“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



Day 2 Welcome Address & Day 1 Recap

Bart Campbell – Co-Founder SportNXT

Bart Campbell opened Day 2 with a recap and his key takeaways from Day 1. 

“It’s clear the rich are getting richer and the poor are at risk. The focus on the have not, unfortunately for the Olympic sports, they largely sit in this bucket.”

“The challenge to remain relevant has never been greater.”

“There is an examination of the governance model and whether this model allows them to evolve. We heard the need for them to reinvent themselves and not copy the major commercial beasts in the sport.”

“AI is here to stay. The slowest pace of tech that we enjoy, is the tech that we use today. Tech is speeding up.”

“Cricket is going to be at the LA Olympics, ultimately to enable the Olympic movement to capture markets it hasn’t been able to capture previously.” 

“The gap between winners and losers has bever been bigger”

Bart Campbell asks the question “Have we reached the point where social media is mainstream media?” 

“Diversity is core business, not a box tick, it will deliver economic benefits to your business and should form part of your business plan. Diversity is normal. Women are role models for all.”

“Sport remains behind Healthcare and Education and it needs to catch up.”

“Equity in participation is critical for all, diversity from the field to the boardroom is  critical. It requires uncomfortable conversations which none of us enjoy but we have to be comfortable being uncomfortable.” 

“Data continues to be important to our industry, helping to understand audiences and fans, and more importantly commercial revenues from commercial partnerships.”

“There is a changing landscape for NSO, and for them to grow, they need NSO-owned infrastructure and stadiums.” 

“Key takeaways from Julie Urhman was ‘value the product, don’t discount it, deliver an amazing experience, consistency of excellence is very important'”.


Shine Brightest, Together In A Games Year

With the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games only months away, momentum is gathering pace for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Hear from the President of the Brisbane 2032 Organising Committee, Andrew Liveris on how the smallest region to ever Host a Games is harnessing communities across Australia and abroad to prepare for the biggest global event.

Troy De Haas introduces Andrew Liveris.

Andrew Liveris: “‘What a year it’s been, progress, passion, and some pain. Sport is such an integral part of our nations, we are so passionate about sport, we have to ask ourselves why.”

“The intersection delivers significant economic and social legacy impact, and it encourages a healthy and active lifestyle. It unites, excites and inspires communities and next generations as one.”

“Our planning and our progression is paving the way for future hosts and future hosts cities. We are developing a prototype for an affordable and flexible game. A global event that fits the local region, not the other way around.”

“Were in this to win it – as a city, as a state, and as a region. We want it to be a game to be part of, and be proud of.”

How can Brisbane 2032, create a value generating model 

“Our games is to push the boundaries on pre-existing timelines, moving up our model of success.”

“A key difference and driver is to work together and we need to work together now.”

“We need to learn, build knowledge, so we can embrace new technology and sustainable advancement, and champion diversity and inclusivity.”

“Our immediate focus is tow folds, the first is to Paris 2024, the second is to refine our venues masterplan. Our mission is simple, to learn from Paris.”

“Whilst it is a gift to host the games, Australia offers the gift of a lifetime to visitors.”

“We are going to take full advantage of executing innovation in everything we do.”

“There is a necessity to disrupt 8 years out from the games so we can fully align on outcomes we can support, so all stakeholders and the community can buy into the legacy outcome and the value that the two events will bring to the state.”

“Expect the unexpected when planning for a games.” 


Game On for Next-Gen Sports

US sports fandom is on the rise in Australia and ESPN is growing its NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and UFC programming foothold with young and highly engaged audiences. Asia-Pacific head of ESPN, Kylie Watson-Wheeler, will share key insights into next-gen sports fans, who they are, what makes them tick, and how they’re broadening Australian sports consumption.

Kylie Watson-Wheeler: “Deep dive into the changing behaviours of fans and the rise of US fandom in Australia.”

ESPNs Key target audiences are the emerging sports fans.  

“There are two main pathways to becoming a fan, playing and relationships.”

“Young people now have a wider availability of sport and consumption trends are changing. They have more control over what to watch including on their own devices. Younger cohort is not a stereotypical sportsfan.”

“Sport needs to live alongside other passions and the key is integrating them together, otherwise we will be overlooked”

“Social media and gaming accounted for 50% of screen time for youth aged 13 to 24.”

“Young fans aged 16 to 24 follow 7.5 sports.”

“Not all Australian sports fan are defined by Australian sports.”

“The new generation of fans is here and they are changing the landscape for us all.”

“Last year’s Superbowl was ESPNs most viewed event in Australia.”

“We are adapting fully to the various platforms and social channels, to meet fans where they are, to create as many entry points as possible.”

“We changed our tone of voice from serious to more fun and casual on our platforms. ESPN is the most followed brand on TikTok, it also has 25 million views on YouTube, and at the end of 2023, ESPN had a combined 270 million followers.”


