Friday, December 30, 2011

Bolt, still breaking records

With 210 days (as of December 30) to go before the London Summer Olympic Games, Usain Bolt is about to set another record. His Social Media numbers have been improving rapidly and even in off season, he seems to be attracting new fans. Bolt's Facebook numbers are moving closer to 6 million and he stands to achieve that before the Games...while on Twitter his number has doubled in less than six months.

Facebook Fans total 5.72 million, while Twitter has shown great growth since May moving from 125,000 then to 328,000. The interaction for Bolt, who talks 'often' to his fans has opened up a new set of opportunities for him. Since November he has added over 87,000 fans on Facebook and just under 20,000 Twitter followers.
Bolt ended the 2011 season unbeaten and has copped several nominations including Laureus Awards (won in 2008 and 2009); Latin American and Caribbean AOY; IAAF top 100 sprinter, IAAF Male athlete of the year. He missed out on the JAAA top prize, but was a contender.
Although Bolt is reaping rewards from the the track he has been making a significant contribution to charity, by pledging his support to the 14th Sigma Corporate Run (February 19, 2012); and continues to support projects through his Usain Bolt Foundation.
Coming up early in 2012...a few major projects will be announced including business partnerships and more charity activities. Bolt and his Racers Track Club team mates are in full preparation mode for the active 2012 track and field season.
He has been also nominated for the RJR Sports Foundation Awards, scheduled for Friday, January 20 in Kingston.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sport Outlook for Jamaica for 2012

As the London Summer Olympics draw closer (223 days to go) there are so many opportunities for Jamaican sportsmen and women to shine in their respective disciplines. The country has exhibited it has potential in a few areas, like
■Lawn Tennis
■Martial Arts
■Motor Racing

Some of those listed above are not Olympic Sporting disciplines, but will have major events to expose the wide range of talent available. Some of the most successful at the international level are Track and Field, Cricket, Football, Basketball, Netball, Table Tennis, Volleyball - based on team standings, scholarships, players' participation in international leagues and media impact.

As 2012 draws closer, the athletes are all preparing to put on a great show and all the support available should be given to create an environment which makes it easier for them to produce great results as we all expect.

Business and Investment Opportunities

The investment opportunity for sport will also be on the country's radar as there are facilities across Jamaica which can help to boost the industry and in fact concretise Jamaica's position, as not only the place which produces world-class athletes, but as a venue for The Business of Sport.

The potential of the Treasure Beach Sports Park which sits on a 15-acre property which can house four football (soccer) fields, three cricket fields with nets, tennis, basketball, netball courts along with a recreational area for play is just one of the many projects available.

The two-day conference on The Business of Sport (May 3 - 6) will be held under the theme 'Stay in the Game' and will highlight the six major areas of how to stay in the game - Legal (contracts), Marketing, Media, Psychology (Maintaining the Competitive Edge), Nutrition and Events will continue to focus Jamaica's priorities. These projects require private and public sector partnerships and should be attractive for potential partners.

Let's support the Sports Industry, one of the Jamaica's best prospects for growth and development - one which require people and can generate well needed funds for the economy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Usain Bolt - Unbeaten in 2011

Announcers now call him, “the great man", and rightly so, as no known human being has ever run faster. But this season, Usain Bolt may have earned that titled even more so than in past world record-setting years. This season, Bolt’s greatest challenger was not Tyson Gay, or countryman Asafa Powell, but his own limitations as a man. Bolt’s greatness in 2011 was not embodied in an unimaginable time or a thrilling victory, but through overcoming injury and human error to still retain his title as the world’s fastest man.

No less decorated than in years past – posting the fastest 100m time of 2011 (9.76) winning the world championship in the 200m, and bringing yet another gold medal and world record home to Jamaica in the 4x100m relay – Usain Bolt has once again produced a thrilling campaign of races. However, what may be all the more impressive, despite not being in his best form, Bolt completed the 2011 campaign with a nearly perfect record of nine first place finishes – the only blemish being the false-start in Daegu.

