Tag Archive | "events"

3 (great) reasons to head to Digital Sport Manchester next week

Next week is a big week for us here at UK Sports Network. After heading up to Glasgow last month for our first ever event up there, we’re now going to be doing the same in Manchester.

“But why should I go” I hear you say. Well I believe there are 3 main reasons that you should head along, not even counting that we’re the only community that’s been set up solely for those who work within digital media for sports teams, federations, agencies and tech companies.

Reason 1

The line up of speakers I think is our best yet and we’re cramming a lot into half a day.  Not only do we have presentations from the likes of British Cycling, Manchester Metropolitan University, deltatre, Stream UK and Capsool but also panels made up of digital people from Leeds Rugby, BBC Sport, Everton FC, Man City FC and PERFORM.

We’ll be covering topics that are both general and specific, giving a fantastic look into what is both happening with within digital sport and what we is coming around the corner soon. There are talk titles such as; “Digital in Sport: Disrupting and levelling the playing field“, “Not just racing but riding: how British Cycling is building communities of real cycling fans, and real cyclists“, “The Digital Paralympics, from London to Sochi” and “CityStories: The Social History of Manchester City Football Club“.

Reason 2 (and 2 1/2)

We like to do things a little differently here than most events organisers (who wants to do the same thing all the time eh?). So instead of booking a sports venue or hotel, we’re going to be heading to TechHub Manchester. A shared working space and community for tech entrepreneurs and start-ups, something we see ourselves as being.

This type of venue provides for a more stimulating and relaxed atmosphere for the event. Being part of this vibrant community even for only half a day will hopefully help provide an environment that is both inspiring and fun to be part of.

Not only will you get all this when you come along but we’ve also been working on something to present ourselves. At the start of day I’ll be showcasing our new website, built with the great guys at Storystream who will also be in the crowd,  that will eventually take over from the current UK Sports Network site. It’s not only a new site but a new name and a new brand. Exciting times!

Reason 3

Another big reason people head to these events is to meet and chat with other people in the industry. So if this is your aim for heading along then you can expect to find people from;

  • IBM
  • Amaze
  • Kwangl
  • BR101 Sports
  • European Handball Federation
  • Manchester Futsal Club
  • Manchester United FC
  • Opta
  • Scarlets Rugby
  • 2ergo
  • Red Bull
  • Sky Sports
  • Prozone Sports
  • Two Circles
  • Intechnology Wifi
  • …. and many more

So if you’re interested in heading along there is still time to pick up a ticket. Prices are £50 + booking fee for standard tickets and £25 + booking fee for students.  You get yours now by heading to…


We look forward to seeing you there!




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Glasgow 2014 launch blogger competition. #Team14

The Commonwealth Games are coming to Scotland this year, as am sure you are very be aware (if not, you will be soon).  This massive event is taking place in Glasgow and as part of their media plans their looking to bring a group of ace bloggers on board to help spread the buzz!

#Team14 is the name for a new collective of active bloggers for the duration of the Games. The topics they’re looking to cover include; Glasgow/Scotland, technology, lifestyle (fashion/entertainment), sport, culture & festival 2014, news/photography, Queen’s Baton Relay, and events.

To become part of the story, all you have to do is head to the website (link below) and fill in the application form.  Entries close on 10th April at 5pm, so get your name down now!


It’s a fantastic opportunity for new and established bloggers alike. With a good mix of people there will be an amazingly diverse amount of content that the Glasgow 2014 team will have access to.  ”Influencers” have long been seen by brands and agencies to be important when it comes to creating and spreading ‘buzz’ about products and events.  Now it good to see sports events taking this same approach.

If you think you’ve got what it takes with your blogging skills, then why not give it a go.  Good luck!


Glasgow 2014


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Highlights from Digital Sport Glasgow

Last week saw our first visit to the country of my father’s birth (as you may have guessed from my very Scottish surname!).  Glasgow is a wonderful city and we were lucky enough to find a great event location within it.

The event wouldn’t have been possible without the initial help from Robert Boyle (@RFC_Rab) in securing the venue and bringing together a great line-up of speakers.  It was great to be able to hear from the likes of Commonwealth Games Scotland, Dog Digital, Yomego, Scottish Hockey, Quipu TV, Teamtrackr…. and of course Rangers FC.

There is a great write up from the event by Mark Stuart from Yomego. He has brought together some of the insights from the event as well as explaining more about his presentation – looking at some examples of digital media successes within sport.