Chairman of ESPN, Jimmy Pitaro, will join Kylie virtually in conversation about ESPN’s leadership and innovation in sports content, products, and experiences for sports fans globally.

MODERATOR: KYLIE WATSON-WHEELER – SVP & Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company (ANZ)

Kylie Watson-Wheeler starts the conversation by stating that there is no better time to be a sports fan than right now. 

Jimmy Pitaro: “I couldn’t agree more.”

“The power of live sports has never been more apparent. We have the talent, the production expertise, we have the history, and the culture of innovation that separates us and is enabling us to thrive in this environment.”

“Digital has been a priority at ESPN for a decade and we take pride in what we have established so far.”

“We focus on the customer, we create options for the sports fan, we service the sports fan anytime anywhere.”

“The focus on growing reach is not just here in the US it’s around the globe. So to be able to present our brand, the various platforms we have, and to present an opportunity to speak to the fan beyond just the US, that’s compelling from a lead perspective.”

“It’s a combination of factors that differentiates us from our competitors.”

Kylie Watson-Wheeler asks about the the importance of global reach:

“Having the ability to bring not just these multiple platforms in the state but being able to address their concern of focus is important. As we’re acquiring these rights, we’re thinking about global reach. We want to be where the sports fan is.”

“We know many of the sports fans are consuming sports traditionally but we also know that other fans, particularly the younger generations are consuming in another way and we need to be there.”

Jimmy Pitaro on the trends related to fandom. 

“Access. Fans want access during live games, that’s why we’ve considered and implemented the idea of mics on players so fans can access live conversations. Fans also want access to the athlete outside of the game. Very attractive for the younger audience.” 

Jimmy Pitaro on the landscape of women’s sport: “Ascending.” 

“It’s always been a priority at ESPN but it’s never been more of a priority than right now. It’s been fantastic to see the ratings growth.” 

“We’re not taking the foot off the gas, we want to continue pushing because we see the opportunity, we see the business opportunities”

“We do research and it’s amazing to see how much our brand is improving with our core audience, but also with casual fans. Particularly in our key categories, innovation, vision, fun.”

Jimmy Pitaro on innovation at the heart that ESPN does:

“Taking primary channels and making them directly available to consumers. We are working with our tech team to ensure that this product is compelling and we’re giving our sports fans reasons to engage in that way.”




Eddie McGuire opens the discussion by asking Andrew if the love of sport is the driving force behind his role. 

Andrew Dillon: “Yes. My whole family has been involved in sports. We were brought up going to the footy every weekend. The best part is being able to take that professional role now.”

“It’s really important for me to make sure that when my time’s up, there are two or three strong candidates to take over this role.”

Tasmania Devils – Announced the creation this week and already has 121,000 paid up members. 

“150+ years of heritage they have been able to draw on. There’s so much history and support they can draw from.”

How do we tell people the story. What do Tasmania need to do?:

“Best facility, centrally located, stadium at Macquarie point sets them up for success.”

How do you get people to turn up?

“Continue to make sure facilities are as good as they can be. People want to go somewhere that is bigger than them so we need to continue to invest in facilities for our patrons.”

“Affordability and accessibility is at the forefront. That’s why we’ve kept our General Admission tickets the same price over the last six years. We know it’s important and we want people to get to the game.” 

Andrew Dillon on participation level at the grassroots for AFL: “We provide 10% of the AFL revenues to community AFL which is an estimated $1 billion invested over the next 10 years. It’s about continuing to make the game accessible and affordable all around the country.”

“We are focusing on NSW and QLD as that’s where we see growth opportunities.” 

Andrew Dillon on penalising players for incidents: “It’s not about penalising players it’s about the health and safety of opposing players. We need to prioritise looking after their head and try to avoid any head injuries. We know there will be contact that is accidental but we’ve raised the bar for careless incidents.”

Andrew Dillon on using technology and having a chip in the ball: “It’s exciting and wil help us gather data. We are continuing to trial it and we need to make sure it does the job and that it is as close to 100% as possible.”

Andrew Dillon on illicit drugs in the sport: “We have had policies that have served us well. However, society changes and we need to change with it. We need to make sure our policies are as cutting edge as they can be. We need to evolve our illicit drug policy.” 

What’s your legacy piece?: “I don’t think about legacy but I see two main opportunities. The first one is the ALFW competition which has grown from 8 teams to 18 teams and we need to look at commercialisation opportunities for this competition. The second is that AFL is the country’s best game so we need to make it Australia’s best game.”


Before joining a detailed panel discussion on the commercialisation of women’s sport, Football Australia CEO James Johnson helps to set the scene by outlining the incredible sporting, economic and societal benefits that the record breaking FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 delivered.

James Johnson – CEO, Football Australia

James Johnson: “I’m excited to be here to give you insights on the societal and economical benefits of the FIFA’s Women’s World Cup.” 

