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Live Events Week

The pandemic showed that people crave togetherness, but what does the business of live events look like in 2023 and how is the industry evolving with the times?

27 March 2023 SportsPro

From major global spectacles to grassroots gatherings, live events remain the essence of the sporting experience.

SportsPro’s second themed week of 2023 will look at how event promoters such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and host destinations like Ottawa and Edmonton are bringing events to life whilst delivering for fans, partners and local communities.

It will also explore how venues like The O2 in London, along with their suppliers, are navigating newfound economic pressures, how technology is reinventing the matchday experience, and how the business of staging sporting events is evolving with the times.

Plus, Wednesday’s SportsPro Insider Series virtual event will also be exploring how to bid, plan for and host future major events.

Check back here over the course of this week for the latest features, opinion pieces and podcasts on the business of live events, and sign up to the SportsPro Daily newsletter to have all of the content delivered directly to your inbox.

Part one: UFC COO Lawrence Epstein on how its fight nights became a knockout experience

Having staged 640 fight nights around the world, the UFC’s COO tells SportsPro how the MMA promotion’s events have evolved, the challenges of recreating the Las Vegas experience overseas, and how the company delivers an unforgettable occasion for fans.

Part two: SportsPro Hackathon 2023… Three ideas for what a 2036 Olympics in Copenhagen could look like

The third edition of the SportsPro Hackathon was held over 50 hours between 24th and 26th February. After 14 teams of students from universities around the world took on three unique challenges, SportsPro looks back on what the judges deemed to be the winning concepts.

Part three: Edmonton… where women’s sports take centre stage

Major events have helped put Edmonton on the sporting map. Now, with the Volleyball World Pro Beach Tour and Fiba 3×3 Series on the horizon, the Canadian city is working to cement its status as a world-renowned host.

Part four: What we’ve learned from a decade hosting live events

The landmark tenth edition of SportsPro Live, SportsPro’s flagship conference, will take place in London in late April. Ahead of the event, production director Yin Khoo reflects on a decade spent bringing events to life and the industry together.

Part five: How Ticketmaster is enhancing the fan experience and driving revenues for sport

Tickets have been a part of sport since day one and have significant functional, financial and sentimental value. Chris Gratton, MD of Ticketmaster Sport UK, explains how the company is working with the industry to innovate one of the original sports technologies.

Part six: Inside Ottawa’s mission to champion women’s sport

Ottawa has continued to bring women’s sports events to the city in recent years, including the LPGA’s award-winning CP Women’s Open last year. Robert Kawamoto, Ottawa Tourism’s assistant director for major events and sport, shares how Canada’s capital is pushing to host more competitions that align with its diverse values.

Part seven: Five ways technology is taking the live sport experience to another level

Technology is now a fundamental part of the modern stadium, powering everything from security and access to retail and entertainment. SportsPro looks at how new innovations will transform attending live events in the years to come.

Part eight: Podcast | What is the best live event in sports?

SportsPro senior staff writer Ed Dixon joins regular hosts George Breare and Tom Bassam for a special Live Events Week pod where they seek to identify the best live experience in sports. Considering both fan experience and commercial opportunity, the trio set out their criteria before trying to convince each other why their personally chosen event should come out on top.

Part nine: How the cost-of-living crisis is hitting the UK live events business

The UK live events industry was forced to adapt to survive throughout Covid, yet a cocktail of economic pressures – from rising costs and inflation to Brexit – is posing newfound challenges. There are, however, reasons to be positive about the future of large sports and entertainment gatherings.

More of SportsPro’s live events coverage

Want more content focused on the business of live events? See below for a selection of our coverage:

‘Controversial, inorganic, the best ever’: Grading Qatar’s World Cup examination
Qatar spent tens of billions of dollars and over a decade under the international microscope as it prepared to stage the first Fifa World Cup held on Middle Eastern soil. With the tournament now in the rear-view mirror, SportsPro asks: was it all worth it?

KSI outlines his masterplan to make Misfits Boxing the next WWE
Having conquered YouTube, topped the charts and created a marketing sensation with his Prime drink, KSI believes his new boxing venture with DAZN can become one of sport’s biggest promotions. The social media superstar tells SportsPro how he plans to usher in a new era of sporting entertainment.

Podcast | On the floor at OTT Summit USA 2023
Hosts George Breare and Tom Bassam take you inside Citi Field for a taste of the discussion onstage, while providing their own commentary on an insight-heavy agenda at this year’s event.

NFL Germany’s MD on the league’s Munich debut and creating a “mini-Super Bowl”
The NFL staged a regular season game in Germany for the first time in 2022 as part of a four-year commitment to host fixtures in the country. SportsPro caught up with Alexander Steinforth, the MD of the league’s German arm, to discuss its long-term strategy for the market.

The X Games and the shift towards broadcast-owned events in the OTT era
ESPN’s decision to sell its majority stake in the X Games might mark the end of an era but, as SportsPro’s technology editor writes, the partnership has paved the way for a period of deeper collaboration between broadcasters and rights holders.

How Birmingham 2022’s tech operations created a blueprint for more sustainable multi-sport events
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has set out to make technology a pillar of its plans to safeguard the future of its marquee event. SportsPro went behind the scenes at Birmingham 2022 to find out how that strategy was implemented and how it can help other major sports.

Riding stage two of the Tour de France Femmes with Zwift and the women’s peloton
The women’s Tour de France was reborn last year as an eight-stage race covering more than 1,000km. SportsPro travelled to Meaux for the second leg of the event to see how the landmark occasion was embraced locally and to talk to some of those involved about the impact it will have on women’s cycling.

London 2012: What has become of the Olympic venues ten years on from the Games?
Built at a cumulative cost of more than UK£1 billion, the Olympic venues were the site of some historic, record-breaking moments during London 2012. A decade on from the Games, SportsPro examines what has happened to those arenas in the time since – if indeed they are still in use today.

To find out more about SportsPro’s future themed weeks, click here.

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