CEO of SMinc Sports Management, Colin Francke, believes in gender equality and is passionate about equal rights, pay and recognition, not only when it comes to sportswomen, but women in general.
Growing up, Francke was always passionate about sport, achieving National Colours for 400m and 800m on the athletics track.
He knew that he would end up working in the sports industry as he went on to choose a career in the sports medical field, graduating as a Sports Therapist.
Francke worked with a number of local and international sports teams with his highlight being 8 years at DSTV Premiership side, Mamelodi Sundowns.
His time at Sundowns affirmed he could play a vital role with players on and off the field, which led to the start of SMinc Sports Management.
Through his company, Francke is determined to continue positively impacting the lives of South African athletes.
Speaking with Celine Abrahams, Francke chats about empowering women athletes on and off the field and the growth of cricket in the country.
Colin, thank you for chatting to us! This year has been quite a challenging period for everyone. How would you describe it in terms of how it has had an impact on you and SMinc Sports Management?
Thank you for the opportunity! The year started with a bang with loads of positives for most of our athletes, especially our female athletes. They were on a high after a positive first half of the season, then unfortunately Covid-19 disrupted the momentum, but not discouraging the hard work they put in and continued to put in.
With your clients (athletes) unable to compete for months, what was the plan to ensure that they remained calm regarding the future of their careers?
Communication was key. For me, it was and is important to keep them motivated. We had regular messages, calls and held numerous video calls. I contacted their coaches and management to find out what plans they had in place to get the athletes back “on-the-field”. I followed up with them to make sure that they had all the “tools” to get through the training that was prescribed for them. Their emotional wellbeing was most important – the frustration of not being able to interact face-to-face while training or playing was taking a toll on them but we got through it together.
Please tell us more about yourself and where your passion for sports comes from.
“I knew then that I would end up working in the sports industry. I chose a career in the sports medical field and graduated as a sports therapist.” – CEO of SMinc Sports Management, Colin Francke
From an early age I was always passionate about sport. I achieved National Colours for 400m and 800m on the athletics track. I enjoyed competing at the highest level under the SASCOC banner. I knew then that I would end up working in the sports industry. I chose a career in the sports medical field and graduated as a sports therapist. I worked with a number of local and international sports teams with the highlight definitely being my 8 years at Mamelodi Sundowns.
How did SMinc Sports Management come about?
It was always my dream to own a Sports Management Company to help talented athletes with potential. My time at Sundowns affirmed I could play a vital role with players on and off the field. I had daily requests from the players asking for advice or assistance regarding their contracts, personal matters or potential sponsors. The problem was that some of them had agents or linked to a management agency. I realized that unfortunately they were just a number and they would get assistance when someone made time or when it was close to contract time.
I wanted to do things differently. I wanted to be hand’s on and have a relationship with each and every athlete that we signed.
Because we are a “boutique agency”, I am able to touch base with each and every athlete on a weekly or on an almost daily basis. For me it’s the personal touch that separates SMinc Sports Management from the rest.
We are aware that SMinc represents a number of cricketers. Who are some of the female athletes on your client list?
SMinc is fortunate to have 3 talented Momentum Women’s Proteas players, namely:
Andrie Steyn (Western Province & South Africa)
Sinalo Jafta (Western Province & South Africa)
Tazmin Brits (North West & South Africa)
Why has it been important for you to represent female athletes?
I am a big believer in gender equality and passionate about equal rights, equal pay and equal recognition, not only when it comes to sportswomen but women in general.
“Sport has always been a struggle for women, and I want to make a difference not only in their sports careers but also in their lives as well.” – Francke speaks on representing female athletes.
People who know me are aware that I always fight for those without a voice or those whose voices are marginalised. Sport has always been a struggle for women, and I want to make a difference not only in their sports careers but also in their lives as well.
It is not an unknown fact that women’s sport still does not attract much sponsorship as it should be in this era. What has been some of the challenges you have come across trying to secure deals for female athletes?
It’s definitely a challenge to secure sponsorship for sportswomen but it’s a challenge that I am up for and will be actively addressing. We will continue to demonstrate to sponsors the value they have in each of these talented players. Not only on the sports field but as equals in society. They have so much to offer! I will keep knocking on any door out there, as I am passionate about equal opportunities for female athletes.
A positive sign that we have recently witnessed is women’s provincial cricket slowly turning professional. What are your thoughts on this development?
This is definitely a step in the right direction. However, this is only the beginning. In order for our women’s cricket to become professional, we need the franchises to become professional and in turn look after female cricketers. We have a limited number of players earning a sustainable income from cricket.
What are some of your highlights of your career so far?
- Managing the All Africa Fencing Tournament at UCT in Cape Town.
- Managing the Manchester United Legends Tour to South Africa with Mark Wright and Sir Viv Anderson.
- Securing sponsorship for Sir Ian Botham on his Walking the Rainbow Nation Tour in South Africa
And many more!
What is your greatest ambition for SMinc?
For athletes to know that in us they have an agency they can trust with not only their sports career but post career as well.
Secondly, to keep on building the SMinc brand into a well-respected international sports management agency known for its honesty and integrity. To be the sports management agency of choice!