“It didn’t happen overnight, It’s been a long journey.”

“Ensuring that the CommBank Matildas were accessible to the entire country was a non-negotiable. We were able to do this through our partnership with Channel 10.”

Went hard on the big issues. Only played in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to ensure the best support for the Matildas and ensured the Matildas became the stars of the world cup. 

“The World Cup is over but we have 1.7 million people who are highly engaged with the brand, the CommBank Matildas have sold out their past 12 home matches and are on track to sell out their 13th. Broadcast numbers are in the millions, not in the thousands.”

“64% of Australia’s population watched the Semi Final and it was the most watched TV event in Australian history.”

“The last 3 years has been a journey, tough and rewarding. It’s been an important period for the sport, it has left a legacy and changed the way that society views women’s sport.”

“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.” 

“Women’s sport is real and it’s here to stay. I encourage you all to commit and invest.”


From the WIPL to the FIFA World Cup, fans are flocking to, and deeply engaging with women’s codes, however growth in sustainable revenue has not kept pace? What are the catalysts and strategies that need to be considered in dramatically accelerating that curve?

MODERATOR: SARAH STYLES – Director, Office for Women In Sport & Recreation

JULIE UHRMAN – Co-Founder & President Angel City FC

ROWENA SAMARASINHE – Managing Director, GenSport; Partner, LEVEL

MICHAEL WILKINS – Managing Director, News Sport Network

JAMES JOHNSON – CEO, Football Australia

Sarah Styles opens the discussion by stating: “Every $1 that a corporate sponsor was investing in visibility of women’s sport received $7.29 back in customer value. That is $650m per annum.” 

“The conversation of sport report found that only 15% of news was focused on women’s sport in the buildup to the Women’s World Cup in 2023.” 

Julie Urhman on people reducing the success of Angel City to the fact that celebrities like Natalie Portman were involved: “The benefit is that it drives attention and awareness, it’s more than a football club, we are driving impact to drive revenue. Her audience is so broad and diverse and through that, we get people that we would never get caring about women’s sport, women’s football, then it’s up to the team to capitalise on the team to drive revenue and drive impact. All our celebrities who are involved support Angel City because they believe in what they’re doing.”

James Johnson on the journey of the Matildas to the World Cup: “We did not perform well in major competition. The team lost a lot of matches to European opposition which was a challenge ahead of the World Cup. We implemented a strategy where we invested in a schedule to ensure the team would play every top 10 nations in the world. It was tough but we kept reviewing our strategy and we believed in it. Players didn’t lose confidence and in the third year of the strategy we started to see the progress and success.” 

James Johnson on ‘How do you make people care?’: “We spent hours after the game engaging with the fans and the community. The team and the players genuinely bought into the story and the vision. When we sold the vision to the fans, we had already demonstrated that the players were committed to this. We had sponsors who bought the vision and helped us amplify the brand.”


Welcome To Wrexham

From Hollywood to North Wales, the five time Emmy award winning documentary ‘Welcome To Wrexham’ has followed the remarkable journey of actors Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds becoming owners of the third oldest professional football club in the world, Wrexham AFC. Get a behind the scenes perspective on this fascinating story from Wrexham Strategic Board Advisor, Shaun Harvey, and where he thinks it goes next….

Shaun Harvey opens by saying the objective is to connect Wrexham with the world. 

“The main reason for ownership was the town’s history and to provide hope to the town whilst offering something the community could get behind.” 

“The social media growth has been astronomical from 2020 to 2024 seeing an increase from 152,000 to 3,981,747 across all platforms.” 

Shaun Harvey highlights the impact of not taking ownership seriously, saying it can mess with the hearts and minds of a community.  

“It was worth nothing, it was an investment that has paid off. Now worth 9 million pounds.”

“Keep it simple and everyone can buy into those principles, when you do that, you’re bound to be successful and it’s going to be more enjoyable, if it’s more enjoyable you’re going to spend more time doing it, and if you spend more time doing it, you do a better job and it’s really rewarding.” 

Shaun Harvey on the injections into the team other than money: “Ultimately, it was exposure, the spotlight that had been shone and all of sudden everybody wanted to see what was going on. We successfully managed the football club in the town for the local community and built everything else around it. It remained relatable.”

Shaun Harvey comments on Rob and Ryan wanting to be at a game in person at the first possible chance after Covid19: “If you want to be there and believe in the club, your objectives are clearer and more likely to succeed. That’s why it’s working.”

“Focusing on the community rather than the owners is what has made the docuseries such a success”

“How much better can you make the people around feel by the virtue of what you’re doing?”

“We’re in a position where the community around the football club is proud.” 

“People are happy. People talk to each other in a positive way.” 

What is next?:

“Being able to take a football club from the 5th tier to the top tier in the shortest time possible.”

