Sportel’s Joanna Merchie explains what to expect from the 2022 Miami sports media convention’s ‘Rendezvous’

Leading companies, organizations and decision-makers from the sports media and tech industry traveled to Monaco this week for the return of Sportels flagship event after a two-year absence due to the pandemic.

The sports media convention had a number of health and safety protocols in place to ensure that participants could safely enjoy the opportunity to reconnect through networking, masterclass sessions and business meetings. , with people such as LaLiga, Matchroom, Eurosport and the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

Next year, Sportel will return to sunny Miami, Florida for a self-proclaimedMeet at the Marriott Biscayne Bay hotel from March 14 to 15. Armed with a new event format and new products such as affordable meeting modules and personalized exhibits, the two-day gathering will provide an ideal opportunity to bring together international sports decision-makers in the Americas.

With this years edition of Sportel Monaco in full flow, SportsPro sat down with conference executive director Joanna Merchie to discuss what the industry can expect in Miami next year.

As this is your first in-person event in quite some time, how does it feel to have everyone back at Sportel Monaco this year?

It is absolutely fantastic. We’re really excited – as I think the industry is – to finally be able to get back together. We saw a snowball, especially last month, the buzz has been around, everyone is coming to Sportel. People are really, really keen to get back to business and we’re having a 100% in-person event so that’s great.

For the future, what can you tell us about next years event in Miami?

We have a new event with a new format, a new name. Thisit’s a completely redesigned format adapted for our overseas event. WeI went to a spring market for many, many years, but Sportel’s managing director, Laurent Puons decided it was time to do something new. Obviously since the Covid, people have had marketing budgets [readjusted] and time too is such an essence. Not just Covid, I think in general now we tend to do things faster, and we can do things with technology a lot faster.

He therefore decided to launch Sportel Rendez-vous, and it will take place in Miami. We just announced it about a week ago, because we decided that to relaunch after this time, Miami is the best place in the United States to bring together international decision-makers within the Americas, because it’s a place really central which our Sportel community has always loved to attend. We had been ready to participate in this event for a few months, but we really waited until it was announced that the American borders were going to open.

We really believe that the industry will be delighted to return, as a first step, to the Americas. We have also brought some great new products for this new event. Thiss better value for money, better return on investment and streamlined over just two days instead of the three for the market, or even four last year with our conference day.

So we have a simplified event, it will be an international market and a large-scale conference summit. We have a new exceptional admission price, only 490 €, which represents a significant reduction on our general events abroad.

For our exhibitors we have new products like meeting modules, which are kind of a modern version of a table with a branding and passes, which a lot of people just want to do. Then we have meeting rooms which can be fully equipped, which can replace a meeting booth, and then we will also have custom booths for people who want to do something a little more special. And of course, too, at Sportel, there are always many opportunities to speak out about the brand and to sponsor them.

You presented some of the new products that will be on display at Sportel Rendez-vous. How will this event be different from what Sportel has been offering for 30 years?

Sportel Monaco is emblematic and we are resuming our activities now. We all hope and pray that the industry, business, travel and everything will continue.

However, it is really our event abroad that we just wanted to give a fresh new look. So I think with our new products, our streamlined timing, it will be easier access for people who really need to travel, because we have a lot of people from the UK and Europe coming. So you have to go to the United States, from Asia, there is also this trip, it’s a longer trip, so we take all that into consideration.

So I think this is a new, modern and innovative concept that will suit our community very well. And we already have a lot of interest.

By hosting an event in the United States, what kind of access will attendees have to this market?

In Monaco we have an international event, but people definitely want to go [to the US] – certainly our European customers – to meet more of an American flair. In general, we also have some of the big American companies at Sportel Monaco, but it may be more of an international division. So if they go to the United States, they really want to meet to do business in the Americas, meet the NBA or the NFL on business there, and not the other way around.

What else can we expect to see at Sportel events in the future?

Although we have the market, which is the heart of Sportel, wereally developed the conference program. This is something that we are developing with our clients who are already at the event, and we have some guest speakers. It’s something that’s really taking off now, right nowa great program here [in Monaco] also.

What we will also do are focus more. For example, in the United States next year, what’s really hot is sports betting and more specifically live sports betting. So many of our clients are in partnership, theyre embarking on this with the legalization of gambling and betting in the United States. It is a hot topic. Also how women leaders are changing the perception of sports media. We’ll be looking at all the sports tech that’s coming in, AI and AR, because everything exploded during Covid, and remote production, all the different techniques.

So this is something that we are really going to develop as well, because it all goes together. All OTT platforms, all second, third generation platforms, what they offer. There are also esports. There are a lot of cross communities that we are developing here.

In the future, are you considering other potential locations in the United States or around the world?

For next year, Miami is an iconic place for us, and really where a large part of our community in the United States [is]. It has always worked very well for us. If they wanted to go, for example, to the West Coast, it could be interesting to develop, especially with all the sports technology of San Francisco. This is something that we will continue to examine.

We are also interested in continuing to look at Asia and beyond. WeWe’re going to take it step by step, seeing how things are going in the Covid situation, the ability for people to travel and where our community wants to go, and trying to bring them new markets as well.

We will certainly continue to search, continue to innovate. At the moment, we are following the flamingos.

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