Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Translating Sport Brand into Business
Since it was announced that the Games of the XXX Olympiad would have been held in London, the excitement started to build, well certainly for Jamaica and as a result of that – plans for attending were in high(er) gear. What was now to be “The Greatest Show on earth” – was on the minds of most sporting fans across the globe and not to leave out the Caribbean folks. On April 19 when the 100 countdown began a London CNN report said “As the city marks 100 days to go until the opening ceremony on Wednesday, venues are on schedule and within budget, tickets are selling out as quickly as they become available and sponsorship revenue has exceeded expectation. It's a big day for us, 100 days to go," said Sebastian Coe, the head of the London organizing committee. "This is the moment when we really do start getting ready for celebrating and welcoming the world." What was more impacting for me was the focus on Jamaica. Since November 2011 there was a consistent flow of journalists in the island to find out “Why Jamaicans run so fast.” – Have they really? Some of the features were shown on NBC’s Rock Centre with Lester Holt; BBC with Leon Mann; ESPN, HBO and a host of other TV networks, but also the features in Sport Illustrated, L’Equipe, Vogue, Ebony, Essence, Economist, Financial Times, and a host of publications in Germany, China and Australia; not to mention the web pages; were just a few of the positive spin offs the country has had because of one element of its brand – SPORT. While we contemplate the team’s performance at the Games, let’s take a look at the positive attention the country has had consistently for the last year. The country battles with its social programmes of a crime troubled nation; the IMF sort of dictates how money is spent and the ugly head of political corruption remains a popular discussion. All this make it tricky to do ‘business in Jamaica’ – however Sport has attracted the most positive outlook of the island. The questions that comes to mind are Can Jamaica capitalize on the attention it has gotten through Sport Can the attention be monetized Can Sport serve as a real economic driver for the Economy Who will drive the initiative The core of the culture of Jamaica has to be secured to achieve its primary goal of economic wealth for its people. The role of education, marketing, technical development has to be placed in one major plan to access the best opportunities for Jamaica. This has to be done soon, as the opportunity withers with time. How soon can Jamaica get this right? I read with interest an excerpt of a presentation by Senator Kamina Johnson and a question which emerged was “Is Jamaica boxing in the wrong weight class?” If in fact Jamaica is, it may mean a new set of gloves, or it may have to resort to fighting in the class it really should be. After all is said and done, Jamaica has been the most talked about, written about nation in this Olympic Games and the best is yet to come. Let’s rally around the team, management and the Jamaican people and do what is possible…extraordinary. In the 50th year of Independence, as the nation heads to a century and beyond, it is time for CHANGE and positive ones too.