Global Sports Forum: First Sessions

We’re halfway through the first full day of the conference and there have been lot of great comments from the panelists. Here are some general remarks from some our today’s speakers (these aren’t specific quotes, but I tried to attribute the best I could). You can also see my photo recap of the event in the Global Sports Forum Barcelona photo album on our Facebook page. Finally, check back later for videos from each session – I’m working on uploading them all ASAP!

Opening Remarks from Sergey Bubka:

  • Sport and the Olympic spirit has an incredible ability to impact society and reach a global audience.
  • We can use sport to help overcome the obesity problem that has spread to the east.
  • When we consider “what’s next” for sport, we must always think first about our youth.
  • The expansive reach of Facebook and socail media is now an important tool to promote sport and communicate with fans around the world.

    Women Who Make a Difference in Sport:

    On the current state of women’s sports:

    • Donna De Verona: On how far women’s sports has come: We have the expansion of womens swimming race options, growth of women’s soccer, the Women’s world cup, netball, a female minister of sports, women who sailed around the world, women competing more than ever. We’re up to 43 percent of all Olympic athletes and we have women serving on the IOC.
    • Chantal Jouanno: There’s still aa big difference in the percent of women vs. men that competes in athletic competitions, ten percent of women to 25 percent for men. Cultural reasons and young women having children definitely impact this number.
    • Mia Hamm: There are still a lot of “firsts” when referring to women and sports, including a panel like this. I want to see women’s sports just be another part of the conference.  I’m hopeful for the opportunities for my girls have as they get older.
    • Samantha Davies: I’m making the most of being a leader for women in sports. For me, in a sport where women compete on same field as men, we gets a lot of media coverage. Two women competed out of 30 racers in last competition and we finished fourth and sixth.
    • Katerina Witt: Figure skating is a historically female sport. Only recently have I seen on the business and television side, and in viewing other female sports how much the discrepancy exists in terms of male vs. female involvement.

    On the topic of a recent ESPN nude photo layout:

    • Katerina Witt: In the end, its about tv ratings. We need to get people to watch. It is possible for something provocative to be done well and tastefully, and in a way that can promote the athletes and the sport.
    • Samantha Davies: Men’s rugby teams have done similar things. It creates buzz and interest. It creates and communicates an image, and builds a following.

    Why do womens sports get less media coverage:

    • Chantal Jouanno: Current male sports already dominate a large percentage of existing coverage, leaving less hours for womens sports coverage.
    • Donna De Varona: The men at television networks are making the decisions. Even the Women’s World Cup was a hard sell at first, but it was a huge success. We need leadership in place to push for it.

    The Yahoo! Experience

    • Yahoo is number one for sports content online in the world. A completely advertiser supported model but they want their ad content to be an additive experience for the user.

    Four components to digital content:

    1. Maximize your content:  Leveraging your content across multiple digital channels along with offline integrations and events for buzz and traditional media exposure.
    2. Personalize your content:  Making that content relevant for each person. People wants a custom experience but the don’t want to take the time to edit things themselves, so do it for them. They also want to connect with fans with similar interests via social media, which makes the content personal. Finally, local is very personal, whether its little league or niche sports (the long tail of sports content).
    3. Build your brand:  How does the digital canvas tell a story in a way that makes an impact for a brand. Incorporate the brand into the online experience for the user.
    4. Be Everywhere:  The mobile internet has grown and is now a real channel to consume sports content. This means custom applications to deliver content via these mobile options.

    Adidas and the UEFA: For this panel, I sent several Twitter updates, as did the other attendees (search for #GSFB). Here were some observations:

    • For adidas, the Champions League ball is the iconic element. And the partnership with UEFA is a big platform for them. #GSFB
    • Adidas introduces ball, footwear & apparel every year tied to the Champions League platform. Opening dedicated retail store this year. #gsfb
    • UEFA: Decisions on format changes are purely based on the game. They discuss with partners, but decisions aren’t designed for them. #GSFB
    • adidas admits that they’d love to see adidas on an FC Barcelona jersey. Not too shocking I’d imagine. #GSFB
    • I really get a feel from current panel that adidas+UEFA really is a true partnership. Deep investment and strong value to both sides. #GSFB
    • From @krisgotsch: UEFA at #GSFB; ‘What Adidas call customers, we call fans’
    • From @martina_lacey: It would be hard for Adidas to walk away from UEFA & see someone else w/ their hands on their balls #GSFB