Global sport is facing the “mother of all wake-up calls” as it emerges from the coronavirus lockdown, with uncertainty over what the landscape for participants and sponsors will look like.
Former head of Olympic marketing Michael Payne believes that although “it will be very painful pulling through it”, sport will nevertheless emerge “healthier and stronger”.
While a leading advertising industry figure warns it will be “nip and tuck” for the organisers of the rearranged Euro 2021 football championships and the Tokyo Olympics, former Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has told AFP the ordinary fan will just be glad to have the diversion of live sport again.
Apart from a few exceptions — the sideshows of football in Belarus or racing in Hong Kong and Australia — sport has been at a standstill since mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe, claiming more than 370,000 lives. Only now is it edging back to action.
Payne, who was widely credited with transforming the finances of the International Olympic Comittee through sponsorship, said such an unexpected crisis had caught sport woefully unprepared.
“Whether it’s international sports federations, football clubs or F1 teams, many were living way beyond their financial means,” he said in an interview with AFP.
“Very few bodies or organisations had funds set aside for a rainy day.
“This has been the mother of all wake-up calls.”
The 62-year-old Irishman says to learn lessons he always draws on the biggest crisis he experienced — the Olympic Salt Lake City scandal in 1999.
For three months he went to work wondering whether the IOC would see the day out.
“Top business leaders at the time told me a measure of leadership is how you take advantage of a crisis so ultimately you will come through stronger,” he said.
“It was very painful at the time but eventually I look back and say a lot of good came out of that.”
Payne says similar leadership — and tough and unpopular decisions — are required now.
“Major changes can and will need to be driven through that perhaps would not otherwise have been able to be pushed through if everyone was sitting in their comfort zone.
“What might have been previously politically unacceptable could now be possible. Sport will be leaner and stronger for it.”
Football clubs will need to rein in their spending as money from ticket sales “will take quite a while to come back”.
“In the interim, clubs, event organisers and federations are going to require some serious financial engineering to manage the business,” he said.
Should spectators be allowed to attend events, one consequence of coronavirus is likely to be strict social-distancing measures being imposed if the Olympics and Euro 2020 take place next year.
Martin Sorrell, the British founder of advertising giant WPP, who sits on the IOC Communications Commission, says the Tokyo organisers are in a race against the clock.
“I think it will be nip and tuck because you have to plan it so far ahead, from now really, and make adjustments which is for something very complex.”
“Same thing for Euro 2021,” he added. “Will the organisers be right to play it behind closed doors or reduce audience participation?”
Terrence Burns, a former IOC marketing executive who since leaving his role has been pivotal in five successful Olympic bid city campaigns, says imposing restrictions on spectators would rob major events of “part of their mystique and appeal”.
Burns is upbeat about the future for sponsors but expects them to choose projects more carefully.
“Sports will always be a major component of marketing and promotional strategy for brands because of its emotive efficacy,” he said.
“Having said that, I expect the ‘sponsor universe’ not necessarily to shrink, but certainly to become more prudent and more exacting as it looks ahead where to spend its money.
“This means sports will have to work harder, in some cases re-invent themselves, to attract sponsorship dollars that in the past were more of a sure thing.”
Ecclestone, who ran F1 for decades, says the ordinary fan’s wish is rather simpler.
“At the moment what has the family to talk about but coronavirus?” he told AFP.
“It is hardly very uplifting and something you want to discuss, but people do discuss how it is affecting them or the best way to avoid getting it.”
While “none of us have a clue” about the science of the virus “people do have knowledgeable opinions on sport, who their favourite competitors are or who will win.
“As soon as it returns in that respect, the better for people’s morale.”
Reporting and photos: AFP
Umair Badheeu sets new, national freediving record at AIDA Philippines National Championship
Maldivian freediver Umair Badheeu has achieved a new national record with a dive to a depth of 62 meters in the bi-fin category. His accomplishment was made possible with the support of Kaimoo Resorts and Hotels, a key sponsor and advocate for Umair’s pursuit of excellence in freediving.
Competing among 14 international participants, Umair’s performance not only secured a new national record but also surpassed his previous bi-fin category record of 60 meters by a margin of two meters.
Reflecting on the challenges of transitioning from his training in Egypt to competing in the Philippines, Umair said: “Adapting to reduced buoyancy due to warmer waters and encountering jellyfish were part of the new environment.”
This marks the third national record Umair has achieved. He previously set two national records of 62 and 64 meters in the free immersion category of free diving at the Andrea Zuccari World Cup held in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt in October. Free immersion freediving is a discipline that requires divers to descend and ascend pulling a rope.
Umair’s switch from training in free immersion in Egypt to the bi-fin category for this tournament demonstrated his adaptability: “It felt like shifting gears, utilising distinct techniques, and returning to a more familiar discipline. This dive marks a confident depth for me, focusing not just on depth but also on refining dive times for a more enjoyable experience,” he remarked.
