of performance?

tough loss or tough training session speaking

I feel during my 12-year career I’ve seen a

to the gathered press, but it comes back to

huge change, and the life of a professional

the responsibility of a being a modern athlete.

athlete is very different to what it was in the

That is part of the job.

mid-2000s. On the field, the level of science, technology and staff at your disposal is a

4

world away from what it was 10 years ago,

2

and a large part of being an athlete is the

I’m someone who prefers engaging with

constant aim of being at the very top of your

them personally, rather than sending them

game come Saturday. In terms of pressures

messages via social media. I mean, when you

outside of performance, this largely comes

see a kid or a family who have waited an hour

through the new level of scrutiny modern

for you to get showered and changed for a

athletes face, from both traditional and

picture, then the least you can do is engage

social media, and the 24 hour-a-day access

with them. I remember when I was that kid.

the public have to your life. If anything, it’s

It may be changing in other sports, as I doubt

made me more aware of my position and the

footballers can just walk to their cars in the

responsibilities that come with it.

car park after a match, but in rugby I think genuine fan engagements are still the best

Did you have sporting role models when you started? Do you now feel that responsibility? I’ve always had players and sporting heroes

3

How do you like to communicate with fans? Is that changing?

form of communication.

5

What impact can sports stars make when they

that I’ve looked up to, and hoped to emulate.

decide to speak out on causes or issues they

I even had the chance to play with, and for,

believe in? Should they do more of it?

some of those people like Jonny (Wilkinson)

I think if it’s something the sportsperson

and Johnno (Martin Johnson). I wouldn’t

really believes in, then they can have a huge

now put myself on their sort of level, but I do

impact. I’m a big advocate of Movember

now understand that youngsters may look up

and men’s health awareness. I feel from the

to me and definitely the England team. There

privileged position I’m in that I can get that

is a huge level of responsibility that comes

message across quite powerfully and naturally

with playing any sport for your country.

to a large number of people.

How does dealing with the media impact you as a sports star—how important is it? Having captained both my club and England, I’d say a fair chunk of my career has been spent talking to the media. So, from that point of view, it has had a fairly major impact. The media are important. It is the voice of our game, it generates interest and debate, and if we want the game to grow, and the sport to get bigger, then the media

87


SPORTS STARS • Q&A

ELLIE SIMMONDS OBE

Ellie Simmonds is a five-time Paralympic swimming champion. She has won 13 World titles, 10 European titles and broken various World records. Ellie has Achondroplasia dwarfism.

88


Sports Stars

1

What is it like being a modern professional

what the media has given me – such as going

athlete? What are the pressures you feel outside

on TV shows and meeting people. As athletes,

of performance?

we owe a debt of gratitude to the people who

I feel very honoured to be a professional

promote our sports and enable us to do what

athlete, taking part in a sport that I love so

we love.

much every single day. I’m so grateful for the opportunities the sport has given me, such as

4

having a home Paralympic Games in London,

2

changing?

which was an incredible moment – not just

I like talking to people face to face – it makes a

in my career, but in my life. With events like

real difference to me being around them, fans

that does come pressure; pressure from the

really help inspire me to push on to be the

public and governing bodies, but mainly

best that I can be. There is a lot more contact

from myself. There is also always pressure

through social media these days as well, like

to maintain fitness and be at your peak

Facebook and Twitter, and this has changed

physically outside of competition season,

a lot since 2008 – the Beijing Games – which

as well as looking for new ways in which

were the first Games I went to. I try to visit

you can keep bettering yourself. But I pride

schools as much as I possibly can. When I

myself on thriving on pressure and I suppose

do, I love seeing the looks on the children’s

it does make me work harder and keeps

faces when they hold my gold medal or hear

me motivated during those long days in the

stories about other athletes and competitions.

middle of a Paralympic cycle.

I know I would have loved that as a child, and hopefully it can inspire someone to achieve

Did you have sporting role models when you started? Do you now feel that responsibility? Yes, definitely! My role model was Nyree

their dreams, whatever that dream may be.

5

What impact can sports stars make when they

Lewis (now Nyree Kindred). It was watching

decide to speak out on causes or issues they

her win the S6 100-metre backstroke at the

believe in? Should they do more of it?

Athens 2004 Paralympics that inspired me

Anyone in the public eye can make a

to want to be a Paralympic swimmer and

difference if they support a particular cause. I

achieve my dreams. I do understand that

think that if you feel strongly about something

others may look up to me and perhaps take

you should say what you feel and try to bring it

their inspiration from all of us Paralympians

to the attention of as many people as you can.

and Olympians. That is why I feel it is so important that we set a good example both within our sports and within our lives generally.

