Building and Developing a Brand – Charlie Enright, Skipper of Vestas 11th Hour Racing Team






The International Sports Convention has been extremely well-attended on the opening morning of this year’s event at the Palexpo in Geneva.


Charlie Enright was the third speaker in the sports sponsorship conference and he began his presentation with a short film about life aboard the ocean as a skipper on a Round-The World Yacht Race.


Mr. Enright has twice competed in the 11-leg, nine-month marathon and he revealed that it was just as big a challenge to raise the 20 million dollars-worth of sponsorship in order to compete, as it was to actually sail around the globe.


Over 150 attendees were engrossed as he told of his adventures in what he described as ‘the longest and toughest sports team event on the planet.

Life on board a 65-foot carbon-fibre ocean racing vessel, with confined space, no amenities – and at sea for a month at a time, was enthusiastically described.


The 12-person (nine men three women) crew lived on freeze-dried food and visited some of the most treacherous points on the planet. An interesting statistic was revealed by Mr. Enright in that their adventures in the Southern Ocean had them so far away from civilization that the nearest humans to them were on the International Space Station.


Ultimately, according to Mr. Enright, the Round-The-World event is more than a race it is a global platform and a test of athletic endurance.


The race had 12 stop-overs, with an incredible 2.5 million people visiting the race villages. Over 1.2 million people followed the event on Facebook.


Mr. Enright gave a fascinating insight into many of the challenges facing the planet today, including sustainability, plastics in the ocean and the link between the environment and the sport.


The advantages of being a brand sponsor for such a colossal event were clear.


Inheritance, Practice and Innovation – Vincent Zhou, Vice President of Sinobo Group




Speaker – VINCENT ZHOU, Vice President, Sinobo Group


After a busy networking and catch-up session over lunch, the Sports Events, Tourism and Cities Conference resumed with a hugely enjoyable presentation from Vincent Zhou, Vice President of the Sinobo Group.

Mr. Zhou began by showing a film centered on the awarding of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games to Beijing.

Having been awarded the games, the organizers maintained to uphold three key understandings:

  1. Inherit the legacy of Olympic towns.
  2. Deliver what had been promised.
  3. Innovate a new business model.

The Winter Olympics enjoy great popularity, with a global tv audience of around two million. Unlike its Summer sister, over 70% of the Winter games are held outdoors.

Invariably, this means that many of the events are usually held away from a big city, usually somewhere with natural resources and landscape.

Some of the 2022 Winter Olympics will take place in Chongli, an area that enjoys 150 snow days per year. This is normally between three to four hours away from Beijing by car.

A new highway is being built to shorten the journey and new high-speed railway networks are hoping to cut the journey to around 35 minutes.

Design of the Taizicheng town commenced in October 2017

The Taizicheng winter sports town is set to become an important Olympic village and design began in October 2017.

With a construction site of 1.5 million square metres the new development will incorporate a variety of new infrastructure and facilities, including railway, winter sports facilities, real estate, hotels, cultural and creative facilities, medical and educational facilities and theatres and music venues.

Mr. Zhou spoke about delivering a resort that was athlete-centered during the games, maintained the sustainability of the region and was economically viable.

In summary, the speaker emphasized the legacy that would be put in place for the post-games period. An Olympic tower would serve as a reminder of the event, the resort would be the gateway for eight ski resorts.

The message, above all, is that Sport can drive tourism, providing the infrastructure is put in place.




Events as Entertainment – Klaus Schormann, President of UIPM World Pentathlon


Speaker – Dr. HC KLAUS SCHORMANN, President, UIPM World Pentathlon


The International Sports Convention 2018 was delighted to welcome Dr HC Klaus Schormann as a speaker on the first afternoon of this year’s event.

Dr Schormann spoke with passion about the sport of Modern Pentathlon and its proud heritage.

Modern Pentathlon was created as early as 708BC and has been included in the Olympic Games for the first time in 1912.

The five traditional events of fencing, swimming, riding, pistol shooting and cross country running have historical pillars but Dr Schormann accepts that the sport faces challenges to attract new athletes.

He mentioned that steps have already been taken to widen its appeal. Originally it was a sport that was popular amongst military – usually male – athletes.

Wider masses are now involved and since the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, women have competed.

“The Modern Pentathlon is now all about Creating Events and Entertaining People”, stated Dr Schormann.

“It is being played increasingly on beaches – and we are speaking to groups of hotels -who would normally offer water-skiing and the like, to try our sport.”

