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The GSFB 2012 Starts Out Right

8 March 2012

Day One at the Global Sports Forum Barcelona 2012 was simply outstanding. This day began by flying on Air France from Seattle to Barcelona which was a real treat. I finally got to see the movie Moneyball on the airplane, it really is a must see flick, Sports Techie.

Once here in Spain, I had the pleasure of shuttling to the magnificent, Hotel Rey Juan Carlos I, with Kevin Roberts, Editorial Director, Sports Business Group, Chris King, Managing Director, Sports Recruitment International, and Stefano Bernabino, Chief Editor at EuroSport International. It was fun getting to connect with two of the GSFB Moderators and bond with all three before the event was even underway.

The event and official opening were held at the Palau De Congressos De Catalunya for the fourth year in a row. I first met fellow GSFB blogger Jack Long who came in from London, and Hubert Munya, @sportsmarketing, who lives in Paris. Jack was very sharp, respectful and a truly nice lad. I have known Hubert for two years now via social media so I came to Barcelona already considering him both colleague and friend.

The GSFB Welcome Address was elegantly stated by Xavier Trias, the Mayor of Barcelona. The theme at this program was: How Sport brings a city to life. A panel of four discussed this topic for an hour led by Kevin Roberts and Artur Peguera, TV3 news anchorman. Joining this group was Maite Fandos, Deputy Mayor, City of Barcelona, and Kelham Salter, Senior Policy Officer, Sports Unit, Greater London Authority.

I found it interesting that much of the sportsbiz that Barcelona went through in order to host the 1992 Olympic Games was mostly the same as what London is going through in terms of how it impacts each countries economy. Many local jobs opportunities are created. Town planning is another positive residual, in addition to, all the major investment in new infrastructure upgrades and reusable stadiums.

Integration with future generations is a major social issue that planners must be aware of when taking on big events. Volunteers are the lifeblood of a major event and both cities felt that one key to a successful Games is to work to keep the volunteer force happy and engaged after the event ends. More targeted Social Media campaigns aimed specifically to the volunteers and youth may be an answer to some of their volunteer retainment dilemmas.

Hosting a World Cup and Olympic Games attracts more sports and non-sport events and sponsors to the host city because of the capital investments in the city and massive worldwide publicity opportunity. Maite stated that, “Clubs over one hundred years old create a network of Clubs,” which was something Kelham agreed with about London in terms of being supremely supportive to the causes. She also shared that many events hosted in Barcelona are not for profit only. A brief discussion about Tax Breaks for events made me think about how this incentive can make or break the bottom line, especially for smaller sized cities. Both public and private contributions, plus sponsor support, are critical elements to hosting a major event.

U.S.A. Swimming Olympic Medal winner Donna de Varona jumped up on stage with the panel to share her knowledge about women in sports and how on June 23rd, 1972, Title IX was instituted by fellow Whittier College Poet, President Richard Nixon. I dug down deep and found Donna on twitter @Backsoftball. She was very passionate when discussing how far women have come in sports and business since the days when she competed, and the real need for sports women to give back to help grow each sport.

I later asked Kelham about the London 2012 Olympic Games and wanted to know how sports technology influences the stakeholders? He shared that he was happy about the amount of sports tech that the London Games will help showcase.

This first night finished up with an engaging and interactive cocktail party, plus a fun Bossaball exhibition. Many of the delegates and speakers are going to the FC Barcelona game later tonight to soak in the wonderful atmosphere of a Champions League football match live and in person at the famous ‘Camp Nou’ stadium.

Tomorrow, I cannot wait to start the day off with the program: When the NFL Comes to Barcelona. This will be moderated by USC Professor, Alan Abrahamson, and features speaker, Justin Tuck, of the 2012 NFL World Champions, New York Giants.

I will see ya, when I see ya, Sports Techie

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