iSportconnect Directors’ Club London A Huge Success

February 27, 2012

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The inaugural iSportconnect Directors’ Club London took place on 21st February, drugs attracting an exclusive audience of senior decision makers from across the sports industry meeting to share high level insight and opinion on business trends and industry news in a ‘Question Time’ format.

The event, allergy in partnership with Generate Sponsorship and Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP, and was deemed a huge success, with a special panel of industry leaders including Sir Craig Reedie, Member of the IOC Executive Board, Ed Warner, Chairman UK Athletics, Sally Hancock, Director, Olympic Marketing and Group dc-london-partnersSponsorship at Lloyds TSB, Paul Vaughan, CEO of England Rugby 2015, and Nic Coward, General Secretary, Premier League.

Areas of discussion included the key issues facing the sports industry, such as racism and discipline and how and when both rights holders and sponsors should address such situations publicly.  The panel concluded that it is not a sponsor’s role to solve rights holders’ disciplinary issues however sponsors must act privately and put pressure on the rights holder, as well as work collaboratively.

Another area of debate was Olympic branding and the return for sponsors. Hancock commented that she would place a low value on any branding assets around the Olympics and that the industry has become too focused on media ROI.  Hancock also expressed that London 2012 has not had a true impact on how sponsors activate.

Social media was also discussed with both rights holders and sponsors encouraging athletes to use social media to engage with fans. However, education on the implications of commenting publicly was a key point discussed as well the issue of hate crime facing celebrity athletes.

Sally Hancock, Director, Olympic Marketing and Group Sponsorship at Lloyds TSB, said, “It was a great privilege to have done this as it was a good line up of speakers, really diverse, and some good challenging conversation. I knew that the questions would be punchy, and I liked the idea of the format as well so it’s been great. I think these kind of closed room, closed door conversations don’t really happen that often so it was a good to be here.”

Ed Warner, Chairman UK Athletics, said, “This event is about the people you’re sitting alongside, as you’re as interested in hearing their views as you are about giving your own out to the audience, and I thought it was an interesting mix of professional sport and Olympic sport and of course the sponsor perspective from Sally Hancock as well.

“I think it was the right sort of format and what you are looking for here is interaction between the panellists, you want a little bit of disagreement and we did get a bit of it. If you think about Questions Time on the BBC, it’s about people with different opinions disagreeing with each other in an intelligent fashion and we got that today.”

Founder and CEO of iSportconnect Sree Varma, said, “We’ve received an excellent response from this first event, attracting high profile speakers from across the industry.  We are delighted with the positive feedback that we have received.  Many guests said the Question Time-style discussion panel was a unique feature and something that the sports industry has lacked.  We hope iSportconnect Directors’ Club will become a firm fixture in the industry’s events calendar.”

iSportconnect Directors’ Club London will take place three times each year, with further events in Munich, Lausanne, New York and Barcelona in the coming months.

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45 invitation-only attendees included:

Rupert Daniels Arsenal – Partnerships Director

Misha Sher Rangers FC – Global Partnerships Director

Rajesh Agrawal RationalFX – CEO

Gordon Lott Lloyds TSB – Head of London 2012 Partnership & Group Sponsorship

Peter Daire The Football Association – Head of Sponsorship

Rupert Pratt Generate Sponsorship – MD

Andy Martin London Irish RFC – CEO

Mike Pask IMG – Vice President

Kenny Logan Logan Sports – MD

Chris Akers Sports Resource Group – Chairman

David Piggins Powerplay Golf – CEO

Helena Christopher QBE- Head of Marketing

Danny Talbot Thomas Cook Sports – MD

Andy Westlake Fast Track – CEO

Paul Blanchard Surrey Sports Park – CEO

Michael Cole Marketing & Communications Director – BT Global Services

 Read: Inaugural iSportconnect Directors Club Germany a Big Success