3

How do you like to communicate with fans? Is that

How does dealing with the media impact you as a sports star – how important is it? The media brings what we do to public attention, so we as athletes must speak to them and deal with them as part of our job as an elite athlete. But I am very grateful for

89


Paralympic PERCEPTION

90


BARONESS TANNI GREY-THOMPSON dbe

BARONE S S TANNI GREY-THOMPSON DBE E L E V E N - T I M E PA R A LY M P I C G O L D MEDALLIST AND PARLIAMENTARIAN

There is no doubt that the 2012 Games was a turning point for the Paralympic Games in its relatively short history. There was greater support in the lead up, during and beyond the Games that years before I could only have dreamt about. But how does the excitement of the Games translate into meaningful change, and does the perception of Paralympic transformation match the reality? The first thing is to appreciate where we’ve come from. To understand the true impact it is important to look at the whole context of the Paralymic Games. Back in the late 1800s there were reports of disabled people taking part in sporting activities, but very much as an “exhibition”. It could even be said that disability sport grew out of discrimination, and a whole movement was set up to allow disabled people to compete.  In the 1940s and beyond there were many who felt that disabled people couldn’t be an active part of society, let alone be “sporty”. Some early writings are almost amusing in explaining the shock many felt that disabled people even had a competitive spirit! The first Paralympics (although they had a different name back then) took place in 1960 in Rome. With each four-year cycle more events and disability groups were added. It was the 1988 Seoul Games that brought them back “in parallel” with the Olympic Games. Around that time the attitude to disabled people in many parts of the world was still highly negative. However, it is the last decade or so which has seen genuine transformation and with each cycle the Games grow in stature and understanding. The perception by many is that, following London, the Paralympics truly arrived. Dame Sarah Storey and David Weir became household names in the UK with their quadruple gold medal winning performances. However, in my view we are still waiting for a genuine breakthrough moment when Paralympians are known around the world. Oscar Pistorius was for years the best known Paralympic athlete, but at the time this was mainly a result of his “crossover” to the Olympics. There 91


BARONESS TANNI GREY-THOMPSON

are many other disabled people

positive step forward in promoting

the moment, the answer is few and

who have done this. Fellow South

the wheelchair division.

far between. We have to ask: where

African Natalie du Toit did it in the

The tennis fans are already there,

is the voice of disabled people?

10km open water swim in Beijing

so let them see another side of the

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have some

but didn’t attract much coverage to

sport and build the fan base that way.

Performance Directors or CEOs of

go with it. In fact, there was a brief

It also takes advantage of sponsors

Governing Bodies who are disabled?

time around London 2012 when, if

and broadcasters already being on

For the majority of disabled

you were a Paralympian who wasn’t

site for the rest of the tournament.

people, there also needs to be more

trying to be an Olympian, some

Finally, there are many

opportunities to be ‘not very good’

people thought you weren’t trying

opportunities to sponsor athletes or

at sport. There have to be more

hard enough.

events but, personally, I believe this

opportunities for disabled people to

should be on sporting grounds and

be physically active – rather than

not as a CSR campaign.

thinking about the elite pathway.

So what’s missing? The public supported 2012 in an amazing way, but often we only see some of the

If further integration is needed

As much as I am a huge fan of the

athletes every four years and it can

on the field of play, then nowhere

be easy for them to slip off the radar.

is it needed more than the sports

Paralympic movement, sometimes if you are not on an elite pathway

I believe there’s an appetite for more.

industry itself. We desperately

then it is hard to just find chances to

I believe integrated events have a lot

need to ask: where are the disabled

participate. This needs to improve

of value and if you look at something

people as leaders in sport, sitting

drastically.

like Wimbledon, it has been a really

on boards, or in coaching roles? At 92

If there is a way to go in sport,


BARONESS TANNI GREY-THOMPSON dbe

“Where are the disabled people as leaders in sport, sitting on boards, or in coaching roles?”

we also need to ask what the

in the last couple of years there

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE is a

Paralympics has done for wider

has been much greater diversity of

British former wheelchair racer and current

disability rights? Is it fair to expect

actors and presenters appearing

member of the House of Lords. She became

ten days of a sporting event to

on our screens. However, this is

one of the most successful disabled athletes in

change the world? The simple

still a great opportunity to improve

the UK after having been born with spina bifida.

answer is no, it’s not.

perceptions.

She is Chair of the Women’s Sports and Fitness

In times of austerity, disability

There is still a glow that exists

Foundation Commission on the Future of

hate crime is at its highest levels.

around London 2012 and wider

Women’s Sport. She also chairs ukactive, a not-

Lower level discrimination can

Paralympic sport. Even after Rio, I

for-profit body that aims to educate the public on issues affecting their health and well being.

be hard to identify at times, but

am still stopped in the street and

for many it still exists and the

asked about London. The medal

coverage of disabled people who

performances definitely helped and

aren’t athletes can vary between

the Games engaged a different level

‘scroungers’ and ‘charity’ cases.

of consciousness. It does feel that we

Given the power of sport, part of

are on the cusp of something very

the answer, ironically, is for us to

different, but we need to be bold and

see more disabled people in the

take tangible steps to raise the profile

media who are in no way related

and benefits of disability sport.

to sport. We are a long way from the days of Ironside on the TV, and 93


ELLIOT RICHARDSON CO-FOUNDER AND PRE SI DENT, D UGO U T

THE SCRAMBLE FOR SUPPORTERS

94


Elliot Richardson

“WHAT WE HAVE TODAY IS A TRUE SCRAMBLE FOR THE 3.5 BILLION FOOTBALL FANS ACROSS THE GLOBE”

