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The first edition of the THE SPOT comes to a successful conclusion

A keynote speech from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, lively and interactive panel discussions, eSports demonstrations and much more brought Day 2 of THE SPOT to a successful close today at the SwissTech Convention Center in Lausanne.

In a speech titled “How Sport can Contribute to a World of Three Zeros: Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, Zero Net Carbon Emissions,” Dr Yunus said: “Selfless business is something you do to solve problems you see around you …. Sport can also become socially oriented – it is more than just business.”

The Founder of the Grameen Bank praised the two-day sports and innovation event for the potential synergies it offered. “THE SPOT brings us all together – sports business, social business and sports organisations – to discuss how to make the most out of the tremendous power and positive energy of sport for the good of the world,” he said. 

A sold-out crowd of 700 delegates from over 25 countries and 350 organisations and companies attended THE SPOT. Visitors included over 100 employees from International Sport Federations and the International Olympic Committee, more than 45 start-ups and over 50 international speakers. The Market Place and Demo Zone featured over 40 start-ups and 15 corporate stands.

“We are really happy with this first edition of THE SPOT and received very positive feedback,” said the organiser of THE SPOT, Anna Hellman, Director of ThinkSport. “Our hope is that we provided a special and valuable experience for each and every participant. Personally, I especially liked the informal setting which enabled really good interactions among the delegates. I felt everybody was accessible and keen to share their experience, leaving all silos outside the door. That was our aim. We already have many new ideas for the second edition next year. Stay tuned!”

Other talkback sessions on Day 2 focused on innovations for athletes, safety and sports equipment, as well as the phenomena and future of eSports. World-class guest speakers included Yannis Pitsiladis, Professor of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Brighton; Carlos Canto Alvarez, Head of Metabolic Sensing Group at Nestlé Health; Eric Nauman, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University; Brent Berry, Global eSport Manager at Logitech; Anna Baumann, eSports lawyer; Brett Abarbanel, Director of research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas International Gaming Institute; and Stefan Kuerten, Executive Director of EBU Sport. 

The SwissTech Convention Center was transformed into an open space with a dynamic atmosphere, where participants were exposed to a wide range of engaging content and experiences all happening at the same time. The event kicked off on 15 May with the announcement of a new sport incubator for start-ups, which will further stimulate the unique sport ecosystem in Lausanne and the region.

Speakers on Day 1 included Andy Walshe, Head of Sport and Human Performance at Logitech, Stéphane Guerry, President of Havas Sport & Entertainment, Joey Tan, Head of Global Strategic Initiatives at Alibaba, and Albert Mundet, Head of Knowledge Department at the innovation hub of FC Barcelona, to name just a few.

In the Market Place, delegates discovered new solutions and products in fields like data analytics, digital broadcasting, equipment and wearables, material designs and nutrition. They also put their skills to the test piloting drones, a virtual Formula-1 car, and a bobsled. 

During THE SPOT’s inaugural Start-Up Battle, operated by Venturelab, on Day 1, ForwardGame received a total of CHF 5,000 for winning the title after fending off a strong field of 40 competitors. The German company is a creator of strategy mobile games and gameplay set in the real world, whose mission is to bring the fun of playing back to streets, parks and backyards by creating a bridge between the virtual and physical worlds. Tim Friedland, CEO of ForwardGame, said the win was validation that his company was on the right track: “It tells us that what we are doing is valuable and that it is worth making sport more fun and accessible. For us, the prize is a very important approval of our work.” 

The second edition of THE SPOT will take place next year, with the exact date to be announced soon. Keep following us on Twitter and join our Sport and Innovation Group on LinkedIn!