There was also a great panel session with Jack McGill (Quipu TV), Stuart Moffatt (Scottish Hockey) and Robert Boyle (Rangers). We took an in-depth look at live streaming and how this could be utilised by smaller sports, such as hockey, when it comes to gaining valuable coverage and awareness for their sport. Unfortunately we don’t have any video of the session, something we’re aiming to address at future events.

I’ve looked to include all the presentations from the event so you can take pieces of interest out for yourself.  We hope to be back in Scotland towards the end of the year and recap what happened at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Below the presentations you’ll see a Storify of the day!







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The Global Sports Symposium: 15th May

This summer a new conference will be gracing our diaries, The Global Sports Symposium.

The Global Sports Symposium, which is being presented by the same team behind the US-based Ivy Sports Symposium (Sports Symposium, Inc.), this student-run event, will bring together the leading decision-makers of the industry for a day of networking, discourse and learning.  The organization is excited to be expanding internationally by hosting the first GSS in partnership with Arsenal FC and Emirates Stadium.

“One of my top goals when assuming the role of Executive Director was finding a way to take our event international,” said Sports Symposium Executive Director Alex Rosen. “The Symposium family cannot wait to share the unique experience of attending one of our events with both students and professionals at the world-class Emirates Stadium.”

Established in 2006, Sports Symposium, Inc. is a student-run, non-profit organization that sets the standard for sports business education.  In their eight-year history, events have featured more than 300 unique speakers from around the world representing all facets of the sports business.

Past speakers from the event have included:

  • Gary Bettman, Commissioner, National Hockey League
  • Tom Verducci, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated
  • Arn Tellem, Vice Chairman and President, Team Sports, Wasserman Media Group
  • Wyc Grousbeck, Chief Executive Officer, Boston Celtics
  • Lisa Baird, CMO, United States Olympic Committee
  • Peter Moore, President, EA Sports

The Sports Symposium has traditionally welcomed student attendees from over 60 colleges and universities and professional delegates from a wide range of companies.  Its intimate setting combined with engaging content and dynamic speakers have made it a “must attend” event every year.

Confirmed speakers so far are:

  • Bob Reeves (President, RFU)
  • Chuck Baker (Partner, DLA Piper)
  • Matthew Baxter (Chief of Media, Liverpool FC)
  • Mark Lamping (President, Jacksonville Jaguars)
  • Marc Reeves (International Commercial Director, NFL)
  • Stephen Nuttall (Senior Director, Sports YouTube EMEA)
  • Tom Fox (Chief Commercial Officer, Arsenal)

The symposium promises to bring a 360 degree view of the Sports Business world, with talks and panels representing all aspects of the business. However, it comes with a nice twist as it’s aimed at both seasoned professionals and those who want to enter the business.

“Throughout the planning process the student-run team has received positive feedback from the industry leaders it has reached out to.  We believe this is a testament to the US-based Ivy Sports Symposium that has attracted top industry names over the course of its eight-year history. We are expecting similar successes for this first event in the UK and continue to get excited as we move forward with our planning.”– Harriet Thayer, 2014 Global Sports Symposium Co-Chair

The 1st annual Global Sports Symposium (“GSS”) takes place on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at Emirates Stadium in London. The registration page can be accessed from: http://www.sportssymposium.org or here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/global-sports-symposium-emirates-stadium-tickets-10440779653


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Sponsorship & Social Media [event]

Next week sees the 5th instalment of the Digital Sport London series.  These events are used to not only network with fellow professionals, and these is plenty of time to do so, but also take a look at a different topic that affects the work in which we do.

This month we take a look at a sector of the commercial side of sport that has been affected more than most, sponsorship.  It’s an area I know well from my time working as Sponsorship Manager at Glamorgan Cricket Club and have kept an interest in ever since.

At this event we’ll be not only chatting about how affected the sector has been but also get an insight into a couple of tech companies who are offering solutions to the issues thrown up.

To help guide us through this maze, we have some great people from different agencies on board.  They are;

Each speaker will bring a different perspective to the evening.  They all work with clients, and in terms of IMG some of their own properties too, and help them make the most of the opportunities that social networks have opened up.  If you have any questions you’d like to hear asked to the panel then you can use the hashtag #DSLondon or add it into the comments below.

The two tech companies we shall be hearing from are already making waves.  Storystream is a content curation and publishing platform that gives brands all the tools needed to create audience driven, real time stories.  They’ve already worked with Porsche, Goodwood Festival of Speed and Getty Images, and were recently highlighted by The Guardian as one of Brighton’s leading tech start-ups.

