Interview NFL World Aquatics

Meet the Member: “It is certainly exciting, but it is also daunting”

April 6, 2023

We finished Q1 last week, so far we have had 12 interviews from all over the sports business. From the NFL to Davanti Tyres and from Wave FC to World Aquatics, in this round up piece we are going to pull out the best quotes from each interview.

We asked Brent Nowicki, CEO of World Aquatics, about how they are trying to avoid the peaks and troughs related to Olympic sports:

“Yes the peaks and troughs of Olympic sports, it is unavoidable really. We think that as long as you are always progressing in an upwards trajectory, and you are doing what you can to keep the gap between the peaks and troughs as small as possible, then you are doing the right things. 

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One of the things we have done is work with our athletes more to get them brought into what we are trying to achieve. I think the days of International Federations being able to sit back and think that just because they’re an Olympic sport the world owes them something are gone. That might have been the case at one point in time but today I can honestly say nobody owes us anything, we actually owe our athletes everything.

Read the rest of Brent’s interview here

In his interview, Lamberto Siega, Digital, Media and The Studios Director for AC Milan, explained how social media algorithms really decide what fans are interested in: 

Sports clubs don’t choose what is interesting for fans, social trends enhanced by the algorithms (it can be a music, a dance, a behaviour) “dictates” how to build  content, choosing what works and what follows a specific trend. It is a radical change.”

Read the rest of the interview with Lamberto here

NFL UK General Manager, Henry Hodgson told us about NFL UK’s target audience:

“Our focus is still really on growing our fan base in the UK, and we’ve set ourselves a target of becoming a top three sport amongst 12- to 24-year-olds in the UK. So we are myopic about how we reach and engage that younger audience. And really everything that we do is going to be filtered through that lens”

Read the rest of the interview with Henry here 

On the eve of the Cheltenham Festival we caught up with the Head of Operations for the racecourse, Gethin Jenkins to find out about the effect of The Festival on locals:

“The Festival alone contributes more than £274 million to the local economy, but while we celebrate it as an event of national sporting significance, it clearly has a local impact and it’s important that we are good neighbours and contribute throughout the year. 

“These people are our neighbours all year, not just during the four days of The Festival, and it’s really important that we consider them before, during and after all our racedays.”

Read the interview with both Gethin and the CCO of The Jockey Club, Charlie Boss here

We spoke to Sean Maddocks, Davanti Tyres’s Sales Director for Davanti Tyres about the challenges in defining ROI from partnerships:

“It is always hard to quantify ROI from sports-based partnerships but particularly in our field. Tyres are a distress purchase, you don’t wake up in the morning and decide ‘oh brilliant, I am going to buy some new tyres today’. So we can’t measure ROI by a sudden spike in sales. We have to speak to our dealership network and find out if they are using it as a selling point? Are customers speaking about it? Are they displaying it at their depots? 

Click here to read the rest of the interview with Sean Maddocks

Jeanene Valentine, Director of Ticketing at Wave FC, gave her prediction for the direction ticketing is going to go in the next few years: 

“I think that RFID technology will probably become more prominent. I definitely wanted to try that years ago with X Games, I thought it would be cool to have a tangible item, like a skateboard deck or something that was kind of your ticket to get into like big premium spaces and stuff. So I think that we’re gonna keep going down that road of making it easy and fun. Now with digital ticketing, you can use your Apple Watch to gain entry. 

So we just gotta keep thinking of new fun and innovative ideas like that. I want to see holograms or something. It’s 2023. Let’s get creative, let’s get fun.”

Read the rest of the interview with Jeanene here

We asked Harry Browne, Strategy Director of Formula E, about the challenges they are facing at the moment: 

“Firstly, with all those changes we really need to work to maximise each of those opportunities. We really need to make sure we nail every point on the implementation and use data to help us do that. 

Secondly, what we are trying to do is to short-circuit our growth path as a sport, that is the real challenge. Most sports take decades to grow and mature; we are only in our ninth year and we are striving to become a tier one sport.”

Read the rest of Harry’s interview here 

Matt Bennison, Commercial Partnerships, Arena Racing Company, explained how he is trying to make horse racing an attractive proposition for sponsors:

“I think this comes down to investing in data. The great thing about Horse Racing is that we have lots of different audiences. We have your hardcore racing fans and racehorse owners who visit racecourses on a very regular basis alongside also those who visit less regularly, to celebrate special occasions, or to enjoy a day out with friends, for example.”

Click here for the rest of Matt’s interview

It was a surprise to many in the sport’s industry that FIFA are going to allow host cities to secure their own commercial partners , Chris Canetti, President of Houston’s World Cup bidding committee, explains why he it isn’t keeping him up at night:

“We are fortunate in the sense that there’s a culture in this city that the major corporate partners want to support major events, they understand the value of what it means for our city and its future. We have ten of these spaces to fill, so with all of the above it isn’t something that is keeping me up at night.”

To find out what else we spoke to Chris about click here

Stephen Sidlo, Head of Media for Airspeeder, spoke about the challenges of having a blank canvas:

“It’s certainly exciting, but also quite daunting. We’ve determined that the element of danger is what truly drives interest in sports. Racing with flying cars brings its own level of risk, especially when they become manned, and fans will be able to experience the sensations of the pilots through 5G haptic gloves at home.”

Read the interview with Stephen here

The Chairman of the Sports Rights Owners Coalition, Mark Lichtenhein explains why European legislation might help fix a global problem:

“Well obviously not, but having clear pan-European legislation can go a long way towards it. We had similar problems in China, when copyright wasn’t viewed in the same way that we did in the West. That wasn’t a reason for giving up on copyright, it was an opportunity to educate China and now we have seen massive changes in their approach. But to bring it back to piracy, we have to get it right in Europe first before we can transfer a policy to the rest of  the world.”

Click here for the full interview with Mark

We spoke to Erdinger’s Felix Durchdewald about how they managed to turn their non-alcoholic beer into a sports recovery drink:

The fact that there are isotonic benefits to ERDINGER Alkoholfrei actually made it a ‘sports recovery drink’ and this was – and still is – a massive part of our marketing around the beer. The fact you could have a beer after finishing a marathon and it actually helps your recovery by replacing lost fluids and vitamins is such a fun idea and that is how we got into our work with mass participation events.

Read the interview with Felix here

Interview NFL World Aquatics