The Wrexham Effect:

“The ownership and success has now created a spotlight on the football league and non league football, making it attractive for overseas investment.”

“Wrexham was everyone’s favorite 2nd team until we started winning. The more you win, the more people will look to see you fail.”

“Anything can be turned around if it is giving an opportunity. Create opportunity by generating interest from the fan base.”

“Day 1 of minute 1. Wrexham is a Football club not a Football team. Both the mens and womens team are a priority and heavy investment is going into the women’s team, making them a semi-professional team.” 

“The increased exposure has given us better players and we provide a unique selling point for players by providing them with more exposure.”


KEYNOTE – How Do They Do It?

The Australian Open, it just gets bigger and bigger every year whilst consistently maintaining its place and reputation as the “friendly slam”, ranked #1 by fan and player alike. Chief Event Operations Officer Alex Hamilton draws back the curtain on how Tennis Australia continues to stay on top in growth and satisfaction.

ALEX HAMILTON – Chief Event Operations Officer, Tennis Australia

Alex Hamilton starts by introducing the Australian Open’s nickname, the ‘Happy Slam’. It’s all about fun, innovation and experience to bring people back.

The tournament saw 1.1 billion fans over the course of the tournament and Alex says “time is money and the fact it is so easy for the players to get to and from their accommodation is a unique selling point compared to the US and Wimbledon.”

The AO prides itself on its organistaion for the players. They book flights and accommodation in advance, run special events for the players before the tournament starts to allow them to acclimatize and give them the best match day experience.  

When talking about the challenges of the AO, Alex says “You never hear about the thousands of things that go right, you always hear about the one thing that goes wrong, but our culture is “say yes first” and the team never backs away from a challenge or new ideas”. Alex Highlights the importance of owning the mistake and the quickest way to fix it. 

Elevating the Fan Experience at this year’s tournament:

Courtside Bar – The tournament is pushing to get away from the norm of tennis tournaments and wants to make it more lively and loud. The challenge was to make sure the atmosphere was consistent throughout the tournament and small elements like music volume, security levels etc all had to be considered. In the end 134,000 people used the Courtside Bar and its important to understand the demographic of those consumers. 

Technology – The big aim was for AO to get key understandings of their fans and when and where people are coming, queuing, going, doing.  

The Ticket Platform used by AO is Safetix. The platform doesn’t allow you to screenshot your ticket and the ticket had to be downloaded into the app. Alex admits this didn’t work well and put stress on customer service. Admits that this is something that needs to be worked on.  

CASE STUDY – Getting Personal

What does it take to craft and realise effective fan personalisation strategies and outcomes? This session examines how leading organisations are divining the future of personalisation.

MODERATOR: JARRAD PROVIS – General Manager, Integrated Marketing, MKTG Sports + Entertainment

REBECCA HAAGSMA – Chief Product Officer, Nine

KYLIE ROGERS – EGM, Customer and Commercial, AFL

ALISTAIR DOBSON – GM, Big Bash Leagues, Cricket Australia

Kylie begins her case study on the AFL by claiming that the AFL is in the business of connecting with everyone, so hyper-personalisation is the game that we are in and the AFL app is their engine room.

She says that it “allows us to deliver the right content on the right device and build new features that will help with fan experience by allowing us to know what they want and ultimately feed them what they want.”

With reference to customisation she says “club membership personalisation is allowing us to recognise our members and reward them for the first time.” She claims it’s “really simple but enriches that experience. Personalisation is really important to us and lets us get to know our fans, putting them at the centre of everything.”

Case study: Rebecca Haagsma, CPO, Nine

“We have been awarded the Olympic and Paralympic rights for the next 10 years. 

The job we’re trying to do is galvanize the nation. We have a lot more moments to come.” 

We are particularly focused on our digital experiences. Bringing experiences to fans and viewers in the digital space. Two things that went through my mind when we were awarded the rights were that being given a 10 year opportunity to think about a roadmap is a luxury. E.g. is this the right distribution for fans? And the second thing, it’s only a year until Paris… that’s not very long. The volume we’ll be pushing out will be enormous – what’s most important to our fans? 

We have a lot of people knocking on our door offering great opportunities and opening a lot of doors.” Rebecca goes on to say we will be there 24/7 for six weeks (referring to the Olympics) but then will be looking to the future around what we can do.

With reference to subscribed viewers, she talks to the discoverability of content and personalisation, but personalisation on mass. We are able to personalise according to location (as subscribers are asked to input their post codes).

Alistair on Fan Personalisation…

With reference to the BBL, Alistair asserts they revolutionised the fan experience and added to sporting numbers like never before. 

Brought new audiences to the game and became the biggest show in town. He claims “we’re in a new era in doubling down on what makes the BBL great (bigger crowds, loud noises, great fan experiences).”

“The most recent season was our most watched season globally since our inception 13 years ago.”

