Sport Business Summit inspires Lewis

TTOC President Brian Lewis, left, chats with Whitney Kirkland, Partner, Firebrand Event Productions, at the 5th annual Leaders Sport Business Summit at The TimesCenter, New York, yesterday.

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The prestigious summit is by invitational only and features the biggest names in the sport industry around the world including ESPN President James Pitaro, Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred, Milwaukee Bucks co-owners James Dinan and Marc Lasrey and Liverpool FC CEO Peter Moore to name a few. In all, there are 700 delegates from 25 countries participating in the two-day summit which is part of the inaugural Leaders Week themed “Experience The Future of Sport”.

Speaking to Newsday yesterday via telephone, Lewis said the discussion and presentations have been eye-opening especially hearing from such high-calibre sporting leaders who run billion-dollar clubs and companies.

He said he also had an enlightening conversation with Brian Napoli, Vice President, Corporate Partnerships of the Philadelphia Eagles.

“It was an interesting first day. There was a networking session by the MLS; I shared thoughts with Peter Moore of Liverpool FC. There was a lot of people talking about business development and sales and some real interesting things,” he said.

Lewis, the founder of the annual TT Sport Industry Conference, said he has had discussions with a couple individuals about coming to Trinidad next year for the third edition.

He said TT “will benefit as some of the ideas and topics presented here will be included in sport industry TT 2019.”

Lewis said one presentation by a company which has been in operation for over century titled “Bold Change” gave him encouragement.

“It solidified in my mind that by having sport industry TT (conference) we are on the right track. The conversations (here) are forward thinking and brings home the point that there are fundamental things that we need to do (in TT) especially when it comes to marketing.”

He said clubs at the summit are in a daily pursuit of new business ventures and sponsorships to increase their value.

“This is the thinking we must have,” Lewis said.

He added the emphasis of most speakers representing clubs was about nurturing fans, building their athletes and creating a winning team on and off the field through a powerful and recognisable worldwide brand.

Asked whether sport tourism was addressed at the summit, Lewis said, “No one here has spoken about sport tourism. It’s about business and opening the window of sport business opportunities.”

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