Sports and personality management - Why it is needed


Sports and personality management - Why it is needed, by Greg Tingle

Profiles

Sports Celebrities Publicity

It's worthy to debate the merit of professional management and promotion for athletes and personalities. We acknowledge that discussion of same has been a long running one.

There are strong cases on both sides of the fence as to why or why not, sports and personality management is or isn't needed.

As persons who are well connected to the world of sports, entertainment and publicity, with a "few runs on the board"; we are in a solid position to suggest that sports and personality management is both necessary and worthwhile.

Having said that, we are also the first to suggest that a manager is not the be all and end all, of "off the field" activities, especially when it comes to these often inflated, sometimes testosterone-boosted egos and personalities.

By definition, driven personalities and promoters can be "drama queens" and attention seekers, in addition to being winners. Perhaps it's all encompassed into "the success thing". A prime example could be a young John McEnroe doing "game, set and match" with the likes of a Don King, resulting in one heck of a bloody battle royale, tennis rackets and all.

It hasn't always been necessary, or at least seen as paramount, to employ or engage off-the-field promotion for these sometimes temperamental athletes, personalities and "stars".

Only in relatively recent times have some athletes and persons of note, catapulted into media identities and brands, enjoying the status of almost "super hero".

Folks, some stars of yesteryear simply didn't need "Jerry Maguires". Bradman, Ali, Sammartino, Hogan, Borg, Fenech, Spitz and so it goes on…they didn't require (or demand) "over the top" promotion or hype. They let the results speak for themselves, and thus they became their own best promoter; just as many of today's greats such as, Norman, Perkins and Woods are. "Tiger's" trademark is low-key, however, he is exceptional; and now, thanks to worldwide media conglomerates such as FOX, ESPN, News Corp and the like; sports aficionados around the globe can revel in his talent. Simultaneously, "the world" knows that Woods is a world class consumer and advocate who chooses to champion brands such as American Express, EA Sports, TAG Heuer, NetJets and anyone else he "strikes a deal" with. Regardless of Woods's substantial talent, he didn't do it alone.

There's no doubting that it's essential and fundamental for these elite sportspeople and personalities to employ their time, energy and efforts in their chosen field of endeavour. They well may be champions in their field, however they probably have no clue on how to organise their approach methodically and to expedite promotion. We shouldn't expect that they will be world-beaters at everything they turn their hand to. They may have goals and objectives on what they desire to achieve; however, a promotional professional understands the modus operandi of promoting.

Needless to say, the agent and the client must "tune in" to each other's goals, strengths, weaknesses, abilities, limitations, mind-set and personality! Collaboration, open communication and a consultative approach are paramount.

Every celeb has their own aims and objectives. Every entrepreneur has ideas and suggestions, and likely has a few "runs on the board", having proven their salt. Obviously, particular promoters are going to be better suited to some personalities than others. One may argue that Cash Snr, Dokic and Don King should have stayed at home.

A strong argument as to why personality management is desirable, or at least, a good thing, is quite simple when you break it down to its "bare bones". No-one is an expert or "world champion" in every facet of their lives. It would be highly unlikely that "The Thorpedo" completes his own tax return or, God forbid, sews his own togs.

Let's ponder on a few personalities and agents;

Greg Norman - a world class golf player, now legend, who is enjoying as much success off the golf course as he did on it.

Laurie Lawrence - manager of many of Australia's most talented swimmers. The Lawrence name demands respect and media attention, allowing his team to swim the laps required.

Max Markson - one of Australia's top PR men. Started in "gimmicky" events many years ago, and today is responsible for coordinating high profile events, conferences and promotions for some of the world's top personalities, all the way up to Sebastian Coe and former president, Bill Clinton.

Harry M. Miller - a living legend in the world of sports and personality management. The Rolling Stones and The Beatles are just two of his success stories.

Vince McMahon - CEO, promoter, and performer - World Wrestling Entertainment.

Anthony Kelly aka "The Arrow Catcher" - Guinness world record holder for catching arrows and paintballs, and a world class martial artist. Based in Armidale, NSW, promoted, globally.

Essan Lauren - a talented actor, director, singer and dancer. He knows that he can't do it all when it comes to promotional activities.

Bryan Cutts - creator of "merelyplayers" - secured a PR man to distribute press releases and to raise media awareness of his production company.

Leza Boardman - professional women's bodybuilder. Former Gay Games Gold medal winner. Leza understands her promotional limitations, and that time her time is best spent in the gym doing bench presses, and training her elite clients.

Keith "Bendigo" Sloan - professional poker player, commentator and poker trainer. Has visions of an Australian TV poker series and more.

Gary Young - Film and documentary maker. Cousin of the late Cliff Young (marathon runner). Young was looking for a firm to get his classic films and documentaries seen by media buyers and decision-makers at the TV networks. Thanks to his agent, who sees a lot of Jerry Maguire in himself, the word is out on Young.

Justin Lawrence - director of Xtreme Fighting Championship (full contact martial arts). Lawrence employed a media manager to get his brand recognised by FOXTEL, ABC, MGM, and other media outlets.

As you can see, it's evident that there is a multitude of talent on both the performance and promotional scale. The above mentioned "names" cover a wide spectrum, each entity has exceptional skills and abilities, and we believe, unique talent; to deserve mention. A small disclaimer, some of these "names" are our clients, whilst others cemented their place in any fair dinkum list, eons ago.

It's not only the all-important sponsorship that requires time and specialised know how, to close a deal. These, of course are the domain of the agent, ensuring the client is not distracted by such commercial and sometimes unpleasant matters. However, equally important for "stars", is to employ an entrepreneur, someone objective, with a professional approach and vision. Someone to schmooze with "the right people", and to hit the right target.

This allows their talent to concentrate on what they do best - their field of endeavour that makes them a "stand-out" performer, and the guy or girl who is really responsible for putting those all important "bums on seats". After all, the talent is the draw-card, not the agent!

So it's patently obvious that utilising the right promotional techniques for each given individual talent, is vital in attaining and facilitating a win-win.

It's gotta be about passion, belief, persistence, teamwork and commitment - a meeting of the minds. Let's face it, these attributes are common to both personalities and their promoter.

Links:

Official websites

Media Man Australia

Markson Sparks!

Harry M Miller Group

Articles

The Great Aussie Promoters, by Greg Tingle

The Great Yankee Promoters, by Greg Tingle

MR PR - Max Markson, by Greg Tingle

The Man They Call Harry M, by Greg Tingle

Profiles

Greg Tingle

Interviews

Greg Tingle - 19th May 2004

Greg Tingle - 25th February 2004

Max Markson - 2nd July 2003