GAISF and World Games
In 1977, West Nally’s relationship with sport took on a more international role with its appointment as the marketing advisor to the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), which then represented 64 world sports federations.
In 1976, the “General Assembly of International Federations – Assemblée Générale des Fédérations Internationales” (GAIF-AGFI) became the General Association of International Sports Federations (AGFIS -GAISF) and its regulations of procedure were transformed into Statutes.
Patrick Nally had developed a good working relationship with GAISF President Tom Keller of FISA (rowing) and with a new head office established in Monaco – West Nally became, in effect, an advisor to all international sports.
Through GAISF, West Nally maintained a regular dialogue with the governing bodies of sport and advised on how commercial rights, including television and sponsorship rights, could be handled to enhance the presentation of sport. This was ahead of the 1978 Argentina World Cup and subsequent packaging of Intersoccer 4. But, West Nally had already established the principals and public relations benefits of their new form of sports commercialism – and Federations were eager to hear about it.
Over the following ten years, West Nally worked closely with many federations on their leading events. FIFA(soccer) and IAAF (athletics) were heavily involved with West Nally from grass roots programmes through to the highest international competitions. FIS (ski-ing) and FINA (swimming) also benefited from skilful marketing programmes – developing World Cups and solid sponsorship support.
While a key function of GAISF was to ensure that the international sports calendar contained as few conflicts of dates as possible, there were inevitably many international events across the wide-ranging member sports in each year. West Nally staff and offices around the world were always busy with these world class events. And, because West Nally also worked closely with many of the top brands it had a somewhat easier task in ensuring take-up. This was particularly so with Coca-Cola who were anxious to be seen as the top sporting drink and Canon who wanted their camera loan stations wherever top sports photographers were gathering.
Key West Nally personnel were always in attendance at the annual GAISF Conference in Monte Carlo. Patrick Nally, particularly, was able to use this platform to give speeches to the assembled Presidents of world sport on the current market place and how they could emulate the achievements of the bigger and more organised Federations.
The first full World Games took place in London in 1985 with West Nally as the catalyst. Through the GAISF role it became clear that sports not able to join the Olympic Games, wanted and needed their own showcase event.
West Nally provided financing for an initial pilot World Games in Santa Clara, USA in 1981 before bringing the first World Games to its own home headquarters in London.
24 sports were represented in 9 venues over 11 days – with sponsorship from the Japanese Shipbuilding Industry Foundation. The support from West Nally in this inaugural event was vital – and its German office was also involved in the Karlsruhe event in 1989. The World Games continues every four years with the next in Columbia in 2013.