Global digital agenda revealed by Leaders

The extended programme for Leaders in Digital Sport set the digital agenda for the industry last month with 300 senior directors from broadcasters, brands and rights holders in attendance. It began with a the BBC delivering a global review of the technology trends during the London Olympic Games with Terra, NBC Sports and YouTube also revealing figures on device usage which is set to continue into the future.

They were followed by an exclusive keynote speech by Barney Francis, Managing Director of Sky Sports and one of the industry’s most influential figures who covered Sky’s positive role in sports and digital innovation. The discussion on sport and technology continued with top executives from Premier League Champions Manchester City, Sky Deutschland and leading US broadcaster, Fox.

The debate then changed direction to how sports properties can better use digital platforms to engage with fans, as top marketers from the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the MLS and Sports Interactive covering topics from loyalty schemes, to social media and location based services. It was the benchmark for what sport can do with digital platforms.

Along with fan engagement, the other big talking point was how to monetise digital and the audience had access to original thinkers from two of the world’s biggest brands, FC Barcelona and Orange, and the world’s most popular social networking site, facebook. They shared ideas on digital and social sponsorship activation, drawing on Orange’s sponsorship of the EURO2012 football tournament, FC Barcelona’s industry leading online initiatives and facebook’s cutting-edge work with Olympic sponsors during the 2012 London Games.

Capping off the ground breaking agenda were a series of talks from top digital executives from other industries including speakers from McLaren Automotive and Disney, as well as Universal Music who told the story of the industry’s decline and revival in the digital era in a fantastic compare and contrast with the sports industry.

The attendance of the conference was strictly limited to 300 with 41% working at rights holders, 50% attending from outside the UK, over 60 brands represented and a buyer seller ratio of 60:40. The feedback from the event has been overwhelmingly positive with over 83% declaring it the best forum for digital debate and networking in the world of sport.

The planning is already in place for 2013 with an expanded programme of high level and workshop sessions due to be announced in the coming months.

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