Monday, 31 January 2011

Football should be a business

You often hear the complaint that Football is all about Money these days, and its just business. Shame its not really. Because if it were, then your team would be more successful.

Often Football is about emotion, and no better day to discuss it than deadline day, when emotion, panic and generally craziness takes over.

There is a way. follow simple business rules, and don't let your heart take over. If any business has an asset that receives an offer worth more than its value then every business will take the money and reinvest.

Imagine that you have a business that has 25 products. You can easily analyse the sales, profit and total contribution from each product, You can factor in growth rates for each product and its easy to create a 'next 3 years' value attributed to each product. Some of the products you created from scratch and some you bought in as small products and grew them.

Imagine that total sales are £100m, and profits are £20m.

Now product Torres contributed £10m in profits last year, but after a serious product problem towards the end of the year sales have been very slow and profits actually zero. Prospects for the next two years are not good, because no one can work out what is wrong with the product. So, our company analysis values this product at its next 3 years earnings. Which our best guess is zero, or close to it.

Then a competitor comes in a offers £50m. what does the company do?

1. Wonder if they have missed something on the valuation, and is it earning more than they think? No they did not.

2. Ask, can we get the £10m a year back? Maybe but no guarantees.

3. Ask what would we do with the £50m? Can we invest in some products that will have a better future?

You bet its option 3.

So, Liverpool, SELL TORRES!

And every club should invest a talented, unemotional and cold hearted analyst, who should be the decider on transfers. Not the manager who starts every new job with 'give me 3 years' , and for whom every new signing ' needs time', which roughly translated means , keep me in my well paid Job a bit longer please.

Manage you players like cold assets and you know when to sell.

One team that does it well is Arsenal. Honestly who has left Arsenal and done well? Ashly Cole is the only one I can think of in British Football, and you could add Van Bronckhurst who never seemed to get a fair crack at Arsenal but made it at Barcelona.

But, Wenger has let many players go at the height of their ability it seemed, only for time to show that they were past it, or not actually that good. Henry (£16m) , Petit (£25m) , Overmars (£25m), Anelka (£23m), Vieira (£13.7m), all superb and critical players that he let go, seemingly at the height of their powers, but offered at beyond their value, so sold. And, when he says he is not buying because players are over valued, he is applying the valuation sensibly and making sure he does not buy a dud.

About the author: A lover of Football, and an expert on Cricket Balls, especially Readers Cricket Balls and Kookaburra Cricket Balls, this article is written by Connected.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Why do Tennis Balls have the wiggly line?

As an 'expert' on tennis balls, I was recently asked the question, 'Why do Tennis Balls have the wiggly line on?'

Truth is I did not know, and asking around the other 'experts' in the industry has not really shown me that after all this time the experts fully know.

As far as I can make out, when originally manufactured, they need a seam, and the ying and yang design was visually appealing. And ever since it has stuck.

Apparently the laws of the game do not require a seam, and these days a ball could be made without a seam, but the wiggly line is nice isn't it?

And if you tried to introduce a new ball, I am sure the players would reject it. The wiggly line does help you pick up spin which otherwise would much harder to pick, so the wiggly line will be here forever I think.

Are Liverpool selling Torres?

Would you?

He is worth £50m, but can not score at the rate required for a £50m player. Perhaps Suarez is better? And if £18m would get him, they would have £32m left over. Thats £8m on Adam, and another £24m to spend in the summer.

For me, its business I would do. Torres is undoubtably brilliant, but something is holding him back. Spain won the world cup carrying him, and he has something wrong. Is it an injury, or an attitude? Either way he seems not really to be coming back form it, and if Surez is that great, then sign him and bank the money.

Then rebuild the team with the extra cash. If i were Dalglish, then I would wait until Monday then go for the £50m.

About the Author: Connected is a retailer of sports equipment, sports fan, and an armchair expert of everything sporting. See:

Murray needs a new Aura

Whilst I write this Andy Murray is mid-competition in the semi-final of the Australian open. He is one set down and on serve in the second. He may yet go on to win, and indeed win the tournament, so good luck. He may also lose. Its obvious at this stage that he has the chance to do either.

But, My concern is his demeanour. He seems able to beat up the early round opponents quite easily, with good placement, and talented play, but at the very highest level, in most sports, talent is not enough, its what happens in the brain. And I don't think his demeanour helps Andy Murray.

Rafa Nadal, looks powerful. He looks totally in control of himself, and at all times, he looks like a tiger about to pounce. Power, Aggression, Belief. On the other side of the net, it must be intimidating.

Roger Federer is cool. totally in control. I have been there and done it all. I know how to win. Supreme confidence, on the back of genuinely having done it all. Confident, classy and Cool. Again, intimidation form the other side of the net.

