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Grand Masters

We like to do our bit – and this Charity fits with our expanding work in rugby league that has included: Salford Red Devils, Toulouse Olympique XIII and Rochdale Hornets:

“On behalf of myself & Barrie 🏉 McDermott  – many thanks to ACROBAT | FCSM & Adrian Stores who very kindly sponsored a flag for our @boltonUni Grand Canyon Challenge. The flag was carried all the way along, as can be seen in the image attached. With daytime temperatures reaching 30 degree, and night time temps dropping to -9, it certainly tested the body, physically and mentally. The flag crossed lake Powell via kayak, climbed up to 2100m mountains, and trekked around 90 miles. The SPF is very proud of the legacy left by Steve Prescott MBE and the inspiration he gives to people to support his chosen charities. The sponsorship you provided, goes to support The Christie in Manchester, the Rugby League Benevolent Fund (Try Assist) and the SPF Special Causes Fund. The SPF special causes fund allows those hospitals, researchers and surgeons who deal in Pseudomyxoma related conditions and multi visceral transplantation to apply for grants to the Trustees of the SPF who ensure that the money will have a direct and significant effect on peoples’ lives. Again, thank you for your support. Every ££ does indeed help to save and change peoples lives. Adrian (Cunliffe) & Barrie”.

Amazing sport

Despite 35 years in sports marketing and managing partnerships with sponsors, there’s still room to be amazed by working in sports that we haven’t served before. I now act as sub-contract Commercial Director at the iconic and legendary, Manchester Giants pro-basketball Team.

The atmosphere at games is something to be experienced. Restricted in numbers by the size of the Venue, but often described as the most atmospheric in the British Basketball League (BBL). Promotional opportunities are available at a fraction of other sports, yet entertainment value second to none. Whatever the driver – marketing exposure, new business generation, corporate hospitality, family entertainment or children’s parties – GIANTS have something for everyone. Just get in touch for an informal, no-obligation chat to explore the potential in this amazing sport: astores@manchestergiants.com

One initiative that is gathering pace is the GIANTS Networking and Business Club. At only £295 for a full year with a range of benefits, already the camaraderie is resulting in friendships, partnerships, supply-chain and new business. And its not onerous at only once a month catching up with one another. Interested: astores@manchestergiants.com

The BBL Championship is the flagship competition and determines the top team in British basketball over a regular season campaign. The twelve clubs meet one another on two occasions in the league competition.

Every game is live streamed via 54 partner channels and live basketball.tv. The BBL is growing in audience and media coverage. A minimum of 2x GIANTS’ games will be shown live on BBC Sport.

The obvious synergy for a brand with this dynamic, growing sport is GIGANTIC. The Guardian reported: “Basketball’s street cred fuels its fight to become UK’s No2 sport”.

According to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, “basketball is the second most popular sport played in the UK by 11 to 15 year olds, with 32% of children playing”. Over 300,000 people 16+ play basketball at least twice a month. 1 in 4 teenagers have played basketball at least once a month in the last year. 12% of these players are in NS-SEC 6-8, meaning that they are from less wealthy backgrounds. This is high compared to many other sports – basketball reaches people from all types of background. 1 in 6 basketball participants are female – we are working to get more women and girls involved in basketball to make this percentage even higher!

What are you waiting for. I practice what we preach and have become a main jersey sponsor this Season as well as joined the GIANTS Networking and Business Club. Do you know someone that might like to join the ‘basketball family’ and beeGIANT🐝🏀 for 2020?

Dead and Bury-ed: I think not

Heart breaking that the hub of a community, Bury FC, can be tossed aside when owners rather than other stakeholders are alleged culprits and responsible for the downfall. Sad day for football. But they will return – better and stronger. #footballfinance

Not the same as my beloved Stockport County, whose fall from the EFL, was its being undermined by financial malaise. But the increasingly common insolvent nature of businesses and unviable commercial ventures illustrate the very reasons why more and more football league clubs are in intensive care.

Sound management practices and financial astuteness are not ubiquitious in professional football clubs. I would even say that there is an epidemic of financial frailties, not only in EFL, and mirrored in non-league, but in other sports from what I have seen recently including rugby league and some NGBs. Of course, there is no need to tar everyone with the same brush. There are some great operations at home in the UK and overseas. Tranmere Rovers’ Mark Palios talks some real sense on the need for EFL and financial practices to reform. Daniel Geey in his thorough book “Done Deal” highlights ailments in ownership and trading models. He also dissects ownership statuses of EPL clubs – and personally that may create another financial disaster as international stakeholders, whatever an enterprise, have a track record of retreat, in the face of adversity or economic downturn.

I hope Bolton Wanderers doesn’t go the same way. North West brands and household names up here!

My Company, assisted Bury FC 15 years earlier. I state hope for the future as the Club has limped from administration to administration whilst pro. A phoenix club whilst painful allows a rethink.

Financial plight is not a new phenomenon to the Shakers, who have had a shakey existence. Working with its supporters’ trust, Forever Bury, we delivered additional income from community initiatives like Dream TV (Sky TV) playing in Town, beer festivals, inter-faith projects, duck races etc (still can’t believe the Wife’s duck named Galatasaray came first across the line across the River Irwell in ‘footy ducks’!) This appointment for ACROBAT FCSM came on the back of our award winning consultancy and role in saving Oldham Athletic in 2004.

The future looks nervous in football – and change is required. At least our businesses are likely to remain in demand as clubs and NGBs seek supplementary or substitute revenue to remain sustainable.

Adrian Stores is CEO at ACROBAT FCSM and Ballon Sports Agency.

#strategicmarketing #commercialization #sponsorship #funding #partnering

Folau Folly

Folly according to the dictionary means:

“lack of good sense; foolishness”.

“an act of sheer folly”.

One might argue that the recent catalogue of events, mirrors this definition, when considering the case of an ex-Australian rugby player, who was banned for explitives against gay people, under the disguise of a so-called commitment to Christian values.

We write about it here, because of the apparent lack of tolerance to sexual orientation, but also as it has now entered the funding arena and is a topic of debate – a discipline in which ACROBAT FCSM is well versed, so here’s one opinion.

By way of background, a respected funding platform – in fact crowdfunding site – called GoFundMe, exerted its own censorship, when it barred controversial rugby player Israel Folau from using its platform to raise monies towards his legal fees.

One might argue, as we do on our own crowd funding platform – Crowd Scrum – that the prerequired moderation should have deterred the application before its launch. This rather than an u-turn based on a clamour of protests.

Should an appeal to raise legal funds to back an ‘accused’ be allowed? Of course, there should be some place for anyone to turn to if they seek to secure a groundswell of support over a campaign or matter, in their corner (as long as legal!). The reason given by GoFundMe was it breached its’inclusivity’ code, hence the expelling. We wouldn’t have contemplated for one second any backing of this cause – nor indeed normally any appeal with religious ‘blinkers’ or overt undertones.

However, there appears light at the end of the tunnel for Israel, in that a platform that shares his religious beliefs, has facilitated the new, fundraising appeal and indeed become major donor to give the campaign a ‘kick start’.

The player has sought to raise AU$3 million ($2.08 million; €1.83 million) to appeal against Rugby Australia’s decision to sack him for making homophobic comments on his social media.

GoFundMe had collected AU$760,000 (but refunded these pledges to donors and never remitted therefore to Folau). Now, the Australia Christian Lobby (ACL) has since took three days to collect AU$ 2 million and rising.

What’s your take. As a thought provoker, we recite the quote:

“Religion leaves no room for human complexity”.

Daniel Radcliffe