SBD Global/October 13, 2017/People and Pop Culture

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  • Hangin' With ... Welcome To Yorkshire CEO Gary Verity

    Gary Verity has served as CEO of Welcome To Yorkshire since '08.

    GARY VERITY is the CEO of tourism agency Welcome To Yorkshire, which, along with the Amaury Sport Organisation, organizes the Tour de Yorkshire. The fourth edition of the annual cycling race will be held from May 3-6 in eight locations throughout the county. Last month, the Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed that the race will be extended starting in '18. Verity spoke with SBD Global about the Tour's expansion and fanfare, as well as Yorkshire's efforts to promote women's cycling.

    On the race's beginnings ...
    Gary Verity: We hosted the start of the Tour de France in 2014 -- the Grand Départ. ... That was the start of our journey to make Yorkshire the cycling capital of Europe. We said that one of the things we'd need to be able to demonstrate if we were to be truly able to justify the statement that we're the cycling capital of Europe is that we have our own professional top-quality bike race every year both for men and women, and the Tour de Yorkshire is that.

    On the race's expansion ...
    Verity: We've been lobbying for a while for the expansion of the tour -- 100 percent expansion of the women's race and a 33 percent expansion of the men's race. We felt that was important for the men's race, first of all, to give it more balance so we could do two flat days -- or relatively flat days, there's nothing exactly flat in Yorkshire -- and two hilly days. ... It also enables us to visit much more of Yorkshire, to cover much more of Yorkshire, clearly, if we've got four days rather than three days.

    On the women's race ...
    Verity: We've been pioneers in terms of helping to grow women's cycling. We introduced the largest prize pot for the women's event a couple of years ago, and we're delighted that we can increase the duration of the women's event to two days. The women basically have been lobbying us for a long time to say there's three things that they're looking for. Firstly, parity in terms of media coverage so both races are screened from start to finish on television -- not just the final two hours. Secondly, parity in terms of courses so, as much as possible, the women have exactly the same parcours as the men. Thirdly, in terms of prize money and financial matching. Well, we've gone one better so the prize money for the women's event is far more than for the men's event. ... For last year, the prize pot for the women's race was €50,000 and for the men's race it was about half of that.

    On choosing the routes ...
    Verity: I've described the choosing of the routes and the choosing of the start/finish -- the host cities and towns -- as a bit like designing a giant sudoku puzzle. You have a number of things that you have to try to make work. You're looking for something which is very good from a sporting point of view, clearly. You're looking for something that has outstanding backdrops and stunning scenery for the television shots. You're looking for something that's going to be able to accommodate massive crowds because we know we'll get several million people at the roadside watching. And you're looking to go to all four parts of Yorkshire over the race -- north, east, south and west. ... So you put all that together and it's a bit of a conundrum, and we ask towns and cities, hosts, venues, to bid to be a start or a finish. This year we had 18 different potential start and finish venues and I had to pick eight.

    On the raceday crowds ...
    Verity: We have a wonderful carnival atmosphere. All the towns and villages that the race passes through really take to their heart to decorate their area with bunting and yellow bikes and blue bikes and with flags and wonderful land art. So we get dozens and dozens of pieces of land art that communities do off their own back to try to get those obviously onto the helicopter television shots.

    On the economic impact ...
    Verity: Last year, the immediate financial impact was £64 million, just on the race weekend alone. We obviously anticipate that it will be a much bigger number with having four days this year rather than three days. But it's much more than just a bike race. The way I describe it is to say this is about social change. This is about bringing communities together. It's about getting neighbors and neighboring businesses to collaborate and talk with each other -- to have a great time. This is their moment to have a party for their communities.

    On media coverage ...
    Verity: We're on television in 185 countries around the world. We're live from start to finish in the U.K. on ITV. We're on Eurosport and we're distributed through the EBU [European Broadcasting Union] around the globe so people will get an opportunity to see the race wherever they live in the world, either live or highlights.

    On charitable efforts ...
    Verity: We have a nominated charity partner for the race each year. ... Last year it was the Alzheimer's Society. We'll announce on Dec. 5 which this next edition's charity partner is. The other thing we have is the Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries. We said as part of our vision to be the European capital of cycling, we need to make sure that every child in Yorkshire, no matter their social background, had access to a bicycle.

    On the race's sponsorship model ...
    Verity: It’s a classic model in terms of the funding through contributions from starts and finish hosts -- those are the main funding routes for it. ... We have Asda, which is part of the Walmart group -- a big supermarket in the U.K. -- who have been great sponsors for the women's race and have helped us to sort of push back the boundaries in terms of women's sport. We have the Yorkshire Bank who are a big banking corporation in the U.K. and many other sponsors as well.

    Hangin' With runs each Friday in SBD Global.