Andy Murray is a troubled teenager. He has an aura not of confidence, but stroppiness. He projects the arrogance, yet insecurity of a 17 year old. On the other side of the net, there is not the total intimidation from Nadal or Federer, but a feeling that if get to him, just a little, his mind will go to pieces. That must be encouragement for the opposition. In the early rounds, he is too good, and they can get to him. In the later rounds, they can stay with him for a while, and it does bother him, he allows the teenage angst to come out, and then he is lost. Not based on talent but attitude.

To really go on to the next level, to be as good as Nadal or Federer he needs a new Aura, one based on his talent, and confidence.

About the Author: Connected is a Tennis Coach, and a tennis player, and is involved in the retailing of Slazenger Tennis Balls and Table Tennis Balls.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Is promotion of sports goods good for sport?

Its well known that many of the big sports brands sponsor the sporting superstars. But is this good for sport?

When Woodworm Cricket Bats got in to trouble in 2008, it was reported that KP and Flintoff got £1m each for using the bats. They sold around 15,000 bats in 2005 their best year at an average of around £110. Easy to see why the company got in to trouble.

If the number of high profile events and sportsmen that can actually drive sales is limited, then naturally the price of sponsoring them will rise, to a level where only the sportsmen will benefit. The company will end up giving away all the money it can raise. And where does the money come from? From the average player. From the club cricketer, or the schoolboy.

Prices have to take in to account the sponsorship and marketing spends. So, for Rugby Balls, perhaps 30% of the price is sponsorship. For Cricket Balls it is much less, but for the bats it can be 20-30%.

Perhaps the sports companies would be better off spending on supporting the brand with more grass roots level activity and taking a stance that syas : We don't pay inflated sponsorships. No one is paid to use our equipment.'

Monday, 17 January 2011

Spurs must not be allowed to knock down the Olympic Stadium

I have a soft spot for Spurs. When I was a kid and thought I needed to support a big team to make sure I had an interest in the big trophies, I went for Spurs. Hoddle, Perryman, Jennings was the era, and I love how Spurs have regained the big time under Redknapp.

But, with the plan to knock down the Olympic stadium, they have got too big for themselves.

They don't own the Stadium, it is part of a national event, one that will make us proud to be British and proud of our achievements. It must stay as a lasting and forever memorial to the 2012 achievement. the Barcelona Olympic Stadium, the Moscow Olympic stadium are fantastic iconic buildings that the cities are proud of. The London Stadium must stay.

Of course there is the issue of usage. And football is of course the most sensible tenant of such a large stadium. But if a way can not be found to use the stadium for football and also athletics, then don't let Football in. come up with another plan. It will have unrivaled transport links. Use this in the business plan, to make sure that it takes over from Wembley as the Stadium for summer concerts.

Don't give up the 2012 dream to accommodate football. If football wont compromise then work without them.

And whilst I agree that a running track is not ideal because it takes fans away from the pitch, have you been at the top of Wembley? There can not be many places in the world further from the pitch.

About the Author: Post writen by Connected. Connected is an employee of Sports Ball Shop, a UK based retailer of Readers Cricket Balls and Mitre Footballs

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Rooney for Real Madrid?

Is Rooney finished at Manchester United? Is his less than brilliant season the beginging of the end. For sure Sir Alex keeps talking him up, but wouldn't you if you thought you could get £50m for him?

We love him here, our favourite player in the premiership, but his mind does not seem on the job this season.

Our money is on him staying, getting his head clear, and a storming season next year.

Olympic Tickets

It has been announced that the date for application for the Olympic Tickets will be 15th March. Pre Register with the 2012 organization now, and then you have 6 weeks from March 15th to apply and then you will win or not in the ballot for tickets for events that are over subscribed.

Of course many evens like the major athletics finals will be massively oversubscribed, but if you want to see Water Polo or Hand Ball then you should be just fine.

Our advice is don't be too greedy. Be practical. If you apply for hundreds of events then you may just get more than you bargain for. Go for what you really want to see. After the first wave, then you will see which events are not sold out and you will still be able to get tickets for those events.

Sports Performance of The Week

As the first winner of Sports Performance of the Week, it has to be the English Cricket Team. Winning the Ashes in Australia was a tremendous performance, and has made British, well English anyway, Sports fans extremely proud.

What made the team play so well? According to Andrew Strauss, it was all about preparation and organisation. Careful thought about what would make a difference, and total focus on the detail. Thinking about the things that make a tiny improvement in performance, gives a confidence that you have thought of everything, and that you can not fail.

I remember a training course some years ago, where sales people where asked to negotiate a deal. A half of the room were told that their company was amazingly successful, and the other half were told that their company was desperate and needed this deal to survive. All the salesmen in the first group got a better a deal than than all of the people in second group.

Similarly, when the cricket team feel that they are in control, and everything has been done right, then the good performances follow.

Well done England. Superb.