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Interview Part I with Martin Gibbs, Managing Director of SportAccord: the Power of Sport Is Real

By Yutang Sports Thursday, 21 Mar 2024 18:48

SportAccord 2024 will be held in Birmingham, West Midlands, UK, on 7-11 April 2024, where leading minds from the world of sport and business will gather at the Summit to exchange ideas and network. The world's most influential sports business event will use "The Power of Sport" as the theme, with more than 1,500 delegates coming together to discuss the huge challenges and opportunities in the global sports community.

This is the first SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit held in the post-pandemic era. The sports industry has undergone tremendous changes in recent years, especially as digital and technology advances have rapidly penetrated into every corner of the entire industry. The relaunched World Sport & Business Summit aims to transcend its traditional identity as an annual gathering of the Olympic Games stakeholders and host cities, and more comprehensively incorporate commercial sports and related organisations, allowing the global sports industry to engage with innovative ideas in business and digital technologies.

As one of the two principal media partners of the SportAccord 2024, Yutang Sports had the honor to conduct an exclusive interview with Martin Gibbs, Managing Director of SportAccord, before the Summit takes place. In the first part of this conversation, Martin Gibbs gave his outlook on the Summit and elaborated on its purpose and positioning.

Top sports gatherings

The World Sport & Business Summit will be held a few months before the opening of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, attracting leading decision makers in the global sports and business industry. This is unquestionably the most influential sports gathering in 2024, bringing together global sports leaders and decision-makers from more than 120 International Federations (IFs), the International Olympic Committee, and organisations involved in the business of sport.

The Summit has an extensive conference programme, including the plenary sessions and four industry-specific streams - CityAccord, LawAccord, HealthAccord and MediaAccord. An outstanding speaker line-up and future-shaping innovators will work together to tackle the biggest challenges and opportunities in global sports. More than 1,500 delegates attending the World Sport & Business Summit will also benefit from high-level networking opportunities, insightful workshops, and an engaging exhibition.

Birmingham and the West Midlands - a rich tapestry of culture, heritage and innovation

The World Sport & Business Summit will also showcase what Birmingham and the West Midlands have to offer. Gibbs revealed that Birmingham is the largest city outside the capital, and attendees will have the opportunity to become immersed in, and experience the region’s rich heritage and extensive contribution to global art, culture and industry, by joining official tours arranged daily during the Summit. What's more, Birmingham is located in the heart of the UK, and its convenient transport links will bring significant benefits to everyone attending the event.

Birmingham and the West Midlands are renowned for their friendliness, welcoming over 141 million visitors each year. During the interview with Yutang Sports, Gibbs also extended invitations to colleagues across the global sports industry, saying he was looking forward to welcoming them to the Summit.

Eyes on new era - global sports industry brings about new opportunities

Entering the post-pandemic era, the global economy is experiencing a new round of challenges, but this has also brought new development opportunities to the global sports industry, especially in the field of sports marketing. With the further opening up of the market, and the cross-industry integration of digital technology, the overall growth potential of the industry has a very exciting future. It is crucial, therefore, for sports stakeholders and the industry to make good use of the World Sport & Business Summit, a unique, global and high-end sports exchange platform to meet under one roof and explore these opportunities.

Gibbs commented that the Summit would focus on the huge possibilities the power of sport brings, while providing solutions and new inspiration in areas that pose significant challenges to International Federations and the sports industry at large.

According to Gibbs, the two-day Summit Plenary will be held on 10-11 April and aim to cover a lot of topical ground, from gaming to Artificial Intelligence to what sport can actually do about online abuse. The contrast between the stability of North American leagues and their open European counterparts will be examined, with the backdrop of an environment of increasing competition for fans’ attention and where institutional investors are taking a much greater interest in sports rights. In addition, the Summit will explore new and potentially revolutionary data-led approaches to reduce sport injuries which are applicable to all sports.