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  • Executive Transactions

    PAUL FRAMPTON is leaving Havas Media Group after 20 years. Frampton has run Havas Media Group, which includes Havas Media, Arena Media and Forward Media, in the U.K. and Ireland since Feb. '16 (CAMPAIGN LIVE, 10/12). ... Man City appointed JASON WILCOX as its academy director. Former Academy Dir MARK ALLEN left the club in June to become the director of football at Scottish Premiership side Rangers "after seven years in charge" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 10/11). ... The Rugby Players' Association promoted Finance & HR Dir STUART MUNDAY to the newly-created role of COO with immediate effect. He will be responsible for the management of the daily business operations of the RPA Group and assume responsibility for performance management. He will report directly to CEO DAMIAN HOPLEY (RPA). ... Super Rugby side Melbourne Rebels lured former All Blacks Manager TONY THORPE to "fill the club's new team director role" ahead of the '18 season. The role "will drive standards, discipline, travel and high-performance outcomes after an end-of-season review" into the Rebels' rugby program (NZ HERALD, 10/12). ... The British Esports Association "is a body which aids grassroots esports, and it now has a major name in one of its powerful positions." The BEA hired MP ED VAIZEY as vice-chair. He was Britain's Minister of State for Culture, Communications & Creative Industries from '10-16. He is currently MP for Didcot and Wantage (London DAILY MAIL, 10/12). ... Former England and Middlesex cricket captain MIKE GATTING was named chair of the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee. Gatting takes over the role from another former England captain in MIKE BREARLEY. New Zealand women's captain SUZIE BATES, former West Indies fast bowler IAN BISHOP, Bangladesh all-rounder SHAKIB AL HASAN and Sri Lankan umpire KUMAR DHARMASENA "have also been added to the committee" (SKY SPORTS, 10/12). ... JAMES MURDOCH was re-elected as Sky chair after "narrowly winning the support of independent shareholders." At the broadcaster's annual meeting, 51.5% of independent investors voted for him -- "up from about 47% last year." Some investors have complained that Murdoch "faces a conflict of interest" as both chair of Sky and CEO of 21st Century Fox (BBC, 10/12).

    STEPPING ASIDE
    : Brazilian Olympic Committee President CARLOS NUZMAN announced his resignation on Wednesday "following his arrest last week for arranging alleged bribes to win Rio de Janeiro’s selection" as host of the 2016 Summer Games. He said last weekend that he was "temporarily stepping down." But in a letter to the committee on Wednesday, he said that he needed to "devote himself to his legal defence and would not be returning" (REUTERS, 10/11). ... Former England & Wales Cricket Board CEO DAVID COLLIER said that he "will not renew his contract" with the Rugby League Int'l Federation in May. He was the RLIF's first full-time employee. Collier was a career sports administrator whose "key job was to improve revenue streams" and get rugby league recognized by int'l bodies such as Sport Accord (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 10/12). ... GORDON STRACHAN left his position as manager of Scotland's national football team by "mutual consent." The decision, "taken in conjunction" with the Scottish FA board, "follows two failed qualification campaigns." Strachan and his assistant, MARK MCGHEE, both stepped down "with immediate effect" (BBC, 10/12).

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  • Names In The News

    Swiss Super League side Sion President CHRISTIAN CONSTANTIN was given a 14-month ban "for striking" former Switzerland coach ROLF FRINGER. The incident happened after Sion's 2-1 win over Lugano on Sept. 21. Constantin, who was also fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($102,511), "was filmed slapping Fringer, who is now a television pundit" (BBC, 10/12). ... Former England and British & Lions player BRIAN STEVENS died, aged 77. He captained England in '71 but "played mainly in his native Cornwall for Penzance and Newlyn and Hayle" (BBC, 10/12). ... Juventus and Italy captain GIANLUIGI BUFFON was "offered a new job for his post-retirement career" -- minister for sport in the Italian government. The goalkeeper is expected to retire at the end of the season, by which point he will be 40 years old. He has suggested he is not interested by the role of coach, while he is "likely to be proposed a position in the Juventus Board of Directors" (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 10/11). ... Liverpool Manager JÜRGEN KLOPP "turned down the chance" to become the manager of ManU in '13 when ALEX FERGUSON retired. The then-Borussia Dortmund coach had been "sounded out about the possibility of eventually becoming Ferguson’s successor" the month before his retirement was announced, but "stunned" the ManU hierarchy by informing them that he wanted to stay in Germany to "try and knock Bayern Munich off" its perch (London TELEGRAPH, 10/10). ... Chinese businessman WANG JIANLIN, the founder of Dalian Wanda Group and the owner of a 20% stake in Atlético Madrid, "is no longer in first place on the list of the richest people in China, according to the Hurun rich list." With a fortune of $23B, Wang "has dropped to fifth after losing 28% of his fortune from a year ago" (EP, 10/12).

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  • The Starting Five

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