2018 UNC Sports & Entertainment Summit Series: Identifying Decision-Makers and Building Consensus

Fanalytical is releasing a series of blog posts from the 2018 UNC Sports and Entertainment Summit. Last week, Fanalytical released our first blog post from the summit on the importance of doing your homework. Visit our Fanalytical blog to see that post and learn more about the conference. 

Since 1989, Delany has served as the Big Ten Conference Commissioner. He’s overseen expansion, growth and the rise of the Big Ten Television Network. Takeaways from his speech can be applied across the broader world of athletics to help your athletic department better adapt in these changing times. Today, we will take a look at another key takeaway from Jim Delany’s keynote speech – identifying decision-makers.

Title IX is a federal civil rights law in the United States of America that was passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. This landmark legislation advance the world of education in a number of different, positive ways. But in the world of college athletics, Title IX is most known for accelerating the growth of women’s collegiate athletics. 

Delany oversaw this growth at the Big Ten. One of the key things he spoke about during his speech was the need to identify the decision-makers in an organization. In order to enact meaningful change, the research must be done beforehand. If you can find common ground with these established authorities, that makes it much easier to advance your agenda. In Delany’s case, that common ground was improving the student-athlete experience for women at Big Ten schools. 

Delany also spoke of building a consensus with the various leaders. The consensus-building is what helps push the innovation off the whiteboards and into the real world. For Delany and the Big Ten, that meant finding female influencers in leadership positions at the various schools in the conference who were invested in finding more opportunities for female athletes. Once he identified these influential individuals and built a coalition, it became much easier to expand funding for women’s sports and to get more of those women’s sports on television through the Big Ten Network. 

The lessons learned here can be applied to any number of challenges faced when attempting to introduce change. Conducting proper research and data-collection is imperative to advance ideas in to action. At Fanalytical, we see similar challenges faced by schools attempting to advance change while working with multiple decision-makers. For example, there are often a number of challenges when collecting data from different sources in an athletic department. Data hasn’t been shared or cross-referenced in the past, so why should it be now? By building off of the common ground that exists across universities departments – growing the prestige and resources of the university– progressive leaders often realize that the creation of a golden record for a college’s data empowers all parties.  

Check back next week for the final post in this series, where we will explore the importance of”Communicating Widely, Negotiating Collaboratively”.

Explore the rest of our blog to find innovative ways athletic departments can thrive in changing times and visit our site to see how Fanalytical helps universities engage their fans and grow revenue.

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