Emerging Tech, Data & Media , Future Stadiums & Venues , OTT & Digital , Sustainable Innovation

SportsPro Live 2018: Day 2 highlights

A selection of the best quotes from our speakers on day two of SportsPro Live 2018.

by Tom Bassam

SportsPro Live 2018: Day 2 highlights

SportsPro Live 2018 rounded off on Thursday with more high-level discussion and interesting insights from those operating in the entwined worlds of technology and sports business.

With speakers from Discovery, Sky and BT Sport here are our favourite quotes from day two at London's ExCel. 

We opened up with Jean-Briac Perrette, Discovery president and chief executive, presenting 'Total Video' - the Eurosport owner's new audience metric:

"We heard a lot about linear broadcast vs OTT but for us it's not binary. In reaching the maximum audience, the only thing we can do that is re-aggregate them across as broad a footprint as possible."

Perrette was followed by a fascinating 'Unlocking potential of women in sport' panel, featuring Marzena Bogdanowicz head of marketing and commercial - women's football; the FA, Jenny Smith head of marketing at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)Alex Teasdale, senior growth projects manager at the Rugby Football Union (RFU); and moderated by Emma Lax, We Are Disrupt managing director.

"The 2017 World Cup really opened cricket up and we're seeing a lot of our county cricket clubs wanting to diversify their audiences now, and seeing the potential of women's sport for accessing wider audiences," said Smith, commenting on the impact of major televised events on promoting the women's game.

Bogdanowicz on the battle for eyeballs: "We are looking to broadcast as many as possible of our Super League games live and online because we know the way people are viewing content is changing and we want to tap in on that."

"At the Commonwealth Games they talked about having equal medal opportunities for men and women and that's great but we need to get to the point where it's not something we're talking about to where it's something that's the norm," said Teasdale on the future of women's sport.

In the 'Streaming vs TV' session Eleven Sports executive chairman Marc Watson offered this nugget on the entry of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google - the so-called FANGs - into the sports streaming rights market, explaining why he felt the business case for acquiring premium rights might not stack up for those companies.

"FANGs now all have former TV execs and know sports are an effective way of selling advertising. But advertiser funded TV networks were priced out of the UK market a long time ago. I don't see why it would be any different for Facebook."

Elsewhere Tracey Keenan, WWE vice-president and general manager, detailed why the company takes a broad approach to its media reach.

"Our OTT numbers have hit record heights after WrestleMania, but our TV platforms remain fundamental to what we do. It can't be a case of one size fits all - you have to be everywhere."


In the same session Andy Wasef, Deltatre business strategy and development executive vice-president, added: "When it comes to OTT platforms it's important to temper and manage expectations. Just because you have one million broadcast viewers, it doesn't mean you're going to have one million subscribers to a digital product.

In the afternoon session, the 'Sports technology: investment priorities and adoption trends' panel threw up a couple of interesting takes.

Phil Mitchelson, COPA90 marketing director, on how the company is enjoying its enhanced access to soccer:

"Imagine giving a load of 22-year-old lads the opportunity to re-think a live football broadcast how they want to see it. That might scare traditional broadcasters," said Mitchelson.

Discussing the future of sports technology Joshua Walker, Sports Innovation Lab co-founder, dismissed the idea of VR headsets and other wearables becoming the immediate future of sports media consumption.

"In five years' time people aren't wearing things on their heads," he said.

In the penultimate session of the day Andreas Heyden, DFL Digital Sports chief executive, on how the Bundesliga - with its 'Football as it's meant to be' philosophy' - approaches its digital output:

"Football has to be real and it has to be credible - it is something that has to be driven by the fans." 

In the final 'Industry asks' panel, Jonathan Levene, Intel Sports managing director, gave an amusing anecdote of the disconnect between the industry and the young demographics it's trying to access:

"I went to a concert and I was stood next to a bunch of 15-year-olds who were on something called Ask.FM - where you just throw out questions - and this thing has 2.5 million downloads. We're now at a stage where Facebook is 20 years old. At what point is it legal to hire an 11-year-old?

The future is exciting for Sports & OTT, says @DAZN_DE's John Gleasure... #SPLive18 pic.twitter.com/X1BNPL5mmQ

— #SPLive18 (@SportsProEvents) 12 April 2018

John Gleasure, chief commercial officer at DAZN, talks sports and OTT

Here are the highlights from yesterday's SportsPro Live 2018 session.