National sport organisations and the Olympic Committee have to seriously consider adopting a joint approach to sports marketing. An integrated and collective approach is necessary if the intractable issues that are systemic are to be effectively and efficiently addressed.
Local sport is staring into the abyss. There are so many things taking away time, energy and focus from the strategy and execution of the core business of sport.
We live in a global environment and local sport is competing not only for money and capital, but also attention.
So many issues take up management and executive time.
Instead of focusing on improving technology and processes, attention is dispersed to things that may be urgent but not necessarily important.
Focusing on developing a comprehensive plan for the sustainable development is a real problem given the need for firefighting and problem solving.
But regardless of how hard it may be, fundraising and sponsorship is the major priority for all national sport organisations.
A comprehensive plan that manages and coordinates long term marketing from a strategic perspective is urgent and important.
Most sport organisations are experiencing negative economic conditions, institutional failure and significant instability.
It is against this background that it should be obvious that cooperation between national sport organisations has strategic benefits.
Rivalry between sport organisations is unhelpful.
Recently I was trying to come up with a list of the most marketable athletes and sports in T&T. I am still working on it.
How many people involved in T&T sport understand the economics of the industry and the key issues in the marketing of sport?
The importance and commercial significance of sport as an industry is placing a demand on national sport organisations to apply and develop an appreciation of marketing theory.
National sport organisations must take their destiny, brands, assets and future into their own hands.
Too often discussions about what's wrong with sport points to the direction of government and government agencies.
Moving forward it's time for sport organisations to change the narrative and conversations.
How can the links between the sport, hospitality, entertainment, tourism and cultural sectors be made and sustained to the benefit of all stakeholders?
It's not that sport marketing isn't a big thing, it is that the main beneficiaries are foreign brands.
The local market is clearly saying to everyone involved in T&T sport foreign is better.
Instead of sitting in a corner and lamenting about the situation, we need to take a close look and ask what do all concerned within local sport have to do better.
How do national sport organisations including the Olympic Committee amplify their voices from a marketing perspective and get the brand message out there?
What is the end goal? When T&T sport approaches corporate T&T what will make the decision to spend revenue and invest a financially sensible one?
Is T&T sport good for the brand? Is T&T sport something to be proud of?
Financial sustainability for T&T sport is a top priority.
It comes down to marketing. Market, market, market some more otherwise sooner rather than later oblivion is a certain outcome. Marketing, brand building, brand relationship building, sponsorship, fund raising–whatever spin you but on it, the bottom and top line is national sport organisations need to become marketers.
Questions that national sport organisations can come together to address include:
What do we do best?
Where is the room for improvement?
What is our core service?
How can we strive for continuous improvement?
How do we get better every day?
How can we improve the overall experience for sport stakeholders?
How can we make sport, national sport organisations and athletes more marketable?
Brian Lewis is the President of the T&T Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC.