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Sports entrepreneurship - a practical guide

Our webinars at Sports Diplomacy exchanges, in general, focus on using sports for generating social progress and making a difference in communities, all over the world. Achieving impact is an elaborate process that requires skills, know-how, and the perseverance of a champion. It is our intention to present, as part of the webinar cycle, sessions with skill building value, supporting those in the audience who aspire to become better sports entrepreneurs, either in professional or amateurs’ sports.

Author: Ioanna Georgia Eskiadi 

This webinar's topic is branding, marketing and community outreach strategies, utilized in sports for social good organizations and initiatives. It is part of the story of how to become a sports entrepreneur.

Our speaker, Rohan Vyavaharkar has a wealth of experience, working with words, images, and sounds to engage readers, viewers, and listeners in sporting teams and events and promoting social causes, on behalf of businesses and organizations. His experience in India, Singapore, and the U.S., working with Red Bull India, NDTV and Stepathlon, a pioneering health and wellness platform, can help participants, regardless of where they are from, to pursue their ideas, develop organizations and generate impact. His current position with Omidyar Network India   will also provide the perspective of a philanthropic organization, meant to build more inclusive and equitable societies.

Key points of Rohan Vyavaharkar 

Sports entrepreneurship is connected with developing hard and soft skills and is focused on the important aspects of advocacy. Sports are used in order to generate social progress and make a difference in communities around the world. Achieving impact is an elaborate process that requires skills, know-how, and the perseverance of a champion. Skill building is valuable for sports entrepreneurs to build a wide audience, reach more people, and become stronger, either in professional or amateurs’ sports. Sports entrepreneurship is connected with branding, marketing, and community outreach strategies utilized in sports for social good organizations and initiatives. It is part of the story of how to become a sports entrepreneur. 

Investing in media is the key to effective sports entrepreneurship. Especially, investing in communication needs since more people are realizing that you can generally separate marketing outside of business, outside of sport. Marketing itself, whether you are a non-profit organization or not, requires building a brand. When building a brand, it’s important to know what separates the good brands from the great brands. You must become important in people’s lives and build strategies and narratives on how you are able to change someone’s lifestyle. You need to build the game, to be able to think of a brand that integrates in someone’s life and tries to become more and more relevant, because sports are lifestyle.

As a sports brand you need to identify the following questions:
  • How you can make yourself better through sports?
  • Can you inspire me?
  • Can you show people how sports are important?
  • Can you inspire people to become healthier?
  • Why you, why are you so special about it?

In sports branding, you have these real stories and dreams where you can find opportunities and connections. Profitability and sustainability are two different, but key, terms in sports entrepreneurship. The first is defined as “making profit” and the second is “making some dollars with the objective of creating a greater arena”. It is also important to define how you will strengthen the community. Once you answer these question, marketing is telling a story and then sharing your products with the world. Sports has become a medium, but you have to identify the tools you need for promotion. 

There is a lack of women entrepreneurs in the field of sports marketing. Women are positive role models in sports. Women entrepreneurs can attract more and more girls to not only marketing, but sports altogether. The more women there are, the more opportunities there are for them to act and be leaders in the field. Finding those examples and showcasing them are the next steps to promote women in sports entrepreneurship. Women can become great leaders in sports and we need more representation.  

Watch the discussion:

This webinar is part of World Learning’s International Sports Programming Initiative (ISPI) —Virtual Together program, a series of virtual events, launched in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. ISPI is a program of U.S. Department of State's Sports Diplomacy division. The series aims to engage the sports community globally, to creatively problem solve, share digital tools and work together, follow health guidance, and continue to promote active, healthy lifestyles both physically and mentally throughout this crisis. Additional modules related to these objectives are being developed and will be announced.
The webinar is produced by Digital Communication Network South-East Europe Hub and World Learning.