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West Cities Join Forces To Talk Sport Business

Mon 21st Jul 2014 | Football Industry Events

A host of top sports experts from across the world headed to Liverpool and Manchester this week to debate sport business and the impact it can have on cities, brands and communities.

The International Sport Business Congress, part of the International Festival for Business, brought together experts from a cross-section of sports including football, basketball and rugby.

Keynote speakers included Manchester City Council Chief Executive, Sir Howard Bernstein who talked about the importance of Liverpool and Manchester working together for mutual benefit; and psychologist, organisational consultant, high performance executive coach and basketball legend John Amaechi.

A highlight of the event was a closing speech from Everton FC Chief Executive, Robert Elstone, on the first day of the Congress at the BT Convention Centre in Liverpool. His presentation on corporate social responsibility and commerciality brought together his insight as leader of a major football club with the real grassroots stories from the Everton FC Free School and Everton Inside Right programme for ex-armed forces veterans.

Day One also saw the issue of diversity in sport being debated by England and Chelsea women’s footballer Eniola Aluko, Ruth Holdaway, Chief Executive of Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, and John Amaechi in the chair.

Other interesting panels featured Serge Betson, former French Rugby captain who told of his story as a boy in Cameroon who walked an hour to get to school to becoming part of the rugby family in Paris when he moved to the city.

Basketball legend Amaechi was a major hit with delegates. Commenting on the event, he said: “There’s been a really good line up of speakers and it’s been fascinating.”

Day Two, taking place at the Etihad Stadium - home to Manchester City FC, offered detailed analysis of the economic impacts and values of sport and its power to transform cities and communities.

Keynote speeches came from Soccernomics author Professor Stefan Szymanski, from the University of Michigan about the social impact that sporting events create and Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese CBE, who gave insight into planning for major sporting events: “We take a sports approach not a stadium approach. We don’t begin a project without a post-event plan”.

Richard Morris, International Sport Business Congress Event Director, said: “The International Sport Business Congress was a fantastic inaugural event with speakers and delegates from across the world and from many different sports.

“The insights and inspirational stories shared by our speakers and panellists were phenomenal and the feedback we have had has been very positive.

“It has been a real privilege to host such a exciting line up of sports experts and in two amazing cities with such rich histories and affinities to sport and using it for the benefit of their communities.”

The International Sport Business Congress was held in partnership with both Liverpool Vision and Marketing Manchester, and the University of Liverpool, creating a unique event in a region where sport has achieved global success and recognition and where the business of sport is one of the key drivers of the local economy.

Delegates at the event included BT, Santander, PwC, Barclays, British Gas, Coca Cola and Deloitte.

Find out more at www.internationalsportbusinesscongress.com or follow on Twitter @CityBrandSport for insights from the Congress.

Image: Sir Howard Bernstein

Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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