Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/commons/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Archive for the 'World Cup 2010' Category

 

Jun 22 2010

Capturing The Indescribable

by at 6:27 pm


Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/commons/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Post by Krystina Lucido; Photos by Roberto Coquis

Check out videos from our trip at: http://www.youtube.com/user/GeorgetownSIM

Well, we are finally home. And being the person who wrote about our arrival, I do not write this entry with the same enthusiasm as I did then. For those who have been keeping up with the blog, you have seen all the exciting and informational things our group has been able to do and see throughout our time in Johannesburg, South Africa.

SIM group with our bus driver, Isram, and nagivator, Isaac - we miss them already!

SIM group before we departed for the airport with our bus driver, Isram, and navigator, Isaac - we miss them already!

Our group met with many of the leading sponsors of the World Cup such as Coke and Sony as well as the behind-the scenes organizing arms such as Octagon Marketing and U.S. Soccer’s Friends and Family program.

Some of the best learning experiences were getting to see the companies at work. From touring Nike’s new community and training facility, set up to help youth in the historic township of Soweto not only learn soccer but also learn the importance of knowing their HIV status, to visiting the site where the Football For Hope 2010 event will take place in the underdeveloped area of Alexandra, our entire trip was an eye opening experience.

From talking with executives from FIFA’s corporate social responsibility arm, directly responsible for organizing the Football for Hope event, all the way to the seemingly-unrelated-to-soccer meeting with NBA International, the meetings we had and knowledge we gained was unprecedented. These organizations not only have a physical presence at the World Cup, but through their work and social responsibility efforts hope to leave a lasting legacy to carry on long after they leave.

We all know from our immersion in corporate America (and I use the phrase purposefully) that business is what makes the world go ’round, and making money is usually the major priority. Taking it a step further to transplant corporate America on a global scale, in an attempt to take advantage of oversized markets with undersized pockets, can sometimes be a recipe for disaster. Georgetown’s SIM program was able to not only take ourselves out of that environment physically, but mentally and socially as well.  The sights we saw and ideas we learned in South Africa are things most of us had never before experience here in the U.S. or in any other travels we had been on.

Analyzing and discussing corporate social responsibility aspects of the companies we met with were not just feel-good moments for us, but rather showed us how companies can make money and impact the world simultaneously.

Being knee-deep in the culture of South Africa, melting away the prejudices we carried off the plane, showed us life doesn’t have to be about cell phones and fast internet. It can be about hugs from security after your team drew in an exciting match. It can be about the cleaning lady dancing in the lobby of your hotel. It can be about the group of little kids who chased our bus in Alexandra, group-posing for pictures.

There is a litany of things our group took away from this trip, and I believe each and every one of us will look at large, global events — and the United States in general — in a whole new light. Watching ESPN as I write this post, I’m bringing myself back to Saturday morning when I stood in the same room the commentators are sitting in now, overlooking Soccer City Stadium.

The images run like slides through my head. I know everyone I know will ask me how it was, and I honestly don’t know what I will say. Only one word comes to mind right now — unbelievable. 

GU SIM group photo at our home base at The University of Pretoria's Gordon Institute of Business Science

GU SIM group photo at our home base at The University of Pretoria's Gordon Institute of Business Science

No responses yet | Categories: World Cup 2010

Jun 20 2010

Soweto Day Tour & Apartheid Museum

by at 5:43 pm


Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/commons/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Post by Matt Crawford

Sunday was a nice way to end a busy, but amazing trip.  We kicked off the day loading up a large bus for the Soweto Day Freedom Tour.  The bus traveled through Soweto and our tour guide, “Bonks”, gave insight into the different neighborhoods.  We were able to see the “Beverly Hills” of Soweto, as well as the “slums”.  It truly is an increible site.

A house on our drive through Soweto, a township of over 3 million in Johannesburg

A house on our drive through Soweto, a township of over 3 million in Johannesburg

During the trip, we stopped at the Hector Pieterson Museum.  It gave us some educational insight of the recent past and the hardship South Africa has gone through, focusing on the Soweto uprising of 1976.  Hector Pieterson was one of the children killed by police on June 16, 1976 in the uprising, and is the subject of an iconic picture that was taken shortly after his death as he was carried by a fellow student.

