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Global Sports Week - Must-Attend #SportsBiz Rendezvous (2021 recap at The Eiffel Tower)

Global Sports Week (GSW) is a platform to Shake, Shape and Share a new future for Sport between business and Society. It centres on an annual forum gathering International Leaders, Change-Makers and Representatives of the next generation in Paris – a city that will be at the heart of world sport in the next decade.

Kite Talks CEO - Arup Soans at The Global Sports Week 2020

The Global Sports Week agenda is built around 6 global business and societal shifts. They are: Lifestyle, Health, Power, Equality, Data, Climate. These represent key areas of change and opportunity, and are presented in the programme as cross-cutting hashtags.

The inaugural edition of GSW was held in 2020 in Paris and it received a staggering response with 2000 participants representing 70 countries. 250+ investors were part of the program which also had 50+ speakers gracing the event. It culminated to 11 hours of inspirational content and also saw 95% of its participants recommending Global Sports Week as a must-attend event.

Global Sports Week had 66 partners collaborating in its vision. Adidas, Egg Sports, BPCE group and Ministere Charge De Sports came onboard as Founding partners. EDF and Vivendi were the associate partners. Partnerships with such global brands and having the support of the governing body of Sports in France gave a great impetus to the team.

"At Global Sports Week, we’ve been able to gather major stakeholders with multiple years of experience. The idea is to make a difference, and there’s a way we’ve been doing it." - Arnaud Drijard, Co-Founder & CEO - Global Sports Week

An excerpt from Arnaud's interview - click here

Global Sports Week returned in 2021 (Feb 1 - Feb 5) with a new format in light of the current situation mixing physical and digital experiences. The world’s first Multi-Country concept was designed for a new era. It included a central base in Paris and hub events in 5 future Olympic host cities - Tokyo, Beijing, Dakar, Milan and Los Angeles - all connected live via a groundbreaking virtual platform.

Global Sports Week’s digital platform was the ultimate forum destination in 2021, accessible from anywhere in the world. It included two live linear media channels (from the main arena and event village) as well as an on-demand content library and next-generation networking tools to connect GSW participants across the world. "GSWARENA" was the main stage of the GSWParis program. "GSWVILLAGE" was the place for digital and physical meeting and networking during the event. Also, it had further content as pitches, demos, experiences and workshop sessions hosted by GSWParis partners. "GSWMARKETPLACE" gave opportunities for business and a showcasing platform.


Key takeaways around the 6 global business and societal shifts in GSWParis 2021:


Data will have the highest impact on the future of Sports. It can feed AI algorithms to maximize fan engagement, performance improvement and sponsorships - both at an elite and grassroots level. At the same time, it should also be used cautiously. Ultimately, data has to be put at the service of human beings and not the other way round.


Sports events must be seen as a key asset for building better strategies for cities and countries. As economic drivers, they could be catalysts for development to recover from adversities. Addressing climate issues via large-scale sporting events is a great option and Paris 2024 Olympic games are a perfect example of it. Gen Z is asking for a purpose in business. Therefore, brands and companies that won’t be transparent will eventually be left behind. Sports as a medium has to step up as it has the power to make an impact.

Gender Equality

Recent times have put gender equality into the limelight and women empowerment is finding new avenues through sports. There has been an increase in attention towards sports practiced by minorities and it has led to the possibility of companies engaging in new types of partnerships to attract those that have historically been left behind. Also, sports for development programs need to become more universal with programs strategized to address needs in accordance with specific markets.


Sports events such as the Olympics and Paralympics need to be cautious and embrace the values which made them universal as it is rightly said that ‘With great power comes great responsibility'. Gen Z’s voice on social media is becoming more powerful and sport is becoming an important medium for them.


Globally, youth participation in sports has come down (even before the pandemic), every year fewer people are signing up to participate in sports. So, it is imperative that kids are educated on the importance of sports for their development in turn leading to a healthy lifestyle. Sport has emerged to be a tool to promote socio-emotional skills. In order to promote a healthy lifestyle, alternatives are required. So, Innovation is not just an option, it is the only option to move forward.


There has been an increased focus on both mental and physical fitness to create a more holistic approach to well-being. The development of technologies like IoT has made it possible to prevent injuries and correct bad movements. This pandemic has led to a greater focus on health and it has also impacted the sports industry. How this will develop the ecosystem remains to be seen.


