Sport Business | Oct 5, 2017
Leaders Sport Business Summit, Day Two.

As the sun sets on another Leaders Sport Business Summit – and the first ever Leaders Week  – the mood mellows, but the good times roll on: get on down to Bar LaLiga, if you’re not there already, for a couple more frosty ones before the day is out.

It’s been another jam-packed day here at Stamford Bridge in London, so here’s your on-the-button review. Once again, we can’t promise it will be comprehensive, but it should at least provide a few closing thoughts to take home with you.

Another shout-out to our industrious man-on-the-ground, Andrew Serio, whose nuggets of insight pepper the following bulletin.


Monday’s wrap-ups:

The numbers swamp, the pope, commercial partner match-making and more – 5 things we learned from Social Fanalytics

Bespoke it and stoke it, I see IP, the reality of VR and more – 5 things we learned from Broadcast Disruptors

Tuesday’s wrap-ups:

Endowed progress, Bucks bathroom testers, regrets and counter-factuals and more – 5 things we learned from The Ultimate Fan Experience

Trolls, outsiders, diversification and more – 4 things we learned from Esports Live

Wednesday’s wrap-up:

Curtain Call: After dark at the Leaders Sport Business Summit – day one


Leaders CEO Jimmy Worrall is, I think it’s fair to say, becoming something of a fitness freak. So it was entertaining to spot Edwin van der Sar, arguably the tallest man in the building today, admonishing the Leaders boss man for taking the lift over the stairs today.

Pedro Pinto, UEFA’s Managing Director of Communications, jigging along to the beat of the Leaders Week background music. Pinto’s got the groove, and you can have it too. For the Berlin-coffee-shop-exhibition-hall-Ibiza-chillout-glad-handing mix, click here. For the main-stage-funky-french-disco-mix-with-an-indie-spritz, here. Warning: this will probably affect your spotify.me algorithm.

–  Nice to see MP & Silva CEO Jochen Losch bringing a bit of Euro-Brazilian cool to the networking floor. The man’s got vibes.


Yelps of joy from Windpact, the winners of the Leaders Tech Start-Up Competition – supported, manfully, by fantastic partners in the One Team Collective and Sportradar. The winds of change have blown. Congratulations indeed.

Arlo White – an absolutely first-class professional – reached right into the top drawer for an outstanding bouncy castle gag to close the conference; quite literally a showstopper.

Tottenham Hotspur – a club on a mission, with a state-of-the-art digital content strategy to match the state-of-the-art stadium they’re currently building. Drone footage of the building process? Nice. But how many of those drones have perished, crashed into the cranes on the site? (More than one, it seems).

“Who wants to come on-stage and let me tackle them?” Isaiah Kacyvenski, ex-NFL linebacker and current Managing Director of the Sports Innovation Lab, kills some time while judges deliberate during the Leaders Tech Startup Competition.

We’re still on the 140 characters over here:

@Sportradar: Great to be part of #LeadersWeek Tech Startup Comp judges panel, lots of potential for #sportsbiz & #tech. Congrats to winners @WindpactInc

@rscibetti: Great tips on importance of collaboration, communication & planning ahead for brands to fully utilize their #sponsorship assets #LeadersWeek

@_ysport: @WWE “Over 40% of audience are females. Both and women want to watch action from great athletes (no matter if male or female).” @StephMcMahon #LeadersWeek

@mattglen: Nakisa #Bidarian, CEO, Fertitta Capital at #Leadersweek: 1 Got bigger offers from Chinese co’s for UFC, but WME/IMG deal was best for sport

@kaister191: As a publisher on @facebook always focus on Reach over Likes. @danreed: You get reach with frequent engaging video content #leadersweek

The onstage skinny

Nakisa Bidarian, CEO of Ferttita Capital and the man who played an instrumental role in the recent $4bn-plus sale of the UFC, was robust, naturally, in his defence of the valuation of the MMA promotion. “We had control over the entire value chain in UFC – content, distribution, athletes – and one man at the top to make the decisions in Lorenzo,” he said.

The WWE is, in its essence, like any book, opera or play – or so its Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon would have it. “It’s classic protagonist vs antagonist with a conflict resolution,” she explained.

The average consumer touches their phone 2,600 times a day (according to Samsung Chief Engagement Officer Werner Brell). It’s gross, but it’s probably true.

Sage advice from FT’s John Ridding for publishers (be they media, rights holders, or brands): “Work on the mini brands within your big brand” – star writers, star performers, star content strands. Yes indeed.

Need more reasons to spend time on Facebook? Dan Reed, Head of Sports Partnerships at Facebook, has some good news. The social media behemoth recently introduced Watch on Facebook, the platform’s newest way to consume video content. The goal? “Help broadcasters and rights holders reinvent sports distribution, production, and the fan viewing experience,” says Reed, while coaxing the audience to “cross scary bridges” into Facebook’s brave new world. The company fashions itself as “the world’s largest stadium,” and with a capacity of almost two billion, who can argue?

By nature, sports are difficult to play from the sidelines. Today’s superfreaks, excuse me, athletes, are running faster, jumping higher, and hitting harder than ever before, but protective equipment hasn’t kept pace. Windpact, the winner of the 2nd annual Leaders Tech Startup Competition, wants to change that. Calling his product the “future of impact protection,” COO Max Moyer pitched his company’s patented, low-impact technology, which can improve safety in sports equipment ranging from American football to cricket. Addressing such a headline-grabbing issue resonated with our able judges from Sky, Chelsea, the NFLPA, and Sportradar, and thanks to sponsors OneTeam Collective and Sportradar for delivering the event (and the long list of prizes).

What don’t you talk about in a room full of rugby legends? “Rugby,” according to Ian Ritchie, former CEO of the RFU, as he described his task of appointing a new England manager. He and Martin Glenn, CEO of The FA, shared their insights on steering the ships that are sports governing bodies (the term doesn’t do the job justice, says Martin.) One of the toughest challenges is selecting a manager. Whether they’re a “famous foreign mercenary” or “big-hearted Englishman,” the emphasis must be on togetherness and building from the ground-up. Mandatory presence at St. George’s Park is one such way that Martin and England manager, Gareth Southgate, strengthen their relationship.

To a packed house, three leading brands, Rakuten, DHL, and PepsiCo, held court on the future of sports sponsorship. The word of the day? Collaboration. Working together with clubs and rights holders, whether in the boardroom or locker room, to develop mutually beneficial sponsorship strategies is critical. Rakuten, and Executive Director Rahul Kadavakolu, has been making waves recently with its foray into sport sponsorship with FC Barcelona and the Golden State Warriors. “It’s not just storytelling, it’s story-doing,” Rahul exhorts while encouraging everyone to believe in the future of sponsorship. We believe, Rahul, we believe.

Thank you once again to SAP and Nielsen for supporting the week.

See you back here next year for another action-packed Leaders Sport Business Summit.

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