• Andy Marston

Networking with Dan Tunna, Communications and Marketing Consultant

Welcome to the the Sports Pundit Networking Series. The aim is to promote Sports Pundit readers and foster a greater community across the newsletter. For the latest edition, I caught up Dan Tunna, a communications and marketing consultant working with clients such as The FA, KIN Partners, and Joymo.

When did your journey (in the sports industry) start? And how did you get to your current role?

My first role in the sports industry was as a Publicist at Sky Sports. I’d already been working in comms for four years in the insurance sector and was constantly looking to make a move to sport. I’d had hundreds of rejections or no replies, multiple interviews and a couple of offers before I got the chance at Sky.

It was the best possible landing spot at the time (2012). Sky had an incredible rights portfolio that enabled me to work across multiple premium sports properties and start building my network. A temp contract turned in to 18 months before I moved to Pitch Marketing Group to run the BT Sport account, amongst others.

I then spent three years in Paris with Discovery/Eurosport activating their Olympic Games rights across Europe and working on other sports properties in the group, including GOLFTV and the Play Sports Group.

In late-2019, I made the proactive decision to leave that role and make the move in to consulting. If I’d have known a pandemic was around the corner maybe I wouldn’t have been so bold, but the timing was perfect in many ways and left me slightly ahead of the curve. I’ve been fortunate to work with a great roster of partners including The FA, Lancashire Cricket, KIN Partners and Joymo over the past 18 months.

Who inspired this journey? And who continues to inspire you today?

To be honest, no one individual inspired my career path or choices. Sport itself has always inspired me and my love of many different games as a kid made me want to follow that passion and create a living from it.

As you mature, I think you realise that inspiration is all around us in many different shapes and forms. I’m motivated by stories of perseverance and achievement in the face of adversity. I’m driven by continuing to learn and be better at my craft. I’m energised by the ambition of self-starters and entrepreneurs.

I think these qualities are inherent in sport too, which continues to provide more inspirational and emotional moments than any other pastime.

Besides Sports Pundit, where do you look for insight?

I think we are lucky to have so many great mediums in the sports industry. Whilst I’ll list several outlets below, for me, this is also where Twitter comes in to its own. I find so many links to great articles, platforms and threads there. Its so rich if you follow the right people.

For sport industry news, insight and analysis, SportsPro, SportBusiness and GlobalData Sport continue to do a great job. Leaders and Sport Industry Group continue to produce high quality content and events. And Sportico has been a superb addition for the US market.

Richard Gillis and Sean Singleton have built a great platform with Unofficial Partner. The quality of guests on the pod and the insight in Richard’s newsletter are both first-class.

Roger Mitchell, Grant Williams and Giles Morgan are a must-listen on AYNE. The clarity of thought, big-picture view and brutal objectivity really shine through. This is sorely lacking in a lot of the decision-making in the industry.

Working in comms, Rob Harris, Martyn Ziegler and Tariq Panja’s Sport Unlocked podcast is great for the inside track on the big sports news stories and hoe they have been managed, or not, as the case may be.

Outside of sport; Scott Galloway and Mark Ritson on marketing, Stratechery for business strategy, Matthew Ball on OTT and broadcast, Swiss Ramble and Kieran Maguire for football finance. Honestly, I’m massively over subscribed!

What trend in the industry most excites you for the future of sports? And why?

I’d have to say AI for the sheer scale of impact I think it can have across so many parts of the sports industry. I first encountered AI’s impact from a broadcasting perspective, where it is/will have a transformational impact on content production in terms of cost, efficiency and volume, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It really does impact every touchpoint in the sport ecosystem; from talent identification and injury forecasting to in-game activity, analysis and overall fan engagement. AI has the potential to advance all aspects of the value chain for athletes, clubs, leagues, sponsors, media and fans.

Who do you think is best positioned to take advantage?

As with all emerging trends, but especially something like AI that is guaranteed to play a major role moving forwards, the organisations that embrace change the quickest will be in the best place to capitalise. I think that’s even more relevant with AI because there is an emphasis on quality data provision to enable you to generate accurate results.

We are entering an era where accountability for decision-making will be greater than ever. We are also in a period where many sport leagues and clubs are looking to increase commercial opportunities and partners are looking for greater value and clearly identifiable ROI. Whilst AI is often seen as a tool to replace labour intensive activities, it’s aiding human decision-making where the real value lies. For some they’ll be no hiding place, for others it will provide irrefutable data and insights.

The report that you (Sports Pundit) put out a few months ago really helps to put AI into context and to highlight some of the early adopters - it is certainly well worth a read for anyone that hasn't already checked it out. (Access the Report Here)


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