Hector Pieterson Memorial in Soweto

Hector Pieterson Memorial in Soweto

Iconic picture of Hector Pieterson being carried after his death

Iconic picture of Hector Pieterson being carried after his death

After the bus tour and museum, we grabbed lunch in a casino before entering the Apartheid Museum.  This place is truly remarkable.

SIM group outside the Apartheid Museum

SIM group outside the Apartheid Museum

When you first enter through the gates, they give you cards that identify you as, “white” or “non-white” and send you through different gates.  It is a creepy feeling knowing South Africa was going through this this roughly 20 years ago.  The Apartheid Museum is amazing though.  It has so much history, filled with so many photos, videos, and stories.  It is a must see when in visiting South Africa.

The sign at the entrance of the Apartheid Museum

The sign at the entrance of the Apartheid Museum

After the bus tour, and two museums, we were ready to head back to the lodge and pack for our trip back to Washington tomorrow.

We had one last group dinner at Lorenzo’s in the lodge.  It was a fun time to look back and reflect on our experiences.  We were able to reconnect with Michael Goldman of GIBS, who was such a huge help in setting up our trip, and pick his brain on some of the economic and social outcomes expected from the World Cup.  It was interesting to talk with him once again, especially given all we have experienced the past 10 days.

Overall, the games we went to, the speakers we heard, and the entire trip was just incredible.  People do not normally get to do the things we did, see the things we saw, and meet the people we met.  It was an unforgettable experience that I will be able to share with others forever.

Thank you Georgetown!

No responses yet | Categories: World Cup 2010

Jun 20 2010

ESPN and the International Broadcast Center, NBA Africa Press Event, and Sony

by at 5:20 pm


Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/commons/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Post by Sarah Labowsky; Photos by Roberto Coquis

Saturday was another day filled with back-to-back-to-back meetings for us. Before we kicked things off with a tour of the ESPN offices and studio at the International Broadcasting Center, we stopped by the Soccer City stadium to take a few group pictures. Roberto was even able to schmooze the security guard into letting him into the stadium to take a few pictures of the inside.

SIM group in front of Soccer City, the home of the opening match and final match of the 2010 World Cup

SIM group in front of Soccer City, the home of the opening match and final match of the 2010 World Cup

The International Broadcasting Center was absolutely massive. There were people from all over the globe walking back and forth from their offices, obviously running on very little sleep. Jennifer Rieber of ESPN showed all around the different control and productions rooms, and even took us up to the studio ESPN has been broadcasting from. The set was decorated in an African theme and had the most beautiful view of Soccer City!

he view of the ESPN set that overlooks Soccer City where they are doing most broadcasts

The view of the ESPN set that overlooks Soccer City where they are doing most broadcasts

ESPN broadcast desk, with Soccer City in the background

ESPN broadcast desk, with Soccer City in the background

We headed back down to meet with Tim Scanlan, VP of Event Production, who described ESPN’s commitment to the 2010 World Cup. After 2006, ESPN wanted to make the next World Cup a broadcasting priority. ESPN increased its presence in South Africa by an unprecedented 300% – they credentialed about 400 people to come down to South Africa from Bristol, CT. Mr. Scanlan hopes the increased coverage and a team of commentators reflective of the international scope of the event will change the way the United States perceive the World Cup and soccer.

Mr. Scanlan took us through the production process, how ESPN works with the host broadcasting team to get footage, and how they figure out what segments to add to supplement game coverage. He said he has seen an increase in ratings in the United States and has been gauging the World Cup’s popularity through many social media outlets, including Twitter and Facebook (and, he was very curious to find out our ideas and opinions of how we want to get our news and updates on sports).

Meeting with Tim Scanlan, VP of Event Production for ESPN

Meeting with Tim Scanlan, VP of Event Production for ESPN

After the World Cup, ESPN will be leaving the digital infrastructure required to cover this event in the country, and he hopes to see this bridge the digital divide facing South Africa.

