London, England
Thursday 20th September 2012
Whilst I was enjoying my time at home over the weekend, I had the chance to catch up with friend & former colleague, Phil Anderton.  

Phil worked at the Scottish Rugby Union prior to my time there, before our paths crossed at Heart of Midlothian FC, where Phil worked as CEO & I was Head of Sports Medicine & Exercise Science.  Following our time in Scottish football, we both moved on to get involved in tennis, with Phil being appointed Chief marketing officer for the ATP World Tour, whilst I worked with Jamie Murray doing his sports physiotherapy & conditioning.

I really appreciate Phil's passionate enthusiasm for the industry in which he has worked & his knowledge, allied to an innovative approach to problem solving, ensures that he can be credited with some revolutionary developments in the sports business sector.  In addition, chatting about his experiences is always an enlightening & inspirational way to spend a couple of hours.

After we had put the world to rights in the comfort of the Glass & Thompson tea room, at the top of Dundas Street in Edinburgh, Phil agreed to answer a few questions for the blog...I'm sure you'll find his thoughts a fascinating read. 

OF: Phil, please can you introduce yourself in 10 words or less

PA: Scotsman with international experience in marketing & sports management

OF: The business aspect of sport has changed dramatically over recent years. 

In your opinion what are the three most significant progressions that have been made since you first entered into sporting sector?

PA: Global access to more sports through TV and Internet platforms.

Necessity to meet fan needs & wants in tandem with enhancing sporting performance.

Ability to communicate well & badly through the power of social media.

OF: Like myself, you've had the opportunity to work with several different sports.  If you took the most successful aspect of each of those sports' business models, what would they be?

PA: ATP - tournaments & players joining forces to create a single entity to deliver what's best for both distinct but dependent parties.

Rugby - broadly equal distribution of TV revenues to help sustain a competitive sporting landscape.

Football - focus on week in week out club game, ensuring fan interest across the season without diluting competition to support the international game.

OF: Just as those involved in sports medicine & performance often have to change long-established mindsets to drive our work forwards, I can imagine you have had similar challenges in your work.  

What have been the most significant obstacles you have had to overcome & how have you gone about achieving success in those instances?

PA: The obstacle is convincing sports administrators who have been involved in sport for a lifetime that they need to consider new ways to package their sport to attract & maintain consumer interest. The best way to overcome resistance is to conduct quality consumer research which brings to life consumer views & practices which need addressing.

OF: In your opinion which sporting organisation is the gold standard, to which all others should aspire to?

PA: The NFL. Quality over quantity, understand the importance of keeping a strong competitive field through the draft & salary cap & a real marketing machine.

OF: Professionally, who has been your biggest inspiration & why?

PA: Etienne de Villiers; former Chairman of the ATP. Brilliant vision & puts the fan first & foremost.

OF: If you could bend time & space to meet your 16 year old self, what advice would you offer?

PA: Don't let the dinosaurs get you down! Work with the old guard & don't try to alienate them.

OF: If you were to host a dinner party with the constraints of mortality & busy schedules removed from the equation, which 5 guests would you most like to share good food, fine wine & no holds barred chat with?

PA: Seve Ballesteros, Winston Churchill, Elvis Presley, George Best & my wife!

OF: ...& who would provide the soundtrack to the evening?

PA: Richard Hawley

OF: So now you have returned from the Middle East, what projects are keeping you out of trouble?

PA: I'm running courses on how to speak effectively based at a house we own in Scotland. 

Companies & individuals need to be able to get their messages across more effectively to engage with each other & the outside world. I use examples from the sporting world on how to overcome fear of speaking & how to engage with your audience so they understand your points & feel positively towards you.

OF: Thanks for taking the time to chat, Phil & good luck with your new project. 

For those of you wanting to find out more information on Phil's work, please ask any questions in the comments box below & I will forward them on to him.  Once his new website is launched, I will post a link on the blog too!

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