The second is Grabyo. They allow you to share real-time video across social networks, websites and mobile apps with ad-server integration and sponsorship opportunities.  They came to prominence with their work with SkySports during the summer transfer window, allowing the broadcaster to share video of the show on Twitter.  They now work with Channel 5, CBS, Mindshare and thinkbox and recently appointed former Sky exec Gareth Capon as their CEO.

It promises to be another great evening of learning, debate and networking.  There are still spaces and the event will take place from 6pm on Tuesday 25th Feb at Grand Union Farringdon.


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CIPR Excellence Awards 2014 – Best Sporting Campaign

I’m delighted to reveal that UKSN is this year a supporter of the leading awards for the PR/Comms industry.  The CIPR Excellence Awards are the leading public relations awards, shining the spotlight on the achievements of teams, agencies and individuals across all sectors.  

Amongst the 29 award categories available is the Best Sporting Campaign, which demonstrates the best use of public relations to promote a live sporting activity, sporting event, brand or an individual involved in live sport, from conception to execution. Last year’s winner was Channel 4/Pitch PR for The London 2012 Paralympic Games on Channel 4.

Other categories of interest will be for the ‘Best Use of Digital’ and ‘Best Use of Social Media’.  Last year’s winners of the social media category were Torfaen County Borough Council.

Finalists will be invited to attend panel interviews with our judging team, before winners are chosen and announced at the annual Excellence Awards Dinner in London.  Entries are still open, so if you think you’re campaign should be up for an award then click on the link below for more information.

Find out more and enter online  


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How F1 Teams Can Build Their Tribe

Later on today I’m going to be chatting Formula 1 and social media with some of the teams involved.  Thanks to an invite from Vivacity, I’ll be joining in with a Google Hangout (my first) at 3pm UK.

The half hour show, which I’m sure will go on for longer, will cover a range of points within the topic.  Building a tribe is the next step on from the straightforward building of an audience.  We can all go out and take out a Facebook advert and run competitions  to boost our numbers, but when it comes to building a tribe we’re talking about dedicated fans.

It will be interesting to see if this comes up.  If the difference between and audience and a ‘tribe’ is acknowledged.

We’ll be looking talking about examples of F1 teams successfully using social media, what they did and how.  Why social media is crucial for activating sponsorship programmes and what other commercial benefits it offers.  Finally we’ll cover the landscape for 2014 in terms of trends and platforms.  Will anyone be using Snapchat?

It will be interesting to hear what comes out of the session.  If you have any thoughts/questions between now and when we go ‘on air’ then leave on comment below or tweet me at @DanielMcLaren.  You can follow the conversation as it happens on;


Or on this page via the live stream below…



mercedes f1



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#DSLondon: Community Management & Sport event. 28th Jan

This month we’ll be looking at the unique challenges that Social Media Community Managers face within the sports industry.  Looking after accounts with millions of passionate followers in some cases, how do they handle defeats & abuse, whilst at the same time deliver quality content to fans when they want it.

It’s an area that is under the microscope more than any other.  One rogue tweet can lead to disaster, as a few have found out, but there are ways in which to handle it simply and cost effectively.  We’ll be hearing from a number of those who are on the front line.

Roberto Kussabi (Social Media & Community Manager @ Sony Playstation / Former Social Media Manager @ Tottenham Hotspur) will be hosting a panel session to discuss the subject and ask what do they do? How do they plan? What tools do they use? What hints/tips can they give? and much more.



If you’re interested in getting involved the event, as a sponsor or speaker, get in touch with me at daniel@theuksportsnetwork.com


This month we’re going to be a bit more central with Grand Union Farringdon.  This great bar has an ideal event space downstairs and can hold around 100 people.  You can find out more about it by visiting their site, http://grandunionbars.com/venue/farringdon


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Digital Sport London #2 – 9th Dec

Next Monday (9th) sees the second of our monthly Digital Sport London series.  It’s dedicated to bringing people together within from the sports digital industry to learn, get to know each other and develop a community for the industry.

Once again we will be holding at Vibe Bar on Brick Lane, Shoreditch.  It provided us with a great event space with stage, big screen, wifi and our own bar. What more do you need?!