Group with Tim Scanlan...and Julie Foudy, who stopped by to say hi

Group with Tim Scanlan...and Julie Foudy, who stopped by to say hi

Next, we went off to Discovery Soccer Park in Illovo to watch a media event hosted by NBA Africa. It was a “basketball meets football” event, with players representing the NBA (Steven Nash and Luc Mbah a Moute, both of whom were born in Africa) and different soccer leagues (Patrick Vieira, Lucas Radebe). They played two short soccer games with kids from the Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Foundation and then moved over to the basketball courts for a game of “horse”…with a surprising twist – Nash lost to soccer player Patrick Vieira. It was amazing to see how excited all the kids were to have this opportunity to meet these athletes and see the influence these stars have on them!

Steve Nash and Luc Mbah a Moute playing soccer with the kids

Steve Nash and Luc Mbah a Moute playing soccer with the kids

After the game was over, we were able to meet and take pictures with some of the players, including Nash!  TOTAL COUP!

SIM group with Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns

SIM group with Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns

On our way out, we bumped into William Rhoden of the New York Times, Kevin Blackistone of AOL and Jemele Hill from ESPN, and had an impromptu debate. The discussion started with the question, “which athlete would be more recognizable, Kobe and LeBron in South Africa or Messi and Ronaldo in Manhattan?” and moved to talk about whether soccer can compete with the big 4 leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL) in the US.  It ended up very being a very lively discussion. Keep an eye on our YouTube page for the video once we return to the US!

SIM with 3 amazing journalists - William Rhoden of the New York Times, Kevin Blackistone of AOL, and Jemele Hill of ESPN

SIM with 3 amazing journalists - William Rhoden of the New York Times, Kevin Blackistone of AOL, and Jemele Hill of ESPN

Finally, we ended the day with a visit with Earl Patton of Sony at Nelson Mandela Square. He has been in the sports industry for about 15 years and has played several different roles throughout his career. His role at Sony is to provide systems solutions and integrations for stadiums, a division that was built from scratch.

SIM with Earl Patton of Sony

SIM with Earl Patton of Sony

Sony has many CSR initiatives and hopes to leave that legacy in South Africa. During the World Cup, it sponsors many soccer related projects, including FIFA’s Football for Hope. Sony also sponsors the FIFA flag bearers at each match, and work with children’s organizations including UNICEF, The Nelson Mandela Children’s Foundation, and Grassroots Soccer to select the children for each match. Sony will be donating all of the equipment used during the World Cup to Mindset Network, a non-profit that utilizes digital content to educate children on health and wellness.

After our meeting, we headed down to Nelson Mandela Square to check out Sony’s new 3D presentation for ourselves. The presentation was awesome. We were shown snippets from the USA/Slovenia game, as well as treated to a live concert from a South African rap group called TKZee. The picture quality was crystal clear and it honestly felt like we were on the field with the team. We might have been most excited to see the official World Cup theme song, “Waka Waka” by Shakira in 3D! We’ve all come to love this song…can’t wait to get home and download it. It is going to be interesting to witness this 3D technology impacting the world of sports.

Matt, Rebecca, Ashley and Sarah sporting their Sony 3-D glasses at the show

Matt, Rebecca, Ashley and Sarah sporting their Sony 3-D glasses at the show

No responses yet | Categories: World Cup 2010

Jun 20 2010

US vs. Slovenia – Game 2

by at 3:06 pm


Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/commons/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Post by Adam Haney; Photos by Roberto Coquis

So today was the day of the US-Slovenia game, which meant we got to ride along with the US team’s families again.  Just riding on the buses with a police escort has been a surreal experience in itself.  The looks from passersby’s are of awe and many people wave and smile.  Not having to stop at red lights and avoiding traffic is also a nice perk.  We packed into our smaller bus (the original, larger busy had broken down) around 10am and left from the Illovo Lodge to head to Melrose Arch and meet up with US Soccer again.  Although we have only been here about a week the drive to the shopping center has become very familiar. 

We boarded the USSF buses and left around 11am to head to lunch.  It was a short ride to Johannesburg’s Zoo Lake and the Moyo restaurant therein.  The lake itself was serene and quiet, which was in contrast to Moyo which had a group of African drummers and a PA system that both played festive music loudly.  Lunch felt like a friendly gathering this time; by now most of the families have gotten to know each other well, and likewise our group has gotten to know each other better as well.  Lunch was buffet style (and excellent) and soon a group of singers and a face painter came out to compliment the other live music. 

