Sailing With the BOSS #4

What wind is behind the sails of our sport leaders? This is final part of a 4 part series looking at some of the insights from the Business of Sport Summit (BOSS), which I attended in Sydney last week. Part 1 “Learning’s from the BOSS”, Part 2 “What the BOSS Taught us!”, and Part 3 “Love the BOSS!” are also available for your perusal.

Part 4 looks at gender equality, live events in the living room, borderless business and pushing the limits of human performance.

Encouraging Equality: The Rugby League Perspective

You don’t normally associate ballet with rugby league, but Catherine Harris AO PSM hasn’t been afraid to break barriers. Catherine has, until recently, been on the Boards of both Australian Ballet and the NRL along with a number of other Boards. She spoke about encouraging gender equality, noting know that women are freely putting their hands up for sport.

To ensure there is growth in female participation, sport needs to focus on:

  • pathways
  • engagement
  • fun
  • interesting

Rugby League has seen a 34% increase in female participation last year due to increased resources and opportunities. Catherine spoke about 3 steps to change:

  1. Awareness of why it needs changing
  2. Convince the decision makers
  3. Belief and want to make change

To support an increase in females there needs to be infrastructure changes (toilets, fields, etc…) and focusing on the grass-roots ground level first.

What skills should sports be hiring for in the future:

  • Experience from different industries (although CEO’s from different industries generally struggle from the increased level of media exposure that is associated with sport)
  • Experience in fast-moving consumer environments
  • Customer focused people

The End of Data for Data’s Sake

Kylie Glover (Polar Electro) and Andrew Clarke (Sydney Football Club) spoke about how we can cut through the noise of metrics when dealing with wearable technology and how it is connected with humans. Andrew focused on the importance of using data to determine intention, assessment, load management, performance, driving change, case player improvement over time and speeding up questioning.

Sydney Football Club ask the question, “is this improving how we want to play?”.They are not focused on collecting data for data’s sake and if the data isn’t making changes, then they get rid of it. In the future they are looking at how to improve 24hr monitoring while reducing interference with the athletes life.

From Live Event to Living Room

Phil Harrison (Akamai Technologies), Adam Dodman (Chief Entertainment), Ramesh De Silva (Telstra Broadcast) and Andrew Catterall (Racing.com) spoke about consumer expectations around the stream to screen experience. They spoke about reducing the latency, scale and cost of over the top (OTT) digital video services. Partnerships are essential to optimising service delivery of sporting event coverage to the consumer.

The Borderless Business of Sporting Spectacles

Ray Gunston (AFL), Kerry McCabe(Players Voice) and Scott Wenkart (Showdown) looked at international expansion of sporting products.

Ray spoke about the new wave of growth for AFL:

  • Kids
  • E-sports
  • India
  • Ticketing
  • Sports performance
  • AFLX (play it anywhere)
  • Digital/Data

He spoke about the explosion of the elite female competition due to providing females equal opportunities, inspiring and increase in female participation and now 30% of participation is females.

Kerry mentioned that too often we are looking for the silver bullet. We need to understand the fans and members, and what the end consumer looks like. Accessibility is key for expansion and knowing what channels are popular in each country/region (i.e. line in China). The product needs to be relatable to the community you are expanding into and having physical presence if you want to gain trust and long-term loyalty. He noted that joint ventures performed more than 2x greater than individual approaches in the Asian market. This is due to cultural, government and social understanding of the market.

Scott showcased how E-Sports had exploded globally. He also spoke about using technology as an enabler, flight to reality (people want more real and relatable content), and we are in an intimacy economy (people share their experiences and feelings to an average of 6x people).

Pushing the Limits of Human Performance

There aren’t too many people willing to take the leap and embrace the elements of the ocean in one of the world’s toughest sporting events. Sleep deprivation, blisters, severe cold weather, living in confined spaces and being challenged constantly are all part of the Volvo Ocean Challenge.

Nick Bice, the Chief Technical Development Officer of the Volvo Ocean Race, spoke about how data and technology is changing the way fans can connect with the race. From live tracking, to on board coverage and insights, they now provide an intimate connection with the sailors who are battling the elements. It also means stakeholder engagement and return on investment is enhanced as their exposure is with the fans on a daily basis versus in the past where it was just when they came into finish each leg of the race. Evolution is in our DNA.

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