By Neil Dalrymple.
The Eastern Cricket Association is doubling-down on its efforts to utilise its media & communications platforms. We want to continue to showcase the performances around our various competitions and to share the stories of milestones and other achievements of players, clubs and volunteers. This work is crucial for growing our game, and making the ECA a desirable destination for children and young adults and their families to become involved with. For our clubs, this means more coverage of more games, more grades and more opportunities to access the resources of our media team.
Over the past three seasons, the ECA has become a leader in community cricket with the quality and depth of its media coverage. This is all due to the volunteer efforts of Michael Mirabella and the generous donations of time, professional equipment and expertise of our major sponsor Communus - notably from Communus' Partner Chris Mirabella. Chris, like Michael is a rusted-on ECA person. We're lucky to have them.
Over winter, when we reviewed this aspect of our operation, the Executive took steps to ensure we can not only continue the quality of what we have, but to build upon it. This meant working with Chris and Michael to put together something that was a feasible way forward.
This was the outcome:
- We acknowledged the essential role that Communications plays for us meeting the ECAs Constitutional objects with the establishment of an Eastern Cricket Association Media Unit.
- Recongised the Intellectual Property of the ECA is a valuable resource that needs to be managed and protected - and any commercial benefits to be gained from our IP need to be for the betterment of our Association
- Negotiated an exclusive, three-year media-services partnership with our proven and trusted communications partner, Communus to manage our Media Resources and to ensure we meet Points 1 & 2 above
- Put processes in place that ensures Michael has no conflict of interest in his role as the Communications Manager. Michael was not involved in the development of the services agreement and is aware that he will be recused from executive meetings in the future where this arrangement is discussed.
This review was done in consideration with a number of important related matters.
- The importance of the ECA ongoing observance of Child Protection Compliance
- The policies and processes around all our communications strategies - internal and external - are robust and
- Promoting Sponsorship & Advertising opportunities to fund our future administrative overhead costs
The ECA is planning to employee a full time administrator to oversee all aspects of the ECA in the near future. The current model of this being done by volunteers is not sustainable. Our preferred option is to fund this role from advertising and sponsorship rather than pass the cost entirely onto the clubs.
Opportunities for potential sponsors and advertisers to get good value from their investment relies heavily on the ECA having good media platforms that people visit regularly. Thanks to Michael, we have a great website and well curated social media platforms. Since Michael and Chris started taking their fantastic photos and Chris started writing weekly match reports, the traffic to our website and social platforms has sky-rocketed. Naturally this is good news for us and for potential sponsors.
This agreement means Chris and Michael will have exclusivity with stills photography for all ECA competitions and ECA representative cricket, including the VMCU Carnival.
Over winter Michael have done a major overhaul of the ECA website with a view to providing a more capable online presence as we look to encourage sponsors to support the ECA.
What will be different this season compared to the last.
- Michael and Chris will expand their photographic coverage of games and grades. The will endeavour to get to all clubs this season. This includes the Junior's on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. As they have the past two seasons, they will do a blanket coverage of the VMCU Carnival (in January) and increase coverage of Junior finals.
- A better and richer website/social media experience
- More audio and video coverage - note FrogBox is not part of this arrangement
- All photos will continue to be availalbe for viewing - but they will be watermarked
- Photos will be available to purchase from the official ECA photo-gallery
- Chris Mirabella, will be donating 20% of their sales proceeds back to the ECA as a show of commitment to the ECA
- Clubs will be able to book Chris/Michael on a fee-for-service arrangement. For example, team photos, a milestone game or a club celebration, and
- Offer video and any other media related services to our clubs
For clubs, this means we will be able to provide more access to promote milestones, player achievements and other stories on the ECA platforms which we know are always popular with the wider ECA community.
There were also a number of other determining factors in us taking this path. Firstly the luxury of having ECA cricketers, who understand, and have participated in just about every aspect of club life, driving our communications strategy. Michael Mirabella is our only Exec member who is playing ECA cricket on a Saturday. He enjoys a healthy rapport with his teammates, the umpires and opposition. He (and Chris who only plays the occasional Vets game these days) are regular fixtures around ECA grounds and this familiarity and visibility is important in a communications role.
One other important aspect is our duty of care to our children and young adults. As a member of the exec, Michael is briefed in all aspects of our compliance obligations. He (as do we) take these obligations very seriously and at no stage would Michael intentionally allow a breach of those protocols all in the pursuit of a good photo opportunity or some kind of commercial advantage. This season Michael will be working with the junior clubs to make them aware of the steps we have in place to ensure privacy and dignity is respected whilst giving kids and their families the chance to capture their precious moments.
We are looking forward to sharing in all the benefits of their work, and I encourage all clubs to get in touch with the team anytime if you have any questions or if you would like to lock in their services.
You can contact Michael at