I’ve been going to watch Arsenal for over 40 years – supporting my team through thick and thin. Arsenal is my one team, for life, and I will continue to pay my hardearned cash to join thousands of supporters each weekend to cheer, celebrate, and commiserate too. My experience is fairly typical for an Englishman of my generation – going to games with my dad from

course, been the sale of TV rights for the top European

a young age in a routine established

leagues. Billions of dollars have gone on securing rights

for decades to come. The whole

for the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, and

experience was built around actually

others – broadcasting the beautiful game to every corner

being in the stadium to witness great

of the globe. On-the-ground operations by pioneering clubs like

highs and lows. Anfield 1989 – I was there to watch Arsenal win the

Man Utd and Real Madrid have followed. When I was

league. I felt a part of it.

a kid, Arsenal pre-season meant games at Barnet and Leyton Orient. Now, the top clubs organise sell-out

But lots has happened to football since my first trip to Highbury. The

rockstar tours to Asia, America, Australasia and beyond.

Gunners are no longer just a club for

I travelled to China with Arsenal a few years ago and the

north Londoners (or those with the

response was incredible. Any club with its finger on the pulse has global

good sense to support Arsenal at any rate), but an institution with truly

ambitions and it’s no longer sufficient to rely on a few

global appeal - one of the biggest

thousand diehards who will turn up week in, week out.

clubs in the world by any metric.

What we have today is a true scramble for the estimated 3.5 billion football fans across the globe.

I’ve also discovered on my

At Dugout, we decided to really dig into these trends

travels that today many of Arsenal’s most passionate fans have never set

– polling 25,000 people to better understand football

foot in the Emirates Stadium. Their

today. The insight was fascinating, but one particular

experience of the club (and football

finding grabbed my attention because it revealed a massive

more broadly) is totally different to

opportunity for clubs, players and brands to fundamentally

mine, but their passion and devotion

change the way they recruit and retain fans.

is no less real.

As sacrilegious as it may seem, we uncovered that the

The spark for the global

modern football fan is now polygamous: they support an

explosion of club football has, of

average of 4.6 clubs across various leagues. As someone who’s followed one team all my life, this finding shocked me at first. But when you consider how football is consumed today, it actually makes total sense. Take Indonesia, a country with 34 million football fans, but a weak domestic league and no globally renowned clubs or superstars. Over a typical weekend a fan there might watch four or five European matches on 95


“ WE UNCOVERED THAT THE MODERN FOOTBALL FAN IS NOW POLYGAMOUS”

96


Elliot Richardson

TV – staying up through the night to cheer on their teams

in their sport. Early results have been fantastic, with over

in England, Spain, France, Germany and Italy. There is

23 million users joining the platform so far, however

no stigma to supporting multiple clubs. Like Ronaldo

I’m most proud of what the company represents. We’ve

and Messi? Then cheer on Real and Barca. The old rules

shown that a bold, innovative approach can really shake

simply don’t apply.

up the status quo and transform the way players and

In fact, this trend isn’t just limited to countries

clubs engage with their fans, as well as how they recruit

without a strong domestic league. Our research found

new ones.

that Real Madrid and Barcelona are now in the top 10

Furthermore, analysing the most successful content

clubs that fans follow in the UK. That would’ve been

on Dugout so far reveals another important lesson. The

unthinkable 10 years ago. Today every match they play is

highest rated videos are those in which the players are

shown live on Sky Sports.

totally unscripted and natural – having a laugh, revealing

It’s not just TV rights. The rise of social media and

their personality and showing fans their love of the

popularity of games like FIFA and Pro Evolution have

game. Patrice Evra joking around with a giant Panda got

massively increased fans’ knowledge of global football.

millions of hits!

This is especially true for younger supporters, who we

Clubs are using Dugout to take fans behind the scenes

found are more likely to support multiple teams than the

and make them feel part of the community – a valued

generations before them.

member of their family with connections to players and

This shift presents a huge opportunity for clubs. Put

staff. This is key. In an age where relatively few fans make

simply, it means they can now work together to conquer

it to the stadium, creating that emotional bond between

new markets and build their fanbase. It’s no longer a case

club and supporter has never been so important.

of “one club per person” – everyone is back in play. This was the fundamental insight behind Dugout, the company we created two years ago, to help clubs take advantage of this change, as well as the revolution we’ve seen in communications and digital publishing. Dugout is a digital publishing platform that brings the world’s biggest clubs and players together in one place – a business built to harness their collective strength and give fans one ultimate destination to engage with exclusive video content from the teams and players they follow. We decided to build Dugout with the clubs on board. It took 18 months from initial conversations to sealing the deal, but by showing clubs the rationale for working together – and demonstrating the commercial potential –

PLAYERS SEE THE POWER OF ONLINE VIDEO TO DRIVE ENGAGEMENT

we secured the support of nine of the 10 biggest clubs in

WITH FANS

the world, the first time this has ever been done. Our partners include A.C. Milan, Arsenal F.C., Chelsea F.C., FC Barcelona, FC Bayern Munich, Juventus, Liverpool FC, Manchester City FC, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid CF, and many more, plus over 100 of the world’s best-

Elliot Richardson is the President and

known footballers.

