How Do Sports Have the Power to Change the World?

Dave Whorton

17 October 2019


Photo courtesy of Octagon

Fresh off attending the 2019 Octagon Sports Business Symposium presented by the Sports Business Journal in New York City, I felt inspired to share a few thoughts and observations surrounding the powerful impact of sports marketing.

The goal of the 2-day symposium was to “look forward” into the entire sports business industry, specifically honing in on forward-thinking brands, agencies, and properties. Emphasis was placed on leaders in the industry creating fan-forward experiences designed to surprise and delight existing fan bases and the accompanying strategies designed to attract and engage new audiences (Gen Z, Esports).

The forward thinking themed agenda did not disappoint. Leaders in the sports industry brought some of the latest thinking to life sharing case studies that inspired and motivated. Some top moments:

The symposium was filled with innovative thought leadership. It was impossible to leave without a new idea or new connection. It's true. The right time and energy will drive business results – regardless of your angle.

From a more personal angle, my advice after the symposium is simple. Take it in! Become a fan of being a fan. Immerse yourself in the experience that countless sports professionals work diligently to create, deliver, and improve every single day. Reflect on the process. Generate ideas to make the next experience even better. The “win” really comes in the experience we deliver for sports fans from across the globe. Sports is about so much more than the wins and losses on the field, court or in front of a monitor. Sports is about the emotion and the stories created from that emotion.

Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else does.”

As you take it in, remember the powerful words from Nelson Mandela that Meredith Verdone, CMO at Bank of America, and her team rely on when they strategize their sports portfolio to deliver for their customers and clients: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” Powerful words from a man that helped shape the world. No matter the experience, test, learn, and make it better!

Dave Whorton is the Director of Sports and Entertainment Partnerships here at STAR. He is a seasoned sales, marketing, and sponsorship professional that thrives on delivering thoughtful, innovative solutions for brands, agencies, and sports teams across the country. He holds a Master of Science degree in Leadership and Policy from the University of South Carolina and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Clemson University.

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Dave Whorton


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