13 August 2017

Lack of consistency the one constant in Asian sports

The start of the European football season is always a good reminder of one of the major difference between sports in Europe (and North America for that matter) and  Asia - CONSISTENCY.

Ask the average sports fan that follows a European or North American league and most could easily tell you when the competition will start, the number of participating teams, how many teams make the Champions League or Playoffs and the number of clubs that will be relegated.

Pose the same questions about the majority of Asian leagues and tournaments and even hardcore supporters will struggle to answer. From the high end Asian Football Confederation and Japanese J-League tournaments to aspiring leagues of Southeast and South Asia lack of consistency is the one constant in Asian sports.

Business markets love stability and hate uncertainty. It is not much different when it comes to sports. Certainly, the unpredictability of what happens on the field of play is what makes sports exciting, but off of it sports stakeholders want a stable and consistent product. It is this stability that has fans, sponsors, broadcasters and investors flocking to the European and North American sports markets.

So to Asian sports leaders either contemplating a meditation retreat or hiring overpriced consultants to provide a silver bullet solution that will fix your ailing competitions, I give you my simple and free advice: consistency is the key!

26 July 2017

Winners versus losers

From a development officer at AFC to a sports business professional and a few side hustles along the way, I have been privileged to meet with sports organizations in virtually all corners of Asia.

Whether it is the biggest and wealthiest or the smallest and most destitute, all sports entities seem to cherish any opportunity to carp about their challenges.

I've heard it all before - from the rich complaining about affluence to the poor griping about allocation of handouts and from the big whining about travel distances to the small moaning about the lack of geographic spread.

Everyone has their issues. What separates the successful sports organizations from the ones that flounder is how they choose to get on with it. A field hockey coach said it best in an article I once read - "Ultimately, losers find excuses, while winners find solutions." So is your sports organization seeking excuses or solutions?

19 September 2016

A salute to the Singapore Grand Prix

I've been fortunate to attend many sports events in my day and rarely do I come away massively impressed, but that is exactly how I felt after attending the Singapore Grand Prix.

What is truly remarkable is that the organizers go all out for this event and they have been doing it every year for nearly a decade. They take no shortcuts or half-hearted measures. The race takes place at night, on the roads of downtown Singapore, and it is filled with a whole host of supporting activities and events including world renowned music acts. This year Kylie Minogue, Queen and Imagine Dragons were in town.

The coordination required to pull-off an event like this is immense and in the two days I was at the event I did not encounter or notice a single hitch. If anything I was absolutely floored to find things like the queue for the subway after the race shorter than the normal lines on weekdays after work.

I can't imagine too many places around the globe being able to emulate what Singapore has done with the Grand Prix and long may they be able to host a Formula 1 race. Hats off to the  Lion City.

30 July 2016

Nepalgunj Gold Cup shows glimpse of Nepal's football potential

I wrote the following for the Nepalgunj Gold Cup post-tournament report:
The Nepalgunj Gold Cup is another example of Nepal's football potential. Located in a region of the country where football lacks maturity, this was the first major tournament held in the vicinity for over 35 years and it proved to be highly successful. The crowds were strong, media coverage formidable, and several sponsors such as Yeti Cement and Xiaomi supported the event. Perhaps most impressive was to see Dish Home satellite TV broadcast the competition live on its platform. If Nepalgunj is capable of achieving all of this, the prospects are even greater for the traditional hotbeds of Nepali football in the central and eastern parts of the country which economically also tend to be more robust. 
Undoubtedly, tournaments like the Nepalgunj Gold Cup will help grow football in the local area. If just a few footballers from Nepalgunj and Banke District can then ultimately make an impact on the national stage, already Nepali football will have improved significantly. Now the challenge is for the organizers to give continuity to the Nepalgunj Gold Cup. If they are successful in achieving this, the long-term legacy of the tournament will be formidable.
Opening of the Nepalgunj Gold Cup

13 July 2016

Footballs to Sindhupalchowk

Excited to partner with GoalNepal.com and provide footballs to 12 schools in earthquake affected areas of Sindhupalchowk. I trust that participation in sports will serve as one way to help rehabilitate students from the trauma of the earthquake. Furthermore, I hope the kids at the schools can find the same joy in football and sports that I have found throughout my life and career.