6-May-11 Rome 100m First Place 9.91
31-May-11 Ostrava 100m First Place 9.91
9-Jun-11 Oslo 200m First Place 19.86
8-Jul-11 Paris 200m First Place 20.03
22-Jul-11 Monaco 100m First Place 9.88
29-Jul-11 Stockholm 200m First Place 20.03
28-Aug-11 Daegu 100m False-start
3-Sep-11 Daegu 200m First Place 19.4
4-Sep-11 Daegu 4x100m First Place 37.04 World Record
13-Sep-11 Zagreb 100m First Place 9.85
16-Sep-11 Brussels 100m First Place 9.76 Fastest Time of 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011


October 13, 2011

As the business of sport grows and generates billions of dollars across the world, more and more athletes are finding creative ways to market and brand themselves. Social Media has played a major role. The use of traditional media plus Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and SKYPE are the major internet tools being used to reach out to a wider range of fans and consumers. How then can Jamaican athletes benefit from this massively growing platform?

So whether it’s a tweet from New England Patriot’s wide receiver, Chad Ochocinco on what he is having for lunch; Tennis superstar, Serena Williams’ movie night at her home or Usain Bolt’s countdown to training for the 2012 season…they talk to us more than ever before through the use of Social Media. Ochocinco and Williams each have over two million followers on Twitter; while Bolt has just over a quarter million.
How can Social Media help? It gets you up close and personal with the public and it makes them feel like they know you even more and that is great. It also gives sponsors an additional outlet for athletes to promote its relationship with shoes, shirts, watches, footballs, boots or even a line of food items.

Of course there are down sides to this tool as it is immediate, it spirals quickly and it reaches more people in a short space of time, beyond imagination.
According to Bleacher Report “sometimes athletes don't know how to keep their mouths shut. They believe that they are invincible and untouchable despite what they stir up. Social networking has allowed athletes the opportunity to be more vocal and communicative with fans and fellow athletes, not necessarily for the better.”
Here are some examples of bad tweets - While he was playing for the U.S. national team, Brian Chu

ng felt that his club team, the Houston Dynamo, was cheated by the refs and didn't hesitate to tweet his reaction – “Ref in Seattle just cheated the dynamo. What a joke. Not even close. Ref is a cheat.”
While Marcus Jordan is undoubtedly correct in his comments towards those who continuously compare Kobe Bryant to the elder Jordan, this tweet was unnecessary - “NO ONE…and I mean no one should ever com par kobe Bryant to my dad…”
To find out the dos and don’ts of Social Media from the Managers, Sponsors and Public’s perspective, attend the Social Media and Athletes Workshop on Tuesday, November 8 from 8:00 – 11:00 am at the Jamaica Pegasus. Participants may register online at Entry is J$1,500

There is a special rate for groups of ten or more. The event is put on by Carole Beckford and Associates and Strategic Corporate Interventions and brought to you by the Gleaner.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Job Description for Jamaica's next PM

Now is a good time, if ever, to put together a job description for Jamaica's Prime Minister. Over the last 49 years we have been really testing the leadership/management of this country and while some things have worked, there are a lot more things that could change.

The next PM should be a good manager
The next PM should be a good negotiator
The next PM should understand protocol
The next PM should be able to make decisions in a timely manner
The next PM should be able to select the best team to carry out the work required to grow Jamaica
The next PM should at least know what industries are trending and select the champions to move them ahead
The next should have read the following books over the last five years - The Politics of Change - Michael Manley; Animal Farm - George Orwell; Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe; Humility - Andrew Miller; Leading without Power (will find the author)
The next PM should have had another job outside of politics
The next PM should have some volunteer experience

I know there are more things to add, but this could be a good start....

P.S. I know commitment to people is important, but since that cannot be measured whether by an interview or by a psychometric, I will stick to these for now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

JAMAICA needs stronger club structure in track and field

KINGSTON, September 2010 Just over 62 years ago, Jamaica participated in its first Summer Olympic Games in London. This was after a 12-year break from the Games because of World War II. The last being in Berlin, where American Jesse Owen took the world by storm. Jamaica (with the Union Jack flag as its symbol) copped three medals - one gold and two silver. Arthur Wint won gold in the 400 metres and silver in the 800 metres; while Herb McKenley took silver in the 400 metres. Since then the country has participated in every Summer Games.

Fast forward to 2008 edition in Beijing where the country earned its most medals in the Games history - six gold, three silver and two bronze for a total of 11. What has been the constant throughout these years? The love for track and field, and so the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association (JAAA) and its affiliates have made every effort to manage the sport.

As is customary in any business, the success has opened the doors of opportunity and the country has a glorious chance to create a dynamic club structure which fosters the growth and development of track and field. The two known and outstanding clubs are

- MVP led by Bruce James

- Racers led by Glen Mills

I know there are others around, but they need to be formalised and organised to absorb the ground swell of people/potential athletes who now seek to be trained and developed in Jamaica.

What has happened the burden is now on those two clubs and with hunt for medals on for 2011 (Daegu) and 2012 (London) - athletes have begun and will continue to search for a comfortable track and field home.

I am calling on the rest of the clubs to become formal and attract athletes and create a structure around them that will help them development. The templates are available and no need to re-invent the wheel. October/November is the start of the club year so there is time to get cracking. It would be a great way to support the sport of track and field we all love

What say you?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

College System - Bridging the Gap

For the 2011 – 2012 period in the collegiate system in the Jamaica, close to 100 student athletes have been awarded scholarships from colleges. Mico University, University of Technology, University of the West Indies and the GC Foster College of Physical Education & Sport have so far registered their intention to prepare and improve on the development of athletes from various sporting disciplines. It suggests that for the next four years, we should see our student athletes continue with their excellent performances on the field of play, but also have greater access to acquire requisite training and development in other professional areas.
These scholarships are a welcome addition to the growth and development of the sport industry as Jamaica progresses and grow into the sporting mecca of the world. This effort has to be lauded. While the colleges/universities have their own agenda in terms of collegiate competitions, it may also be a great idea to have the athletes at least meet once/twice each year to exchange notes and ideas on their varied experiences in a controlled setting. The offices of Students Affairs may want to coordinate on their calendars.
We know the value of a great education especially to athletes who seek the best opportunity for earning ability and it is the responsibility of the athlete to seek this out, but the system can and is playing its role. The efforts by the college system are also important as it is this age group, 17 – 26, that poses some challenges, according to researchers. So I am hoping we can officially track some of these individuals to look at their overall progress in highlighting the validity of the programmes and what shortfalls there may be, with recommended improvements.
Support Programmes
While we are growing the industry though, it is also of value that we train to provide the support in administration, technical, social and other developmental areas. We have seen how quickly the sport sector is growing and is bursting at the seams in some areas; but we have to be mindful that the athlete base does not outgrow the support we can offer.
It is therefore important to have better access to courses in sport management, sport psychology, sport administration, sport nutrition, statistics, budgeting and finance as areas that will complement the training being done on the academic side for the athletes. The Business of Sport while having the athletes can only be stronger if the support grows. The formal four-year programmes do offer some of the related courses, but there are creative ways to offer professional modules which last for up to 45 hours, making it also in keeping with international standards. What this does too is attract some people from ‘outside’ the industry to make better use of some skills and knowledge.
An athlete ultimately wants to perform at the highest level of competition, either in the world championship of their respective sport or the Olympic Games, and while London is just around the corner, the Brazil 2016 programme should start now. I am excited at these developments and we look forward to the support from all. Well done!

September 14, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

What makes an athlete tick?