“But, we still need to identify the gaps – digital is a gap. The obvious place to start is building an app that is highly customised and personalised where fans can tell us what they want from a content perspective.”

Jarrad supports this by asserting “the app may be young but the numbers are encouraging, showing this will go from strength to strength.”

DEBATE PANEL – Experiencing Issues?

Are we constraining digital experiences by trying too hard to strike a balance with physical? How deep does the fan-centric rabbit hole go … all the way to interactive fan decisioning? Is the right model for creating an effective fan-centric organisation centralised or decentralised? Expert practitioners and the audience debate leading issues of the day.

MODERATOR: SANDRA SWEENEY- Sports Practice Lead, Deloitte

KRISHNA BHAGAVATHULA – Chief Technology Officer, NBA

TRAVIS AULD – CEO, Australian Grand Prix Corporation

JUSTIN RODSKI – CEO, Melbourne Storm

Justin says “Sport is all about moments, those moments make live sport so incredible and why we are fans of the sport”

Krishna highlights how important it is for the digital strategy to be suitable for the platforms that the consumers are using the most. 

Sandra asks at what point do you prioritize on live or digital?:

Justin highlights at concerts and sporting events, people hold their phones to film the live event and how it’s a strange full circle between tech and live in the same moment.

Travis speaks about the experience of going to the F1 and trying to broaden the event but it has to be done through a mixture of tech and physical presence. It’s more important to collaborate the two rather than prioritize. 

Sandra focuses on authenticity and How do you relay the event to people who can’t attend live?

Krishna – use different platforms to cover all possible platforms that consumers use. 

Travis – F1 tries to put you in the car through cameras on the car, helmets and body of the car. You can choose to have the drivers view and it is “extrodinary technology.”

Within your organizations, experience means different things for different teams. How do you combine them? 

Justin – Important culture and respecting people’s roles with the organization and what they can bring to an organisation in that role.  


KEYNOTE – East Meets West Meets East

It’s a global audience and economy, sure, but east is still east, and west is still west. As sport and brands continue to seek new and expanded audience, how can you most effectively cross the borders of tradition, culture, and taste.

ECHO LI – Global CCO, Dentsu Sports International

MATT CONNELL – Managing Director, MKTG Sports + Entertainment Australia

Matt begins the breakout by saying there are constants and there are changes in the world of sports. The constant is that sport is an amazing platform for brands and the changes come in the form of fans, consumers and environments (which are ever-evolving).

Matt continues by claiming the West and the East boast a huge opportunity but states “the opportunity itself is not new.”

He asks Echo to share her insight which she has discovered since attending SportNXT. Echo says “perhaps the fundamental problem is that Asian students don’t have the parental support to work in sport.”

Matt shares the statistic that 59% of the world resides in Asia proving upside that the potential here is enormous.

Matt asks for Echo’s observations around the region…

Echo “for all people who work in sport in Asia, the calendar is geared towards US and the Middle East.”

She continues to state that these brands who support and sponsor teams and codes have the benefit of the sporting events being near home but there is a great opportunity a major western market – “Sport is a powerful tool for expansion in new markets” – Echo. “The problem is that the live stage and priorities of young asian brands are different from western counterparts where many of these have the benefits of history of brand alignment” 

Matt: “Western markets are more mature but South East Asian markets (Pan Asia) are emerging markets, starting to find their way in sports business.”

Echo: [People] “don’t have the patience to understand the uniqueness of the South East Asia market alone.

For example, two major sports not being discussed in Australia which are huge in South East Asia are table tennis and badminton (little representation here). Badminton is the third most popular sport in India and there are 100,000,000 badminton fans in China. It is one of the most popular sports with reference to viewership, participation and sponsorships.”

Matt poses the question: “How do we bridge the connection from East to West?” 

Echo: “Three directions – firstly, help Asian brands to expand globally, help Western brands to penetrate Eastern brands and assist the rights holders to make amendments in asia. Help Asian brands use sports to connect with global fans.” 

CASE STUDY – Claiming Share of Wallet

Expert practitioners reveal their experiences that give them direction and focus in successfully competing for share of wallet, internal and external.

MODERATOR: LEIGH LAVERY – Head of Growth Intelligence – Client and Commercial, News Corp Australia

STEVEN REYNOLDS – Senior Vice President, Discover Qatar

KIM ANDERSON – Head of Marketing, FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023

HANNAH WARREN – Head of Marketing, Netball Australia

Kim Anderson: “Globally, FIFA has used it FIFA+ platform to help with its storytelling and is a culture brand. “We needed to think about what we are as a brand and found it was best to target multicultural audiences as they bought into the values that we represented.”

“New Zealand was a particularly tough market to break and had to do more activations at grassroots. We were heavy on the road shows and a lot of activity on the ground like working with the tourism body and how to engage and transport consumers to games.”

