Sky's fairly firm grip on sports broadcasting in New Zealand is one of the major reasons for its continuing success. And a new initiative called Sky Next is aiming to give some of that success back to some of the country's emerging athletes.
The initiative, which will be managed by Hamish and Marisa Carter, will be giving 18 up-and-coming young Kiwis financial support, mentoring, coaching and publicity in an effort to help them get to the top of their chosen porting realm (each selected athlete needs to have left school and demonstrate they have made a commitment to their sport, and they are eligible for a maximum of two years. Interested athletes can apply here).
“We’re excited to be contributing to the future success of sport in New Zealand,” says Marisa Carter. “Our intention is to provide this talented group with the best springboard to compete on a world stage. They are truly inspirational and we are proud to be part of that journey. It is going to be exiting to see what they can achieve with all that potential."
Maurine Talpin, Sky's brand manager, says Next is an exciting feat for the company and the initiative "will help young Kiwis along their journey to realise their dreams and grow as professional athletes".
“It’s the perfect fit with what we stand for as a company, from the passion we have for all things sport to proactively contributing to New Zealand in a meaningful way. I am very proud that we’ve launched this programme,” she says.
Sky has been consciously attempting to push its New Zealandness a bit more in recent years, and News Corp's decision to sell its 44 percent stake in the company last year has undoubtedly made it easier to beat that drum. And it's also started to recognise the importance of its brand, as evidenced by the launch of its new 'Come with Us' identity last year, so offering some tangible assistance to Kiwi athletes appears to be combining those two aspects into one scheme.
To promote Next, DDB and The Sweet Shop's Mark Albiston have created a 45 second TVC that shows some of the chosen athletes training and provides an insight into the dedication they need to reach their goals.
The website also features short profiles of the athletes, with the obligatory social media links included for those keen to keep up with their performances, and links to Sky's schedule so you can see some of them in action.
The Class of 2014 includes shot put champion Jacko Gill, triathletes Tony Dodds and Mikayla Nielsen, swimmer Matthew Stanley, rower Emma Twigg, boxer David Nyika, heptathlete Portia Bing, surfer Ella Williams, mountain biker Anton Cooper, 49er sailors Josh Porebski and Marcus Hansen, track cyclists Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell, track runner Angie Smit and para-cyclist Phillipa Gray. Many are aiming for selection to the Commonwealth Games in July 2014.
Marketing Director: Mike Watson
Brand Manager: Maurine Talpin
Manager of the Sky Next Programme: Marisa Carter
DDB Group New Zealand:
Executive Creative Director: Shane Bradnick
Creative Director: Chris Schofield
Art Director: Julia Ferrier
Copywriter: Ben Pegler
Senior Account Director: James Blair
Account Manager: Georgia Newton
Agency Producer: Tania Jeram
Executive Producer: Judy Thompson
Film Company – The Sweet Shop
Director: Mark Albiston of Mark & Louis
Executive Producer: Fiona King
Producer: Tony Whyman
DOP: Martyn William
Editor: Mark Albiston
Grade: Pete Ritchie from Blockhead
Online: Stefan Coory from Blockhead
Jon Cooper, Coopers On Franklin
To learn more, and follow the athletes’ progress, visit SKY.co.nz/SKYNEXT.