Co-Founder of Dugout. He has over 30

Just think about that: clubs which are deadly rivals

years’ experience in the financial sector and

on the field joining forces to build a commercial venture.

enjoys strong contacts in the sport, music

Real Madrid and Barcelona co-running a business! No

and business worlds. Elliot is Chairman of

wonder people told us it would be impossible.

RK Harrison, part of the Hyperion group of

But Dugout is an example of what happens when a

companies, and has also served on the British

group of organisations respond to a fundamental change

Airways global advisory board. 97


THE POWER OF DIVERSITY ROISIN WOOD CEO OF KICK IT OUT

Kick It Out is a charity that aims to remove all forms

We sat down with Roisin to discuss how Kick It Out has

of discrimination from football. Kick It Out was set

developed under her stewardship, how successful she

up by Lord Herman Ouseley in 1993 to tackle the

feels the organisation has been to date, and how Kick

substantial level of racism in football. Roisin Wood took

It Out is helping to improve English football from the

over as CEO of the organisation five years ago, having

grassroots to the elite levels of the professional game.

previously worked for the Metropolitan Police as a community engagement manager.

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ROISIN WOOD

How would you describe the reputation of British football today? We’ve come a long way. You certainly won’t hear the abuse you would have heard on the terraces in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. In terms of the progress we’ve made relative to other countries, we are unmatched. Russia is a prime example of a country that still has a serious problem with racism. Comparatively we have a great deal to be proud of but, naturally, we still have a lot to do. For example, we need to make sure that all forms of discrimination are dealt with as seriously as racism, both in terms of limiting its presence in football and educating people about it. Also, we have concerns about discrimination on social media. We ran a campaign during the summer of 2016 called Klick It Out which focused on the levels of football-related discriminatory posts on social media. Working with Brandwatch, a social monitoring and analytics company, we discovered there were 135,000 direct discriminatory posts towards Premier League clubs and players in 2016/17 and approximately 22,000 cases of direct discriminatory abuse during Euro 2016 itself – it was appalling.

Have you witnessed racist or homophobic behaviour when you’ve been at a football game? Yes, I have. Most of us at Kick It Out have. We go to a lot of football games. We go to the English Football League, Premier League, the Women’s Super League, and grassroots games. I’d say there were very few people in our team who haven’t seen or heard something. When I witnessed it I spoke to the person doing it because I thought it was an absolute disgrace. What I saw was then a bit of a ripple effect because other people also told him to shut up! Reporting discrimination is vital and we are a reporting bureau with a full-time reporting officer. We also developed a reporting app that allows people to report directly through to us. People say we’re trying to sanitise the game – quite simply that’s rubbish. We want a fantastic atmosphere, with all the drama of football, but without discrimination.

Have you noticed a difference in the way clubs respond to racism? There has been a shift. Clubs don’t want to be seen as being racist. That is also true of their sponsors. Big brands are aware of the power of diversity and inclusion. If they’re putting their money into clubs they want to make sure it’s a safe and secure environment to go into. Diversity makes good business sense, as well as moral sense.

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“DIVERSITY MAKES GOOD BUSINESS SENSE, AS WELL AS MORAL SENSE”


How has the remit of Kick It Out developed?

transphobia. If you ask a typical football fan, “Do you

When I came into the role the first thing I did was refocus our objectives because they needed to be about all forms

know what Kick It Out is about?” they may still say that “It’s that anti-racism campaign”.

of discrimination. Kick It Out can’t just say: “We’re only

What we’re trying to do is show that we deal with all

going to deal with racism”. We can’t say: “You may see

forms of discrimination and that it’s not just about using

some homophobia but we don’t deal with that.” When I

t-shirts and match-day programmes to take on racism.

became CEO, Kick It Out was very specifically mandated

We do so much more than that. We deliver programmes

to deal with racism. As an organisation, we were trying

such as Fans for Diversity (a jointly funded campaign

to do some work in dealing with anti-semitism and

with the Football Supporters’ Federation to target fan-led

homophobia, but not enough.

initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion) and the

At that stage, transitioning into tackling general

“Next 20” ambassador scheme with players from across the

discrimination was incremental not revolutionary. It was

professional game. Kick It Out also works jointly with the

very much my view, and the view of the trustees, that

Premier League to deliver equality and inclusion training

we needed to tackle all forms of discrimination, not just

for clubs’ academy players, staff, and parents, while Raise

racism. As a third-party reporting bureau, racism still

Your Game is the organisation’s mentoring series aiming

accounts for approximately half of our reports, but we’re

to provide pathways to work in the football industry and

seeing trends towards dealing with faith-related hate

diversify football’s workforce.

crime and divisive behaviour around homophobia and

“We need to make sure that all forms of discrimination are dealt with as seriously as racism, both in terms of limiting its presence in football and educating people about it”

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ROISIN WOOD

TOTTENHAM PLAYERS WITH SHIRTS BEARING THE KICK IT OUT MESSAGE

How important is diversity within the leadership in football? Very important. It’s still very male-orientated at the top and predominantly white. So it’s our job to bring people in as well as to encourage them and mentor them. We are working to support the development of diverse people filling senior roles in football and beginning to influence boards, which in our view is vital. We must influence the boards, fans, players, leagues, managers and the grassroots clubs. It’s crucial that all these stakeholders are educated about equality.