Using Brand Health Metrics, they found that kiwis will buy late and they did end up buying the day before, yet a very engaged fanbase. 

Steven Reynolds: “Our aim is to promote the destination.”

Any major events that we sponsor have to have some sort of footprint in Qatar, such as the Football World Cup and F1. 

The internal teams include a sponsorship team, destination activation team who create packages well in advance of any events, around 9 months in advance, which is then sold though their own global tour operator team to make the experience as easy as possible for the customer, “a one stop shop”.

The organisation is heavily KPI based and harmonising the teams is crucial. All teams need to have the same objectives and they need to have the prerequisites that they need to be successful. 

Due to its perfect conditions, The Kite Surfing world championships takes place in Qatar. Qatar now has an exclusive relationship with the championship, flying the athletes around the world and promoting the airline but more importantly the destination.  

“Only 15% of Qatar’s population are Qataris, but the culture is so amazing. At the World Cup, the community were extremely welcoming to visitors, sharing food and drink from their own gardens.” 

Hannah Warren: “We are on the up on all of our key metrics.”

“The current key objective is to expand the netball brand, what it stands for and take diverse marketing campaigns to market. Overall, we really need to demonstrate what is unique about netball.”

Hannah highlights the challenges for Netball, saying “We don’t have the luxury of having a brother sport, so need to stand on our own to feet” 

Hannah stresses the importance of Internal marketing to achieve external success- agreeing on a strategy, committing to the strategy and saying “hey guys, we really need to see this through”.


KEYNOTE – We Are Here

Prof. Johan Rockström (virtual) and Ann Duffy present a fact-based, no-holds-barred perspective on the state of the world’s climate and its implications for sport. What can we expect in the years to come? What can we do to move the needle and ensure we like the answer?

PROF. JOHAN ROCKSTRöM – Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Virtual)

ANN DUFFY – ESG Board Advisor & CSO, MI Global Partners

Ann Duffy opens the first inaugural sustainability lens to the conference. 

Johan Rockstromöm: “Anthropocene, scale, speed, and inter-connections, there’s no more room to simply continue exploiting unsustainably in the atmosphere, ocean, nature or land.” 

“The state of the environment ranks as the number one risk to the global economy.”

“Sports play a very important role. The estimate of impacts of sports on climate could be in the order of 350 trillion tCO2eq, approximately 1% of all emissions linked to energy and cement.”

“Sports is so much more than the actual events, it’s also about psychology, it’s about human health and wellbeing and therefore something that has a stronger social and psychological role that we normally attribute.” 

“2023 is the hottest year on record, with global temperature close to the 1.5 degrees limit.” 

“Gradual warming of the ocean between 1982 and 2024, what is happening in the ocean we cannot explain. What we do know is that the ocean is under some stress and is misbehaving.”

“Are we approaching a state shift?” 

“Irrespective of what sector you are operating in, the way the environment impacts you.”

“Critical to understand the precious state of a healthy planet and the risk we are putting today.”

“This is a sign that we need to fundamentally recognise the resilience of the planet.” 

“We need a plenary boundaries framework to support us in the future.”

“We need to do yearly health check to measure how we are doing and implement strategies to support and maintain the health of the planet.”

Ann Duffy: “It’s a call-to-action for better governance to support sustainability. Majority of Australians believe sports plays an important role in driving positive change.”

Case Study – Fields of Play

A case-based discussion demonstrating how meaningful sustainability strategies and actions can be applied to every sport’s field of play.

MODERATOR: ANN DUFFY – ESG Board Advisor & CSO, MI Global Partners

SARA LOWE – Sunstaibale Manager, Australian Grand Prix Corporation

RITA NEHME – Head of Sustainability, Richmond Football Club

DR. SHEILA NGUYEN – Head of Sustainability, FIFA Women’s World Cup

Ann Duffy: “We’re seeing new guidance in terms of international guidances around the world with sustainability.” 

Sarah Lowe on where her role is located and where the Grand Prix is at: “We now have an ESG team which is very exciting, we see our work across all aspects. Our journey started 3 years ago which was driven initially by internal staff who wanted to drive change. We’ve done some pretty essential groundwork, we’ve been quiet about our journey in the space but we have done a lot of work.”

“It’s a long journey, we’re a huge event, we want to focus on quantifying our impact each year. We’re looking and seeing where we can improve to move forward.”

Rita Nehme on where Richmond FC is: “With the platform that we have, we see sustainability as a responsibility and as an opportunity. We started our journey 3 years ago as well with a few passionate people internally who wanted to see more actions. We committed to 50% reduction of our emissions by 2030 and we made this public because we wanted it to be a blueprint.”

“We have key focus areas including carbon emissions, waste and material management, biodiversity, and education.”

Sheila Nguyen on the sustainability journey of the FIFA’s Women’s World Cup: “It was interesting because the tournament was hosted in 2 countries, 8 cities, 10 venues. You have to take into consideration market solutions, legal expectations and policies. Our focus was happy people and a healthy planet.”

