I attended the One Zero Conference in Croke Park, Dublin on Tuesday 17th of October. It was positioned as ‘The Sports and Leadership Event of the Year’ and one in which attendees could gain ‘Leadership Lessons from the Highest Levels of the Sporting World.’
So here are my five take away lessons!
- Silence will not change the world. You have to be brave to stand up against inequality in sport but there is a price to pay. Hope Solo (USA Soccer Player World Cup Winner and two x Olympic gold medal) was fired from the USA Soccer Team and subsequently lost her Nike contract ultimately for fighting the federation for equal pay to the men’s team. A fight she felt was worth taking the risk for, she knew the ‘value’ of the women’s team and wasn’t willing to accept tokenism from the federation.
- Moments are the heart beat of Social Media: Being part of the key ‘moments’ is where the real opportunity lies for engagement with fans. Sports bodies should own and drive the conversation around these moments. Your passion must match the passion of the fans, it must be authentic and have the correct tone of voice and ideally have a slightly different message across the channels. Paddy Power keep Facebook short & simple, Twitter subtle and clever and Snapchat more risky and cheeky!
- Football needs to shake up: Football needs to change, to remain relevant to younger generation of fans. Attendance at matches is falling, while the age profile continues to rise. Kids won’t watch 90 mins of football, they want bit sized highlights and moments. Those who lead football must provide vision and to become more agile to respond to the changes in consumption of sport (an issue for all traditional sports). They need to consider alternative formats of the sport.
- Women’s Sport in Ireland has improved in status but there is a lot more to be done! To gain parity with men’s sport there is numerous factors at play. The profile of the sport must be elevated by the media but equally sporting bodies need to work to help journalists to unlock the newsworthiness of the performance/competition. The community of the sport must play its part in supporting them. Sponsorship which is activated by partners will help to drive awareness and affinity with fans and help capture new fans. Investment in coaching needs to match the men’s game to help drive performance.
- What it takes to be the best in the world of elite Sport? There were discussions throughout the day on what it takes to be the best. During the Elite Performance panel, it boiled down to: nature/nurture/luck; preparation and the ability to perform under pressure and to thrive under that pressure. AP McCoy put it down to working harder than other who might have been ‘living the life rather than emptying the tank’. He had ‘a need to win and then a greed’ that was always underlined with a fear of failure that drove him every day.