GSWParis 2021 sessions that blew our minds!

Los Angeles: One City, Many Teams

Speakers - Julie Uhrman (Angel City FC), Derek Fisher (LA Sparks) and Larry Freedman (LAFC)

Los Angeles (LA) is the Sporting Capital of the USA and has 12 professional sports teams. Diversity is of utmost importance to attract a wider community. The current scenario gives a wrong signal in terms of importance to Women’s Sports. 1% of total sponsorship goes to Women’s sports along with a meager 4% overall media coverage.

The sponsorship model of 'Angel City Football Club' addresses social impact. 10% of the revenues goes back to the local community in areas of equality and education. 'Los Angeles Sparks' - Women’s NBA team is a subset of the subset: primarily black women team thereby setting a perfect example in terms of representation. Collaboration is the key; ultimately teamwork makes the dream work.


Badminton's Social Media Growth in the Era of COVID-19

There are multiple changes that propelled the media boom for badminton as a sport. Badminton World Federation (BWF), the governing body of the sport introduced a new BWF World tour structure, bigger prize pool for the tournaments, revamped its digital strategy and organized more high-level events. Covid accelerated the digital journey and as a part of its ideation journey, the federation involved fans in the content creation process. Short-form videos (IG reels, Tiktok) are important to engage fans.

BWF also introduced a unique STAR creation program to increase social media literacy among players. Athletes from around the world have benefited from this program and have increased their social media following drastically.


Fan Engagement: From Meaning and Motives to Policy and Practice

Understanding a fan’s journey is crucial - motives, attitudes as well as behaviors. At the same time, it is important to note that a fan is not the same as a follower or a supporter. Organizations need to understand that it costs 3x more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer. Fans are not homogenous and creativity is key in fan engagement strategy. Segmenting the market is very important to group people based on similar characteristics.


What's Driving the New Wave of Athlete-Entrepreneurs?

Gerard Piqué - FC Barcelona Football Player, Founder & President - KOSMOS

Gerard wanted to be ready for life after football. His entrepreneur journey started through the Davis cup. He is the owner of the football club 'FC Andorra'. He has negotiated covid pay cuts both as a player and a manager. He has always been a tech-lover and currently has investments in about 20 startups. Gerard has also invested in 'Sorare' - Global Football Fantasy and a collectible card game platform.


Innovation in Football: Case Studies in Audience Growth

Speakers - Robert Klien (Bundesliga International), Klaus Bürg (AWS), Guy-Laurent Epstein (UEFA), Pete Bellamy (Endeavor Streaming) and Rounak Majumdar (Young Sports Maker)

The incorporation of cloud technology is the way forward for clubs, broadcasters and federations. Bundesliga in its quest to increase fan engagement through the use of data is working with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Content focussed on particular geography and based on culture, demographic holds key to audience growth. UEFA replayed Classic matches with a live setup, commentary and data to engage audiences when there was no live-action. People around the globe are waiting to be in the stadium and this period has given an opportunity to the organizations to rethink their overall strategy.


Towards New Forms of Relations with Fans

Digitization of assets is key today. Personalization will drive monetization. It is important to understand the flow that passion leads to attention which ultimately transforms into engagement. It is imperative that fans' goodwill be recognized and rewarded. 'Fanprime' is a unique fan loyalty program that rewards fans through the integration of all social media platforms.


5 Steps Towards Being Esports Ready

The first and foremost thing is to be open-minded towards what esports is and what it can become. It is important to understand the mass cultural change happening in sport and how better can we engage the audience. Also, spectators want more from the sport now instead of just watching it. One of the ways is to provide gamified experience through the use of technology. Making innovations has to be central to the organization. One of the points to make the broadcasting experience more interesting is the inclusion of the data points.


The Future of Sports Events: Visions of Olympic & Paralympic Leaders

Speakers - Tony Estanguet (Paris 2024), Kathy Carter (LA 28, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Properties), Andrew Parsons (International Paralympic Committee), Christophe Dubi (International Olympic Committee)

Innovation is the key to going forward. Paris 2024 has events open for all in order to engage with a wider population. It is imperative to reinvent sports. Emphasis should be on the inclusion of natural sports as well as historical sports. Engagement is key, the average age of people watching the Olympics is increasing and younger population numbers are decreasing. To improve this, physical as well as digital engagement ('phygital') is the way forward.


For more information or content on-demand, visit Global Sports Week

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