Sarah, Nicole, Rebecca and Matt after getting traditional designs painted

Sarah, Nicole, Rebecca and Matt after getting traditional designs painted

After everyone finished eating there was a gift shop on the first floor of the restaurant with different interesting items for people to peruse.  After quickly gathering everyone back on the buses we set off for the stadium.

Arriving at the stadium was an experience in itself. Ellis Park is a storied stadium, so many of us were excited to see it.  As we pulled up to park we all began snapping pictures of the stadium.  It was an older stadium with a roof suspended by cables over the grandstand.  As we got out of the buses and walked to the security check point, the real Ellis Park appears from behind the trees.  It turns out the first stadium is Johannesburg Stadium, home of the South African soccer team the Orlando Pirates; Ellis park is actually much larger and more impressive than the Pirate’s stadium (a photo of both can be seen here, with Ellis Park in the distance). 

Girls supporting the US team, with Ellis Park Stadium in the back

Girls supporting the US team, with Ellis Park Stadium in the back

We passed through security and wandered through the many attractions set up outside before taking our seats.  As we did so we noticed many of the things we had talked about with different executives earlier in the week; the Coke stage with celebration pictures and dancers dancing to the song (video here if you haven’t heard this amazing song), as Amber discussed with us.  The MTN stage that the people at Octagon mentioned was there as well.  It’s always nice to see the practicalities of things that are discussed in a meeting room (the MTN stage had to stop showing the earlier game because too many people kept crowding around to watch and it was a safety risk).  Activation was still huge for those brands though, as well as Hyundai and Kia.

SIM group on the Coke stage with the World Cup mascot and vuvuzealas

SIM group on the Coke stage with the World Cup mascot and vuvuzealas

Eventually we made our way to our seats and awaited the start of the game.  As with the England game, our seats were on the exact opposite side of the stadium than where we entered the stadium grounds, so finding our way there was interesting.  We were pleased to see that this stadium was both bigger and louder than Royal Bafokeng in Rustenburg.  The vuvuzelas rang out much louder here as did the cheers of the crowd.  For this game many more from our group had vuvuzelas and everyone tried to play one at least once.  Again, the atmosphere is unlike anything you might have experienced in the states.  It is similar to college football in the passion on display, but still not the same.  We were also pleased to find that our seats were about 10 rows up from the sideline to the right of the goal. 

National anthems and flag presentations before the game

National anthems and flag presentations before the game

The game started soon enough and it was a good one.  After some questionable calls and less than stellar play, the US fell down 2-0 in the first half.  Luckily the team rallied in the second bringing the game to an even 2-2 before scoring an incredible goal to take the lead.  Or so we thought.  After the ball went in the goal, the stands went wild and it was only after a couple of minutes that we noticed the score had not changed on the score board.  We would later find out that there was an apparent phantom penalty called on the play to nullify the goal.  The final score ended up being a tie 2-2, which was better than a loss, but not quite what we were hoping for.  The team looked strong however, so hopes are still high for next week’s game.

SIM students with Captain America and other USA fans after the game

SIM students with Captain America and other USA fans after the game

Overall it was another incredible experience, and each day of this trip seems to be better than the one before.  To get to see the world cup is implausible enough, but getting to see it from the seats we had and getting there with the transportation we have had has just been unbelievable.  I know the rest of the trip will be just as incredible.

No responses yet | Categories: World Cup 2010

Jun 19 2010

Octagon, FIFA and Coca Cola

by at 4:40 pm


Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/commons/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Post by Rebecca Kafko; Photos by Roberto Coquis

Today’s agenda was jammed pack with back-to-back meetings. The first company we had the pleasure of meeting with was Octagon South Africa; they are the market leaders in South Africa for sports, entertainment, and within the sponsorship arena. Octagon is well known for its ability to activate, implement, and evaluate business initiatives. They are also responsible for negotiating the MTN sponsorship for the FIFA 2010 World Cup. Some of Octagon’s other major partners include Sony, Kia, and Coca-Cola. In activating for MTN, Octagon has partnered with cities and local parks in townships where they have set up big screens while incorporating promotions, dancing, and giveaways. Although some Fan Fest arenas have charged a R50 admission fee, Octagon and MTN have been donating some of these profits to charity.

