2018 UNC Sports & Entertainment Summit Series: Communicate Widely and Negotiate Collaboratively

Fanalytical has been releasing a series of blog posts from the 2018 UNC Sports and Entertainment Summit with this being the final entry. Visit our Fanalytical blog to view the previous posts in this series and learn more about the conference that took place October 12-13. Today, we will take a look at a final key takeaway from Jim Delany’s keynote speech – the importance of communicating.

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. He shared a number of meaningful stories about some of the unique situations that he’s faced over the years in his role of Commissioner. These lessons can be applied across the broader world of athletics to help your athletic department better adapt in these changing times.

Delany closed by emphasizing how important it is to communicate innovation. When your organization is making changes or proposing changes, there will be costs. It’s important to understand the price for participation for everyone involved. Delany mentioned the five elements of a negotiation; offense, defense, intended consequences, unintended consequences and the chaos that will result from the decision. Understanding all of these elements makes it much easier to avoid any surprises as you innovate.

The story Delany told to drive home this point was one about the early bowl-game system in college football. Originally, the bowl system matched up random teams against each other based on appeal. But Delany helped innovate by adding conference tie-ins to the process, resulting in the big bowls being annual contests between the Big 10 and the SEC. There were lots of different elements to this innovation. However, Delany was sure to communicate these elements from the outset to offset as much of the negatives as possible. And this new idea of adding conferences to bowl tie-ins is the successful system that is still in use today.

When communicating innovation or negotiating, it makes it easier when you can see the big picture and sell that vision the relevant parties. In the sports world, that often means taking the long view and make investments today that can pay off tenfold tomorrow.

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 schools plan for the long run and set up their departments for future success.

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