“Kaimoo’s support has been instrumental, offering me the freedom to train. This support has allowed me to focus on honing my skills and achieving new heights in my freediving,” Umair added.
“Umair’s third record-breaking dive this year is a testament to his exceptional skill and determination. Kaimoo is thrilled to continue supporting Umair’s journey in the world of freediving. His achievements inspire us, and we congratulate him on this impressive feat, looking for-ward to his continued success,” said Mohamed Manih Ahmed, Kaimoo’s Managing Director.
With this record-breaking achievement, Umair now looks forward to a period of rest before gearing up for the upcoming freediving season.
Kaimoo Resorts and Hotels is a leading tourism company in the Maldives that manages five properties across the country. In addition to Embudu Village and Summer Island Maldives, Kaimoo also operates Equator Village in Addu Atoll, and the Mookai Hotel and Mookai Suites in Male’.
Kuramathi Maldives and Rasdhoo Divers dive into adventure with speciality courses
Kuramathi Maldives, in collaboration with Rasdhoo Divers, is elevating the underwater experience by offering a captivating range of Dive Speciality Courses, tailored for both novices and seasoned divers alike. These courses go beyond the ordinary, immersing participants in topics such as Perfect Buoyancy, Wave, Tides and Currents, Turtle Ecology, Manta Ecology, Marine Ecology, Deep Diver Speciality, and Enriched Air Nitrox Speciality.
Perfect Buoyancy: Master the art of achieving and maintaining perfect buoyancy underwater, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable diving experience.
Wave, Tides, and Currents: Dive enthusiasts can now confidently navigate ocean dynamics, enhancing their skills in diverse underwater conditions.
Turtle Ecology: Gain insights into the captivating world of sea turtles, understanding their behavior, and contributing to their conservation.
Manta Ecology: Delve into the mysterious realm of majestic mantas, exploring their habitat, behavior, and the crucial role they play in marine ecosystems.
Marine Ecology: Discover the delicate balance of marine ecosystems and learn how divers can contribute to their preservation through responsible and sustainable practices.
Deep Diver Speciality: Embark on a thrilling adventure below 18 meters, gaining advanced skills for deep-sea exploration and mastering safe diving techniques and pressure management.
Enriched Air Nitrox Speciality: Unlock the secrets of the deep with Nitrox, ensuring safer and longer dives. Enhance your dive planning, elevate safety, and indulge in extended reef adventures.
These Dive Speciality Courses at Kuramathi Maldives are designed not only to enhance participants’ diving skills but also to instill a sense of environmental awareness and responsibility. As custodians of the pristine underwater environment, Kuramathi Maldives is committed to nurturing a community of conscientious divers dedicated to appreciating and protecting delicate marine ecosystems.
Led by certified dive instructors from Rasdhoo Divers Kuramathi, these courses provide a safe and enjoyable learning experience. Whether you are a beginner eager to explore the underwater wonders or an experienced diver looking to expand your knowledge, Kuramathi Maldives invites you to embark on a journey of discovery beneath the azure waves.
Visit Maldives collaborates with Surf Session and Kyllian Guerin to promote the Maldives as a leading surf destination
Visit Maldives has collaborated with ‘Surf Session’, a media platform dedicated to surﬁng. An exciting familiarisation trip and a digital campaign was conducted to promote the Maldives as a leading surf destination in the French market. The digital campaign was conducted on social media and the Surf Session website.
During the ﬁrst part of the campaign, a young surfer, Kyllian Guerin, accompanied Surf Session on a week-long trip where he surfed and explored the best waves of the Maldives. Ayada Maldives, Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi, and Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives hosted this familiarisation trip. Kyllians’ journey was captured and brand content in the form of Instagram stories, posts, articles and banners were disseminated on Kyllian Guerin and Surf Session social media platforms and oﬃcial website. As for the second part of the campaign, digital and print articles highlighted the surf lifestyle in the Maldives and were published on Surf Session website. Additionally, an exciting video of Kyllian’s journey in the Maldives was posted on YouTube, showcasing the beauty of the surf spots of the destination.
The campaign strengthened Maldives’ presence as a premium surf destination and drove excitement among Surf Session’s readership and surﬁng community. The campaign increased visibility for French surfers and further strengthened the Maldives brand in the French market. Collaborating with prestigious media like Surf Session and inﬂuential personalities like Kyllian Guerin allows MMPRC to capture the attention of potential surfers and travel enthusiasts alike, encouraging them to choose the Maldives as their preferred holiday destination. The entire campaign resulted in over a collective reach of 919,209.00.
The current ranking of France is at #8 with 41,072 arrivals as of 31st October 2023. MMPRC is consistently promoting the Maldives in the French market through various marketing activities. This year, we conducted a campaign with Vogue France and IFTM Top Resa 2023. We also plan to promote the Maldives at ILTM Cannes 2023 later this year. These marketing activities ensure the Maldives remain a top-of-mind destination for travellers from the French market.
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