That's an unofficial personal best for...
Head of Marketing & Communications
Best pitch presenter you’ve ever seen:
She’ll absolutely hate me for saying her (but then that’s half the fun), but Leigh Walsh, our Head of Content here at LiveWire Sport is brilliant to watch. She has a surprisingly rare ability to show experience, knowledge and expertise in a simple but eloquent way, without the bullsh*t. If it was easy, everyone would do it.
Best sports marketing campaign (that wasn’t yours):
There are hundreds of contenders for this, so I’m going to cop out and pick the first one that meant a lot to me - Nike’s “The Cage” for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Cantona. Henry. Roberto Carlos. Ronaldinho. Edgar
Davids’ sunglasses. And that soundtrack. As a 14 year-old football fan...*chef kiss*
Best agency (that isn’t yours):
They’re a popular choice, but I was lucky enough to visit Two Circles year-after-year during their early days of growth as part of the Sport Industry Awards’ judging process, and was consistently in awe. Not just how they initially identified - and corned - the data-driven market, but how they went about evolving and expanding it too. Now I’m the other side of the fence, it’s surreal to find myself facing them for an Agency of the Year title, but certainly won’t begrudge them if they add another trophy to the cabinet.
Best young industry talent:
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with some unbelievably bright, young industry talent through our Diversity in Digital Mentoring Programme. Whether they’re content-savvy athletes like Naomi Ogbeta or Rhona Lloyd, or razor-sharp account leads like Rida Iqbal (below), the industry is in good hands.
Best sporting event attended:
Like many of us reading this, we’ve been pretty spoiled down the years. Not many Newcastle highlights to look back on...but being at the 2006 FA Cup Final in Cardiff, when Steven Gerrard scored that equaliser in injury time, was very special. Even my West Ham-supporting dad applauded that one.
Best sporting event on TV:
Oooh that’s a tough one. Ashes is special, home or away, but the Olympics & Paralympics just takes it for the variety and depth of sport on offer.
In no other scenario would I be jumping up and down, cheering on Peter Wilson in the shooting(!?), like I was in 2012. It’s got an unusual ability to make you care about stuff you didn’t even know about.
Best brand ambassador:
Best industry event or conference:
September will be my eleventh Sport Industry Awards, but first as a short-lister, so it’ll be a different experience and one I’m looking forward to. It’s the scale of it that gets me every time.
Best film containing a scene depicting the sports business:
Oh easy. It’s the one that encapsulates the birth of sportainment. The concept of sport as a product, enticing fans to spend their hard-earned money with them by attracting the biggest names at any cost, be it financial or ethical. I am, of course, talking about Space Jam.
Best book recommendation:
I read James Kerr’s “Legacy” because, like most people, I love the All Blacks. But it had far more impact, professionally, than I expected. ‘Sweep the Shed’, ‘Play with Purpose’ and ‘No D*ckheads’ are all mantras worth living and working by.
Best bar or pub:
Big shoutout to Cracking Crab in Polzeath, where you can watch the surfers over a local ale, but based on that logic, I can’t think of anything that can beat Bondi Icebergs in Sydney for literally the same reason. I
could happily sit there watching the surf all day, everyday.
Don Julio, Buenos Aires. Go for the steak, stay for the wine.
Best holiday resort:
Starting to see an inadvertent kiwi theme now, but Queenstown, New Zealand. From adrenaline jumps to vineyards and everything in between, you can never be bored.
Best box set:
LOADS to choose from here, but Breaking Bad. Unlike most boxsets, there is (for me) not a single dip from first episode to last.
Best influence on your career:
Lex Chalat from Beyond Sport, then thinkBeyond, and nowadays Qatar Foundation. She may not have realised it at the time, but in the early days, as someone completely green to the industry, watching her do her thing every day absolutely blew my tiny, naïve mind for years.
Best dinner companions (min 4, max 6):
Because why wouldn’t you fill your dinner table with funny people and
Ryan Reynolds/Rob McElhenney (claiming them as one spot these days)
Best job in the sports biz:
Right now? The Sponsorship Directors of Cinch and Cazoo are probably having an absolute blast.
Best professional regret:
Not learning a second (or third, fourth, fifth) language. Just didn’t even try to get my head around it in school, and now regret it massively. Although there’s still time...
Best skill you most covet:
Well, now I guess I have to put ‘multi-lingual’.
Best trait you admire in others:
Anything to do with calm, assured public speaking.
Best overrated virtue:
“First one in, last one out” – a lot has changed over the last 18 months, and I hope we see the end of that being something to strive for.
As the All Blacks say, Play with Purpose.