#EASM2018 Conference Daily Update

This is my blog updates page from the European Association for Sport Management (EASM) main conference and PhD student seminar, taking place from the 4-8 September 2018 at Malmö University, Sweden. You will find below thoughtful observations and analysis shared during the course of the conference. I have included at the bottom of this post links to my Twitter handle and the EASM 2018 Twitter timeline.

In terms of acknowledging potential conflicts of interest, I would like to disclose that I have been awarded the EASM Alberto Madella Scholarship to attend the conference (more details here).

Day 1 blog – reflection, commentary and analysis

Read my day one review of the EASM PhD student seminar below, which includes insights, observations and analysis. Additionally, you will find a selection of conference photos, as well as some of the iconic sites and scenery throughout central Malmö.

Day one

Today saw the start of the EASM PhD Seminar which convened at Malmö University, Sweden. After short group introductions on arrival, Johan Norberg delivered the opening keynote on the role of the Swedish state in sport. He highlighted numerous sport and health indicators, pertaining to Sweden and Scandinavian sports and welfare models more broadly. The changing role of the state and complex relationships between special sports federations and district federations were emphasised throughout the talk. State support continues to be viewed as pivotal in the development of grassroots sports. Sweden’s sports policy system is geared towards attaining public health outcomes using sporting activity, as opposed to channelling results via the means of elite stars and medal success on the global stage. Increasingly, sports evaluation and monitoring mechanisms have featured as a priority for government commissions, particularly when assessing how funding is allocated to sports bodies. Later on in the morning a number of insightful parallel paper presentations included topics, from elite sports policy development to the demand for local league football in Sub-Saharan Africa. Straight after lunch the group heard from the second keynote on using documents in sport management research. Ulrik Wagner (University of Southern Denmark) reflected on the principles and challenges when attempting to embed texts (e.g. policy and governmental reports) into research design, data collection and overarching methodological application. The final slot of the day was devoted to the next batch of presentations. I thoroughly enjoyed the eclectic range of sport management themes and issues covered. The session that I attended explored areas such as national governing bodies’ performance, and volunteering legacies of the Youth Olympic Games. Please see a few photographs of the PhD seminar and Malmö’s scenic views below. The Malmö city library is well worth a visit!

Day 2 blog – reflection, commentary and analysis

Read my day two review of the EASM PhD student seminar below, which includes insights, observations and analysis. Additionally, you will find a selection of conference photos, as well as some of the iconic sites and scenery throughout central Malmö.

Day two

On the second day of the PhD symposium, Veerle de Bosscher, provided a comprehensive overview of the Sports Policy Factors Leading to International Sporting Success (SpLiSS) project instrument and protocols. Her keypoints and takeaways emphasised the fundamental pillars and critical success factors that explain and determine international elite performance success. Although, there was a focus on composite indicators which facilitated pattern recognition, it was acknowledged that there is no generic blueprint to predicting nations’ sporting medal winning prospects. The notion of sports policy benchlearning rather than benchmarking was proclaimed to be more beneficial for transferring principles as opposed to ‘best practice’. Wednesday morning’s paper session created fertile ground for a thought provoking debate on the areas and issues of collective impact, governance and Olympic legacy management. Immediately after the lunch break the next invited keynote on principles, pitfalls and challenges of developing scales for quantitative research was delivered. In this instance, a variety of academic journal article examples and 10 essential steps to developing scales were proffered eloquently by Jorg Koenigstorfer. The last session comprised Paul Downward (Editor of European Sport Management Quarterly) and Tracy Taylor (University of Technology Sydney) sharing their expert advice and experience on how to approach submissions, common manuscript mistakes, responding to reviewers, research quality and rankings in the UK and Australia, and researcher challenges faced during the publication process. In the evening time delegates were welcomed to EASM’s opening ceremony (pictured below). The conference ceremony showcased the historical background of Malmö, and illustrated the city’s recent post-industrial reinvention and rejuvenation through sport. For example, lauding Malmö’s alternative sport scene and budding reputation as a skateboarding metropolis. You will find below more photos from day two, such as Malmö University librarys’ spectacular views.