Athletes appeal to us for different kinds of reasons and over the years lots of us have been drawn to specific athletes because of look, performance, personality, teeth, eyes, ears and so many other things. Most of the athletes we like are also great to watch on the field/court of play and television audiences have largely been affected by that in recent times. However, have you ever stopped to think what drives to perform at the highest level with giving top performances consistently? What really makes them tick?
All great athletes have committed themselves by exhibiting dedication, discipline, stick-to-itiveness and even a willingness to compete when the odds are against them and there are times we would really like to get into their heads to know how they think, what motivates them, what are the likes and dislikes and also how do they remain human?
The psychologists will tell you great athletes are coachable, they have a strong work ethic, they are aware of their work environment, they have composure, presence and poise; they may even be confident. But beyond that, there is always something(s) that touch(es) on the soft side, make them want to quit and also an inner part which want to do what they really want to do like party, drink, smoke, drive fast, put on weight out of season and even not want to train as per a schedule.
It is important for management of these athletes to understand these idiosyncrasies and work on a way to best manage and get the best out of the athlete simultaneously.
1. All world beaters want to always be on top and will want to perform better with each outing
2. All world beaters welcome competition but would prefer to be on top and will work hard at remaining on top
3. All world beaters listen to that ‘little’ voice in the back of their heads or even voices from outside, then do what they want to do. We have to give them choices with consequences so they are better able to make informed decisions
4. They also know when to take a break, even it does not agree with what the coaches/management say, but they take the break anyway. How long they stay on that break is what requires adjustment
5. We sometime spend too much time giving them instructions, as opposed to listening to them to hear their opinions. As the athlete gets older and more mature they too begin to develop a mind of their own and will require guidance and not instructions
6. They dream and if they share their dream with you, take that as your template to make the dream happen. There are times however, when you can be honest to say the dream cannot happen. Be gentle.
7. Be aware of the friends they have and be aware of the other instructions they get. Be positive in telling them the realities.
8. Listen more and talk less sometimes
9. For those who are close to their immediate family, embrace that, you may pick up a few ideas which could prove valuable in the near future
10. Talk to them not at them
Bill Cole, a mental game coach, out of California has written on the topic Championship Athletes – what makes them tick? Take a read sometimes.
In one of his columns he said “they learn from themselves, from those around them and from their environment. They embrace winning, competition and reaching their potential as athletes and as individuals. We can also learn a tremendous amount from them.”

Friday, September 9, 2011


I have had some privileges afforded to me in my career in sport and I am eternally grateful. And certainly in my numerous capacities, I know it is necessary to share with others in formal and informal situations where I can. I am also lucky to be a teacher, so therefore I have the classroom as my outlet. One of the realities of life is knowledge is power, only if you share it to make a positive impact.

So I have listened, read and heard numerous comments about the athletes' performances on and off the track and I am appalled, but somehow, better educated and informed about the expectations of people in a society like ours where the opinion is fact. However, not until you have worked in the environment, then assumptions are entirely out of place. As I always suggest, if you do not know...ask.

I would hasten to add, that still in 2011, there are some sections of our society who see sports as an outlet for people with nothing else to do and with that premise it is neither important and does not require any kind of hard work and dedication at all. So those of us who have sacrificed and defied the odds by competing or helping to guide those who compete are making sure we cover all bases.

The balance is being created by the BUSINESS OF SPORT, as significant earnings can take place and are taking place and people are making a living from Sport so the requisite training, management and discipline and maintenance is required.

Getting to the point. There are some people who wield a lot of influence in Jamaica and have used that influence to their own cause - nothing wrong with that; but also do not be quick to judge, especially if you are not familiar with the specifics. Those who write should write to empower. Those who speak should speak to empower and those who lead should lead to empower.

None of the athletes or artistes I must add, go out of their way to do anything to demean or undermine their profession, family, country and should be accepted as such; the creative outlet however, limited to the sport or music can cause overwhelming emotions to act 'out of accordance' with standard rules. And so my dear friends, use your influence to impact on the sector, which is obviously one of the most positive for Jamaica to help an athlete or an artiste. Volunteer. Offer your professional services. Bring back the community spirit to Jamaica.

The bearers of standards in Jamaica have shifted and the creative people are low hanging fruits (easy to pick) so they are heavily scrutinised. Our comparisons are a corrupt law enforcement system and justice system; white collar crimes; biased media, so the pickings become easy. Learn from those of us who have been in the trenches and help us grow. Most of us are willing to grow.

