Profile: Glenn Lovett

Profile: Glenn Lovett

Profile: Glenn Lovett

Connor Wright | 5/31/2013 | Sports Business Insider

In 1999, Glenn Lovett officially retired from the Australian Football League (AFL), after a career which included 127 games, 84 goals, and the 1992 Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial Trophy for Best and Fairest player at the Melbourne Football Club. Lovett began his career in 1987 and was a one club player.

Outside of his playing life, Lovett has made a successful career in sports business, focusing his career on engaging with sports marketing, both in Australia and overseas.

In 1995, Lovett became a Sports Marketing Manager for Nike Australia,where he was able to learn and develop skills which would assist with his transition into sports business after retirement.

Shortly after finishing his career Lovett graduated from Melbourne Business School and set out on his own business venture; Crowe Lovett – now Gemba Group – which he was an integral part of for almost five years.

Lovett then began to expand into international markets and started working at Octagon, where, in 2009, he became the managing director for Europe, the Middle East and India.

Lovett is now the President of Global Strategy at a market research company called Repucom, and is responsible for several key areas of Repucom’s business, including its products, knowledge and insights, and consulting services.

Lovett’s success is the result of a number of key decisions and practices which have got him to the position he is in today. For someone seeking to become successful in sports business, Lovett believes that there is nothing more important than beginning to plan early and develop connections and experience across different clubs, codes and countries.

Transition as a player

Since his retirement, Lovett has transitioned his love of sport into the business world, relishing in the opportunity to continue to expand his knowledge and expertise while still remaining heavily involved in sport around the world.

Lovett’s transition from AFL to sports business was quite a different experience from what today’s athletes would undergo. Unlike most of today’s athletes who are geared solely towards their playing careers, Lovett said he was “encouraged and expected to be exploring options for my future”.

During his playing career, Lovett identified the need to prepare for the future, and became a Sports Marketing Manager for Nike Australia, where he began to develop the skills and mode of thinking which would be necessary for a ‘life after football’.

Lovett believes that “the experience gained from his time at Nike while playing football was one of the key reasons for my success so soon after finishing my playing career”.

Lovett’s initial rise spawned out of an awareness for the future while still playing football, which is seemingly lacking with today’s athletes.

Lovett said that if you look at the current crop of athletes “the top 1% are set up for life but there is a need for most players within Australian sport to prepare for the future.”

Lovett’s background and development while playing for Melbourne certainly aided his transition into sports business, but this doesn’t mean it was necessarily easier for Lovett than today’s players; “the transition is never easy”, said Lovett, “but we were more prepared”.

Building a platform and experience

Since Lovett retired from AFL, his various roles in sports business have taken him around the globe and across many sporting codes. As someone who has worked in Europe, the Middle East, India, Australia and North America, Lovett’s experiences have led him to the belief that engagement with international organisations, and the way they interact with worldwide markets, provides an important foundation for someone entering into the world of sports business.

“It is important to experience how codes and countries operate around the world so that you can appreciate how best to develop your own brand and ideology”

Lovett says that this realisation is the key to sports business and sporting administration – even individual sporting clubs have to appreciate that a “clubs on field success starts with administration and structure”.

For clubs, it’s about acknowledging the balance between players, fans and administrations. The “club is bigger than the individual players”, says Lovett, but “the biggest issue for any sporting organisation is fan engagement.” Lovett says that “finding a balance is necessary for on field success”.

The Repucom Brand

After more than 15years of experience in sports business, Lovett’s current role at Repucom will see him extend on his knowledge of brand development and market engagement, to interact with “over 1500 clients at Repucom worldwide”.

Repucom is an “Australian business which has branched overseas”, and Lovett is “proud to be part of a company which is connecting on a global scale”.

While Repucom is well established as a global leader in sport marketing research, Lovett has said that there is “still need to constantly be learning and developing a brand and engaging with markets around the world to learn how to take the next step as an organisation.”

Lovett once again pointed to his experiences with international markets, singling out the English Premier League (EPL) as a world leader in brand ideology and market success. “Football is a global brand”, said Lovett, so the idea sells itself. Where the EPL has its greatest success is through its ability to delve into a broad range of international markets and “successfully market to a specific audience”.

Bringing this back to an Australian market, Lovett believes that his old code, the AFL, are the country leaders in innovation and brand development. The AFL is one of the few major codes in Australia that is willing to trial new plans and strategies in order to extend their marketability into regions outside of ‘AFL homeland’ in Victoria. With teams like Greater Western Sydney and the Gold Coast Suns entering the competition in recent years, coupled with the success of the Sydney Swans since 2005, the appeal of the AFL continues to grow around Australia. Lovett believes that as long as the AFL continues to learn and develop a brand which is widely appealing and universally accepted, that their ability to interact with a wide scope of markets will continue to flourish.

Staying successful

Lovett’s post-playing career has seen him develop sporting and business brands locally and globally, and has been characterised by a global revolution in social media; a communication platform which is constantly evolving and giving definition to the future of sport and sports business.

The key to success in today’s sporting market, Lovett believes, is “an active awareness of the significance of social media”. Twitter and Facebook have revolutionised the way that clubs, codes, and businesses interact with one another, their players, officials, and most importantly, their fans.

The way that social media is used to engage fans is important as through having active fans, who believe in a team’s values and success, sporting teams, and codes in general, are able to focus their energies on agreements and partnerships with sponsors, broadcasters and international markets.

In Australia, fan engagement is often at the forefront of our sporting agenda. Lovett believes that in general “Australia learns very well from other countries and codes”, and is able to adapt to trends and ideas which codes and organisations around the world are implementing.

Once again, Lovett believes the AFL are “the country leaders” when it comes to using social media to engage fans. Through creating forums and online communities which are about “more than the individual players and fans”, and which seek to encompass the values and ideologies of clubs and the sport in general, the AFL is able to leverage support and increase its fan base every year through the power of social media.

The Future

Glenn Lovett has been a success story in sports business. As an athlete in one of Australia’s most dominant codes, Lovett saw the need to prepare for his future beyond AFL and has since been able to learn the best techniques and methods for developing brands and maintaining success in the world of sports business, from markets all around the world.

As for any advice to his old team, who are currently lingering second from the bottom on the AFL ladder, Lovett kept it simple; “I just want to see them win again”.

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