LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND, 20th April 2016 – Burson-Marsteller, a leading global strategic communications and public relations firm, and TSE Consulting, Burson-Marsteller’s newly acquired international sports consulting firm, have published a white paper introducing their new Game Changer methodology for reform of sports governing bodies. Titled “Implementing Good Governance Principles in Sports Organisations,” the white paper also outlines how such reform can turn the current reputational crisis across the industry into an opportunity for future growth.

A qualitative survey conducted by Burson-Marsteller and TSE Consulting among a selection of blue-chip sponsors and sports host cities reveals the depth of the current crisis in the industry. Ninety-two (92) percent of city decision-makers say that governance issues are a major concern when deciding to bid for a sport event. Sixty (60) percent of sponsors polled say that the current situation is affecting whether they will partner with a sports federation.

In a speech today at the SportAccord Summit in Lausanne, Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, which owns Burson-Marsteller and TSE Consulting, told the global gathering of international sports federations (IFs): “Sport has the ability to heal divisions, transcend differences and inspire generations. It is about belief, commitment and purpose, values that sports organisations should be building their brands around and promoting in society.” Sorrell, who wrote the forward to the white paper, added, “From the challenges facing sports governing bodies spring tremendous opportunities to rebuild, enhance reputations and adapt for the future.”

Donald A. Baer, Worldwide Chair and CEO of Burson-Marsteller, said the new white paper provided IFs with a practical and powerful model for reform. “Mere compliance, or simply updating the rules and regulations, will not be enough to repair the damaged reputations of IFs or for them to regain the trust of their key stakeholders. To change perceptions and build new trust, IFs must first clearly define their fundamental purpose in this new era. Purpose must be the foundation of their reform strategy – which, in turn, must be communicated widely to their stakeholders.”

Recognising the complexities facing sports governing bodies, Burson-Marsteller and TSE Consulting have developed the Game Changer model, a step-by-step methodology which combines good governance criteria with a powerful reform and communications strategy. Game Changer has two distinct phases. The Realignment phase includes defining the organisation’s purpose, gathering relevant information and stakeholder opinions via polling and then repositioning the organisation accordingly. The organisation in question would then be in a position to complete its governance and compliance overhaul. The second, or Roll Out, phase includes developing the communications strategy to support the governance changes, putting the plan into action and measuring the ensuing results.

TSE Consulting Managing Director Lars Haue-Pedersen said: “Our new model provides a valuable tool for any sports organisation to implement real reform, but it also offers sports bodies an exciting opportunity to turn what would otherwise be just a painful obligation to reform into a platform for future growth. We have made the model simple, quick and practical to use, so that IFs can begin the process of real governance reform immediately.”

The new white paper is available at