Thanks to Cameron McLay, Communications Manager at the Scottish Golf for taking time to share his knowledge and experience in sports business.
Q. seancallanan: I’ll get it started @Cameron_McLay you’ve been lucky to work across 3 sports in Scotland. I noted you did a lot of volunteer & intern work early on, did you always want to work in sport? What was the key for you to securing roles in sport (both early on and up to your current role at Scottish Golf)?
A. Cameron_McLay: For me, sport has always been a huge part of my life, I grew up playing a lot of sports and in my teens focused on :basketball: where I was lucky enough to play for our national team.
I wanted to go to University to study sport, with the hope of one day working in major sporting events and so pursued a degree in Sports Management at Edinburgh Uni. Unfortunately in my third year of University, I damaged my ACL which meant playing wasn't really an option for me.
It was at that point I tried to discover what other opportunities were available to me. In Scotland, basketball is a minority sport and what I realised once I had my injury was that when you’re not in a team, being told where your games are and what time they’re at, it was really difficult to access any information on games, results, players etc. It was this gap in the market that led to me starting my own blog on Scottish Basketball, which the governing body took note of and asked me if I would like to bring my work in-house for them.
This led to the start of my professional career in sport and has provided me with so many valuable opportunities, including last year’s Commonwealth Games. My biggest bit of advice to anyone who wants to work in sport is that just like sport, and the athletes that play it, working in it is also extremely competitive.
Everyone in your year at college will graduate on the same day, with the same piece of paper that says you have a degree. It’s the extra nuggets of experience and work that you can add to that piece of paper that will help you stand out from the crowd.
I would encourage anyone looking for a career in sport to reach out, seek opportunities and make the most of them. The industry moves at pace and is always evolving and you have to make sure that you are developing as well.
Q. joliegee: @Cameron_McLay how was the experience at the Commonwealth Games like? How did you prepare for it despite the distance?
A. Cameron_McLay: Hey @joliegee, thanks for the question.
The Commonwealth Games was an incredible experience that started around 18 months out from the Games.
For me, it was a huge learning experience and I was fortunate enough to be part of a team which brought a huge amount of expertise to the table, from previous Commonwealth Games and Olympics.
With it being an overseas Games, there were a number of factors we had to take into account when developing the digital strategy for Team Scotland at GC2018, especially the time difference between sporting action / medal moments and our core audience of Scottish sport fans.
As part of our preparation, we had a number of team camps in the lead up to departing for Aus, these involved athletes, coaches, team staff as well as our comms team. It really allowed us to build solid relationships with the athletes which in turn meant we could start to push the boundaries and have some fun with them while generating content,
Here’s an example of some of the branded green screen content we produced with some of our top names prior to flying out:
— Team Scotland (@Team_Scotland) April 7, 2018
Like any major sports event, access to footage inside event venues is extremely difficult due to the broadcast rights and so by generating content ahead of time, it meant we had athlete-centred footage ready to go as soon as they performed well, thus helping us to capitalise on live reaction from fans as these moments happened. There’s nothing worse than being late to the party!
During the Games we also partnered with a local University in Australia to provide local students internship opportunities within our social team. They were tasked with pulling together content for our key times back home, telling the story of that particular day of the Games through fun and engaging pieces, while our press officers and myself would look to deliver success in real time.
This was hugely beneficial for all the students involved, who got to experience a major sporting event from inside the ropes. They were creating video, graphics and audio with some of the biggest names in sport and without their support, our output would not have been the same.
It was our most successful overseas games, with the team winning 44 medals so we were definitely kept very busy!
Thanks also to all who participated in the discussions and asked their questions. Watch out for the next Sports Geek Nation AMA.