Nicole talking with Bonga Sebesho of Octagon

Nicole talking with Bonga Sebesho of Octagon

Octagon has also helped Kia to create talent searches for Zakumi’s new friend. Zakumi is the official mascot of the 2010 World Cup. In addition, they have assisted Coca-Cola in creating kids soccer camps for Coke and Powerade, with Coca-Cola’s camps being more youth focused and Powerade’s camps focusing more on young adults with a joy for playing.

SIM group with Tracy Price, Judith Kapanga and Bonga Sebesho of Octagon

SIM group with Tracy Price, Judith Kapanga and Bonga Sebesho of Octagon

After the extensive presentation given by Octagon, we then traveled to Alexandria to meet with Seth Naicker, the Operations Coordinator for FIFA’s Football for Hope program.

Drive through Alexandra to the Football for Hope stadium

Drive through Alexandra to the Football for Hope stadium

They are in the midst of planning a Football for Hope festival which would be a non-ticketed event, taking place from June 25th to July 15th. A temporary stadium is being created where teams of eight will be able to compete.

Seth Naicker of Football for Hope showing our group the Alexandra stadium

Seth Naicker of Football for Hope showing our group the Alexandra stadium

Each team must have four boys and four girls as to help promote gender equality. There will also be no referees. Instead, the teams are responsible for deciding the rules before the match and applying them fairly. The winner of each match will be decided based on the number of goals scored, fair play, and team spirit. This pitch will be relocated after the festival to another area in Alexandria as part of the 20 Centers by 2010 campaign and will become part of the community. This festival will also give economic opportunities to local food vendors as well as local performers. A point being mentioned from meeting to meeting has been the idea of using the power of sports for social development and positive change. Football for Hope hopes to achieve both goals by using football to promote health, peace building, rights of children, education, anti-discrimination, and social integration.

Our last meeting of the day was with Amber Steele, the Manager of Global Event Operations and Worldwide Sports from Coca-Cola. She gave an impressive presentation about Coca-Cola’s new campaign for the World Cup as well as the legacies they hope to leave behind. Coca-Cola starts preparing for the World Cup and Olympics six to seven years in advance and holds briefings after each event to learn what worked and what didn’t work. They hope to leave legacies within five categories: profit, portfolio, partner, people, and planet. For example, France used to pour Coca-Cola into cups at events and would serve it warm but at the 1998 World Cup, Coca-Cola left France with a new way of drinking Coke in PET bottles. During the Vancouver Olympics, many Canadians viewed Coca-Cola as unhealthy so Coca-Cola set up to change their image with Canada and has seen an improvement. Since Coca-Cola has 90% of the market share in South Africa, the legacy they are hoping to leave behind is increase recycling usage. Coca-Cola has also implemented a social responsibility program called Live Positively. They have used this platform to introduce a campaign called Rain that brings children from their Coke Camp to help bring clean water to villages. They also have a youth program that give children the opportunity to be flag bearers and ball kids at the World Cup matchers as well as the Powerade Camp previously mentioned for those 18-30 years old. Winners of the Copa Coca-Cola grassroot tournament can become ball kids but they must be 13-15 years old. Those who want to be flag bearers can apply, enter contests, or go online and enter. Each market can choose how the flag bearers will be picked.

Group with Amber Steele of Coke

Group with Amber Steele of Coke

Overall, we had a very successful day filled with great presentations and great discussions from the students.

No responses yet | Categories: World Cup 2010

Jun 18 2010

Pilanesburg Game Reserve

by at 3:16 am


Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/commons/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Post by John Chermak

Today started off quite early as we were once again fortunate to join USA Soccer for a trip to Pilanesburg Game Reserve.  Our trip departed from the US Family and Friends hotel at 6:45am under a police escort and traveled two hours to our destination of the Pilanesburg Game Reserve.  Along the way we were once again able to take in the beautiful countryside surrounding Johannesburg along our two hour drive to the game reserve.  The roads were relatively empty as it was Youth Day is South Africa.  Youth day is a national holiday and is the recognition of the 1976 student uprising in Soweto which initially sparked the rebellion of apartheid. 

