Conference Review
- Day One

SportAccordConventn @saconvention
‘Participation sport & elite sport complement each
other. They have to for health, humanity & future
generations’ Vlad Marinescu #SAC2014


Change should not be feared by sports, a stellar line-up of speakers said on Day One of the Main Conference Programme. Specifically, sports can harness new media and technology to offer a more dynamic and interesting product, the panellists added.

Adrian Christy, Chief Executive of BADMINTON England, explained that the need to create a successful product for television was at the forefront of his organisation’s thoughts in launching the first ever national league.

Christy said:

We were concerned about TV broadcasters turning away from badminton, so we thought ‘how do we create a successful product for TV and how can we get to critical points sooner?’ The changes have been radical, but we didn’t change the fundamentals of the sport.

Vlad Marinescu, Director General of SportAccord and a former Director of the International Judo Federation, pointed out that his sport “made changes fast” to increase its appeal to the masses.

There were changes made to the structure of the sport and to the field of play,” he said. “We implemented technical changes to make judo faster, more dynamic. We have modernised the sport, but kept its roots.” He felt new media was “definitely important”, but added: “We should never forget about TV."

International Hockey Federation Marketing Coordinator, Brett Hasell, felt that his Federation had identified opportunities online:

He said:

“Anyone who is watching online is more engaged and more communicative, so we want to increase the value of our digital rights and create new opportunities within the digital market for sponsors.”

Sarah Lewis, Secretary General of the FIS, skiing’s global governing body, stressed that the ‘key element’ of TV coverage was sponsorship. “The underlying effect is to promote and earn money,” she said. “It’s up to us to deliver value. We don’t need to be relying overly on a particular sector.”

Andrew Craig, President of The Craig Company LLC., expanded on the discussion by adding: “There is a progressive change about the way we watch TV. People are watching more TV than at any time in history, but the TV market is growing very differently and we are not measuring what is happening correctly. We don’t measure engagement.”