Describe your career in 5 words

Having fun with my imagination

You were recently named as one of Cynopsis Media’s Rising Stars for 2020 – an award that highlights young talent within the industry. That is a fantastic accolade to have won so early in your career – how did it feel to have been listed amongst the industry’s stand-out performers, innovators and emerging leaders and what did it mean to you?

I was elated to find out that I was nominated and ultimately selected as a Rising Star. To be accurate, I was stunned when the team let me know about the nomination. 2020 has been a tough year for everyone, so receiving a nomination for an award was the furthest thing from my mind.

It means a lot to me to be recognised and that CSM felt I deserved a nomination (thank you again!). This award helped me realise the quality of work the team and I have put out this year. So much of the job is about being one step ahead, trendspotting, and being a forward thinker, so it can be easy to not appreciate the work we’ve just completed.

As a Creative Strategist you must be consistently monitoring the sport and entertainment landscape in order to provide analysis and insights for your clients. What trends do you think we will see in 2021?

That’s the million-dollar question! Some of the sponsorship innovation during the pandemic has created real impact and value, and will likely translate to the new norm. For example, sponsors have created ways to get in front of the consumer at home, by using A/R overlays on the courts/fields during the broadcast. This will continue to push fan engagement across multiple platforms even when arenas are back at full capacity.

I also think that new sports and leagues will continue to emerge and find their audience. People are looking for more content and activities they can enjoy at home. The advantage that these new sports and leagues have in emerging right now, is that they can test new technologies, concepts, and iterations of a sport that people will be open to as the world changes.

Given they are in their infancy, they may also benefit from the smaller crowds they will inevitably have to begin with. As the outside world begins to gradually open up again, events with smaller crowds will appeal to people readjusting to a post-pandemic world, and will likely make associated guidelines and safety measures easier to navigate. Only time will tell which leagues and new sports will rise to the top.

Lastly, we will see an evolution from owning and trading sports cards, to owning and trading sports highlights which will add a new revenue stream to leagues across the world. Over the last two years, the market for sports trading cards has shifted, allowing fans to purchase shares of cards similar to stocks – which triggered an explosion that has appealed to younger generations. This expanded the way people (and the industry) views sports collectibles.

Now, fans can own, collect, or trade some of the greatest highlights in the NBA’s history on a new online marketplace. Instead of owning a player card, fans can own a player highlight from a block, to a dunk over a defender, or a game winning shot in the NBA Finals. There are tiers of collectibles, from legendary to common, which drive the value of the highlight. NBA players have caught on and are buying their own highlights which is increasing the value of the collectible and ballooning the marketplace well into the $100+ million. I expect other leagues will follow suit and license their highlights to create collectible moments as the potential for a new revenue stream is in the billions.

5 minutes with Jamel Torrence

Having worked at CSM for just over three years can you talk us through some of your highlights working with brands such as Hisense & MLB?

MLB London 2019 was a monster of a project to work on, but a once-in-a-lifetime experience promoting the first international MLB regular season game in the UK, especially when you are a fan of the 27-time World Champions the New York Yankees.

This project required a lot of collaboration with our teams across the pond to make sure we understood the consumer, landscape, and covered all bases (no pun intended). This was different for me because baseball is a foreign sport in the UK and the people had no idea about the rules or how it’s played, so that presented a unique challenge when developing the marketing strategy.

Hisense has been a fun project that I recently started working on this past Fall, and has given me new experience working on a social media campaign. I would have never expected at the start of quarantine that I’d be sitting in our conference room with the team directing a video shoot featuring Dwyane Wade over Zoom, or working on scripts for Blake Griffin and Rob Gronkowski. The campaign features some very funny and off the cuff video content that has been well received on social media by followers and other athletes, so that has been very fulfilling to see.

5 minutes with Jamel Torrence

When not at work, what would we find you doing?

Most of the time you can catch me trying to watch every dribble of every basketball game on TV. Basketball is my first passion so whether it’s NBA or college I’ll be there enjoying a good game.

During my more productive hours I am tapping into my creative abilities back in front of my computer working on my screenplay – no surprise here, it’s about basketball. Being home due to the quarantine gave me the opportunity to hone that skill and focus on completing a feature length film. I’m through a couple of drafts now so I’m getting closer to my dream of making a film.

Just like everyone else I’ve been open to trying new things, like painting and skiing, as well as spending more time with my family to take advantage of these moments at home.