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Rival competitions a threat to established sporting leagues

Rival competitions a threat to established sporting leagues
May 7, 2019

The SportAccord 2019 convention, which is taking place all this week on the Gold Coast, has focussed on the opportunities, challenges and threats to institutional sport in its LawAccord stream.

A big discussion point for the opening day of the event was the emergence of rival leagues and competitions in elite sport, with a panel consisting of the University of Melbourne Director of Sports Law, Professor Jack Anderson; FIBA (world basketball’s governing body) Secretary General, Andreas Zagklis; Suiko Consulting Managing Director, Eugenie Buckley; Gilbert + Tobin partner, Moya Dodd, and AFL Players Association Chief Executive, Paul Marsh.

Professor Anderson said there are numerous factors that can lead to the creation of rival competitions, including pressure from within a given sport when funding for grassroots programs become a ‘commercial drag’ for established clubs, or when athletes feel disaffected by a perceived lack of leadership.

He advised “to be very blunt, it’s about money and control, and it’s always been that way.

“When you come to rival leagues and competitions, it’s also adaptations of traditional forms of the game.

“That’s a hugely important point for all the big sports bodies now.

“You’re dealing with digitally native people who have fewer attention spans, who can access information quicker, they want shorter, faster types of games.

“They’re benefiting from private equity from gambling sources, from technology sources, from streaming sources, and changing the way we play and consume our games."

Zagklis said FIBA has traditionally taken an open and collaborative stance to new players in international basketball, seeing them as a growth opportunity and choosing to work with those entities rather than seeking to limit their influence.

Zagklis stated “this was the vision of my predecessor Patrick Baumann, to take a sport from the streets to the Olympics in just 10 years,” talking about FIBA’s work with developing 3×3 basketball, which is set to be completed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

He added “80% of our events are run by promoters, by private entities who are ready to invest and put their money and risk in places, and in times when our own member federations are not in such a position.

“I think this is the answer: don’t be afraid.

“Attract investment, go in and compete, and carefully draw the lines to what you want to control and what you can delegate or license outside.”

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13th July 2015 - Prendergast to take lead role at Australian Athletes’ Alliance

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