As we approach 50 years of political independence, I ask how independent are we really? We seem stuck in some kind of colonial past and won't get out of the little box we have been placed in. That is dangerous and counterproductive to any kind of growth.

I have avoided being specific, but I think the message is clear.

More time

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sport Manager - what is the real role?

Whether it is a team sport or an individual sport, athletes are hard to manage. This is not because they set out to be difficult, but that is how it usually is. The role of a Sport Team Manager is diverse, but should not be complicated as long as there is efficient and effective communication.

Jamaican sporting federations have been sending and hosting teams for a very long time and the people who get the job to manage these teams have always been placed under scrutiny. However, as sport and management practices have evolved, we need to adopt a few basic principles to ensure that the athletes are managed properly for the highest performance ever with as little issues as possible.

There is always the situation that the coaches think they are in charge, and they maybe, but they are only in charge of performance related activities. These though are critical to the athletes’ success as it is what the fans are primarily attracted to. But with more entertainment and lifestyle values coming into play, the athlete must win at all times. The team around the athlete simply facilitates.

Here are some tips to follow:

1. Communication and organization are key skills which must be learnt
2. Know the athlete or team you are managing – what they like, love and do not like
a. If it is a big team, get help in learning some back information about every member of the team. That information is valuable over the long term
3. Put the athlete/team’s interest first and not your own
4. Have regular interaction with all members of the team so all are generally on the same page
5. Learn from a previous manager
6. Sit in short management courses and study basic theories. Handling a group has dynamics you could never imagine
7. For teams that are likely to travel, make sure all members of the team has up to date passports and visa where necessary
8. Get the team together to see how they interact. This helps in room selection

There are some other key areas that I will mention which include medical, clothing, shoe sizes and just any other relevant information like home address, email and skype information.

It is also important to know the financial status of each member of a team just to be balanced in expectations and even actions on the part of each athlete. This then brings into play legal representation. As the business of sport becomes more probable, athletes have attorneys-at-law which play an important role in their lives and managers ought to know and respect that representation.

Sport is and is becoming more and more part of the Jamaican lifestyle and the competition though primarily on the field of play is also is how teams and athletes are managed to meet the demands of the comprehensive lifestyle sport has to offer. It is important that teams and athletes make that commitment to have managers who are qualified and have credibility. It is all part of the Business of Sport.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jamaica - a sporting destination

Let’s go back…way back! Word is out that the ‘sun, sea and sand’ could be Jamaica’s best assets in promoting the island as a sporting destination.

Jamaica’s sporting achievements are well known on and off the field but as the small country approaches its 50th year of independence, there are efforts to capitalise on the multi-billion dollar sport and sport tourism industries for economic gain.

Jamaicans grace the field in as much as 20 sporting areas on the international scenes with credible and sometimes outstanding performances. More and more the athletes also make front pages of newspapers, magazine covers, billboards, television and radio appearances and even endorsed products and services. But the question remain, how can Jamaica earn from this? The answer is major sporting events.

Jamaica’s ability to earn significantly from sport has to be by hosting major events which brings in a large number of people, brings positive news about the country, attract significant coverage from a variety of media, impact on community and its residents and parades the technical capacity of volunteers. Access to venues is also critical and to venues which are close to rooms and attractions for the additional exposure to the exotic and adventure seeking visitor.

Tim Schneider, a US sport marketing expert and publisher thinks "Jamaica has so much to offer for someone who organises a major sporting event and so my suggestion is that Jamaica looks at making itself available as a host country for all sort of different events that aren't necessarily based here." Schneider who was a guest presenter at the Business of Sport two-day conference in May also suggested that "it's a competitive market now but because of the natural features of this island, it's just a perfect location for a variety of events and I think that can really help to build the economic impact that's realised from hosting international events."

It was on that basis that the natural resources of ‘sun, sea and sand’ were suggested focusing on sport/events like beach volleyball and other beach events, road events and even adventure events which include hiking, camping and obstacle events.