Day 3 blog – reflection, commentary and analysis

Read my day three review of the EASM conference below, which includes insights, observations and analysis. Additionally, you will find a selection of conference photos, as well as some of the iconic sites and scenery throughout central Malmö.

Day three

The first day of the main conference was packed with a host of sessions relevant to my subject discipline and interests. For the purpose of this review, I am going to highlight some of my favourites. After the earlier keynote, I scheduled to visit a range of presentations on the ‘sport events and tourism’ thematic stream. Reinhard Grohs focused on how sports events create value across each of the event phases – concept, planning and implementation. Three key categories that emerged from the research project on freeriding communities were social networking, integration of brands and community engagement. Next, adopting a process tracing approach and programme theory logic, Chen’s Olympic legacy assessment revealed weak support for claims about the impact of staging London 2012 and Sportsmaker programme on motivations to engage with volunteering. My colleague Mat Dowling presented his research exploring meta-governance and the creation of new organisational forms within the hierarchy of Canadian sport e.g. Canadian Sport for Life. In the legal and ethical aspects of sport tracked stream, integrated monitoring strategies, policy change and possessing an independent taskforce were illuminated and posited as mechanisms for addressing sexual abuse and institutional liability in Olympic sport. At a international level, I felt there were clear parallels in which recommendations from this research could feed into the processes and procedures of the Major Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights. One final session which I will briefly touch upon was delivered by Alex Thurston (Loughborough University). This co-written piece of research completed a systematic scoping exercise to examine how regulatory frameworks are formulated to control infrastructure procurement, applied to several worldwide major sporting events. In terms of competitive bidding and transparency during the tendering and awarding of contracts, a stronger impetus is needed to deal with lack of access and opportunities for smaller suppliers to event procurement platforms, such as CompeteFor (used at London 2012). Additionally, I have included some pictures below, incorporating the student seminar finalist pitches and my mini excursion to Malmöhus Castle. Enjoy!

Day 4 blog – reflection, commentary and opinion

Read my day four review of the EASM conference below, which includes insights, observations and analysis. Additionally, you will find a selection of conference photos, as well as some of the iconic sites and scenery throughout central Malmö.

Day four

This is my last EASM conference post as I travelled back to the UK yesterday afternoon. There were some highly relevant and captivating conference sessions featured before the EASM Annual General Meeting (AGM). I was in the audience for presentations on non-league football stakeholder management strategies (e.g. supporter-led campaigns), and evolving models of delivery in sport management education. Latterly, the tautology of new private sports education providers partnering with iconic venues, like UCFC Wembley. In principle, exploring these types of relationships has ramifications for how major sporting event partnerships align with bidding conception, rendering and coordination, as well as the role and creation of industry opportunities linked directly to these educational institutes. Before I left to catch my train and flight home I attended the annual AGM. As is common with a number of member associations, often, changes to the constitution bye-laws and charter are proposed, covering aspects, for example, inserting new membership clauses and passing or rejecting motions. These decisions are discussed in detail with members and subsequently ratified. At the AGM, issues across a wide spectrum were deliberated on, from gender representation to nationality on the board.

Here is an assortment of final pics from the conference and around Malmö. Thank you for checking out this set of posts. Perhaps, if you liked these updates, you might want to subscribe to hear more about my sport management research. You can do this by clicking ‘follow Seth Kirby’ or adding your email address on the right hand side of the page, under ‘follow blog via email’. No sales pitches, I promise! Likewise, if you have any comments or feedback, want a copy of my conference presentation slides, or require some images of Malmö, please feel free to get in touch here. I’ll do my best to help where I can. Alternatively, follow my social media links on the right hand side to contact me.

Twitter: @sethkirbyaru



The rise of ethical funds investing in sport

Investment throughout the sporting industry from ethical fund providers is burgeoning and it is continuing to reap handsome rewards for those individuals and companies that invest in those funds.

This investment can come in form of global sponsorship deals with major sporting events, or alternatively long term commitments with national and international leagues. At each stage of the sporting cycle, from grass roots level right through to professional sport, ethical funds can be found supporting worthy causes and providing extensive capital and resources for clubs and competitions.