Ashley, Kyla, Nicole and Patricia getting ready to go on the Safari

Ashley, Kyla, Nicole and Patricia getting ready to go on the Safari

Once arriving at the reserve, we were greeted and offered a nice spread of tea and coffee while our transportation was being organized.  Soon after, we boarded up into our all-terrain vechicles that provided great sight-lines into the reserve from the elevated seating compartment. 

Along our ride throughout the reserve, we encountered various animals including (elephant, hippo, giraffe, rhino, wildebeest, zebra, springbok, wort hog).  Some of the animals were so close to the roads and trails that it provided great camera opportunities for the group.  The Pilanesburg Game Reserve was so immense that there was no way we could go through the entire park in one afternoon; and if we had the time it would be a place that we would return to see the remaining animals that we did not get to see. 

Sarah could barely contain her excitement over the elephants...

Sarah could barely contain her excitement over the elephants...

Elephant

Elephant

A giraffe...about 100 feet away!

A giraffe...about 100 feet away!

We finished out our time at the reserve with a barbecue lunch within the campgrounds that was destined to attract each and every carnivore within smelling distance, as we dined in the open air surrounding a warm cozy fire.  Soon after dining we loaded up on the buses and left Pilanesburg Game Reserve and quickly reached Johannesburg with the police escort, just in time to watch South Africa take on Uruguay.

GU SIM Group on the Safari to the Pilanesburg Game Reserve

GU SIM Group on the Safari to the Pilanesburg Game Reserve

No responses yet | Categories: World Cup 2010

Jun 16 2010

ESPN catches a shot of SIM student at the USA/England Game

by at 4:19 pm


Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/commons/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Check out the link below. SIM student Rebecca Kafko cheering on the USA vs. England last Saturday night at Royal Bafokeng Stadium!

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/photos?id=264043&photoId=668422&cc=5901&ver=us#photo_668422

No responses yet | Categories: World Cup 2010

Jun 16 2010

Basketball Bridges The Gap

by at 4:14 pm


Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/commons/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Post by Krystina Lucido; Photos by Robert Coquis

Following our trip to Nike, we drove to Nelson Mandela Square, a shopping area in the financial district of Johannesburg. Many businesses make their home on top of the mall and NBA International added itself to that list about one month ago.

The initiative, NBA Africa, headed by Amadou Fall, Vice President of Development in Africa, arose from annual trips to Africa through ‘Basketball Without Borders’. “Basketbal Without Borders’ was founded in 2003 under the name Africa 101.  After seven years of building up excitement for the ‘Basketball Without Borders’ camp, it did not have the impact they hoped for. The idea of bringing a permanent presence to the country just seemed like the next logical step.

SIM students meeting with NBA Africa VP of Development Amadou Fall

SIM students meeting with NBA Africa VP of Development Amadou Fall

The notion of giving back is very prevalent in South Africa. Amadou Fall hopes players from African countries will “remember where they came from” and give back to their native countries after entering the NBA. Fall anticipates fan interest will increase as more African natives join the NBA. Africans will have a star they can apsire to and emulate.

Fall explained there is a latent interest in basketball in Africa. However, there needs to be a reason to develop it, which means growing basketball at the grassroots level — coaching fundamentals and building the infrastructure to support the game.

The first goal is making the game accessible to the players. Building courts and working basketball into the physical education curriculum in high schools and even in younger children is essential to the development of the game and piquing interest. Using the U.S. model, Fall wants to implement this as soon as possible in order to build the game from the bottom up.

Making the game accessible to African fans is a little trickier. The time difference between the United States and Africa creates a barrier and prevents many Africans from viewing televised games.  Mobile applications and social media have established a large presence and are continuing to help grow the fan base. However, the ability to watch games is critical. Contracting TV rights would be a huge step in promoting the NBA Africa brand.

Fall wants to bring more than just the sports and on-the-field aspects to Africa. By “training coaches to help navigate through challenges…not only teach schemes but how to be accountable, work within a team and discipline,” Fall wants to teach life skills and educate young athletes on positive and healthy life choices.

Fall sees the “young country” of Africa as an opportunistic place to grow a game like basketball. Rugby, one of the most popular games in the country, is seen as a high-class game played by the elites while soccer is played by the underdeveloped sections.  Basketball can be the sport to bridge the divide and bring people together.