“Sustainability is a systemic challenge, it’s an exercise in change in management. From a strategy perspective we didn’t have clear KPIs around sustainability, and you need those.”

“You have to have people backing it at the leadership level. People who are willing to show up and back it. Resource early and resource well.”

“Where we could, we ensured that we chose suppliers who aligned to our sustainability strategy.” 

What’s happening next on this journey? 

Sarah Lowe: “A greater supply chain that supports sustainability. We’re looking to amplify that and building on those relationships.”

Rita Nehme: “Internally we have the action plan for us to set the path forward. We want to formalise the responsibility in terms of departments and roles. In addition we’re on our journey to identify the best supply chain.”

Sheila Nguyen: “As an industry, we need to have more control over our own destiny. Often, we wait for a solution. It’s about saying this is our destiny, our challenge, our road map and being more engaged in dictating and creating a demand over a solution that can be applied industry-wide.” 

Rita Nehme: “We need to look to reputation, fans, and partners and understand the potential return on investment when the right budget is spent on sustainability.” 

DEBATE PANEL – Questioning Sustainability

Can greenwashing serve a positive purpose? Is denial still a problem? Should sport be compelled to take action beyond that a good civic citizen? Who should assume the yoke of leadership, government, or the commercial sector? Expert practitioners taking sides and debate these and other topical issues in sustainability.

MODERATOR: PETER TALIANGIS – National Business Development Manager, Carbon Neutral

JAN FITZGERALD – CEO, Sport Environment Alliance

MATTHEW NICHOLAS – Dir. Sustainability, Tennis Australia

DR. MARTIN RICE – Research Director, Climate Council

Matthew Nicholoas on greenwashing: “I don’t think about it too much. Obviously there is a value check and a sense check. The pre-occupation that we can have with pointing to others who are doing the wrong thing can be a waste of time.” 

Jan Fitzgerald: “As long as everybody is able to say what their goals are and how they are going to achieve them then we are in a good place.”

Martin Rice: “Talking about climate disruption to the sports that we love nationally and globally is important. Essentially planet earth is seriously injured and I’m deeply worried about what’s happening to the climate system. The sports we love are being deeply challenged by the state of the planet. We need to work hard as an industry and use our voice.”

Jan Fitzgerald: “It starts with understanding your impact, what is it that your actions are doing to create additional emissions? Ultimately for sports to continue, we can’t have climate warming. Every sport needs to be thinking about what their actions are and then doing something about that.”

Matthew Nicholoas on the journey: “Start with measurement to understand the data around emissions. You need to measure consumption and then work on ways to mitigate that.”

Martin Rice on starting a new sport in today’s world: “You need to look at the conditions you are going to be playing in.”

Matthew Nicholoas: “Future proofing tennis is the work we have to do next, we need to understand the financial risks and operational risks of the changing climate. We need mandatory reporting.”

“Unlocking value, working on new partnership categories is essential.”

Martin Rice on the ongoing role of government in supporting sports roll out climate-friendly activities: “Government has a huge role to play. We are nowhere near where we need to be. At this stage we are going to have 50 degree days in the summer in Sydney and Melbourne by 2040. We need a strong government response. We are moving in the right direction but we need financing and showing leadership.” 

Jan Fitzgerald: “No planet, no play. If we cannot turn this around, how are we going to continue to play the sports we love? We need to reframe this conversation as an investment for ourselves in sport. We need to think about where we re-prioritse our money.”

Martin Rice: “The sporting industry has been put on notice for its performance on taking climate change seriously. The report unpacked the threat of climate change. Over 70 sports organisations at the national and regional state level were surveyed and only between 3% and 6% mentioned climate change in their annual report.”

“If we are not managing the risks like any other business risks, we are going to be blindsided by the threat we are facing that is climate change.” 

Matthew Nicholoas on players being spokespeople: “The brand and celebrity that can make the association with climate change is the AO, it is the platform. At the very base line, we need to shift our electricity to renewals, we need to do fundamental things and hopefully lead within this industry, that’s our role as the brand and platform and it is less through the athletes in the nature of what we do.”

Jan Fitzgerald on whose job is it: “All of ours, it’s all our climate. There are no boundaries. We need to all think about the solutions to the issues we are creating.”


Drawn by fans and driven by the need for growth, sport is an increasingly global game. Navigating international waters and assembling a global footprint presents a myriad of challenges and opportunities. Hear from leading experts on what they are seeing, how it’s impacting the way they do business, and what strategies and tactics are most effective in growing their game and fanbase into new and non-traditional markets.

