What I “learnt, re-learnt and unlearnt”* at Sport Business Conference – ‘Leaders’
*Jeremy Dale: Microsoft

If you keep your eyes open in business, the first day of #Leaders15 was not a surprise. My summary of day 1 on twitter was the following

  1. Content is still king
  2. Collaboration is the only mindset
  3. Access for fans is expected
  4. Interaction through technology is everything #notasurprise
  5. Digital content approach is the new school for broadcast OR roadcast has to borrow from digital or die
  6. Grow the audience then monitize (obvs)
  7. Use free social content to drive views for live sport (obvs)

Pretty obvious stuff really. For those with their eyes open anyway. But here were self proclaimed ‘Leaders’ studiously taking lots of notes – yes in paper based books – by clearly wealthy over 50 year olds. They looked surprised at these insights and wrote notes like they were hearing the words for the first time

Many of the ‘digital’ guys on stage talked about hiring a millennial to teach the ‘Leaders’ about digital – most of the over 50 set could not refer to spell checks in their Hilton Hotels stolen note pads (free stationary but HUGE watches) they would have to ask someone under 40 what a Millennial was / is / did when they were back to their Oak panelled office.

The 30 – 42* year olds, who seemed to be there to sell to the ‘leaders’, wore the uniform of the hip and trendy ‘I’m a creative, not a salesman’ – very blue suits, very brown shoes, facial hair, no tie. They nodded in agreement with the insights provided. “I’m all over that boss, that’s what I have been saying for years, digital, yeah, engagement, monetize yeah.”

* I’m 41 so I extended the range

On day two the big watches and the Brown shoes reconvened with a Dirty Martini / Peroni hangover and theirs and my brains were blown.

The two subjects were gaming and e-sports. There were stats that blew the mind

      • Twitch bought by Amazon for $1bn
      • Biggest event prize fund in 2015 was $18m (double that of ICC Cricket World Cup)
      • Esport revenue will triple in 3 years
      • Naming rights for a premier event independently at $20m
      • 104 mins average time on platform per day

But it was the insight, the speed of change, the professionalism and the clarity of thought of the speakers that blew the hangovers away. EA CEO Andrew Wilson was eloquent when he compared the shift in gaming to music purchasing. Gaming was the same as buying a music tape from a shop – it is now like the Spotify model – to use his words “it permeates out of every part of our lives”. With ink running out of American Airline pens he went on to say that gaming was an experience industry that had to deliver $2 of perceived value for every $ spent (quoting the founder of DEF JAM – “Deaf who?” Called the Dirty Martini brigade).

I have been involved in gaming for 10 years – but even with my eyes open I had been missing some serious shifts in consumer behaviour. Well I hadn’t – it just hadn’t registered how big it was. When you hear the impressive Wilson saying “we are facilitating human connections …in games and in real sports …” and saying one of his focuses is on “how we connect when they aren’t playing the game”. How is he? He did not mention a channel or site or stream or platform he used one word – “Content”.

I will write a blog on content soon. It shall include a Yo Sushi analogy which explains my theory of the relationship between content and platforms.

E-Gaming deserves pages of comment – which they will get soon. I’ll just leave you with one quote;

“we don’t need old school broadcasters – we are mainstream already – our last tournament had 28 million viewers”.

Yes indeed – the future is now. And it really doesn’t need the past.