SIM Students with Amadou Fall

SIM Students with Amadou Fall

No responses yet | Categories: World Cup 2010

Jun 16 2010

Social Responsibility and the Nike Training Center in Soweto

by at 3:47 pm


Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/commons/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Post by Krystina Lucido; Photos/Video by Robert Coquis

Social responsibility was the theme of the day. Yesterday, we learned how this World Cup and South Africa can benefit U.S. Soccer and other soccer organizations based in the United States.  We talked to U.S. organizations who are trying to bring their brands to South Africa and make these brands relevant in a new market.

Nike and NBA International were on the docket. Beginning with Nike, we traveled to their brand new training facility in the heart of Soweto.  We met with Mzamo Masito, Brand Director, Nike South Africa. 

Mzamo Masito, Brand Manager for Nike South Africa speaks with SIM students

Mzamo Masito, Brand Manager for Nike South Africa speaks with SIM students

According to Masito, Soweto has one of the richest histories in South Africa and is considered the “the heartbeat of South African football.”  Nike wanted their new facility to be in this area. Masito stated even though South Africa has the most resources on the African continent, South Africa is still ranked 80th in the world soccer. This is due to, Sout Africa  just doesn’t  have the fundamentals required to be a top team. The raw talent exsists but youth still need to be taught the basics about nutrition, physical and mental development, and technique. Nike intends to use their new facility to teach the fundamentals to South African youth.

SIM group at the Nike Training Center

SIM group at the Nike Training Center

The facility is gorgeous. It houses multiple fields and across from the pitches there are what look to be garages. These garages act as a small training area with strength training equipment for athletes as well as a place for youth athletes to participate in “Boot Trials.” In “Boot Trials”, staff teach the young athletes about each boot (what we call soccer cleats or shoes) and what each one can do for their performance. The kids are then the players try them out on the field and see how they like them.

Out on the pitch at the Training Center

Out on the pitch at the Training Center

The whole facility is built to youth specifications and designed to “inspire, enable and care.” The changing rooms are designed in the most popular soccer clubs’ colors including Juventus, Arsenal, Brazil, etc. These soccer clubs were kind enough to donate their drills and coaching strategies to the facility. Nike even had Apple computers installed in the lobby. This makes it possible for an athlete or a coach to come into the facility, download the coaching content to a DVD and watch at home.

Locker rooms at the Nike Training Center in Soweto

Locker rooms at the Nike Training Center in Soweto

Masito also stressed the importance of “demystifying success,” bridging the gap between the professional player and the youth athlete so the young athlete. The hope is to prevent underpriveleged youth athletes from thinking soccer at the professional level is unacheivable. 

Along with Nike’s involvement with the Red campaign, HIV/AIDS awareness, the new Nike facility provides athletes with an office they can visit to get tested for HIV/AIDS and receive counseling. Nike’s the goal is to have 50 percent of the population know their HIV/AIDS status by the end of the year. The hope is that just the knowledge of HIV/AIDS status will influence behavior and help to slow the epidemic. Masito mentioned that getting tested is not  hard. The procedure has developed so much over the years. It takes just five minutes to get your results and only another 15 minutes to find out your CD4 count and you can be on your way. This is a major improvement from just a few years ago.

With the advancements in medicine,  an HIV positive test no longer has to be a death sentence. Masito explained the biggest problem is not educating the people but encouraging them to change their behaviors. He said the best way to promote change is to encourage professional athletes to lead by example. Masito provided us with the example of Uganda and how the country was able to decrease their HIV infection rate as a result of the political leaders, athletes and preachers examples and focus on the importance of HIV testing.

Studies have shown the most socially responsible brand is… Nike. They must be doing something right.

Our group with Mzamo Masito in front of the Training Center

Our group with Mzamo Masito in front of the Training Center

Read about our trip to the brand-new (and I mean like three-week-old) offices of NBA Africa with the Vice President of Development, Amadou Gallo Fall, in our next post.

No responses yet | Categories: World Cup 2010

Jun 15 2010

USSF and Soccer United Marketing Meetings

by at 3:25 am


Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/commons/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Post by Sarah Labowsky; Photos by Roberto Coquis

Today was our first day meeting with business leaders from the US Soccer Federation and Soccer United Marketing. We headed over to the hotel where the US Soccer Federation is headquartered during the World Cup for our first meeting with Brian Remedi, the Chief Administrative Officer of the United States Soccer Federation. 

