First speakers announced, anniversary early bird registrations open

With a long and hot sports summer still ahead, we are pleased to reveal some of the details about SPORTO 2024, which is returning to Portorož on the Slovenian coast once again after 2019.

In November, (S)Portorož is about to host the 20th edition of the SPORTO event, the international sports marketing and sponsorship conference. A diverse program awaits for this milestone anniversary. The event is taking place on Thursday and Friday, 21 and 22 November, at the Portus Congress Centre (Life Class Hotel Slovenija).

Today, we are also announcing an exclusive offer for all interested participants in honour of the upcoming anniversary. The lowest price will be active for 72 hours (until Friday, 21 June). After that, a summer rate will be in effect for this year’s conference, valid until mid-August.

First Speakers Announced: Sher (EssenceMediacom), Fuller (NBA), Pilgrim (YouTube), Ayers (IMG & Rematch), van Schaik (The Athlete Brand)

The SPORTO program once again focuses on the trends and challenges in the industry. We present this year’s first five speakers, top experts in sponsorship, digital, fan engagement and sports branding.

Misha Sher is Global Head of Sport, Entertainment & Culture at EssenceMediacom, a leading sport and entertainment marketing division of GroupM (part of WPP). Over the past 20 years, he has advised on over a billion euros in sponsorship investments with leading organizations, including UEFA, IOC, NFL and F1.

Sharon Fuller is Head of Content and Social Media for NBA Europe and the Middle East. Her role involves innovative thinking on the best ways to connect with fans across different regions, platforms and channels with a localized approach. She is the former Global Head of Content at Red Bull Media House.

Rob Pilgrim has over 12 years of experience in leading positions within the media and technology sectors. He is Head of Sports and Primetime Channels at YouTube for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In this role, he leads initiatives in the traditional media and entertainment space, focusing on helping broadcasters, rights holders and federations utilize YouTube’s platform to reach wider audiences and drive business growth.

Thomas van Schaik, co-founder of The Athlete Brand, is a brand strategist and consultant with 25 years of experience in the sports industry. Throughout his career, he has worked with some of the world’s most renowned athletes. He started his career at NFL Europe and later joined Adidas, where he became the Global Brand Director.

Richard Ayers is recognized as one of the leading thinkers in digital, media and fan engagement. The first Head of Digital at Manchester City, he founded the sports-digital agency Seven League in 2012, which was acquired by IMG in 2021, where he now acts as a consultant. He also founded a new business, Rematch, delivering immersive experiences in real and virtual worlds that take us back in time to re-imagined iconic sports moments.

Richard Ayers and Thomas van Schaik are returning to SPORTO after ten years, having impressed the audience with their presentations.

Road to SPORTO events and new activities announced

As an introduction to this year’s SPORTO event, two thematic events have already taken place. In April, the event E-sports and Gaming Industry was held at the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Center as an opening to the Game Gang Show, the largest gaming festival in Slovenia. The event focused on e-sports experiences and trends as well as the development of the gaming market in Slovenia. At the end of May, in collaboration with the City Municipality of Ljubljana, the second thematic event titled Sustainability, Sports, and Creativity offered an in-depth insight from different perspectives and stakeholders (host cities, organizers and sponsor brands), emphasizing sustainable organization of sports events.

The conference will return to a two-day format in 2024, with the SPORTO Awards ceremony taking place at the end of the first day. In September, a new issue of the SPORTO magazine will be released, and in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the first conference, additional content and initiatives with partners are being prepared in the coming months. For all updates, follow us at and on our digital channels.

See you in (S)Portorož in November!