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THE KICK IT OUT CAMPAIGN REACHES CLASSROOMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

How do you go about educating these stakeholders? We deliver diversity training in Premier League clubs’ academies through a programme called Equality Inspires – which we run in partnership with the Premier League – which educates young players, their parents and club staff. We also have a Professional Players Engagement Manager whose job is to talk to all the players, support them and explain exactly what we do. He will, for example, educate them around dressing room culture and “banter”. Recently, we started a relationship with the League Managers Association to support managers and coaches who are sometimes nervous about challenging established practices. This is vital as often they manage 102


ROISIN WOOD

the most diverse part of the club. Managers are running teams with players who are from different faiths. Does every manager know how to support them? How will a manager cope if a player comes and talks to them about any instances of discrimination? Are they confident on how they can support the player to get the best out of them? Are they confident that the changing room dynamics will stay the same or change for the better?

How do you go about getting clubs to understand the message and ingrain diversity and tolerance into their culture? Education! You have to build a bridge and get them to understand what it’s like to be racially abused or discriminated against. We’ve been working with The FA and the football authorities for years and what we ask is for each person to imagine what it would be like if it happened to them. Imagine if it was their child who reported an incident. Processes need to understand the whole human element. They need to be transparent and reports should be resolved as quickly as possible. It’s exactly the same with clubs which have a huge Asian fan base, for example, but who don’t want to visit the stadium. We need to encourage the clubs to be thinking: “What can we do to make the atmosphere of the stadium more inclusive? Is it a prayer room? Is it different food?” We have tried to put together a holistic model for how clubs and communities can better work together. That’s what we’ve done quite successfully with clubs like Bradford City and Sunderland. When the clubs “get it” and understand, then all of a sudden you start to find the development of a more diverse fan base. You see LGBT groups like “Gay Gooners” or “Proud Canaries” being established, for example, and an environment where people feel comfortable to attend football matches whatever their race, gender, or sexuality.

Roisin Wood is the CEO of Kick it Out, an organisation that promotes equality and inclusion within the football industry by working through the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination. The organisation is funded by a number of professional bodies including: the Football Association (FA), the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), the Premier League and the Football League. 103


DEATH OF THE PUNDIT A DEMANDING new generation of fans is rapidly transforming the way sport is viewed, says UNILAD’s Liam Harrington. Addicted to action, allergic to pundits and easily bored, today’s fans are forcing broadcasters to consider radical new solutions, including half-time shows, behind-thescenes cameras, fan TV and innovative new formats.

LIAM HARRINGTON CEO, UNILAD 104


Liam Harrington

“ THE HALF-TIME BREAK ARRIVES AND NO ONE STRAINS TO HEAR WHAT MICHAEL OWEN IS TALKING ABOUT...”

bringing forward more innovative ideas: from half-time entertainment, to behind-the-scenes cameras, content from previous matches, or fan interaction. I say this with confidence, because at UNILAD – the number one global content publisher on social media – we’ve seen the statistics and we understand how this new generation consumes its media – and it’s very different to the one before. Our core users are between 18 and 25; they engage quickly, but are swift to switch off if nothing is happening. Our experience analysing the viewing habits of our users – across our channels with a worldwide reach of one billion people a week – tells

BAMMA (A LEADING MIXED MARTIAL ARTS COMPANY) ANNOUNCED

us that if the coverage is poor when

A STREAMING PARTNERSHIP WITH UNILAD

you’re streaming live sport online then viewers will turn it off and not come back. For years, television could afford Generation X is a very patient

We don’t feel the need for

to give their audiences a long build-

generation. It’s an age group

sports pundits and their opinions

up to their sports events, but now

that’s enjoyed all the sofa has

on social media. That kind of

it’s all change. Instead, TV has been

to offer, buying heavily into the

ponderous, televised sport has

relegated to becoming the “second

development of televised sport

become old-school and irrelevant:

screen”, behind mobiles, which

formats and the analysis and

it needs to change. When we’re

means anyone broadcasting sport

punditry that comes with it.

watching sport in the pub and the

today will have to radically rethink

half-time break arrives, no one

how they curate their content.

