Sportel Rendez-vous 2022: CEO Laurent Puons on what to expect from the new event in Miami

The first-ever Sportel Rendez-vous will be the first in a series of more streamlined, international gatherings for the sports media and technology industry.

More US-focused than the traditional conference in Monaco, the upcoming event on 14th and 15th March in Miami will feature speakers from the likes of Tata Communications, Kiswe and Fight Nation, as well as offering a wide array of networking opportunities.

Ahead of the event, SportsPro caught up with Sportel chief executive Laurent Puons to find out what’s in store, and to discuss how the organizers are continuing to adapt the convention to meet the evolving needs of the sports media marketplace.

Firstly, can you take us through the journey to get this event on at this stage of the pandemic?

The destination has been a determining factor. We chose Miami for our first edition of Sportel Rendez-Vous because we are convinced that it is the ideal location to reunite and reconnect, in person with international sports decision makers within the Americas. Our team was recently onsite and I am delighted to confirm that it is business as usual. We are confident and going ahead.

Of course, we are aware that the health situation remains uncertain. Therefore, we had to develop a very attractive pricing strategy and ‘Covid-safe’ policy, which has already convinced many clients from North and South America as well as Europe and farther afield to register with multiple participants. We have also adapted our range of products to ensure a greater return on investment for our clients.

As of today, there is a significant participant list, including many long-standing clients: BeIN Media Group, Bundesliga International, Canal +, CAA Eleven, DAZN, Deltatre, ESPN, FIBA, Fight Sports, Fifa, Fox Sports, Fubo TV, Infront , LaLiga, Matchroom, Mediapro, MLB, NBA, NBC Sports, PGA Tour, Premier League, Red Bull Media House, Snapchat, Sportradar, Sunset + Vine, Team Marketing, Telstra, TYC Sports, WWE etc. Plus newcomers – All Elite Wrestling, Joymo.Tv, New Cell, Rush Sports, SPIIDEO etc – who will attend Sportel for the very first time.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming them to this highly anticipated face-to-face event for our community.

What did you learn from the Monaco event that you’re carrying into Miami?

Sportel Monaco was the first international convention in the sector to have been organized 100 per cent face-to-face in 2021. After a one-year hiatus some of the most influential sport business C-level executives – over 50 per cent of the attendees – were able to meet, network and discuss the latest trends in the industry. It was a real success and we were very satisfied with the participation and quality of the event, taking into account the current health and economic situation. It also reassured us that there is a real willingness from our clients and community to meet face-to-face.

What highlights would you pick out from the conference agenda?

To complement the business and networking meetings, a conference summit focusing on the Americas will explore the latest trends, shifts and evolutions in the sports media and tech industry. Topics span a range of relevant areas of interest to the Sportel community, such as enhancing the broadcast experience, culture and diversity in sports media leadership, OTT and network giants expanding their reach, what’s next for soccer in the US, live sports betting, the fan-centric future, sports adapting to short form, the role of UGC and social media, exploring NFTs as a new revenue stream and much more.

One major highlight of the conference summit will be the traditional keynote and presentation of LaLiga on the latest LaLiga technology and innovation driving the industry forward.

And last but not least, we will organize a fireside chat with Professional Fighters League chief executive Peter Murray, who will share insights on the highly anticipated 2022 PFL season and PFL’s global expansion plans and efforts to deliver premium MMA content featuring elite fighters to fans around the world.

What do you expect to be the hot topics of conversation?

The impact of the pandemic and the global health context which resulted in a shift in mindset will remain at the center of the discussions. Indeed, every branch of the sector has had to adapt their strategies, which has led to more collaborations, new negotiations, as well as cost-cutting through for example remote production.

In addition, the new generation of digitally-native fans in their 20s and 30s and the way they consume sports has been evolving at an even faster pace, accelerating the continued rise in OTT and streaming. To further engage these new viewers, broadcasters and rights owners are continuously developing new interactive data rich experiences and technologies to capture them, plus offering more short-form content such as F1 sprint races, or the NBA selling last quarter subscriptions for example. Partnerships with social media and digital platforms, developing DTC platform strategies, including gamification, maximizing the ROI around fan marketing and exploring NFTs and the metaverse, are some great examples to name a few where the future of the industry is innovative and visionary.

All these new ways of consumption and fan experiences will also continue to generate more investment in AI, virtual and augmented reality and new sports technology developments.

What else can delegates expect from the event?

Sportel Rendez-vous is a brand new format and concept for the international event series, which will offer better value and ROI to our community.

It is a more streamlined and intimate two-day event featuring a variety of new products at competitive and affordable rates such as attendee passes, meeting pods, exhibitor suites as well as numerous sponsorship and plenty of networking opportunities which I think everyone is especially looking forward to.

We have also put in place a number of marketing initiatives for attendees to extend the Sportel Rendez-vous experience, with more to announce in the run up to the event.

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