blog | 6min Read
Published on August 31, 2022
First and foremost, I identify as a Virat Kohli fan.
What intrigued me the most about the Business of Sports 101 program, a BRG experience which promised to explore the intersections between sports and entrepreneurship, was the chance to learn what makes Virat Kohli’s brand so effective. Having been an avid fan of the Indian batsman since his pre-captaincy years, watching his brand arc from a mouthy, aggressive young cricketer to a fiery, disciplined captain has been nothing short of an odyssey. Hence, while sitting down for this program, I was extremely excited to understand what makes his brand work and resonate with fans in the world’s largest cricket-loving nation.
What is the Business of Sports 101 program?
The Business of Sports 101 program is a Big Red Group experience which brings together business and sport. Conducted by mentors from the team of Rajasthan Royals and Deakin University, the program throws light on the strings which keep the sports industry running smoothly; and over a period of two weeks, the course gives its participants the ins and outs of sports marketing, sports science, finance, management, and sports media while connecting them to the best athletes, managers, and administrators in the business.
Across the program, participants explored different fields of sport business from sport management, sport organization, marketing, broadcasting, sport development, sport science through sport coaching. Each day, industry experts from across the sport business spectrum led the discussions, lending their personal experiences and trade secrets to the young sport entrepreneurs. They explored these varied careers through academic discussions in which they taught the students the foundations of their field, and answered any questions they had. Bringing an international perspective to the table, these globally acclaimed mentors studied these fields through both an Indian and global perspective; making the discussions more accessible and useful for the students.
The mentors also did not shy away from rallying along with students’ choice of sports, players, and topics of interest and exploring their fields through those points of access — for instance, during the session on Sport Analytics and Athlete Performance, the mentor, Dr Dan Dwyer, explained the difficulties athletes face while training under high pressure situations like huge crowds by introducing the example of student performance in school events, and how stressful it almost always is to deliver your best when a huge group of people—in this case, your parents, teachers, and friends—are expecting so much from you. Similarly, Dr Dwyer emphasized, it can often be stressful for players too to train and perform under huge stressors like a tournament semi-final, a huge crowd of fans, etc. These kinds of relatable examples across the program significantly enhanced the sessions’ impact, and left positive, long lasting impressions.
The students were also given the opportunity across the sessions to spend time with each other in groups and work through adjacent problem questions. Across the program, students ideated about varied issues, and designed possible solutions. As a part of the session on Sport Organization, conducted by Dr Steve Swanson and Pamm Phillips, they pooled their ideas to build an optimal sport organizational model which could be implemented in India. Different groups chose different sports, and tried to unknot logistical issues like cities, players, stakeholders, etc. Similarly, as a part of the session on Sport Marketing, conducted by Zameer Kochar, the Chief Marketing Officer at Rajasthan Royals, students were encouraged to ideate about different social media campaigns the Rajasthan Royals team can possibly execute to improve its brand.
Besides potential sports entrepreneurs, the mentors also interacted with the students like fans. They offered them both exciting sneak peeks into the behind-the-scenes of their favorite teams and players, and a better understanding of the role fans play in building and maintaining sports brands. Different mentors explored the fans’ positions from different perspectives like sport marketing, sport coaching, etc.; such that by the end of the program, students had a comprehensive idea of the importance of sport fans. By treating students as fans, the mentors were also able to more effectively build a bridge with them and bond over the primary reason why we were all present there – our passion for sports.
21st Century Skills: Colleges, Internships, & more!
By the end of the program, students felt capable of dipping their toes into the sport business industry through different avenues like university courses and internships. A Grade 9 student from Oberoi International School (OGC Campus), Daivik Mathur, said, “The Big Red Group’s workshop provided me insight on the different requirements, skills, and strategies required to excel in the field of sport management.”
Another young student, Diya Piramal, currently studying in Grade 11 at Dhirubhai Ambani International School attested, “The Business of Sports 101 course was extremely informative, enjoyable and interesting. The sessions were held by various field professionals who were able to guide us through their own experiences.” Students across the board found the Business of Sports 101 program to be an extremely exciting and useful stepping stone in their educational and professional journeys for the first-hand sports business experience they were offered and the exclusive networks to which they have now been granted access.
At the end of these two fruitful weeks, the participants smoothly transitioned into working on their promised live projects with the Rajasthan Royals team. All the students were divided into three (3) groups; each group working on a different problem statement:
- How can Rajasthan Royals increase its merchandise revenue?
- How can we increase Rajasthan Royals app usage during the off-season?
- How can we create a new anthem for Rajasthan Royals which resonated with our players, Fan base and the state of Rajasthan?
It is an extremely exciting opportunity for anyone to work on live projects with the team of the IPL giant Rajasthan Royals; but especially for sports enthusiasts like these young students, it is truly one of the most exciting moments of their lives. Over the period of these projects, students have soaked up immeasurable knowledge and future-ready skills from industry experts. The sheer impact of this opportunity on their professional futures cannot be overstated.
The Big Red Group’s Business of Sports 101 program effectively introduced students to the range of careers they can choose to pursue in the sports industry, and also offered them tips on the different resources they can utilize to carve their paths. With sessions from varied mentors and frequent guest lectures from university students themselves, currently studying Sport Business at Deakin University, the BOS 101 program provided its participants with a gamut of knowledge about the sports industry.
Virat Kohli, and my love for Sports
As for me, I sat down into this program with one question: What makes Virat Kohli’s brand successful? After these two, too short weeks, I am pleased to write that I can now at least attempt to answer this question. What makes Kohli’s brand so successful is an unimaginably grand plethora of notions and intersections like his image of the aggressive boy from Delhi who wears his heart on his sleeve, to his emphasis on fitness and discipline, to his bonding and mutual respectful relationships with international giants like AB de Villiers, to his meteoric rise from a young Sachin Tendulkar fan to a peer of the Man himself, to — many, many more factors. But, beyond all the strings that need to be pulled to showcase Captain Kohli, the inaccessible celebrity as Virat, the accessible young cricketer who fans adore; what primarily and foundationally matters and counts is performance.
Beyond everything that all the young sport entrepreneurs learned at this program, what they principally understood was that player performance is paramount — everything else is secondary. Besides a chest full of trade secrets and sport stories then, what these students took away is this: a better understanding of the importance of perseverance and hard work, and a rejuvenated love for sports.