For the first time the sport will be featured in the Urban Games, due to be staged next year in Los Angeles. “It is important we take it to big mega-cities”, emphasized the speaker.

With laser shooting becoming increasingly popular, the sport also accepts that it is a fun way of engaging participants – it is something that people can try easily, even in shopping malls and on the street. It is a way of promoting and driving tourism also.

“The sport is open to all,” said the speaker. “We hope we are heading in the right direction.

Dr Schormann also paid huge credit to the Para-Olympic Movement and their participation with Para Pentathlon.

“Everything that we try and do is set up and is linked to respect. We also pay respect to all the religious groups, so we are careful in the way we present this.”

Developing an economically sustainable sports resort – by Eduardo Ruiz, La Manga Club Resort


Speaker – EDUARDO RUIZ General Director, La Manga Club Resort

The International Sports Convention 2018 was delighted to welcome Eduardo Ruiz to address the Sports Events, Tourism and Cities Conference.

Mr. Ruiz is the General Director of the La Manga Club Resort.

An entertaining introduction revealed some of the background of the resort, since its inception in 1971.

The first owner had laid the foundations in the Murcia Region, in an under-developed area of land between Alicante and Malaga.

Mining and agriculture had always been the two major industries in the region but there was always the knowledge that tourism was vital, if it could be encouraged.

Initially, two 18-hole championship golf courses, a hotel, some apartments and villas were built.

Without generating the necessary number of customers, the original owner went bankrupt. Mr. Ruiz then told how European Ferries, initially in 1981, and then P & O in 1992, took on the project and expanded it, with a further golf course, more houses, a tennis centre, a cricket centre and some FIFA-standard football pitches, were added.

In 2006 there were further difficulties but an association with the Murcia Tourist Board has now steered La Manga to unheralded success.

The growth since those days has been phenomenal, with tourism aiding not only the resort, but also the whole of the Murcia region.

Visitors, overnight stays, total revenue, daily spend, and job employment has risen dramatically.

The area is blessed with over 300 sunny days each year, with a guaranteed daily climate of between 22 and 25 degrees.

As such, the resort is popular with football teams from all around Europe that are looking for a base for some warm-weather training.

From the bleak outlook that the resort faced 40 years ago, it is now a thriving hub for major international sport.

The 560 acres of land (which is three times the size of Monaco) has hosted the Spanish Open golf championship on five occasions, plus many other golf competitions. There have been countless football and rugby matches and in 2017 La Manga hosted a Federations Cup tennis tie between Spain and Paraguay, with 5,000 people in attendance.

Mr. Ruiz closed by saying, “We are a small place but we are very proud of it.”

The Digital Transformation of Football Conference – by Joao Presa, COO & co-founder of



Subject – Welcome

Speaker – Joao Presa, COO and co-founder, mycujoo

The second day of the International Sports Convention 2018 opened in Geneva with a welcome message from Joao Presa, a co-founder of mycujoo, the live football streaming platform.

Mr. Presa spoke about his company’s four-year journey to transform digitalization in football.

He outlined the various subjects to be discussed during the day, including the disruption of digital data in football and what the industry is doing about it.

The speaker trailed a discussion about how the organizers buy and sell rights and how the business side and fans side are being brought together.

Throughout the day contributors are being urged to update the content of this conference using the hashtag #cujoocon

Review of ISC Geneva 2018 and Road to London ISC 2020

The International Sports Convention 2018 has attracted huge numbers this year to enjoy listening and engaging with speakers across a wide variety of sports.


Michael Cole, Chief Technology Officer for The European Tour, spoke of his pleasure and privilege to be speaking and mentioned his time slot – between football and tennis speakers. “These are two of the great pioneers of the digital age. Rüdiger Muller has just talked about his sport having its greatest FIFA World Cup. Digitally, golf has just staged the greatest Ryder Cup of all-time.


Mr. Cole began by touching on golfs history, its traditions and myths.


“Some may say the sport is in decline, I want to dispel that. There is a younger generation coming through. Three of the four ‘Major’ winners last year were under 25. Golf is steeped in its origins but we – as a rights holder – are driving the transformation of the sport.

“Innovations recently have included the six-hole competition, the shot-clock event and the knock-out format.”


The European Tour is a global event and he reminded everyone that it has the shortest close-season in sport – three days. The 2018 season finished a fortnight ago,” he said. “And we’ve already had our first event in the 2019 tour.”


