Welcome back to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is Formula E’s Senior Digital Project Manager, Tecwyn Davies!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
Shwmae! (That’s Welsh for hello). My name is Tecwyn Davies and I’m the Senior Digital Project Manager at Formula E, the all-electric street racing World Championship. Prior to joining Formula E, I was at Premier League, the world’s most watched football league responsible for the delivery of the digital strategy across the website, app and the hugely popular Fantasy Premier League game, played by more than 8 million users globally.
Before Premier League, I was part of the digital team at World Rugby where I managed our multilingual competition platforms. I led the digital rebrand from International Rugby Board (back then) to World Rugby. I was also part of the record-breaking Rugby World Cup 2015 team where I built and delivered the award-winning website and mobile app which was a lot of fun.
What do you do in your current role?
I’m focused on driving digital development and optimisation across Formula E’s public facing digital platforms and fan engagement services ensuring the best experience possible for our fans and followers, as well as delivering as much value as possible for our world class and global brand partners.
What does a normal week look like for you?
These days I spend most of my time in my kitchen but actually on Zoom rather than cooking. I lead a small and lean team (but with a wide scope), and work with a range of agencies for support. A fair bit of time is allocated to setting the direction, planning and reviewing agency work as well as aligning internally on developments and various activities whilst working closely with the content, marketing and partnerships teams for various activities. Otherwise I’m reviewing new technologies and looking to the future.
Time in between races is precious and as you can imagine the week leading up to a race gets very busy with a lot of activity happening across all of our channels.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
Growing up I was very sporty and as a Welshman naturally I wanted to be a rugby player and play for Wales. Unfortunately I wasn’t good enough so the next best thing was to work in rugby and that dream came true when I joined World Rugby. My first day on the job was a departmental trip to Rugby school, a beautiful place to explore the history of the game. My second week was spent in Dubai covering the HSBC Sevens World Series and inaugural Women’s Sevens Series – you could say I haven’t looked back since. My degree is in Marketing and Management and soon after graduating from university, like many others I wasn’t sure what to do but I was exposed to the world of technology and project management which has led me down the path I’m on today.
You have worked in both football and rugby before ending up where you are now in Formula E, what was the transition like? What are some of the biggest differences and similarities?
It’s been an interesting journey to have worked at some very big rights holders and also a governing body and to be honest the transition has been pretty straightforward but I would say that the biggest learning curve has definitely been in the world of motorsport which has a complex ecosystem. In my space, there are two themes which are consistent and that’s growing the audience and leveraging data, of which both are integral. As for what’s different, it’s the target operating model and how internal teams and departments are structured differently that I find interesting.
What’s been your favourite moment whilst working in sports?
My favourite and proudest moment is probably RWC 2015 – starting on the journey from the build-up 3 years out all the way through the tournament to sitting in the stand for the final. Being the only Welshman to have lifted the Webb Ellis Cup is pretty cool too!
What do you think is next for your industry?
I don’t think there’s a better time to be working in sports especially given how quickly new technologies are being adopted to enhance the fan and viewing experience. There’s a lot happening in the space and we’re always looking at new innovations, whether that’s combining the real racing and sim racing or enhancing the broadcast experience for users to bring them closer to the action. Blockchain has been around for some time now and there’s a lot of hype around NFTs at the moment so I’m interested to see how this evolves as an opportunity for brands within sport or if it’s a short term fad.
In your area of work, what is something you feel most people don’t talk about enough or focus on enough?
It’s more important than ever to be able to target your audience by taking into consideration geographic reach and also localisation, so this needs quite a bit of focus.
Also I find that digital is often an afterthought or gets confused with traditional IT or social media – that isn’t true, but they are pieces that fit into the digital jigsaw. Covid has accelerated the need for digital adoption, knowledge and skills, whether that’s adapting to working from home or keeping fans engaged during lockdown. Like I said, it’s more important now than ever before.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Get your hands dirty, learn as much as possible and try to educate yourself about the different areas of working in sport, it’s much bigger than you think when you take into account what’s behind the scenes. It’s hard work and the hours can be long, especially with weekend work, however the reward far outweighs the cons, you meet a lot of like-minded people and it’s a lot of fun.
How to follow Tecwyn Davies on social media…
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/tecwyndavies/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/TecwynDavies
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider with Tecwyn Davies! If you want to read more from the series, you can do so by clicking here.