But Generation Y, the social generation, is different. We’ve

strains to hear what Michael Owen

grown up bombarded by massive

is talking about – we’re off to the

than filling the gaps and providing

amounts of daily media content. If

bar to get another drink.

something more engaging than

a sport doesn’t immediately grab

That’s why sports broadcasters

In football, it means doing more

three blokes talking about the

our attention, we’ll switch it off and

now need to revamp their schedules

first half. We’ve already tested the

move to the next best thing.

to keep their viewers interested,

appetite of our audience for this very

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“You’ll get a shorter show, but higher engagement and a more continuous action event”

successfully with an FA Youth Cup match between Aston Villa and Manchester City, which got 1.1 million views. We’re now working with a number of organisations on how we can further innovate live sports formats. But these lessons don’t only apply to football. In boxing, a break of a few minutes in the live action can mean a streaming audience dwindles from 30,000 down to 8,000 in moments. Boxers need to be ready to follow the last fight and get into the ring quickly, just as the next batsman in cricket would be padded up ready to come out to play. Cricket has successfully found a huge new audience by creating a shorter, more exciting brand of the game in Twenty20. Many sports may need to follow suit if they’re to be a success online and on social media. It’s all about keeping the competition intense. You’ll get a shorter show, but higher engagement and a more continuous action event. At UNILAD, we’ve begun to experiment with developing a range of alternative live events that might also capture fans’ interest, like mixed martial arts, THE FIRST FA YOUTH CUP MATCH STREAMED

where we’ve already reached an audience of over nine

BY UNILAD. PHOTO BY ASTON VILLA FC

million people. eSports are a huge growth area where we are actively recruiting. We already have the UK’s best FIFA player, 106


Liam Harrington

WWW.UNILAD.CO.UK

“ANYONE BROADCASTING SPORT TODAY WILL HAVE TO RADICALLY RETHINK HOW THEY CURATE THEIR CONTENT”

UNILAD Gorilla, on our books and it’s an area where we’re looking to create our own competition formats and, in future, perhaps even fill out stadiums. Millions of kids love it because they can relate to the games, admire the skills required at the highest level and aspire to being there themselves. We know there are lots of traditional sports that would like to test the waters and understand how their sport is received online and in social media. The answer

LIAM HARRINGTON is CEO of UNILAD, the world’s

is as simple as feeding the sports they currently produce

leading social content publisher. Launched in 2014,

into our online platforms and monitoring the results and

it reaches over a billion people globally a week on

engagement levels. Afterwards, we bring the people who

Facebook, where it has 29 million fans. UNILAD

hold the rights into the office and say: “How can we all

is an expert in creating and delivering engaging

work together, so we actually make this better?”.

content which its audience wants to share. 107


The Magic of

MOVEM EN T SPORT, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY & HEALTH

SHEILA MITCHELL MARKETING DIRECTOR, P U B L I C H E A LT H E N G L A N D

Sport. It’s our national obsession. Whether it’s

runs it faster than anyone else on the planet. Usain

football, rugby, tennis, athletics or cycling, major

Bolt runs faster than any human has ever run, full stop.

sporting events bring us together. Throughout

That can make your personal best at parkrun feel a bit

the country, shops are deserted and roads empty

inconsequential! Faced with such astounding feats of

of all but pizza delivery mopeds when the action

endurance, skill and determination, it’s tempting to

begins. Men, women and children hunker down

wonder why you should bother. If you can’t bend it like

on their sofas – drink in one hand, remote in the

Beckham, is there any point even trying to bend it at all?

other – and bellow their support (or otherwise) at the greatest athletes on the face of the earth. This is all truly joyous, except for one thing: we don’t participate in sport or physical activity with the same enthusiasm with which we spectate. Indeed, Sport England’s most recent Active Lives report found that only 35% of us had taken part in sport on at least two occasions in the past 28 days1. This finding goes a long way to

1. SPORT ENGLAND (2015-15) ACTIVE LIVES SURVEY

explaining why lots of sportswear never actually reaches a

2. CHANGES IN HEALTH IN ENGLAND, WITH ANALYSIS BY ENGLISH

playing field or a sports hall. It seems that while we want

REGIONS AND AREAS OF DEPRIVATION, 1990–2013: A SYSTEMATIC

to watch the action, we don’t seem to want to join in.

ANALYSIS FOR THE GLOBAL BURDEN OF DISEASE STUDY, 2013

Some of this is inherent in the term “elite sport”.

3. PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND: PHYSICAL INACTIVIT Y: ECONOMIC COSTS

Sir Mo Farah doesn’t just run a 5k or a 10k fast; he

TO NHS CLINICAL COMMISSIONING GROUPS, APRIL 2016 108


SHEILA MITCHELL

Here at Public Health England, we tend to worry about this sort of thing. Physical inactivity is very bad for our health. Indeed, even if we do manage the 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week recommended by the Chief Medical Officer (which many of us don’t), a sedentary lifestyle (which most of us have) still puts us at risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. Recently, PHE’s analysis of the Global Burden of Disease study2 found that physical inactivity, when accompanied by its frequent bedfellows of poor diet and high body mass index, puts people at the same risk of disease as smoking. Predictably, this has prompted a raft of “Sitting is the New Smoking!” headlines, but the reality remains that treating illnesses caused by sedentary lifestyles costs the NHS over £1 billion per year3. Whoever you are, however sporty you are, you could probably do with being a bit more active. We are particularly interested in adults aged 40-60: the cohort which is at imminent risk of developing major, lifelimiting (and often irreversible) conditions – such as type two diabetes and heart disease – but still have time to make changes that can radically improve their chances of a long and fulfilling life. At PHE, we have already successfully engaged