MODERATOR: TRACEY HOLMES – Host & Executive Producer, The Sports Ambassador

BRETT GOSPER – Head of Europe & APAC, NFL

OCTAVI ANORO – International Development Director, LaLiga

CATHERINE CARLSON – EVP Global Partnerships, BSE Global / Brooklyn Nets

BART CAMPBELL – Director, SportNXT; Global Content Director, TEG Sport

IAN HOLMES – Director of Media Rights and Content Creation, Formula 1®

Tracey Holmes opens the panel by asking “which market are you trying to get into and why?”

Ian Holmes: “USA, it’s long been a target and we are finally getting some traction. We know where we are so the opportunities are immense.”

Brett Gosper: “Looking at everywhere else other than the USA because we have this covered. We know our next 50 million fans will come from outside the states.”

Bart Campbell: “USA” 

Catherine Carlson: “China, because it’s a growing market.”

Ian Holmes on the idea of storytelling: “It’s been incredibly beneficial, the real benefit is who has watched it. We’re the only sport where the audience is getting younger and saw an increase in female following.” Working with Apple TV to make the most authentic motorsport movie ever which should help the storytelling. 

Brett Gosper: “Our female audience has also expanded thanks to Taylor Swift. It’s undoubtedly been really good for our ratings, we had world breaking records for the Super Bowl. 

Catherine Carlson on engaging authentically with fan groups internationally: “We did market research to find out the interceptions between the Brooklyn market and the Parisian market. It’s important to lean into the cultural mix.”

“We have a fan experience in Brooklyn so we decided to invite Chinese influencers to have that experience, they weren’t necessarily linked to sports. One of the influencers recorded their experiences and had over 5 million views, those 5 million people most likely didn’t know anything about NBA or professional basketball before but now they are curious and interested and will potentially come to a game. Influnecers have the ability to make their fans curious about other sports.”

What about fans, how are they changing and how are their expectations changing 

Bart Campbell: “You need a product that fans appreciate. Formula 1 stimulates the fan base through the use of content and social media. They provide Incredible access to the race day for the people who are not attending.”

“Give them [the fans] everything they need or don’t and you will live or die depending on how you do that.”

Tracy Holmes asks the panel what each of you are doing with regards to women in your sports?   

Brett Gosper: “We punch evenly across men and women but we are spending a lot of our time partnering organisations and driving investments into 14 markets across the world to turbo charge the growth of flag football. It is an important part of getting women into the sports.”

Ian Holmes: “1 in 3 of our website visitors are women. 29% of race attendees were women, however it has been well documented that there hasn’t been a woman driver in many many years. We launched the F1 Academy which is our big effort to support young females coming in through karting. However, it’s unrealistic to expect a 16 or 17 years old women to suddenly become an F1 Driver compared to current male drivers who started at the ages of 5 or 6. We need to invest all the way back to education to encourage women to study math, science, and physics to increase the participation of women in sports.”

Catherine Carlson: “Women’s sports in America is hot. We sold out an 18,000 seat venue and broke league records with game receipts. It was about the passion of the fans. When we are looking for sponsors, a lot of brands are demanding to spend 50% on women’s sports. Sponsors are really engaged and want to sponsor women’s sports.”  

Bart Campbell on the decline of rugby: “The Australian sports scene is so tough that it can’t compete with other sports like AFL and NRL. Rugby is not traveling that well. The game is challenged and needs a better structure. The game is trying to get there but there are a lot of stakeholders and it takes time. 2027 is a real opportunity to reset in Australia.

Ian Holmes on answering a question regarding F1 Academy racing: “We want F1 Academy races to be on the same weekend as F1 to get as much attention as possible. The whole point is to get coverage and exposure.” 

Catherine Carlson on the revenue difference between the nets and the liberty : “I don’t think sponsorship is equal. There’s a difference in the revenue through sponsorship, with liberty benefiting more at the moment.”  

Brett Gosper on ROI: “We tend to look at where that return will come from, it could come from a greater fan base or new broadcast rights.” 

Brett Gosper on what is stopping the NFL from having a game in Australia: “Nothing is stopping us from coming here except logistical problems. We are going to work towards that.” 

Ian Holmes on behind the scenes access,and whether the lack of mystery is taking away the luster of the fan’s experience: “That content has been out for a long time. The audience determines whether it is needed and wanted. We’re competing with people’s time and the audience is sophisticated and they will tell you if it’s too much because ratings will go down.”

Bart Campbell: “Participation will always be limited by coaching and facilities. There is a migration towards unorganised sport. Sports that offer elite money will have the stronger pull.”

Nature vs Nurture vs the algorithm – what is the impact going to be on sports in the long term?  

Ian Holmes: “About having the ability to look at multiple data touch points and react. Everything is changing and changing quickly. For us, it’s about creating as many different touch points. It’s about creating variety. 

Catherine Carlson: “Meeting fans where they are and having a customised experience to the fans.”

Bart Campbell: “At the end of the day, it’s about dopamine. It’s what you get from playing and exercising.” 

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