Mark Rein, Vice President and Co-Founder, Epic Games (developer of Fortnite), Mohammed Ben Salayem, President, FIA, and Jonathan Hirshler, Co-founder and CEO, Signify, will tackle each of these areas. On top of that, delegates will have plenty of opportunity to discuss directly with speakers and fellow attendees in special break-out areas across the Summit.

What is "the power of sport"

Regarding the theme of the Summit, "The Power of Sport," Gibbs also gave his own analysis. He believes that transcending barriers and bringing people together is a well-known value of sport. Importantly, sport often brings positive change outside of the world of sport. Gibbs mentioned, “working in global sport, this is something we are lucky enough to experience in our everyday lives: The Power of Sport is very real!”

The Summit is essentially a platform focusing on sport’s major influence on the world, with all the key changes currently reshaping the sports world in the spotlight. Delegates will benefit from the lessons learned by leading esports and gaming experts, get insights into how the most successful sports on the planet are overcoming uncertain fan engagement, and hear the latest on the role of Artificial Intelligence in sport in 2024 and beyond.  Experts include Sulabh Soral, Head of AI, Deloitte UK, Jonathan Hirshler, CEO, Signify and Beth Johnson, Managing Director, Umbrella.

Gibbs believes that as global sport moves forward at a different pace, in different cultures and sporting landscapes, the industry is also asking itself many important questions on purpose, meaning and impact. With this in mind, delegates will also be able to take a deep dive into a wide range of pressing topics in the World Sport & Business Summit’s four dedicated conference streams - CityAccord, LawAccord, HealthAccord and MediaAccord – where subject matter experts will open up on the latest host city needs, the high profile legal challenges facing global sport, as well as athlete roles in governance, athlete mental health, female athlete development and the effects of life-changing decisions made. Representatives from some of the world’s biggest media and associated organisations will also focus on major events, including delegations from Paris 2024 and LA 2028.

The World Sport & Business Summit hopes to return to China

Yutang Sports specifically asked Martin Gibbs about his vision for the Summit and whether it would return to China. Gibbs said, “with so much focus in global sport right now on engaging with China’s exciting fan base and building strategic partnerships to develop global sports in China - alongside China’s own focus on sport and active lifestyles - China would certainly be a potential host for future editions of the SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit.”

SportAccord 2024 - join world’s leading sports industry experts

Meet renowned global experts in sport, industry and academia and join over 1,500 delegates and exhibitors at SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit on 7-11 April at the award-winning International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham - West Midlands.

Click here to register now.

About SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit 

The SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit brings together around 1,500 leaders and key decision makers from over 120 International Federations (IFs), the International Olympic Committee, and organisations involved in the business of sport. 

The Summit provides an unrivalled platform enabling global business leaders and host cities to have access to all the International Federations and their stakeholders in one location over several days. 

This unique event is a combination of official sports meetings, networking gatherings, a themed conference programme, and exhibition space enabling International Federations, industry, cities and regions to showcase and advance their sport, services and facilities. 


SportAccord is a sports event organisation based in the Olympic Capital, Lausanne, Switzerland, and governed by stakeholders representing the Olympic and non-Olympic International Federations.  

It brings together International Federations and organisations involved in the business of sport with the aim to serve, promote and protect the common interests of its stakeholders, help them achieve their global objectives and facilitate knowledge-sharing.

SportAccord’s stakeholders include:

ASOIF (Association of Summer Olympic International Federations)

WOF (Winter Olympic Federations)

ARISF (Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations)

AIMS (Alliance of Independent Recognised Members of Sport)

Visit SportAccord.sport for more information.

About Yutang Sports

As one of SportAccord's Principal Media Partners, Yutang Sports is a Chinese leading sports marketing and media platform, with an ultimate mission to connect China and world through sports. After years of growing, Yutang Sports, with a comprehensive media and marketing promotion system, is now dedicating to reporting sports business and marketing trends, providing sports business news, analysis, and exclusive data reports in both Chinese and English. Having been cooperated with top-level domestic and international sports summits, Yutang Sports is opening a window for Chinese sports industry to embrace the world.

Tags: SportAccord


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