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Day Two of Global Sports Forum Barcelona was Fan-Tastic

9 March 2012

First, I must tell you that the GSFB has a translation technology Solution in place to help those of us who does speak English, Spanish, Catalan and French.

Towards the end of the day, the #GFSB Trophies Ceremony proved to be Sports Techie in that the new Stadium Innovation Trophy was given together with partner Stade France and awarded to Juventus FC. The new facility is state-of-the-art and chock full of innovative sports technology. Ben Taverner, Head of Sales, was a delight to meet after the Trophies Ceremony was finished. Juventus FC stadium is formerly known as the Stadio delle Alpi which means ‘From the Alps.’

Ben shared that Sony installed a large Maxi screen, plasma monitors in the Luxury Suites, as well as Monitors behind the back of chairs of 600 seats, just like in an airplane or car. This is the first stadium to offer a Premier seating package to their fans. Security is handled by Ski Data who also supplies some of the Ticketing software, along with a company named Lottimatica. There is no athletic track as in other Italian stadiums that surround the pitch, rather, the fans are right on top of the football action just eight meters away from the field. The stadium is considered to be family friendly because of the game area environment includes a museum and shopping area that turns a soccer match into day long fanfare. It is interesting to note that this new stadium in the first new one in Italy since the 1990 World Cup. It was built with private funding not public money, a sports business model that is newer to Italy. Ben ended his acceptance speech by stating that next for up Juventus is entry back into the Champions League in 2013.

The GSFB Social Media award was earned by the UFC. Amy Martin and the UFC SM team do a Fan-Tastic job, I know this because I met them in person during a UFC Fight Night event held in Seattle during 2011 which I blogged about. The voting criteria were centered on how SM is leveraged to attract and engage the online community. Believe me, the UFC does this right. The expert panel that voted consisted of last year’s GSFB winners and speakers.

The crossover of sport and entertainment is loaded with technology. One of the highlight of this trip thus far was to get 15 minutes together with Hope Solo in the press room because we both hail from Washington State. Hope is the U.S. Women’s Soccer team goalie. She was part of the panel that discussed Sports and entertainment, bridging the gap, otherwise known as, ‘sportainment.’ She has impressive endorsements with Nike and Gatorade. Hope discussed her entry into entertainment via Dancing with the Stars or DTWS. Warner Brothers and Coca- Cola also participated in this forum. Warner Brother has developed an interactive Art program based on ‘Superhero’s’ like Superman, ala, Dwight Howard, of the Orlando Magic in the NBA. Is is easier to use this kind of terminology to describe star players skill levels. ‘Messi is Superman’ says it better than stating that, ‘Messi is one of the best playmakers on the planet’ in the eyes of today’s youth.

I enjoyed hearing about the new Heineken ‘Star Player’ Fan-tastic technology which was built to satisfy their fans passion points. A new term I learned is ‘channelized’ which sounds real Sports Techie, no. It was my pleasure to meet, Justin Tuck, a star player on the New York Giants NFL team that won Super Bowl XVI. He was here to be part of the panel that talked about: When the NFL comes to Barcelona. Justin was accompanied by Tony Richardson and the NFLPA.

Perhaps my favorite program was: Changing the Rules: emerging sports and new ways to play. Lucien Boyer, General commissioner of the GSFB, was the Moderator. Joining him was Peter Bayer, CEO of the new Youth Olympic Games, Amy Lupo, Senior Director, Marketing & Content, ESPN X Games, Gary Ream, CEO of the International Skateboard Federation, and Kevin Rolland, French freestyle skier. This chat was focused on ‘The Power of Youth.’ My sportsbiz intuition tells me that Barcelona will be awarded the opportunity to host one of the new International X Games events in 2013. The final list will be unveiled in April. I understand better now why the Youth Olympic Games is an awesome event to keep your eye on because they will be in China come the summer of 2014, and Lillehammer during the winter of 2016.

I later spoke with Peter, Amy, Gary and Kevin. Peter has a two year old son that keeps him very connected to the youth mentality. Amy has serious Klout with this demographic group and is a women’s sport pioneer. Meet Gary at the evening dinner and was blown away by him in terms of his passion, Professionalism and vision. Kevin was asked by Lucien about the role of video games and if they can help train kids to learn how to freestyle ski or snowboard. His answer was sincere, however, it was a bit off in my opinion. He said that gaming is a wonderful tool but did not think that it could help a child improve his skills. I was able to share with Kevin later on that he might want to pay more attention to the rapid development of technology like the Kinect, as well as understand that what we have in place today will pale in comparison to the game technology that will be in place in the next decade and century. Awe inspiring if you think about it.

Well, day three of the GSFB is here. Time to go to it, Sports Techie, cheers!

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