This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

parts of the country,” he explains. Adding that he expects the initiative to continue for decades to come. Participation, however, is an issue that Mills admits still needs addressing, although he stresses that this issue is not unique to this country. “I was in Beijing recently, speaking at the IOC Sport For All confer- ence, and met with many heads of country sports councils who reported the same concerns. Getting a sports infrastructure in place that can really address and deliver sport and then communicating the benefits to different audiences is really challenging. “Putting my marketing hat on, I believe there are two things that are needed to engage the general public. The first is to set people’s imagination alive and get them excited, and the second is to make sure the product is on the shelf and widely distributed. In other words, the national organisations responsible for deliver- ing sport – whether it’s local authorities, schools or clubs or facilities – all need to point in the same direction, be fit for pur- pose, welcoming and easy to access.” Mills says that in practice this has not necessarily always been the case. The prob- lem being that the various elements of delivering sport are not particularly well connected or strategically aligned. “It’s an issue we’re working on in the merger of Sport England and UK Sport as a catalyst for change,” he says.


Chosen as a neutral individual, Mills was appointed chair of the board charged with bringing about the merger between Sport England and UK Sport, to help them think through a new vision for the sector. “The board is made of the two sporting entities, the government, sportscotland, Sport Wales and Sport Northern Ireland, Mills says. “My job is to help them deliver a new vision and a new infrastructure that will address the core issues of sports participation – continuing from the very successful work we’ve done in elite sport.” Mills says this will include all delivery bodies and agencies at all levels, national

A keen sailor, Mills is principal investor in Alex Thomson Racing and the Hugo Boss Open 60 team

and local, to make sport easier and more accessible to the general public. And at the same time bring more commercial opportunities. “We’ve already had some very good examples of commercial part- ners in UK sport. Sky’s partnership with cycling and British Gas’ partnership with swimming are good examples of how very large, consumer-facing businesses can help sport reach consumers much more effec- tively. I think we can do a lot more of that if we are more connected,” he says. “I expect to issue a consultation-type document before the end of the year that will lay out a vision. I’ll be asking all those in sport who have an interest in making things better, to have their views so that we can go into 2012 with a really con- crete plan for the future.”


Apart from his love of sailing, Mills is also a lifetime supporter of Tottenham Hotspur FC, and joined the club’s board four years ago. “I’ve never been a season ticket holder, but I help the chair and management with the business and com- mercial aspects of the club,” he says. Regarding the club’s well-publicised in- terest in moving to the Olympic Stadium

There are two things needed to engage the general public. The first is to set people’s imagination alive and get them excited, and the second is to make sure the product is on the shelf and widely distributed

20 Read Sports Management online

and the expected development of White Hart Lane, Mills says it’s a complex project that can only realistically be delivered with public support. “Although I’m not involved with it directly, I know the club has been negotiating and discussing with the Mayor of London and the government regarding ways in which it can help bring about the regeneration of Tottenham and Haringey, which are incredibly poor parts of the city. The reality of a project of this size in this current economic climate is that it’s not possible for a club to do it on its own.” “You’re talking about a £400m project, which is part of a much broader regen- eration involving the rebuilding of rail stations and roads – it’s a big undertaking for a football club that only makes about £20m a year profit,” he says. “If you take the Olympic Park and all the billions of pounds that have been spent in east London, three-quarters of the money that’s been spent support- ing the park has gone into non-sporting projects. It’s gone into the sewers and underground power lines and roads and stations. If you’re going to do a major re- generation, a very substantial part of this cost is not in actually building the venue it’s everything around the outside and that’s what Tottenham needs help with.” Mills’ advice on major projects, such as this, must be in high demand, particularly now he has Olympic experience to add to his credentials. “Actually, over the past six or seven years Seb and I have spent quite a bit of time helping other countries,” he says. “I draw no distinction about who we help. If somebody calls up for advice, we give it to them.” l

Issue 4 2011 © cybertrek 2011

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84