Specific ethical funds, their providers and management trusts will be identified using the www.yourethicalmoney.org green and ethical funds directory. Additionally each of the ethical funds’ contribution to sport will be outlined. Subsequently painting a picture of ethical funds; if you really want to see how ethical funds are flooding the mainstream markets, then there is no better place to see this in action than assessing sport investment type and level indicators.

The fund provider Standard Life Investments has numerous ethical funds including the Standard Life Ethical Life Fund and the Standard Life European Equity Ethical Fund, and is now set to become the first worldwide partner for the 2014 and 2016 Ryder Cups (for an undisclosed investment fee).

Aberdeen Asset Management, alongside the Scottish Government and The European Tour are the current title sponsors of the Scottish Open. This year, the sponsorship contract has been extended until 2017.

Aberdeen Asset Management have also forged a unique partnership with Scottish Hockey and agreed a two year sponsorship deal with the rugby club, London Scottish FC. Earlier this year, Formula One racer Paul di Resta signed a sponsorship deal with Aberdeen Asset Management until the end of the season, giving them exclusive positioning of their corporate logo on the driver’s racing suit.

Rathbone Unit Trust Management are the fund managers for the Rathbone Ethical Bond Fund and are a subsidiary company of Rathbone Brothers. In March and April 2013 Rathbones became title sponsors, for both Lacrosse Scotland’s and English Lacrosse’s National Schools Lacrosse Championships. The aim of this partnership was to invest in the growth and development of the sport as well as talented athletes.

Quilter Cheviot Investment Management (formerly known as Cheviot Asset Management before their merger with Quilter & Co) currently manages the Climate Assets Fund, in August 2013 they pledged to sponsor the men’s and women’s teams for Cambridge University Association Football Club.

There are also a number of previous cases of ethical fund providers investing in sport, from Engage Mutual Assurance to F&C Asset Management.

Engage Mutual Assurance was the title sponsor of the UK’s premier rugby league competition, Super League, for seven consecutive years starting in 2005. At the time the deal would have fetched approximately £1.2m a year. F&C Asset Management was the official sponsor of Birmingham City between 2007 and 2011. One of their long standing funds, the F&C Stewardship Fund was one of the first ethical funds to be launched in the UK, and this year it was awarded best socially responsible UK equity fund at the Money Observer Fund Awards.

As has been recognised previously over the last 12 months financial returns from ethical investments are extremely healthy, ethical investments are capturing a wider proportion of responsible investors as well as making massive inroads to the mainstream.

Unsustainable investments are losing their control and foothold in the markets to ethical investments. Ethical funds are now increasingly widespread, especially in industries such as sports industry – there is no escape. These fund providers and managers involved in the sporting landscape are building allegiances with national governing bodies and international organisations, in addition to influencing, facilitating and shaping sustainable investment of the future. Ethical and green investments and funds are starting to successfully dominate the mainstream markets and this trend is only set to continue.

Photo: Janusz Gawron via stockxchng

To view the original article please click here.

The Future of Sport: Marketing Insights & Perspectives Conference

Next week (12th June) I will be attending the 3rd Annual Sports Marketing Conference organised by Conference Director Alan Seymour, and hosted by Northampton Business School, University of Northampton. The event will examine the future of sport, sports development as a vehicle for marketing and the application of marketing techniques in sporting contexts.

The conference will feature highly acclaimed and prestigious academics, practitioners and invited delegates. Keynote speakers will include one of the leading sports journalists – Gabriele Marcotti, academics such as Professor Gayle McPherson (University of West Scotland) and Dr. Leah Donlan (University of Central Lancashire). In addition there will also be a live conference stream featuring Stefan Szymanski (Professor of Sport Management and co-author of Soccernomics), as well as other notable contributions from sports broadcasters and commentators like Nigel Adderley and Lynsey Hooper. Throughout there will be a number of workshop panel discussions, I will be acting as a panel specialist for Fan Engagements and New Media.

Full details of the conference can be found here. You can follow the conference proceedings via the #UNFutureofSport hashtag.