Speakers back European Athletics to ‘Embrace Change’ at CEO Conference

CEO Conference
European Athletics

The European Athletics CEO Conference entitled “Embracing Change” opened in Minsk, Belarus, today with encouraging presentations from Stefan Kürten, Nigel Garfitt, Michael Payne and Bernard Lapasset.

Olympic, Formula 1, media and sponsor strategist Payne delivered a keynote speech entitled “The 21st Century Reality for the Business of Sport.” Payne said the sporting landscape is the most uncertain it has been in the 40 years he has been working in the field of sports marketing but that uncertainty presents an opportunity for sports such as athletics. He also laid out a number of prediction on the future of sport and how athletics could take advantage of these predictions.

Kürten, Director of European Broadcasting Union Sport, outlined in his presentation all the changes in the media market in recent years, and the new technologies that EBU and its Members are developing – ones that could benefit the promotion of athletics in the future.

Lapasset, the former Chairman of World Rugby, related the story of the organisation’s progress in recent years with Rugby 7s and other new formats and the sport’s re-entry into the Olympic Games. He said that Rugby 7s has been the main driver of fan growth and popularity for the sport.

Lapasset also said that sports organisations should be adventurous and not afraid to fail.

Garfitt, the newly appointed Acting CEO of IAAF, described the four pillars of the IAAF strategy in the coming years: Elite, Mass, Commercial and Organisation.

He then went to focus on the near-time priorities for the IAAF for the rest of 2018, focusing on the Athletics Integrity Unit and the organisation’s new three-phase bidding process.

A lively panel discussion controlled by Alfons Juck followed the four speeches, where the participants responded to questions from the audience.

European Athletics CEO Christian Milz opened the Conference by emphasising that the annual event is built on a family feeling within athletics in Europe. He also outlined progress on topics discussed in workshops at last year’s European Athletics Convention in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The CEO Conference continues on Saturday