Powered by: Sanjay Sood, Professor of Marketing, Faculty Director, Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment and Sports (Center for MEMES), UCLA Anderson School of Management, United States
Todd Goldstein, Chief Revenue Officer, AEG, United States
Chris Klein, President, LA Galaxy, United States
Man Jit Singh, President, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, United States
Jeff Moorad, Chairman/CEO, Moorad Sports Partners, United States
“Sports and entertainment converged many years ago,” said Jeff Moorad, Chairman and CEO of Moorad Sports Partners. “If anything embodies what entertainment is, it’s sports.”
It was a bold statement, but one echoed by the other members on the panel in the Doha Goals 2015 debate about the relationship between sports and entertainment.
These days, many sports’ commercial existence hinges on the entertainment content that can be provided to the millions of fans around the world.
But the demands of those fans can change quickly, particularly given the dazzling array of technologies which can be used to follow live sport from across the globe.
Todd Goldstein, Chief Revenue Officer at AEG, stressed the need for constant for adaptation and understanding in order to fulfil fans’ ever-changing appetites for sports.
But he also underlined his belief that sports’ unpredictable nature would continue to attract and enchant fans long into the future.
“Sports is the new entertainment,” he said. “It is that passion point – there is the drama and excitement and you just don’t know what is going to happen next.”
The need for adaptation to suit a certain market can lead to marked changes to a sport itself.
President of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Man Jit Singh discussed the radical changes that cricket underwent to become the phenomenon that is now the Indian Premier League (IPL).
“The people who ran the IPL realized quickly that it had to be faster, quicker-scoring, shorter and have entertainment,” he said.
Matches were slashed from five days to just over three, while the use of Bollywood stars to enhance its profile has contributed to a staggering national audience of more than 200m.
Chris Klein, President of LA Galaxy, told the audience of the very different challenges he faced as he tried to help Major League Soccer grow in the US.
So rather than trying to take fans from traditional national sports such as American football, he decided to retain the authenticity of soccer and see if the sport could grow organically.
It worked, with men’s and women’s soccer now enormously popular and boasting a national fan base of 90m Americans.
He also discussed the very 21st-century issue of the role social media plays in connecting players to soccer fans in the US, and warned of the dangers if not carefully managed.
“One wrong step can be catastrophic,” he admitted. “You have great examples of in sports of players and clubs doing great things, but then you also have examples of the exact opposite.”