|Thomas Lund- COO, BWF|
|Profile of the week|
Monday, 13 August 2012 13:45
Thomas Lund commenced his role as Chief Operating Officer of the Badminton World Federation in June 2009.
In May 2012, he was re-designated as the Secretary General of the BWF following an amendment to the Constitution.
A former professional badminton player (1988 – 1997), he was a two-time badminton World Champion in Mixed Doubles (1993 and 1995) and also has three All-England titles to his name. He was inducted into the BWF Hall of Fame in 2009.
Upon his retirement as a professional player, he joined the Badminton Association of Denmark as Performance Director (1997 – 2001) and then CEO (2001 – 2007).
Prior to joining the BWF, Thomas was Director of Badminton at HEAD Sports and responsible for the worldwide distribution of Badminton equipment.
Having worked with several national and international commercial agencies, broadcasters and sponsors, Thomas has extensive experience in the business side of the sport, both in sponsorship and media issues in general.
His previous experience serves him well in his current role leading the day to day operations to meet the core business of the federation – world badminton events, income generation through BWF properties, the development of badminton worldwide and servicing the needs of its membership.
Born in Aarhus, Denmark in 1968, Thomas graduated from the Copenhagen Business School with a Masters degree in Marketing and Master of Science in Business and Economics. He now resides in Malaysia with his wife and two sons.
Having competed in the sport, has your experience in the practical side aided you in sport business?
Yes, it does help when you transition into the Badminton business world. You can draw some experience from the practical side and put it into action on the other side of the table and make the right decisions. It’s not always about what administrators and politicians want.
The BWF went through a rebranding exercise that introduced a new logo. How has the reaction been so far?
The reaction has been very positive. The rebranding exercise we did was not only of the BWF logo, it was a total rebranding exercise of all of our events logos. The rebranding of the corporate logo is the last piece.
Why did you choose Shenzhen to host 2012 BWF World Superseries Finals?
We have a two year agreement with the Chinese Badminton Association (CBA), who have the responsibility to find hosts for the finals. Last year, we had an extremely successful event at Liuzhou, which is one of the smaller Chinese cities, but in terms of population it is probably as big as London. So, the decision to head down to Shenzhen this year was a decision the CBA made internally.
The sport is very popular in Asia. How was the sport developed in other parts of the world?
It has developed very positively. You have to look at the development of the sport at two levels; participation and commercial. On the participation level, it is a growing sport and we are doing quite well. Obviously, in the countries where the sport has always been big, it is slightly stagnating. But, there are new territories in South America, North America and in Africa that is growing in participation. Even if you look at Asia, there are many small countries where there is a growing participation level.
On the commercial side, we are doing the same. That side always takes more time. There is not always a very clear link between participation and the commercial growth because of the fierce competition of all the sports. Regarding TV broadcasts, it is about getting in the right position with the right broadcaster, thereby creating a commercial platform for the sport. That’s a developing part of the business side of our model, but we are doing extremely good, much better than we have ever done. We actually tripled our commercial income over the last few years, which is not too bad.
So, the economic climate has not played such a large factor in growing the sport?
No. Maybe we have could have multiplied our commercial income by five instead of three if we didn’t have the economic climate that we had, but you can never look at things like that. We have created a much stronger and stable structure around our business model and that means we can now start growing our sport step-by-step. Hopefully, in the coming years we can stabilize our sport as one of the top commercial attractive sports because that’s where we want to be.
The BWF recently announced the launch of ‘Badminton ba Dame’ with Peace and Sport. What do you hope to achieve?
The project is very much about helping these countries where a lot young children are living in very difficult environment; they haven’t got education or any real prospect in life other than just getting through it. We hope we can get in and give them some experience through sport that can actually help them take the next step in life.
Also, through the sport and peace message, we see as an opportunity to go in and build a stable structure around Badminton. Often these countries do not have a members’ association and if they have, it might not be the most structured. Through this project, we work, advise them and make their structure sustainable. That sustainability will also help spread Badminton around the country afterwards. That’s the intention. That’s one of our responsibilities as a Federation.