Patrick Nally

Leading marketing consultant Patrick Nally has warned that sport is coming under increasing pressure to look at itself in the light of the FIFA scandal and the dispute between SportsAccord and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Nally claimed it is time all stakeholders work together to plan what is best for everyone from supporters, sponsors, Governments, Federations to cities.

The Londoner, acknowledged as one of the founding fathers of modern sports marketing, was one of the guest speakers at The Academy management conference here.

He told an 80-strong audience from around the world that sports marketing had changed little from the concepts he helped create in the 1970s.

“Federations have adapted this rights package, that I created late back in the 70s as a way of raising money,” he told insidethegames.

“It was designed to create maximum money for the Federations, but that has not changed very much.

“The prices have changed, going up in incredible multiples, so the amount of money they are generating is substantial.

“But the fundamental approach is that it is designed to maximise money, not necessary maximise the return for the sponsor.

“It does necessarily give initiatives to a sponsor to create things for themselves.

“With all the other changes, my view is, certainly from a sponsor’s point of view, more bespoke approaches are really the way it should come back to.

“It is not just about raising money, it is about a partnership that works for both sides.

“Just buying off the shelf a load of rights, does not really respond to a client’s requirements.

"They have their own needs, their own requirements and some rights might not even be relevant to them, but that classic package still exists.

“Also at the end of the day whose sport is it? It is the fans’ sport and we must not forget that and that’s what’s important.

“It is about connecting.

"My view is all the stakeholders now need to participate in making it a better market.

“Why are decisions being taken that are having negative effects in Brazil, South African or Qatar?

"I’m sure we are not all really wanting to hate Qatar, but people are because the World Cup is going there.

“If Governments, sponsors, broadcasters, academics, NGOs (non-Government organisations), as well as sports bodies actually debated how these mega events can actually benefit everyone, then we might come up with some better ideas.

“It can’t just all be about raising money, but that’s unfortunately what it has become.

“If you look at the IOC and FIFA, with the mega millions that are coming in through sponsorship and broadcasting, it is an enormous responsibility.

“Maybe it needs more people to be involved in the process and the end game because it has become so big.”

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Patrick Nally explained at The Academy how the sports marketing industry has evolved over the past 40 years ©ITG

He added: “Sport has become so isolated in very dominant and controlling Federations, which I’m not against, but they don’t have the overview that they all need - the corporate overview, the governmental overview, the social conscious overview.

“The only way that is going to change is that there needs to be a forum created that enables that to happen.

“UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) is the only thing that has a brand significant enough to bring all these groups together.

“All these groups have to come together.

"There is no point one sponsor being isolated on their own.

"You need to get all the sponsors to contribute.

"They have all got their own reasons for staying confidential, but in the scheme of the whole thing they have a big contribute to make.”

So highly likely does Nally believe it is that all the stakeholders will get together and try on plan a joint path forward for sport?

“Not, unless some of us kick-start it,” he said.

“But the pressure that is now coming with the problems that FIFA and [Sepp] Blatter are facing and Qatar and Russia, plus the break-up between the IOC and SportAccord - Marius Vizer and Thomas Bach – all these things are putting pressure on sport to look at itself.

“The fact that there was a [Sports] Ministers’ meeting a few years ago in Berlin when they stated categorically that there needs to be this review by stakeholders, then we are getting to the point that it has to happen.

“It has to be defined, it has to be structured the right way.

“This is not negative. It’s not people attacking these bodies. I’m advocating things are wrong, I’m just saying things could be looked at on a broader scale if everyone comes to the table.”

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