Henry Winter: Social media and sports journalism

As Chief Football Writer of the Times, Henry Winter is one of the most respected and influential sports journalists currently working the UK.

Winter’s career started well before social media but he has fully embraced the medium and now boasts a Twitter following akin to that of a mid-table Premier League club.

This is a wide-ranging conversation taking in the state of sports journalism, the newspaper industry, TV and sport as well as social media. But it is all underpinned by the thoughtful analysis and humility Winter’s readers will know so well.

Rudy Gestede: Entrepreneur, YouTuber, Striker

Rudy Gestede is the epitome of a modern footballer.

Aside from training and playing, he is building businesses, developing his charity and promoting a personal brand on YouTube.

The Benin international has featured for Blackburn, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough during a high-calibre career. But his is looking ahead to later life with a spirit of entrepreneurship and self-development.

And social media underpins all it. 

Jason Chilton: The Fan-Controlled Football League may change sport forever

The Fan-Controlled Football League is like nothing we've seen before.

This competition puts the supporters in charge.. of everything... yep everything.

So many clubs in so many sports see conflict between those in the directors box and those in the stands.

This Arena American Football event merges the two with fans voting for the coach, the signing, the team colours and, most intriguingly, the plays in the game.

It has been called a real-life Madden by its devotees and an unworkable novelty by its critics.

Starting in late 2018, it promises to be an interesting blend of traditional sports, esports, crypto-currency, reality television, crowdsourcing and democracy.

I spoke to Jason Chilton, Head of Football Experience, to understand how this is going to work

Ed Latimore: Self-help author, heavyweight boxer

In all probability, Ed Latimore is a unique sportsman.

Raised in the projects of Pittsburgh, he became an elite amateur boxer, mixing with heavyweights who fought Anthony Joshua for the world title. However, like many athletes, he would lose his way, personally and professionally.

Latimore regrouped, went back to school and into the military. Now he combines a professional boxing career, with a degree in physics while writing self-help books with titles like “Not Caring What Other People Think is a Superpower”.

It is a strange world, money-orientated, often murky, environment of small-hall boxing, while blogging and writing about the more philosophical aspects of the human condition.

So how does that dichotomy work?

How did he handle a crushing first defeat? Did he take his own advice?

After all, Latimore is the only fighter who has written a book on confidence.

Colin Kelly: Launching LA-LAFC

Colin Kelly is Director of Digital at a soccer team who are yet to play a game.

LAFC will kick-off their first MLS season in March 2018. But, unlike most of the recent expansion franchises, they are an entirely new club.

For the content team this one huge blank sheet of paper, when I spoke to Colin, he had barely met the playing staff.

So, how do you create a fresh and engaging soccer tale in Tinseltown, the storytelling capital of the world? Still, LAFC have a star-studded ownership group, a nationally known-coach, a soccer-lovers stadium on the way and soaring ambition

But will they fly in the City of Angels?

Kevin Doyle: How to be an ex-footballer

Kevin Doyle was forced to retire from football in September 2017 at the age of 34 after suffering complications over concussions. An intelligent, hard-working striker, his 16-year career including successful spells at Reading, Wolves and, in the US, where our paths crossed at the Colorado Rapids. Doyle also won 63 caps for Ireland, scoring 14, with the highlight being his involvement in Euro 2012.

Doyle’s decision to call time drew tributes laced a tinge of sadness, given the enforced nature of his retirement. But, a few months on, how is he feeling now? How is he reassessing his life and career? Where is he going next? And how does he feel as a former footballer?
 

David Higgins: How to make a World Heavyweight title fight

We are getting ready to rumble.

Anthony Joshua is fighting Joseph Parker at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on March 31 with three of the four heavyweight title belts on the line.

On this edition of Sport Digital and Social, I speak to Parker’s promoter David Higgins about how he managed to engineer a lucrative unification bout for his fighter when the chances seemed remote. Also how technology helped and hindered in that process, the counterintuitive nature of boxing PR, how and when the ‘trainwreck’ a press conference, his plans to unnerve Joshua, how the fight will secure Parker’s future and how David Higgins got into the boxing business.

Luca Massaro: How to become an award-winning Sports Digital Agency

Starting a sports digital agency is a dream for many people and arguably there has never been a better time set up on your own.

You are your own boss, you can be creative, work in sport and make good money. On the flipside, the responsibility is entirely on your shoulders and, right now, competition is particularly intense.

Luca Massaro took the plunge five years ago when he set up WePlay in London. In this podcast we talk about how he assessed the market before launch, character lessons, how they have had to change their offering, the crucial art of pitching for business and the qualities that brought them the Football Business Agency of the year award in 2017.

Nigel Walker: How Guerilla Cricket is thinking outside the commentary box

Guerilla Cricket, and its previous incarnation Test Match Sofa, challenge the long-established norms of broadcasting England's national sport.

This is not the cosy cake-filled commentary box of the BBC. It beers and banter in a basement flat plus humourous, sometimes sweary, jingles at major moments. (You’ll hear a few of those through this podcast).

But real innovation (not just the copying and twisting that content creators constantly do) so often starts at this level and has to fight resistance from those in incumbent positions.

So is Guerilla Cricket a revolutionary new model for live commentary that could be rolled out across other sports? 

Or is it just a hobby that can only exist in its sporting niche?

Listen and then you decide

Ehsen Shah: Marketing the modern footballer

We are told these days that athletes are “brands”.

Digital and social media has given them unprecedented tools of direct communication. So does that mean you can just find your audience, tell your story, engage your followers and then sponsorship dollars will roll in?

Ehsen Shah, MD of B Engaged, is guiding some major footballers through this particular opportunity/problem.

What they have to do, how they have to act, who they have to listen to and how they react to ‘haters’ or tough times on the pitch?

Giuliano Giorgetti: Re-inventing Inter Milan

In late 2017, Inter Milan announced a major innovation in their content capabilities. The Serie A club hope Media House will be a revolution in the way they tell their story. I wanted to explore the concept a little further so I spoke to Inter’s Media Content Director Giuliano Giorgetti about how this famous old team is trying to change its culture for the digital age. 

Tony Jeffries: From reluctant child boxer on a Sunderland council estate to LA gym owner (via an Olympic medal)

Tony Jeffries never took boxing that seriously until he won an English schoolboys title. Soon he was captaining his country at amateur level and winning a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic games. Unfortunately, hand injuries curtailed his pro career but he moved the US and set up a new business in boxing gyms.

Now he is expanding his empire, training boxing coaches and developing his own Box'N'Burn podcast in which discusses all aspect of self-improvement.

Marcelo Balboa: Backstreets to Pro

Marcelo Balboa is a pioneer of US soccer. The goal-scoring centre-back represented his country in two World Cups and was the first player to earn 100 caps for the Stars and Stripes

His father was a professional player in Argentina and made the game a major part of Marcelo’s childhood.

He worked his way through the tough semi-pro leagues in the early 1980s, played in Mexico and would join Colorado Rapids when the MLS started in 1996.

But how did those formative years shape his later career?

Chatri Sitoydtong - building Asia's first multi-million dollar sports franchise

Chatri Sityodtong is CEO, chairman and founder of ONE Championship, the martial arts competition based in Asia. 

The event has enjoyed incredible growth since it started in 2011 but, as Chatri points out, its success will be based on Asian values. His aim is to make ONE Championship the first multi-billion dollar sports franchise from that Continent.

This is not MMA, not UFC and a character like Conor McGregor would not be welcome. Take a listen to find out why.