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
SPORT | THE BREWERY
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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) â€“ 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
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
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
KEVIN PIETERSEN MBE FORMER ENGL AND CRICKET C APTAIN
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
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
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
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
DAN ROAN BBC SPORTS EDITOR 18
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,
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,
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
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
Rugby World Cup and the Olympic Games.
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
– 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
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
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
THE POWER OF THE PREMIER LEAGUE REACHES MILLIONS ACROSS THE WORLD
“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
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
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.
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
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
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
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 youâ€™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
“WE SHOULD USE OUR PROFILES TO FIGHT FOR WHAT WE BELIEVE IN”
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
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
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
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
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) â€“ LAND ROVER BAR
SIR BEN AINSLIE IS AN BRITISH SPORTSMAN WHO IS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL SAILORS IN BRITISH HISTORY.
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
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.
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 Americaâ€™s Cup team to challenge for and win the trophy for Britain.
DOPING IN SPORT: What are the lessons?
SIR CRAIG REEDIE PRE SI DENT, WORL D ANT I-DOPI NG AG ENCY
sir craig reedie
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
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
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
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.
SIR CRAIG REEDIE
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
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
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
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
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.
AS WELL AS RECENT SCANDALS, LONGER TERM FORCES SUCH AS GLOBALISATION AND COMMERCIALISATION ARE IMPACTING ON TRUST.
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.
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
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,
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
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.
33% ...believe that â€œtrust in the sport industry has declined in the last 12 monthsâ€?
TRUST IN SPORT
65% ...think that “there is a widespread problem of ethics in sporting bodies”
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
10 13% 14% 16% 20% 26% 36% %
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
47% 27% 2
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
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
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
IMPACT ON SPORT 37% 33%
% less likely to SEE THEMSELVES AS A FAN
% less likely to ATTEND MATCHES OF THIS SPORT
Fans of football (955), athletics (510), tennis (693) 76
TRUST IN SPORT
% 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
BE PUBLIC VOICES
G BODIES S
DEMONSTRATE RESPONSIBLE VALUES
Speak out against rule breakers 54%
Act as role models 42%
Encourage governing bodies to be more transparent 34%
Ensure independent oversight (e.g. anti-corruption bodies) 52%
Provide formal safeguards 48%
Deliver financial transparency 43%
Speak out against rule breakers 47%
Hold their talent to account 41%
Demand increased transparency from governing bodies 39%
ENSURE CHECKS & BALANCES
Fans expect different actors in the industry to play their part in solving the problems:
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”
- 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”
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.”
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
Home Nations players. A team that is determinedly
Indeed, much has been written in recent years about
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
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.
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.”
“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
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
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.
SPORTS STARS â€¢ Q&A
Dylan Hartley is the England rugby union captain and the most capped hooker in English rugby union history.
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
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
world away from what it was 10 years ago,
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
How do you like to communicate with fans? Is that changing?
form of communication.
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
SPORTS STARS â€˘ 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.
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,
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
much every single day. I’m so grateful for the opportunities the sport has given me, such as
having a home Paralympic Games in London,
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
“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”
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
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
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
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.
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.
“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”
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.
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
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
“ 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
“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
“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
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)
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
“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.
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
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.
“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
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
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
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.
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.