Tag: business

Second Screen Phenomenon
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Second Screen Phenomenon

In the brave new world of contemporary sport-watching, the goalposts have moved. Watching the big game (once a simple matter of grabbing a beer and some chips and settling down in front of the television) has become increasingly active for those who wish it so. continue reading

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Knight in Shining Armour

Come this morning, the Newcastle Knights will commence their first full week under a new regime.  Just like Manchester United and Liverpool in the English Premier League, the New York Yankees and Red Sox of Boston in US Major League Baseball as well as the Rajasthan Royals and Deccan Chargers of the Indian Premier League, the Knights are now a privately owned club.  The coup was delivered in overwhelming fashion by an army of Newcastle Knights’ fans who last week voted to sell their club to Nathan Tinkler or more correctly the Tinkler Sports Group (TSG).  Such a structure is not particularly innovative in Australia but, as the examples illustrate much more the norm overseas. Results have been mixed however even among the European sporting elite let alone here in Australia.  Basketball and A League football have religiously pursued a private ownership model and the NQ Fury are no more as their owner’s largesse disappeared with the Brisbane Bullets similarly extinct following Eddy Groves’ much publicized cash flow problems.  Why even Tinkler himself took over from cash strapped Con Constantine as owner of the Jets. Tinkler seems to be different. Not only does he seem to have deeper pockets than many (his wealth is propelled by the rewards of the mining boom) but he is far from the helicoptered-in, ego driven sugar daddy that others seem to be.  He is Newcastle through and through mirroring the passionate white, blue and red bedecked mums and dads that bellowed “Newcastle! when he secured the club.  Although frequently shrouded in the pr bluff and bluster of modern sport business it is his parochialism that has shone through.  Nevertheless, he is an astute businessman with many interests including the highly competitive Patinack Farms, his thoroughbred racing arm. I guess the acid test will come with his reaction to winning and losing seasons? Will a successful team on the field see TSG leverage their investment and raise membership and merchandise prices or alter the home ground and disenfranchising real fans?  Will a losing side see recrimination and back stabbing?  Time will tell but for now Tinkler can bask in the adulation as a very real home town hero with unbounded potential.

This post first appeared as Mondays Expert in the Northern Star, December 6th

 

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Snookered

So Australia has a brand spanking new world champion. A world snooker champion no less and a lad destined to earn a lucrative living from his sport. Neil Robertson is a far cry from the waistcoated, bespectacled sepia characters of smoke filled snooker halls. Sure he wore a waistcoat (his was borrowed due to a now solved cash flow crisis) but the champions of old would never have sported the sort of haircuts, spoken the same way nor possessed the boyish good looks of the new guard. But there in all the photos is a garish logo on his right breast – the must have accoutrement for any sportsperson alongside the fast car and the glamorous WAG. His logo belongs to a betting agency Betfred. So what? Betting isn’t illegal.  All true but a day or so earlier his fellow snooker player and world number one, John Higgins was up to his neck a bribery controversy that if proven will destroy the sport. Many sports, clubs, teams and individuals have been seduced by the gambling dollar – in the EPl 6 of the top 20 clubs now have their shirts emblazoned with a betting agency sponsor!  In Australia the major sports have arrangements with betting organizations, some clubs are sponsored by them and the Melbourne Storm imbroglio had a gambling link through the wooden spoon market. Snooker is one of those sports that is on the edge. As an individual sport it is surely in the sights of many an illegal gambler and shifty betting syndicate and is hardly helped by the seedy image of it and its near cousin pool. But it’s not just snooker that will feel the ire of nannying self interest groups and over lobbied governments. Tobacco sponsorship was the first sugar daddy cut from the team and is now globally legislated out of the sponsorship of sport. Alcohol is feeling the heat and is already outlawed as a sponsor of sport in France. Gambling will be next.

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Welcome

Welcome to the ‘Pause for Sport’ blog. The blog is basically my allegedly informed opinion about aspects of the business of sport – the good, the bad and the downright ugly! Please feel free to comment and give others’ your opinion.

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