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Mike's Minute: Hockey's bumbling has ruined sport sponsorships

Author
Mike Hosking,
Section
Video,
Publish Date
Friday, 15 March 2019, 8:47a.m.

COMMENT:

Has New Zealand Hockey ruined it for everyone?

Sir Owen Glenn, the sport's biggest player and payer outside the government, has what most would have thought was an ideal sports funding model going.

He gave a dollar, High Performance Sport NZ gave a dollar. This is a good model based on the very simple premise that sport generally doesn't have enough money.

The High Performance model is based on winning. The more you win, the more you get. That's broadly a sensible way of doing it, but not the ideal way.

Sports can be stuck in a rut, sports stuck in a rut lack money, sports that lack money don't send emerging talent off to places they need to go to excel, opportunity missed. It's a self-fulfilling circle of demise.

Private money can take low-profile sport and accelerate them to a level regular funding might not have supported.

Of course it's been done in motorsport for years. Scott Dixon, Brendon Hartley are where they are because of private money and a very clever system whereby they foot the bills, and when you win big, you pay back what they loaned you, that money then goes to fund someone else.

But at team level, at national level, the model hasn't existed until Sir Owen Glenn came along, and sadly he picked hockey, who for reasons that I can't quite fathom is run by dunderheads who have taken some unhappy players, turned it into a review, which turned into a fiasco, which turned into the coach leaving, and now coaching England and the sport's biggest donor saying he's sick of it. And once his commitment is over, at the Olympics next year, he's done with sport.

So the question is this: how much of this mess is the result of a sport that looks shambolic? And how much of it is a cantankerous old bloke with a lot of dough and too much expectation?

But sponsorship, of which Glenn's money is basically an example of, is all over business. So we have models, sponsorship can be handled, relationships formed, expectations set, and ongoing mangement set in place. Most sports have a level of sponsorship (not to Glenn's extent of a minor-ish sport) but the calculation still applies.

I am sure he never thought he was the coach or owned the game, I am sure all he ever wanted was to see the sport excel. So based on that, you would have to argue it's the sport at fault, not the donor.

The tragedy is hockey, like so many sports, see the public-private model as the way of the future. And why wouldn't they? There's plenty of people with a heap of dough looking for an outlet and this is a country that loves sporting success.

But has hockey, and its ineptitude, wrecked it for others that never got a chance to leverage an idea that had real potential.

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