Mr. Cole then spoke about the digital success achieved by The European Tour at the recent Ryder Cup, held outside Paris.


“This was the first time it was taken outside UK and Ireland since Valderrama in 1997.”


Mr. Cole talked about the challenges of this event, but digitally, he mentioned the following underpinning themes.

  • Going ‘digital’ is no longer a choice but a necessity
  • Create new ways to widen the interest and broaden the audience
  • Change the conversation in golf – focus on entertainment
  • Scaled for engagement, and designed for uptime
  • Delivering the most CONNECTED golf event EVER


The event itself was hugely popular, with over 275,000 spectators enjoying the action live, with 7,000 of them occupying the huge temporary stand surrounding the First Tee.


For those watching at home, the event was brought to life by The European Tour and their digital platforms. The speaker described it as the most connected and intelligent golf infrastructure ever and a huge success for the sport and its commercial partners also.


“We believe the Ryder Cup 2018 achieved all our key objectives”.

Review of ISC Geneva 2018 and Road to London ISC 2020






The opening conference at this year’s International Sports Convention (2018) centered upon Sports Sponsorship.

Murray Barnett is the Director of Sponsorship & Commercial Partnerships, Formula 1 ® and he outlined his background in rugby and with ESPN before talking about the challenges that Formula 1 ® face.

On joining the sport’s new owners, Liberty Management, two years ago, Mr Barnett reflected that it was commonplace to hear phrases, such as:

“Formula 1 ® doesn’t care about its fans”.

“It’s not about the drivers”.

“It’s only for rich people”.

The challenge is now to address these concerns and many more and the management company has released a mission statement, with the aim to:

‘Unleash The Greatest Racing Spectacle On The Planet’.

Its goals are to:

Have Wheel to Wheel Racing.

Broaden & Deepen Fan Engagement.

Have Unmissable Entertainment.

Have A Global Marketing Campaign.

Mr Barnett then revealed that Chase Carey, the chief executive officer and executive chairman of the Formula One Group, has made comparisons with the Super Bowl and wants Formula 1 ® to be ’21 Super Bowls each year.’

With over four million people attending Grand Prix annually, the importance of looking after the fans was highlighted, with added emphasis on Fan Zones and Fan Festivals, going forward.

Mr Barnett completed his presentation by fielding questions relating to making the sport more competitive (Ross Brawn is heading up a team that is looking into that), the role of women motor racers and their route to racing in Formula 1 ® , plus a brief talk about branding within the sport.

Engaging fans through digital: Reaching the modern sports fan with data-powered content – Matthieu Lille-Palette, Senior Vice President, Perform Content

Subject – Engaging fans through digital:

Reaching the modern sports fan with data-powered content

Speaker – Matthieu Lille-Palette, Senior Vice President, Perform Content


The final afternoon of the International Sports Convention 2018 saw a resumption in the Sports Digital Conference, with a presentation by Matthieu Lille-Palette, Senior Vice President of Perform Content.


Mr Lille-Palette talked about his company’s data-gathering platform, Opta, which has made them the world leader in this field.


“We collect, package and distribute detailed sports data to clients across the world. We work with the biggest leagues, broadcasters and technology providers in the sports market.


“The Opta brand is recognised by consumers and publishers as an assurance of high-quality, impartial, statistics.


“Opta is the heartbeat of the company”, said the speaker. “We gather the information, store it into our databases and it will be delivered promptly to clients and customers”.


“We are uniquely positioned to drive the global soccer narrative for the fans”.


The speaker then talked through a normal matchday and the way that Opta can aid fans, media, analysts, pundits, commentators and betting companies, showing and sharing the relevant information.


From checking updated team news from early in the morning , to using information to set fantasy teams, through announcement of teams or pre-match statistics for broadcasters. Throughout the game Opta would update facts and stats, and be essential for half time – and then post-match analysis.


Opta’s strength is their capacity to gather the information – and to gather it in four categories:


Press Release: ISC London 2020

December 6, 2018

International Sports Convention heads to London for ISC 2020

 The organisers of the International Sports Convention today announce that the 2020 edition will take place in London.


ISC London will take place in June 2020. This will coincide with other major sporting events held in London in particular, part of the UEFA EURO 2020 Championships. The exact ISC 2020 dates are to be finalised and further details of the venue will be communicated shortly.


The ISC 2020 in London will have a new, fresh and innovative approach with a 2 day Sports Business Summit plus other business and networking events, taking place over the week.


