Sport is big business and networking is key for individuals and organisations in the global sports industry.
Nigel Fletcher runs Sports Development Marketing (SDM), which has launched the International Sports Chamber of Commerce, which holds sports business networking seminars in London, New York, Washington DC and Lausanne.
Why did you set up SDM?
I set up SDM in 2009 after five years at FIFA because I believed there was a void in the business to business networking and events space globally.
I had a vision to bring all the different components of the sports industry together from both a commercial and development perspective.
I also felt that the industry needed an independent organisation to do this, so SDM was set up and we embarked upon this journey.
Eight years later SDM consists of three different brands – International Sports Convention, International Sports Chamber of Commerce and International Sports Awards.
How did you get into sport business and why do you have such a passion for sport?
My passion comes from playing and coaching sport and then naturally transcending into the business of sport.
As a student, I was involved in coaching and football development and that led me to qualify for my UEFA B Coaching licence. The football business industry was my main interest and that passion led me to setting up British Premier Soccer schools whilst a student.
That was always going to be a small business, so I combined further education and professional development while these academic courses were still new to the UK. I completed my MSc in Football Business at the University of London and my MBA in Football Industries at the University of Liverpool.
How important is the development of sport at grass roots level?
I believe a strong foundation (development, grassroots, participation in sports) is essential and without this equity and interest, sport will dwindle. We have already seen a major transition of sport to a form of entertainment. While this is likely to continue, strong participation is essential for sport to maintain its commercialisation.
The lines also continue to blur with the rapid expansion of esports, fantasy sports, combat sports and major brands setting up their own events. Like any sector in any industry, it will be the fittest who survive and move forwards whether they have their roots in “traditional sport” or those newcomers moving into the space. It’s an exciting time to be involved in the sports industry.
What is the thinking behind The International Sports Chamber of Commerce (ISCC)?
The business of sport is continuously growing and evolving and as a networking and events business, we need to be up-to-date on the latest trends and innovation that is affecting the entire industry.
The purpose of the ISCC is to bring together the international sports industry – federations, associations, clubs, leagues, agencies, suppliers, businesses and the wider business and social economy – cities, communities, broadcasters, financial services, universities, etc.
This will be achieved through a range of networking and business networking platforms – seminars, conferences, business luncheons, breakfast clubs, dinners, drinks evenings etc and we are running six sports business networking seminars in London this year alone.
We are holding The Sports Business Digital sports business networking seminar on May 4 2017 at The Tower of London. (Additional sports business networking seminars will take place at the House of Commons, Shakespeare Globe and other iconic and historic venues in London).
The seminar will feature speakers from industry leaders Google, Linkedin and Twitter and will also include a one-hour pre-and post-networking opportunity to ensure attendees have the chance to cultivate more contacts and strengthen their business networks.
For more information on upcoming ISCC events please click HERE