An exploration of sports content, storytelling, digital and social media. Speaking to players, executives, coaches, creators, journalist and specialist about their sporting passions.
David Kilpatrick: What's the future of the New York Cosmos
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Contrary to popular belief, the New York Cosmos are still alive.
Gone are the glitter-strewn days of the late 1970s when Pele played on the pitch, Mick Jagger watched from the packed stands and then, afterwards, they partied together at Studio 54. The old North American Soccer League soon crumbled under the weight of its own excess. However, its leading team gained an enduring legend.
I spoke to official club historian David Kilpatrick about the incredible origin story of the Cosmos, its brief spell in the limelight, its troublesome rebirth and how, just maybe, there may be a route back to centre stage.
The genesis of the Cosmos - Atlantic Records, two Turkish brothers, Gotham Soccer Club and the New York Generals
The impact of the 1966 and 1970 World Cups
Cosmos is short for Cosmopolitan like NY Mets is short for Metropolitan
Chasing Pele - "George Best did not turn up and Henry Kissinger helped"
Adding Carlos Alberto, Giorgio Chinaglia
New York in the late 1970s - financial problems, the 'Son of Sam' murders and the need for glamour
The power of Chinaglia at the Cosmos
The retirement of Pele
The global tour - Indonesia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia London - and the tax dodge that helped
Why the Cosmos became the first US soccer brand
Warner's problems, a failed video game for ET - Extra-terrestrial and the sale of the club
"I'm with the Cosmos" - the phrase that got you into Studio 54
The reboot for the NY Cosmos after the documentary "Once in a Lifetime"
Why they did not join MLS
"The most successful franchises in MLS are those who have embraced their NASL history."
Did the Cosmos win battles for the ‘soccer family’ in the US?
The influence of the Cosmos in the early American World Cup squads
Steve Hunt - seven games for Villa, sold to the Cosmos, played with Pele, went back to the English top flight. Does this prove the standard of the NASL?
The problem of TV ratings in NASL back then and MLS now
The pro/rel issue and the Cosmos
Can global leagues create a route back for the Cosmos?
Why the introduction of New York City FC hurt the new version of the Cosmos
What is the future of the club?
The legal case to try and align North American soccer with global football
Is there still a fanbase out there for the New York Cosmos?
Rob Moody: Why YouTube's best cricket channel makes no money and has no future
Rob Moody runs a YouTube channel with over 900,000 subscribers and holds an important influence over the agenda in his sport but he has never made a penny.
If you are a cricket fan with access to the internet, it is highly likely you have seen one of his videos. Robelinda2 is the ‘go to’ channel for the rare, unusual or controversial moments in the game. His archive has received over a billion views in its 10-year existence by curating niche cricketing content that is appetising to fans and acceptable to rights-holders.
His one-man mission has been so successful that, these days, major players and executives offer their support whenever he suffers a copyright strike.
Moody will say there is no strategy behind his channel, I disagree. His ideas are perfect for his niche, he looks at metrics and experiments constantly. One recent change saw a 10-year-old video move from 170 views to 80,000 in just 48 hours. However, the Australian expects his channel to be shut down soon.
This is an unusual digisport success story. Yet, there are many lessons to be learned.
Johan Junker: Content Strategy, the cookie apocalypse and other disasters
Content strategy, the cookie apocalypse and other disasters
Like a great drummer, a sports content strategy should be tight and consistent but happy to improvise when required.
Many content leaders have been caught out by changes in Facebook's algorithms over the years and, in recent months, Google and Apple have introduced fundamental alterations that will have knock-on effects for almost everyone in the digital space, not just the sports industry.
Recently, a blog by Johan Junker entitled the Cookie Apocalypse caught my eye. He is a deep thinker on content, sports business and the future. His company, Antourage are trying to solve some of the issues. But there are plenty more to discuss.
This is a long theoretical discussion and we don't have all the answers. In fact, we are just trying to see if our questions are in the right areas.
The main weakness in sports content strategy right now
Why OTT platforms only worry about dwell time
Our brains are not built to have more than 200 relationships in real life so how can we have a relationship with 10,000 brands?
The 'Cookie Apocalypse' blog
Losing the obsession with big numbers
Why the sports industry is old-fashioned in harnessing the power of personality
The advantage of a robot posting content - because it is talking to a robot initially. This allows you to reallocate 75 per cent of your content staff to jobs that matter
Get the human content team to craft emotional stories
Why sports marketing will change fundamentally in 2022
Why credibility will be crucial for personalities and influencers going forward
Are sports rights-holders REALLY struggling for compelling content
Definitions of ambassadors and the role they can perform
Quality v speed (and what is quality anyway)?
Share value vs pushing your product
The opportunity created by the pandemic - where are you going to invest your time?
Being the mayor of your village
Johan's recommended products
Fiona Green: CRM in Sports
Fiona Green’s book, Winning with Data, was an important step in the development of CRM in Sports.
Now, three years later, she has updated it. Therefore it seemed a good time to discuss the way this area has developed in the intervening time.
How it has evolved? If the principles have not changed, are they emphasized in different ways? And, what is coming in the next three years?
NOTE: This podcast was recorded before the ESL plans were revealed
Ben Wells: Sport, digital and the re-emergence after Covid-19
Sport in the UK is getting ready for the return of spectators.
The sticking plasters that have held their business models can start to be whipped off. The question is what will we find underneath?
Ben Wells has spent lockdown thinking deeply on these issues. The CCO of PTI Digital has wide experience from his time at Chelsea FC and Bath Rugby. He believes it WILL be different, behaviours WILL change and some aspects of sports will NEVER be the same again. However, there IS an opportunity to forge a different future. And, he believes, digital will be at its heart.
Karan Tejwani: How Red Bull created a football group
The development of "football groups" is a relatively recent and controversial phenomenon. The pioneer has been City Football Group, which started with the acquisition of Manchester City and has since bought significant stakes in clubs in the United States, Australia, India, Japan, Spain, Uruguay, China, Belgium and France.
The Red Bull group has been constructed a different way, with the energy drink company taking over teams in Salzburg, New York, Brazil, Ghana and, most controversially, Leipzig between 2005 and 2010 after earlier forays into F1 and extreme sports.
Both groups have been criticised for throwing money at footballing success but the Red Bull clubs are often dismissed as a marketing exercise and labelled with one of the most damning words in the supporters’ lexicon - plastic.
Last year, Karan Tejwani published Wings of Change: How the World’s Biggest Energy Drink Manufacturer Made a Mark in Football. In this podcast, we discuss the business the meaning and the lessons behind Red Bull’s football story.
Keep up the fine work Rich
Learning from people who are actually doing the work is the best way to learn. Rich continues to do that and chat with people who are doing cool things in digital. Great to have more sports digital content in podcast form.