“Our model is every game is someone’s first game so you want to set the bar really high for the first game of the season but then you want to do this at the next game”: JULIE UHRMAN - SportNXT 2024

“Anything can be turned around if it is giving an opportunity. Create opportunity by generating interest from the fan base.”: SHAUN HARVEY - SportNXT 2024

“The Women’s World Cup and the CommBank Matildas have showed us that if we invest in women’s sport, we will get the rewards.”: JAMES JOHNSON - SportNXT 2024


“Time ultimately allows great brands to develop, it doesn’t happen over night…”: JAY MONAHAN - SportNXT 2023



Elevating to a Gold Partner of SportNXT in 2024, MKTG Sports and Entertainment in conjunction with official Research and Insights Partner, dentsu Sports Analytics were heavily integrated across the 2-day SportNXT summit. As industry leaders in helping brands and rights holders move at the speed of fans through meaningful marketing solutions and experiences, our MKTG and dentsu Sports Analytics delegates were fortunate to hear from some of the world’s most credentialed voices in sport and business.

Here are our top five key takeouts:

1. The slowest pace of technology is happening now.

25 years ago, the tech guy at a stadium was in a dark room in the basement, now they have a seat at the exec table and are a key driver of revenue. We must use tech as an enabler to create new fan experiences. The new generation of fan is here and now is the time to change the way we create and deliver content. AI and connected devices are set to aid to bring new fan experiences to life by enabling brands and rights holders to become more efficient, effective and creative.

Hyper-personalisation is a way to engage fans as it provides continuous surprise and delight. However, brands must invest in innovations that can reach the masses to be successful in this space.

“We want to be where sports fans are – as we invest more and more in social platforms, we are lifting our reach and those sports fans are coming across to more traditional platforms” – Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN.

2. A lot of progress has been made on gender equity; however, the job is not done, we need to prioritise our focus on diversity in all its forms to address the broader problem.

As sport it is important to take a leadership position in society. This starts with the role of sport as an inclusive and equitable environment for all involved. As leaders in sport, we should not define people by what they don’t know, but what they are willing to contribute and learn. If we want to see collective and systemic impact in sport, we need to talk about the economic impact of diversity. Organisations need to integrate core business, not as a “nice to have” after thought.

3. East meets West meets East – With 59% of the world’s population residing in Asia, the time is now to use sport to connect global fans.

In the last 18 months, we have seen many long domestic media rights deals agreed. So, we can expect to see little activity domestically in the next 3 years but expect a lot globally. This highlights the opportunity for Eastern brands to broaden their horizons and vice versa for Western brands. There are many emerging superpowers in the East when it comes to sport. We heard from Qatar and India – Both nations have hosted large world championship events in recent years and as a result are seeing increased participation in women and girls.

“The East and West need to understand each other more” – Echo Li, Global CCO, dentsu Sports International.

4. Women’s sport was a sleeping giant. It is now awake and it is coming.

Over the last 12 months, we have seen an unprecedented rise in women’s sport. We heard at the conference that sport is sport and fans are fans – people need to stop thinking this is a moment in time. In fact, for every $1 a brand spends in women’s sport, they get $7.29 of value in return. Now is the time for brands to think differently when it comes to women’s sport. The same sponsorship models that work in men’s sport may not work in women’s sport.

The media also have a part to play in amplifying the women’s sport movement. The media must get the balance right between men’s and women’s sport stories, but this will need to be a joint effort with the rights holders who have to ensure access so that stories can be told.

“We set out to build a culture brand rather than a sports brand” – Kim Anderson

5. The power of participation to grow fanbase.

There are more sports than ever for fans to follow, making fanbase growth a consistent challenge for rights holders and clubs. Multiple speakers talked about participation being the number one way to create fans.

Sports fans are created in two keyways:

  • Play – participation in sports is the number one way fans are created and in Australia, basketball and soccer are the leaders.
  • Relationships – family/parents are influential to kids becoming fans, but this is diminishing as consumption habits are changing in younger adults, with 50% of screen time going towards social media and gaming.

“People involved in community footy are 6-7x more likely to become a member, go to a game or watch on TV. “ – Andrew Dillon, CEO , AFL

Other conference highlights:

Placing the community at heart (rather than the celebrity) allowed Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney to create a story relatable to all and take the Wrexham AFC value from $152k to $3.9m. Shaun Harvey spoke about the rapid rise of Wrexham by creating an environment at the club which centred around the same belief.  

“Value can be demonstrated in many ways – financial is one thing, but to provide belief to a whole community and fanbase – what is that actually worth?” Shaun Harvey – Wrexham

dentsu Sports Analytics was the official Research and Insights Partner SportNXT.

dentsu Sports Analytics is a global offering that brings together the best of dentsu’s sports and entertainment measurement, research, data and analytics capabilities. Built on over 30 years of experience delivering custom fan research and sponsorship measurement for some of the world’s leading sports and entertainment properties and brands.

As a proud partner of the SportNXT Conference, dentsu Sports Analytics supplied insights to speakers, panels and moderators throughout the conference.

We have compiled of all of the insights we provided across the two days here:

If you would like a copy of the full insights pack provided for the SportNXT conference please reach out to insights.au@mktg.com

Our CEO and Global MD Glenn Lovett spoke at the conference about closing the gap of full funnel sponsorship measurement.

MKTG’s Celebration of Sport saw conference delegates enjoy a night of inspiration and celebration.

MKTG’s annual Celebration of Sport event once again brought together industry leaders for a night of inspiration and celebration at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. Following Day One of SportNXT, over 300 guests joined MKTG for the chance to network with peers and colleagues from all over the world. Guests were treated to pre-drinks and a showcase on the hallowed turf of the ‘G, before making their way to the Olympic Room.

We would love to connect with you to keep the conversation going.

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