Nigel Fletcher – CEO of the International Sports Convention: “We are excited with moving to London. In particular, our new approach focusing even more on the content, networking and making the delegate experience truly remarkable. The customer journey will start way before the actual event in June 2020 and further details of this will be communicated shortly. The format of ISC 2020 will ensure more business networking opportunities and platforms with an unrivalled customer experience. Full information and details on our new, fresh and innovative approach will be released in January 2019. It will be a truly global event.


Whilst this is extremely positive and exciting, it is also sad to say goodbye to Geneva. Geneva has been ISC home for the last 6 years and 3 editions and have been an excellent host. I would like to thank all partners involved in the planning and delivery of ISC Geneva 2014, 2016 and 2018 editions. A special mention to the three main partners: venue hosts: Palexpo and the institutional partners of Ville de Genève and Canton Geneva. It is certainly not farewell, the company group of ISC will also be announcing other events and initiatives in the Lake Geneva Region, which is home to many global sports bodies and organisations”.


Next year will mark 10 years of the International Sports Convention and in an every changing digital world, ISC will be making necessary changes to match the needs and interest of the Global Sports Business Industry.


ISC is owned by Sports Development Marketing, who also owns brands such as: International Sports Chamber of Commerce, International Sports Awards and other sports business events.


For more information, check out www.iscgeneva.comand follow ISC on Twitter.

Panel Discussion – Developing best in class digital services to engage the next generation of sports fan

Subject – Panel Discussion – Developing best in class digital services to engage the next generation of sports fan


Sean Conroy, Commercial Partnerships Director, Genius Sports

Rudiger Muller, Head of Digital, FIFA

Christoph Heimes, Senior Director, Digital Media, Platforms & Services, Infront Sports and Media

Karim Saade, Head of Dawri Plus Product, Intigral

Joao Presa, Co-founder and COO of mycujoo

Daniel Rossomondo, SVP, Global Partnerships, Head of Global Media and Business Development, NBA



Sean Conroy told the audience about his company, Genius Sports, ahead of the Panel Discussion which closed the International Sports Convention 2018.


Genius Sports are a global leader in sports data and technology, occupying unique intersection between sports, betting and media sectors.


Mr Conroy was then joined on stage by the other five panel members, who introduced themselves in turn ahead of the discussion on ‘Developing best in class digital services to engage the next generation of sports fan’.


Each panellist discussed how sports digital content affected had influenced their sport and spoke on  a number of other issues…..


The panel was asked if digital usage may ultimately have an effect on the pecking order of the world’s top 10 sports.


Mr Muller, FIFA, felt that the global appeal of live football wouldn’t be affected but stated that, “Digital as a tool is possibly influencing smaller sports to bring them to a greater prominence”.


Mr Heimes agreed, although gave a warning. “Football still has its big stars but I feel that we are still at the beginning of an adoptive curve at the start of the digital age. The e-sports market is still a relatively small phenomenon but it’s interesting how the growth is being measured. More and more are interested in pitting themselves against the athlete on e-sports.


“The playing of e-sports is so popular it has now overtaken all other sports, bar football in popularity.


“Right now, people still can’t get enough of seeing big teams playing big Champions League matches but I’m not 100% sure that will be the same in 10 years time, some people might get tired of that.”


Mr Conroy talked about the way that betting companies are fuelling some smaller sports. “It’s true to say that digital technology of all sizes has enabled sports to reach new audiences. But do they continue to watch? How do you keep them interested and engaged.

“One industry trend is in betting, consumers are betting on some smaller sports through their mobile devices and remaining engaged with it. Their challenge then will be, Have a Fan, Keep A Fan.


Mr Rossomondo spoke about the change in betting legislation in the United States and it’s effect, hoping that it would bring new fans and new levels of engagement. He mentioned that one of the biggest challenges in the digital world is for sports that use Facebook and Google to reach to their consumers, although pointed put that the NBA was a partner of them. “They’re neither enemies or competitors – we’re partners with them but for sport to put them between us and our consumers is a big challenge”.


Mr Presa felt that the power is with the fans. “We segregate the data to be used but the power is definitely with the fans because if you don’t adapt to the way of the consumer you will lose them.”


Mr Saade, from Intigral, said, “Data is a process, not an objection on its own. It helps you understand what users like, what they want. You can use it and take it to sponsors, pointing out if they want highlights, or if they want fantasy, or whatever”.


All six members of the panel engaged in a further number of topics and fielded questions from the audience. The organisers greatly appreciated the input, as a very successful conference was brought to a close.