SIM Students meet with Brian Remedi, Chief Admin. Officer for the US Soccer Federation

SIM Students meet with Brian Remedi, Chief Admin. Officer for the US Soccer Federation

Mr. Remedi’s main duties during the World Cup are to eliminate any of the team’s worry about their friends and families during the tournament.  His team of five consists of three experienced staff members, who have worked friends and family events before, as well as two new diligent staff members to give them the experience.  They are in charge of arranging transportation, security, permits, food beverage etc. for a group of 170.  Since is not the responsibility of the local organizing committee to provide protection for the friends and family, USSF has taken it upon themselves to do so. This includes working with the US State department prior to the event to coordinate with local law enforcement, and making sure there are random check of cars, bags, people while they are staying there. He does admit that there have been challenges working with the local organizing committee, but it’s purely because they have never been a part of this event before and they do not understand how a quickly a small problem can grow. This year the USSF invited 15 members of the United States media to stay with the friends and family. The strategy behind this stems from their evaluation of the possible complications for individuals working in the media. The USSF wanted to provide support for them, and have arranged for workspaces in the hotel for them and helped make a lot of arrangements for them. He did mention that each reporter must sign a waiver promising they will not interview any of the family members, and keep them in a separate part of the hotel.

Mr. Remedi’s predictions for South Africa post World Cup are very positive.  Apartheid is still associated with this country, and the World Cup has given South Africans a chance to show the world differently. He thinks a well run event in a such a beautiful country will help encourage more tourists to visit.  He hopes the US can leave a champion’s legacy in South Africa.  He believes the two most important ways to grow soccer in the United States is by hosting the World Cup and being the home to a championship teams and creating iconic players.  One topic we all have been curious about is how the USSF deals with having competing sponsors with the World Cup.  The team is sponsored by Nike and Pepsi, while the World Cup is sponsored by Adidas and Coke.  He credits FIFA with doing a great job of protecting their partners, and notifying teams of what they can and cannot have around them.  He said sponsors are very understanding and respectful of these contracts because they are aware of the implications of breaking them are. During the next three weeks Mr. Remedi and his team are going to be busy with making arrangements for the remaining family and friends, if the team goes past the round of 16. A t that point, they will have to basically start from scratch and make hotel and flight reservations all in about three days!!

Group with Brian Remedi

Group with Brian Remedi

After our meeting with Mr. Remedi, we walked around Melrose Arch and ate a big group lunch outside in front of a big TV screen playing the Holland and Denmark game.

Lunch at Melrose Arch, with Holland-Denmark game in the background

Lunch at Melrose Arch, with Holland-Denmark game in the background

We then headed back to the hotel to meet with Kathy Carter, Executive Vice President of Soccer United Marketing, which is the marketing arm for the MLS, USSF, and the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación. She has been in the industry since 1994, and has worked primarily in soccer, she even helped start the MLS!

Kathy Carter, EVP of Soccer United Marketing, speaking to SIM Students

Kathy Carter, EVP of Soccer United Marketing, speaking to SIM Students

She spoke to us a lot about how Major League Soccer is growing in the United States. When the MLS first begun, they knew they needed to expand, diversity ownership, construct soccer specific stadiums, build TV relationship, and build competition. She was proud to tell us that in 2012 they will be adding a 19th team to the league and only three of the 19 teams won’t be playing in their own stadiums. She says time is a big barrier for the sport, but it is one they have overcome. She reminded us that about 34 years ago, the NBA finals were not even televised on TV, and now it is a multifaceted global brand. She mentioned the “David Beckham Rule” (more formally known as the Designated Player Rule – this rule allows for each team to have two players outside of the salary cap) as opening possibilities for top foreign talent to consider a career in the United States.

SIM students with Kathy Carter

SIM students with Kathy Carter

Today was an unbelievably insightful day! Tomorrow we will be meeting with representatives from Nike South Africa and NBA International, so look out for our next post!

One response so far | Categories: World Cup 2010

Next »


Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/commons/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/commons/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524