SEMF connecting globally – Sport’s premier industry summit, SportAccord, strengthens global cooperation 

The SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit brought together over 1,700 leaders and key decision-makers from more than 65 countries, including International Federations, the International Olympic Committee, and organisations engaged in sports business. The summit took place in Birmingham, UK, from April 7-11, 2024. 

The Summit provided an unmatched opportunity for global business leaders and host cities to engage with all International Federations and their stakeholders in one location over five days. The event combined formal sports meetings, social networking events, a themed conference program, and exhibition space. 

Finland’s representation included SEMF’s Project Director, Jani Backman, Perttu Pesä from Tampere Host City, and Kimmo Hyyppä from Turku Host City. 

For SEMF, the event was a prime opportunity to connect with different industry service providers, explore potential new sports events and their rights holders, and benchmark and talk with peer organisations such as Sport Event Denmark, UK Sport, Event Scotland, and New Zealand Major Events. 

Nordics actively collaborating toward a shared goal 

The Nordics were well represented, providing an excellent venue for another gathering following the Nordic Event Hosts meeting in Norway in January. This meeting facilitated deeper connections and collaborative efforts toward future cooperation and shared opportunities. 

“We ensure Finland’s presence in the international sports event market by participating in the industry’s annual flagship event. At the event we met with Nordic members of International Sports Federations and Olympic Committees’ boards, alongside other Nordic destination members. Strengthening Nordic cooperation is crucial in the face of growing global competition,” states Jani Backman. 

CityAccord explores challenges and opportunities for host cities

During the event’s CityAccord (dedicated conference stream) roundtable discussion on The Road Ahead Across Continents, insights were shared also by Perttu Pesä, who represents both Tampere Host City and the International Association of Event Hosts. Other contributors included Esther Britten from UK Sport, James Bulley from Trivandi, and Katie Sadleir from the Commonwealth Games Federation. 

The discussion centered on exploring new event models, successes, and innovations in the increasingly challenging environment for host cities, regional, and national governments. 

Perttu Pesä emphasised the importance of organising events not merely for their own sake but for their lasting societal impact, highlighting that events are a powerful tool for societal development. 

Event packed with unmissable insights and engaging topics 

In addition to providing an excellent networking platform, the Summit featured a diverse and engaging program that offered a comprehensive overview of the industry’s current state. 

Topics covered during the summit week ranged from industry trends, funding, and digitalisation as well as AI, and the “festivalisation” of events (which involves diversifying event content), to eSports, women’s sports, sustainability, and related challenges such as online abuse. 

Once again, the SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit demonstrated its significance as a knowledge-sharing platform, aiding organisations like SEMF in more effectively achieving their objectives. 

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