Beyond Sport United, a unique annual event backed by Founding Supporters NBA, WNBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, NASCAR and MLS, returned to Yankee Stadium, to address the business advantages of engaging in community and social issues.
With Beyond Sport United now established the event in 2014 focused on a key theme relevant to teams and leagues and community engagement. In the professional sport industry there are two key elements that can be addressed and improved through genuine community engagement:
- A desire to interact and engage youth
- The growing importance of digital and social media platforms
These two elements are intertwined. Technological advances with respect to media, creative solutions around telecommunications, nearly unlimited access to content, and an ever-shrinking global community are all having a major impact on the industry. That said, a growing desire to engage with the younger population is leaving an inherent need to maximise the power of these online platforms.
Beyond Sport United 2014 focused on these interlocked themes and explore how genuine community engage and social responsibility can result in a shared-value outcome when it comes to teams leagues reaching new markets, new fan bases, and successfully utilising new communication platforms.
The day kicked off with an opening and welcome from Dan Nicholl the South-African based former radio presenter and UEFA Champions League television presenter. This was followed by a keynote from the author, communicator and strategist Alastair Campbell. Alastair explored a global perspective on the shifting nature of communication as the world faces its fastest-ever growth of a younger population.
Following on from the keynote, we saw the first main stage panel session of the day which bought together leading influencers to discuss a global perspective on the shifting nature of youth communications. This focused on how the sports world can utilise online platforms to better engage with communities and benefit their business objectives. This panel consisted of:
(Moderator) Kevin Negandhi, Sports Center Anchor, ESPN
Geoff Reiss – Head of Sport Partnerships, Twitter
Melissa Rosenthal Brenner – Senior Vice President of Digital Media, NBA
Amanda Vandervort – Director of Social Media, MLS
Todd Wagner – Founder, CHIDEO
The next part of the day saw the audience and attendees encouraged to get out of their seats and start thinking digitally. This special networking activity saw attendees meeting new people – who weren’t necessarily in the room – as well as discussing different methods to connect, engage and collaborate using digital media.
After a short break we then moved on to breakout panels. Led by industry experts, these panels focused on how the sports world can use digital and social communications to address key social issues such as health, financial inclusion, post-disaster relief, environment and sustainability, and bullying.
After a great networking lunch, attendees were again gathered again for our second main stage panel discussion. This panel explored how the sport industry can unlock passion and creativity of the next generation. The panel consisted of:
(Moderator) Kevin Negandhi - Sports Center Anchor, ESPN
Corinne Eckert – Beyond Sport Young Ambassador and volunteer, New Jersey Daredevils
Adam Grossman – Boston Red Sox and FSM Senior Vice President, Marketing and Brand
Gemar Mills – Principal, Malcolm X Shabazz High School
Marc Kielburger – Co-Founder, Free the Children and Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Me to We
The panel discussed current tools that are piquing the youth population’s interest and creativity for driving social change themselves, and the benefits to the sports industry in taking this approach.
After our seond main stage panel discussion, attendees then broke out into the second set of breakout sessions of the day. These expert talks explored best practices from across the globe around how digital and youth engagement can help teams and leagues engage new markets, link to new community partners, get their messages to the masses and activate sponsorship. These interactive sessions drew on the audience expertise as well as the best practices of panellists invited to speak given their experience in attaining key business objectives through community engagement. Speakers shared practical advice, explanations of key online tools and platforms they have used to achieve social and business return.
Following each expert talk, delegates were led into workshop groups by facilitators from ?WhatIf! And Makerble, where they were led in brainstorming and idea generation sessions regarding how best to use the digital tools discussed in a sport and community engagement setting.
The day came to an end with our BIG interview with Jim Caviezel – Hollywood Actor and star of “When the Game Stands Tall” conducted by Kevin Negandhi. This was an inspirational discussion about the power of sport to bring communities together, the theme of Jim’s up and coming film “When the Game Stands Tall”. The interview also touched on the comparison and collaboration opportunities between film and sport to reflect on the day’s theme around youth engagement.
Download the online Beyond Sport United delegate book here