Byravee Iyer Nikki Wicks
Sep 19, 2014

Sebastian Coe jumps on the digital bandwagon: Sports Matters Day Two

SINGAPORE - Former Olympian and London 2012 Olympic chairman, Lord Sebastian Coe kicked-off the second day of the Sports Matters conference, with a keynote talk highlighting the value of sport around the world.

Lord Sebastian Coe takes the stage at Sports Matters 2014
Lord Sebastian Coe takes the stage at Sports Matters 2014

Returning to the city where he delivered his London 2012 bid-clinching speech, Coe addressed a packed room at Marina Bay Sands where he reflected on the success of the London Olympics and addressed the value of sport across business, society and politics.
 
“Sport is the most successful bridgehead into everything that I know,” said Coe. “I can't imagine a day without sports. The whole world wants to be part of sport and our mission is to ensure that no one is left out. Changes have begun and we need to be prepared”.
 
A strong emphasis of Coe’s keynote also focused on the shift in from traditional sports media to digital, noting that there was more social media traffic on the first day of the London Olympic Games than the entire Beijing Olympics in 2008. “Traditional media no longer reaches young people, it has to be digital,” he said.
 
On the potential for businesses through sports sponsorships, Coe said that partnerships “have to be strong" if they’re going to succeed and add real value. “Get your activations right [and] it's really a partnership,” he said.
 
An impressive line-up of speakers joined a panel entitled 'Is the globalisation of sport a good thing?' Hosted by Marcel Fenez, global leader, entertainment & media at PwC, guests included speakers from Fox, YouTube, HSBC and World Sport Group. Much of the panel was in agreement that the success of the sports business in Asia, needs to come from local brands and partnerships.
 
Giles Morgan, global head of sponsorship & events at HSBC, said that the focus should not be solely on globalisation.
 
“Globalisation is important. But localisation is also incredible important. The reason the London Olympics was successful was because London really got into the spirit. That’s localisation, not globalisation”.

Ward Platt, COO, FOX International Channels & CEO, National Geographic Channels was in agreement, saying that local sports content was a significant focus for Fox in Asia.
 
“You have to have local content, as well as global - this development isn’t happening as fast at it probably should be. We want to replicate our success globally, locally. There’s a belief now in Asia that the time is right,” he said.

The day also included a session on the social behaviours of online influencers and their expectations of sports broadcasters, content owners and event organisers.

Tara Hirebat, head of APAC for Contagious Consulting said there is a huge propensity for brands to be in that space. “You’re in a great situation,” she said. She encouraged brands to become adaptive and less hierarchical. Offer consumers immersive experiences, she said. “Not everybody gets to go watch a Manchester United game, especially when you’re living in Asia. Brands can add a layer of experiences and give fans a similar experience.”

Asked about why millennials relate better to new this new generation of content creators, Issac Loo , well-known social media advocate attributed it to authenticity. “They don’t have PR agencies behind them and as a result they’re able to add fresh, new ideas.”

Another session explored the extension of sports from TV into social engagements online and how brands and platforms are using these. Moderator James Miner CEO MinerLabs said 63 per cent of sports fan in the stadium are active on social media and asked what brands could do with that.

According to HootSuite’s MD Ken Mandel, sporting events are no longer about sports and have morphed into entertainment shows. “It’s a great opportunity for brands to interact with a fan in the stadium on the mobile phone. I encourage brands to adopt a multi layer approach.”

Keith Timimi, chairman, VML Qais agreed. “My view is that the market place for sponsorship starts with social media and then your strategy of in-stadium and so on follows.”

 

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