What the BOSS Taught us! #2

It’s time to get inspired by some of sports industry’s biggest players. This is part 2 of a 4 part series looking at some insights from the Business of Sport Summit (BOSS), which I attended in Sydney last week. Part 1 “Learning’s from the BOSS” included some outstanding leaders in the sporting industry, including Matt Carroll (Australian Olympic Committee), Patrick Kidd OBE (Invictus Games), Paul Rogers (AS Roma) and Marina Go (West Tigers Rugby League Football Club). Part 2 continues the theme of innovation, fan engagement, partnerships and the big business of sport.

Cultivating Creativity: The Mass Impact of Innovation in Sports

Jack Elkins was about to leave the Orlando Magic, when a chance conversation led to him taking up the lead on their new Innovation Lab. Jack spoke about organisations being in a position to deal with social change and letting go to move forward. He spoke about Orlando Magic developing a business model that is nimble so they can keep moving forward. They developed the Innovation Playbook, which consists of:

  •  Innovation Activation Strategy
  • Innovation Lab – realise creative potential
  • Innovation Collaborations – share knowledge and run experiments
  • Innovation Ecosystem – source new opportunities and acquire solutions

Jack talked about the innovation lab having different permissions and rules, with those in involved having the licence to step outside the box. The innovation process involves sharing your spark, becoming a project head coach, connecting to a project GM, building a starting 5, and running a project/experiment. It is all about, figuring out “what rules do we need to break?”. He noted most concepts cost nothing.

Spark involves:

  1. Insights
  2. Intuitions
  3. Concepts
  4. Plan/execute
  5. Evaluate
  6. Report out
  7. Implement or iterate

Innovate, Disrupt or Die

Clive Dickens, the Chief Digital Officer at Seven West Media, discussed disruption as an enabler. He mentioned that by 2020 75% of mobile traffic data will be video. As Australia becomes a leader in the mobile economy it was crucial that organisations develop a company strategy that was built around life in a digital world. Clive emphasised owning your own stories, telling stories on every screen and grasping that TV now means Total video, which covers all video platform mediums.

Teamwork Beyond the Field: Value Driven Partnerships

Sarah Chibnall (Swisse Wellness), Simon Hawk (Etihad Airways), Andreas Gloor (Reebok Australia), and Sally Spriggs (KFC Australia) discussed developing close relations between sporting institutions and sponsors to take advantage of new sporting leagues and technological advancements in broadcasting.

Sarah talked about ensuring alignment between vision, product and benefits. She spoke about a 360 degree marketing model that utilised inspiring and aspiring athletes and personalities.

Simon mentioned the importance of stakeholder management, global fit, reach and core value alignment as he discussed Etihad’s approach to sport sponsorship. Etihad has used global sponsorship deals to accelerate its reach and brand awareness since its inception in 2003. Stadium naming rights, major sporting teams and world-leading events are all part of their portfolio.

Andreas took us through the history of Reebok from running company to now being the global brand partner of CrossFit. Reebok are committed to making products for a reason, utilising partnerships as a testing ground for R&D, and staying ahead of the trend. They engage with brands to know what they want and focus on connecting deep in communities.

Sally focused on the importance of sponsorships playing a role in a brand culture. Sport is a culture and it is important to connect with the emotional side. They evaluate their sponsorship through analysing reach, brand fit, delivering a brand narrative, and ensuring there is a fun and let loose culture. They only work with people who live and breathe what they are about.

Encouraging Innovation, Empowering Athletes

Dr Adir Shiffman (Catapult Sports) provided a colourful presentation that focused on the “greatest success is about believing something is true that no one else believes is true”. Adir focuses on what do we believe the market would be in three years and then set about being the leader at the front of the pack. He looks at what the scenarios maybe in 3 years time, researches whether anyone else is chasing the same scenarios, and if there is an open scenario, maximise the opportunity to be the trend-setter.

Catapult Sports is about providing data that tells stories, and simplifying data to make it easier to understand what is happening on the sports field. They bring ‘boring’ data to life. They see innovation as not being blind punts or rolling the dice, but the opportunity to leap-frog the market.

“The greatest success comes from the person who is willing to stand up in front of a large crowd and fail.”

BOSS Wearable

Photo Credit: Sport Techie

Tech Enabled Athletes and the Future of Fan Engagement

Billie Whitehouse (Wearable-X) is an extremely talented and gifted young women. She is the co-founder, CEO and designer of Wearable X, which specializes in the combination of hardware, software and apparel for wearable technology products. Billie notes she is in the business of “feelings”, the feeling of best self. Wearable X gives data a feeling and is the 4th dimension of entertainment.

Organisational Intuition – Predictions that Pay

Finn Bradshaw (Cricket Network), Darryl Woodford (Fantasy Insider), Jack Elkins (Orlando Magic) and Scott Dinsdale (Accenture) talked about how rapid technological advancements are revolutionising the business of sport, bringing fans closer to the on-field action and sporting experiences closer to the corporate partners.

Using data needs to make jobs easier, be complimentary and ensure that processes can be simplified for the consumer. They spoke about the importance of limiting the amounting of data software utilised and if possible package together as one. Avoiding data saturation was considered important.

The four key challenges to consumer engagement were noted as:

  • Compelling personalised experiences of scale
  • Data ownership vs fan value
  • Embracing phygital
  • Future workforce

The Big Business of Sport – Brand Perspective

Ricardo Fort, the VP of global sports partnerships at Coca Cola (USA), highlighted that “sports are an important passion point for our consumers”. He mentioned that Coca-Cola are focused on activation not $$$. He feels that sporting events were more than a TV show and that most event sponsors were consumer brands. Now the brands come from a range of sectors and markets. This is due to:

  • Economic meltdown and increased pressure for short-term results
  • Growth of technology
  • New countries are bidding for major sporting events
  • Companies are sponsoring to accelerate globalisation
  • Companies are sponsoring to support their country

Ricardo notes that sports should not see a sponsor as a bank, rather supporting fan experiences. A partnership should be all about creating opportunities to capture moments with emotions.

Did you miss Part 1? Click here to read more…

Part 3

Part 3 of the Business of Sport Summit, released in two more days, will include:

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