FEED Issue 23

56 HAPPENING SportsPro OTT Summit

Words by Neal Romanek

Last year’s SportsPro OTT Summit in Madrid said improving the fan relationship is the top goal

GETTING INTO THE RING WITH FANS One popular session, which seemed to predict where the entire sports industry could be headed, was the talk with John Brody, executive vice-president of global sales and head of international for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). WWE – I hate to ruin it for you – is entirely scripted. Whereas most sports coverage is trying to portray athletes as characters in a drama, WWE gives you characters in a drama under the guise of athletes. This is not to understate the athletic skill required of a WWE performer. Those men and women really are leaping and smashing and bashing – and, combined with that, they need to be performers. Their training in acting and performance is just as important as their physical conditioning. In fact, WWE can be a career path for athletes who are looking for something beyond the pros. “We’re all about our athletes,” said Brody. “For us, our athletes, many of them are former superstars in other sports. But they have another piece to them – they are also actors. They are athletes in the ring, but they are also entertainers outside of it.” Brody noted how WWE has been a great venue for female talent as well, pointing out that – of the ten most followed athletes in the world on Instagram – six of them are

n November, FEED once again partnered with the SportsPro OTT Summit in Madrid, the third iteration of what is proving to be a popular knowledge events for sports broadcasters and rights holders worldwide. The event runs over three days in Madrid’s Meliá Castilla hotel, a comfortable venue that includes a superb auditorium with USB and mains power at every seat (priorities, am I right?) The summit offers a dense schedule of discussions and keynotes, a small exhibition hall for vendors and ample opportunities for networking. Speakers included representatives from the NBA, DAZN, UEFA, F1, La Liga, BT Sport, YouTube and ESL. Additionally, SportsPro, because of its partnership with the Olympic Channel, offered a group tour of the OIympic Channel’s global headquarters, as well as a networking drinks at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home of Real Madrid since 1947, sponsored by Athletia’s anti-piracy initiative, Ryghts. The summit’s theme of OTT video allowed for wide-ranging discussions about the application of new digital advances across the field of sports entertainment, but the topic that kept recurring was how to better serve the sports fans.


GRAND SLAM The president of the Women’s Tennis Association, Micky Lawler (centre), spoke at the SportsPro OTT Summit

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