After the turbulent months of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has strongly impacted the world of sports as well, we are happy to announce the 16th international edition of the SPORTO Magazine, published two months ahead of the upcoming SPORTO Conference. For the first time, the event will be held in pre-summer period, on 9 June, as a ‘stadium experience’ in the VIP sector of the Stožice Arena in Ljubljana. This year, too, the Magazine offers interesting insights into different sports business trends – from the crypto and meta future, the blending of physical and virtual worlds and new sponsorship developments to esports and increasingly important sustainable development.  

Different Games

With their Beijing Games, China became the first country to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics in the same city. With effective and very strict Covid control measures throughout the Games, the organisers managed to limit the number of Covid cases and never before have more nations won at least one Winter Olympic medal.

Explosion of crypto partnerships in sports

The iconic Staples Center in Los Angeles is the only sports arena that is home to two NBA teams: LA Lakers and LA Clippers. Since December 2021, however, the Staples Center is no more. New companies from the blockchain space have emerged in the sports sponsorship market – one of them is Crypto.com which made a deal for the acquisition of the naming rights with the arena’s owner to be valued at $700 million over 20 years. Crypto sponsorships are not new, but have exploded in the recent years.

Convergence of the physical and digital worlds

Traditionally the first Grand Slam tournament of the season, Melbourne’s Australian Open enhanced its offering this year by introducing new technologies. For the first time ever, it presented its own version of metaverse and a fascinating NFT project called AO Art Ball. Machar Reid, Head of Innovation at Tennis Australia, describes the experience.

Where there is fan interest, brands will follow

Lisa Parfitt, Co-founder of the British agency The Space Between, sees it as her mission to study the behaviour, opinions and desires of sports fans. She offers her views on various aspects and forms of sponsorship today, with particular emphasis on women’s sport fans, where she sees a lot of room for growth and realization of the full commercial potential of this platform.

Blended experience

“For Gen Z, there is an equal amount of passion for sports, gaming, entertainment, fashion and other areas. The amount of information they can take in, and the number of brands and accounts they can follow is amazing,” reflects Craig Howe, Founder and CEO of Rebel Ventures, a leading sports digital strategy company. In the interview, he offers his perspective of the modern fan culture and cross-generational audience.

Play and fun

“When Zwift was launched, it was always the intention to be a global company, but I was surprised how quickly the global community embraced the platform. The community has been very open to drive innovation, pushing us to introduce new features and opportunities,” says Chris Snook, PR Director at Zwift, about the development and growth of their multiplayer online cycling and running platform.

In his book All to Play For, published last year, Matt Rogan boldly states how sport can heal the divided world. The Co-founder of Two Circles, one of the most successful and awarded sports marketing agencies in the UK, is returning as the SPORTO Conference guest this year, bringing valuable insight into the post-pandemic world of marketing and sport. Javier Sobrino from Aser Ventures, investment platform at the intersection of sports, media and technology whose portfolio consists of 15 organisations, including the Premier League club Leeds United, shares his insider’s view on investments in sports.

We take a deeper look at the broadness and the potential of sustainability in sport with Patrick Haslett (Impact 3 Zero), who reveals that rights holders are becoming increasingly aware of the necessity to create a sustainable future, particularly in the aftermath of the Glasgow Climate Change Conference COP26. Young and successful entrepreneur Ishveen Jolly found her niche market at the cross-section of influencer marketing and social media with her OpenSponsorship platform, which connects athletes and brands. The platform is quickly growing and today it has 11,000 professional athletes from 120 countries and 160 sports. We also talked with Enzo Smrekar, President of the Ski Association of Slovenia.

The Magazine offers an overview of (the most significant) esports sponsorships in 2021, the most watched sports broadcasts in the Adriatic region, introduces the winners of SPORTO Awards 2021 and announces the upcoming EHF Women’s Euro 2022 – with the columns by Ben Wells (PTI Digital) and Carsten Thode (Aphetor) to boot.

The new SPORTO Magazine in print version is available to all past participants of the SPORTO Conference as well as European Sponsorship Association and Europaische Sponsoring Boerse members.

The digital version of the magazine (pdf.) can be downloaded HERE.