REBECCA ADLINGTON SUPPORTING CHANGE4LIFE

over one million middle aged adults via our One You programme – providing tips and tools, such as our Couch to 5k app, to help people get off the sofa. But physical activity doesn’t just protect our bodies from illness, it protects our minds too. For adults, 30 minutes of (at least) moderate intensity physical activity on at least five days a week can help to prevent and manage over 20 chronic conditions, including stress, depression and

“We don’t participate in sport or physical activity with the same enthusiasm with which we spectate”

cognitive decline. It also improves sleep4, even for those of us worrying about the prospects of our favourite team! That’s not the only good news. Results show that physical activity in the UK is gradually on the rise. Sport England reports that over 57% of adults5 manage 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week, with walking, swimming, cycling and dance all contributing to a more positive national picture. We’ve also witnessed the incredible impact of sporting role models. These sporting heroes hold the key to getting people off the sofa and onto the pitch, or into the pool. For example, Olympic stars Tom Daley and Rebecca Adlington have supported our Change4Life programme to encourage school children to enjoy swimming, while Premier League football clubs have 109


“Imagine brands and sports organisations putting health and participation – and not just tickets, products and TV subscriptions – at the heart of their advertising”

helped us encourage smokers to quit

significant influence to get people

their campaigns on encouraging

by supporting our annual Stoptober

playing more of it, it’s for the

healthier, more active lifestyles for

campaign. The results have been

country to encourage people to build

the whole nation. Imagine brands

impressive – both in terms of media

more physical activity into their

and sports organisations putting

interest and (not coincidentally)

everyday lives.

public participation. These icons are loved for what

health and participation – and

This could be as simple as

not just tickets, products and

leaving the car at home when the

TV subscriptions – at the heart

they’ve achieved and people listen to

journey is under a mile, cycling to

of their advertising. If sport and

what they have to say. But together

work instead of getting the bus, or

public health organisations can

we could be doing so much more!

taking the stairs instead of the lift.

increasingly work together I think

Sports clubs and organisations

And we need to sit less! Simple steps

we can have a significant impact on

run a wide variety of schemes that

can mean big results.

encourage people to take part in

the health of the nation in the short

Brands pay billions to work

their respective sports and support

with top sports stars, clubs and

local community activity. But the

associations. Consider the impact if

challenge is not just using sport’s

just a few of these brands focused

and the long term.

4. START ACTIVE, STAY ACTIVE: A REPORT ON PHYSICAL

Sheila Mitchell is the marketing director of Public Health England. She

ACTIVITY FOR HEALTH FROM THE FOUR HOME

joined in 2013, making her the first marketer in the public sector to be

COUNTRIES’ CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICERS, DEPARTMENT

invited to the executive agency management board. Public Health England

OF HEALTH, 2011

is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department of Health, and aims

5. PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

to protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing, and reduce

PROFILES (ACTIVE PEOPLE SURVEY, SPORT ENGLAND)

health inequalities. 110


SHEILA MITCHELL

“THESE SPORTING HEROES HOLD THE KEY TO GETTING PEOPLE OFF THE SOFA” 111


AN eSPORTS R EVOL U T I ON

SPIKE LAURIE SENIOR DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL PUBLISHER AND DEVELOPER R E L AT I O N S , E S L

eSports – the art of competitive video gaming – is a phenomenon that dominates any list of “top trends to watch in sport today”. According to marketing intelligence firm Newzoo, the eSports industry generated $463 million last year, and this figure is set to reach $1 billion by 2019. The same report suggests that the estimated 131 million eSports fans around the world is set to reach 180 million by 2019.

112


Spike Laurie

Recent years have seen eSports emerge as

this new market is ESL - part of the international

a genuine spectator sport – both in a physical

digital entertainment group MTG, the world’s

sense, with packed arenas, and online as millions

largest eSports company. We sat down with

view competitions on live streams. Some

Spike Laurie, Senior Director of Global Publisher

commentators in the US already describe eSports

and Developer Relations at ESL, to get the inside

as the “next major league sport” – pointing to

track on this digital revolution...

examples like the ‘League of Legends’ World Finals, which generated viewing figures of over

1. THE CONVERSATION, ARE ESPORTS THE NEXT MAJOR LEAGUE

43 million people1. One of the biggest players in

SPORT?, 31ST MAY 2017

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What exactly is eSports? It’s the ultimate evolution of multiplayer gaming. The reason ESL exists is that we believe the ultimate enjoyment from gaming comes from competitive play, and so our whole philosophy is to support competitive play at every level – whether that’s you wanting to play with your friends on the weekend, all the way up to live mega-events where fans are watching the world’s best players compete at some of the most demanding eSports games.

