Be what you wish to attract

ISL Swimming and Being What you want to attract

Yesterday I was officiating at the ISL Swim Meet at one of my favourite buildings, the London Aquatic Centre.

Having arrived several hours early and with a deck pass, I took time to look around the entire set up, then, with the officials toured around in-depth as part of our briefing, I heard and saw even more.

My conclusion? Everything about the setup is totally world-class. I have seen and also been part of events for lots of different pro sports around the world, this is one of the absolute best I have ever seen.

This carries lessons for all of us in how we lead, how we do business, how we live our lives.

What is the ISL?

The ISL is a first. The first pro league ever for swimmers, previously seen as a minor sport by many, who only watch it every four years during the first week of the Olympics.

Certainly minor in terms of elite athlete earnings. For comparison, an average team player at the decidedly average West Ham team playing on the same day at the Olympic stadium next door will make more in a week than all but about the top 20 swimmers worldwide will earn in a year.

So, with a “made for TV” format of a two-hour event held each weekend over a carefully time autumn schedule, what will come from this for next year?

What’s next for the ISL?

Well, certainly the financial backers will want others to step forward, particularly global TV deals and, I would imagine team, event, series sponsors.

For 2020 I would imagine this will mean events not only in North America and Europe, but also Asia and Australia, a global league. I would also imagine bigger and more TV contracts (Asia is particularly lucrative), plus, if the current financial backers so choose, team sponsors and even event sponsors.

From a Bloomberg article in advance of the London meet: “The first-year investment of $25 million is expected to double next year with 27 matches and 10 clubs.”

Be what you wish to attract

I imagine that in the audience and, in particular, in the stunning VIP area, there would be have been any number of people with the resources and decision-making ability to make that happen. They will, as I was, have been most impressed.

A few weeks ago I wrote: “Be world-class. You never know who is watching“, noting how an event organiser lost an opportunity they didn’t even know was right in front of them, to be introduced to exactly the type of world-class people in their field that they needed to take their event to the next level. This happened as they ran the opposite of a world-class event.

In the case of the ISL, the backers have set out from the outset to be absolutely world-class and they have delivered at absolutely every level. I say that not only from my behind-the-scenes inspection, but also (only a little tongue in cheek here), as an official, an area of meets which tends to get very little attention. A small but powerful moment was that the head of the production team came over to talk to our group as we were on deck being briefed ahead of the meet starting. He took time to make use feel included as well as to add depth to our briefing. Class act.

So, from all of this, the ISL is living the adage” Be what you wish to attract”

I can see that not only will they themselves attract the types of sponsors and others they seek to take things to the next level, but also all those involved, from marketing, branding event logistics, event production, TV, camera, timing, VIP staging etc, all of those people involved in each element will also attract more similar business for themselves.

As to lessons for all of us, if you wish to attract the best people, opportunities, clients, partners towards you, “be what you wish to attract”.


Also published on Medium.

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