Sport is believed to now capture 10 per cent of the overall tourism market, but is set to increase over the next seven years with back to back major sporting events including World Cup Football, Summer Olympic Games and many other championships.

Jamaica’s competitive and comparative advantages being near-shore, hotel rooms, attractions, host venues, air seats and some of the nicest people in the world must be reasons why the country should focus its attention on marketing the island as a sporting destination.

Tourism experts in the Ministry and Jamaica Tourist Board have hinted at efforts to go this route in a more serious way and the Minister, Ed. Bartlett confirmed that when he spoke at the Business of Sport conference earlier this year. Minister has also added his support to the 2012 edition now scheduled for May 3- 6.

We look forward!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Business of Sport, KINGSTON

The Business of Sport - Get in the GAME

Join us for two days, eight sessions with some of the region's best sport business executives, educators and sponsors having in depth, honest and riveting discussions on the Business of Sport in Kingston, Jamaica on May 5 & 6, 2011 at the Jamaica Pegasus.

Hear from experts in several fields ranging from academics, marketing, branding, intellectual property, ticketing and even from the athletes. This is an exciting opportunity you would not want to miss and so your participation is important.

Come experience some of Jamaica best entertainment spots and watch history unfold at the Jamaica International Invitational on Saturday, May 7. This is a package you would want to have. You also never know who you may meet.

Conference fee is for just US$150 + Airfare and Hotel Accommodation (where applicable).

Join us in Kingston, the heartbeat of the Caribbean

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Caribbean Sport Academy (November 2006)

So much of what Caribbean athletes aim to achieve, outside of personal glory, is an opportunity to be able to say 'my preparation and a lot of what I have achieved is through my work at home.'

The question is: How can the Caribbean sustain and improve its position in sport on the world scene in order to compete with its international opponents, most of whom have facilities and funding aimed at achieving excellence in performance?
What about a sport academy in the Caribbean? To have a sport academy programme set up for key sports within a regional sports partnership structure must be more than a thought at this point for the region. In an effort to build a super-power and to compete with the rest of the world, a timetable has to be set for putting the right structures in place. It may be a success story for the CSME.

individual sports
There are structures for individual sport, such as cricket and track and field using what is called high-performance centres. Jamaica is home to a high- performance centre in track and field; plans are in place for a football academy, and there is a cricket academy, in Grenada. Barbados will be the first English-speaking Caribbean country to have a high-performance centre for volleyball.

The academy has to be properly outfitted with the right team of people and the latest in equipment and supplies in line with international demands and trends. "Love sport, live sport" is a motto of a sport academy in the United Kingdom.
The invitation to join says: "If you're aged 16-19, already talented in your sport and would like to pursue a career as a professional sportsperson, this is the opportunity you've been waiting for. You can take advantage of new state-of-the art facilities at our Academy for Sport at Gateshead International Stadium, part of a multi-million pound development."
While the focus initially would be to develop athletes, we also must develop personnel in the areas that are supportive of athletes, in the area of cricket groundsmen for example.

Too often, we focus on the outcome before we look at preparation. The court/field must be in proper order and the equipment and facilities have to be maintained. We must train people to undertake these responsibilities. Already we are training educators at the GC Foster College of Physical Education in Spanish Town, Jamaica.
The sport academy should provide community and educational sport facilities as well as a top-grade training environment for athletes and people with the interest. It will enhance the development of the region's talented sports people and provide an environment which will help to retain the region's best performers. The academy will also offer unique opportunities to young people. They will train alongside élite athletes, work with the community and perfect sporting skills while gaining academic and coaching qualifications, all in an environment which inspires a nation and a region to achieve great success.

The regions we compete with have all these facilities in place and we should not depend on talent to help us achieve success at the highest level. Jamaica as a leader in the region in most sectors can influence a decision to make this happen.
Sport, now more than ever, has become one of the fastest-growing industries, and to compete, we must have the necessary plans in place.