How would you describe an eSports live event? Imagine a massive rock concert fused with a sports event and you really get a sense of it. You have competitors battling it out on stage and big screens showing the action. Sometimes, it’s like being in the middle of a football stadium. I remember being in the middle of São Paolo in Brazil with thousands of people and I have never seen so much passion. The crowd were jumping up and down, surging forward, waving flags. At IEM Katowice this year, I was amazed by the opening spectacle of music, lights and pyrotechnics going off. I could see the blinking lights from all the fans’ phones, holding them up so that it looked like stars. Truly tribal.

Who is your audience? Our key market is the millennial audience – that digitally-savvy, advertising-averse audience – and we’re able to target them very well. In 2015, over 160 million hours of our content was consumed on Twitch A PROFESSIONAL ESPORTS PLAYER

alone, with millennials making up over 80% of this audience.

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Spike Laurie

“IF BRANDS WANT TO

What have you learned from traditional sport and what could they learn from you? I think we have a duty to be more cutting-edge with

SURVIVE WITH THAT

what we deliver, to make it more exciting. We can do clever things like using POV shots. For example, I’m not sure a Premiership football player would be happy to

MILLENIAL AUDIENCE...

have a go-pro camera stuck to his forehead! We are also experimenting with VR too. At our IEM Oakland event we had over 1,000 viewers watching in VR concurrently,

THEY WILL LOOK AT

immersed in the game. Because our “play set”’ is digital, it’s a lot more malleable. You can go in and programme things in the game, in a way that you just can’t do in

eSPORTS”

traditional sport. It’s clear that traditional sports are looking at us from an audience perspective. They are wondering: “Where are all the Millennials? Why aren’t they at our stadiums or paying for our set-up boxes?” The answer is that they are increasingly consuming content on Twitch, on YouTube and travelling to stadiums to watch their favourite players play competitive video games. So, I think that’s the stark lesson that traditional sport needs to try and understand where has that exodus of millennials gone?

What are you seeing at the moment in terms of brand involvement?

That lack of understanding isn’t the game’s fault. The brands have to get the right people on board to really get

America is starting to pick up pace. The Mountain Dew

past the barrier, which is quite a trivial barrier of “we

league is a great example of a brand taking that leap of

don’t understand this game”.

faith and doing a good, coherent integration with a great

Through all of this, I think we need to stay true to our

product, and they are really benefitting from that.

core values in eSports. We mustn’t start watering things

In Europe, we recently had a big event in Katowice

down to reach some sort of ephemeral standard of what

with Gillette as a sponsor, and they are reaping the

a brand is looking for. Ultimately, if they want to survive

rewards. They gave out 85,000 razors on site and did a

with that millennial audience, they will look at eSports as

really cool activation on social media for the influencers

a powerful string to their bow.

and the talent involved in the show, who were all given 3D printed Gillette razors.

We know how important building trust and integrity is. What is ESL doing in these areas?

Is a lot of the brand potential still untapped in eSports?

We’ve been at the forefront of these issues for a number

Lots of brands don’t understand where the value in

why, in 2016, we were a founding member of an

eSports truly lies. They understand that they need to

organisation called the eSports Integrity Coalition and

of years now. Integrity is extremely important. That’s

make a leap, but most aren’t at the stage yet where they

they are focused on issues such as match-fixing, gambling

can join the dots and do it effectively.

and doping. ESL One Cologne in 2016 was the very first

I think it’s partly a generational gap. The digital

event to tackle the issue of doping head-on and everyone

generation have grown up with the language of video games

came back 100% clean. In terms of tackling potential

but many of those in charge of media or brands have not.

cheating, that’s an area where ESL has led the charge on

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developing anti-cheat tools on refereeing and running games to make sure these things don’t happen.

What about the threat of betting-related match fixing? We’ve partnered with a company called Sportradar, which helps monitor and analyse betting patterns. We provide them with the feeds from our games and they are looking at all the bookie information and scouring for irregular behaviour. This shows ESL being ahead of the curve on these key integrity issues.

In traditional sports, many worry that the distance between fans and competitors has become too big and it is affecting engagement. How do you see that from an eSports perspective? There is an interactivity in eSports where you can watch your favourite players train, or even play with them in a game. You don’t have to get your shin pads on or head down to Upton Park to train with your favourite player you can do it online. With Twitch, Twitch chat, Twitter and Facebook, you can even talk in real time with players. Engagement is at the heart of what we do—and it’s why we have been so successful.

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Spike Laurie

INTEL EXTREME MASTERS IN KATOWICE, POLAND

SPIKE LAURIE is the Senior Director of Global Publisher and Developer Relations, the world’s largest eSports company. Over the last 18 months at ESL, Spike has been jointly responsible for the management and leadership of the UK business, and since January 2016, ESL’s successful launch in Latin America. During his time in the UK, Spike sat as co-chair of the UKIE (UK Interactive Entertainment) trade body’s eSports sub group, to consider and promote the UK eSports industry. Spike is a 2017 Sport Industry NextGen leader and was declared one of the UK games industry’s 100 Most Influential People by GamesIndustry.biz.

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Spike Laurie

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