The last event was a great success with around 70 digital sport pro’s gathering together to hear a panel session on blogger outreach as well as finding out who the ‘mystery guest’ was going to be.  You can read the event wrap up (and insights) at http://www.theuksportsnetwork.com/top-5-tips-from-sports-bloggers-at-dslondon

What to expect this time…

In this event, as in all good sports, we’ll be having two halves that we hope will both educate and inspire you along the way.  The first half will be a panel session looking at what 2014 will have in store for us and a look back at 2013 and what happened within the industry.

What were the big shifts in the industry we have seen this year?  What platforms have burst onto the scene and will they continue to grow?  What are brands/clubs/federations looking to over the next 12 months?  and much, much more.

Our guest panelists will be taking us through it all and gazing into their crystal balls.  Will you agree with what they say?  It’s an open debate so make sure you get your questions and opinions across.



Alex Balfour  -  Chief Digital Officer, The Engine Group

Graeme Harrison  -  Head of Digital (International), Fast Track

Alison Donnelly  -  Head of Communications, London Wasps

Andy Rice (host)  -  Head of Sport, Auto & Music, Future Publishing


The second half is a bit of a mystery!  I’ll be running a ‘fireside chat’ with a difference, the name of the international guest won’t be unknown until he/she appears on screen.

During our last event the ‘mystery guest’ was AS Roma’s Head of Digital, Shergul Arshad.  He gave us some great insights into his career, the challenges he’s faced over the last 2 years at the club and what he’s been working on to push the club further towards the forefront of digital development.

But who will it be this time?  You’ll have to be there to find out.


As well as all the trimmings you get with one of our events, this time we’ll also be delivering an early Christmas present.  After the event we’ll share with attendee’s a link to our new ebook/report.  It brings together the thoughts and predictions from 15+ industry influencers.  A must have for the New Year!



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Top 5 Tips from Sports Bloggers at #DSLondon

Last night saw the first of our new monthly Digital Sport London events as we took over part of Vibe Bar on Brick Lane in Shoreditch, London.  We had two distinct sections of the night with the first being a Skype interview and the second a panel session on blogger outreach, from a blogger point of view.

The first section of the night, despite slight worries over the technology, went seamlessly with a great conversation had with AS Roma’s Head of Digital Shergul Arshad.  He was joining us from his office in Boston, USA where the owners of the Italian team – who are currently top of the Serie A table – are based.

He gave us an interesting insight into how the club has developed digitally since he joined just over 2 years ago.  Going from a basic flash website which displayed scores and little else, to a leading light in the digital space with a solid ecommerce strategy, presence on most of the big social platforms and CRM at its heart.

We also touched about their plans as they move onto the US centric platform Tumblr, recently bought by Yahoo for close to $1bn.  On top of their recent US tour it shows how they are looking to attract a young, digital savvy audience in the country.  Something the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and AC Milan has also locked onto, though not through use of Tumblr.

Following this great chat with Shergul, and a short break, we moved onto the main topic of the evening and Blogger Outreach.  It’s a subject close to my heart being a blogger of almost 4 years and having been on the other side of the fence at We Are Social.  It’s a really interesting area that many PR and digital agencies still sadly don’t get.

Almost on daily basis I receive emails from SEO firms offering to write content for my site if they can place a link into it.  It’s something I’ve never done and hopefully won’t ever do.  If I get these then imagine what the bigger sports blogs get on a daily basis and it can be a real issue for those who run the blogs as well as those looking to work with them.

James from Matchchat set it up well whilst discussing the issues they faced when approaching bloggers, even with something that costs nothing and has the opportunity to make them revenue in return.  This was covered during the main session as well.

Our guests, Lynsey Hooper (The Offside Rule podcast), Karis Buckingham-Jones (GirlsSportTalk) and Gary Andrews (blogger and blog outreach specialist) gave us insights into why the blog in the first place, what makes a blog standout in a very crowded space and how to potentially work with them.

These are my top 5 tips that came out from the session (and some of my own thoughts) led by host Richard Gillis;

  1. Find Your Niche   -  there are some 170m blogs of various kinds around the internet, so you need to find an angle that gives people something they don’t get elsewhere.  It could be the way you deliver it (your tone, methods) or the topic you speak about.
  2. Be Patient  -  most bloggers quit after a few short months after growing disheartened when only a few people visit their site, and they are probably their family/friends.  It takes time to build up an audience and reach that tipping point when growth moves rapidly upwards.  This also counts when you are reaching out to bloggers when working for a PR/digital agency or brand.  Bloggers are in it for the love and generally have full-time jobs so don’t expect immediate replies or contact them with a ‘this is exclusive for the next 2 hours’ type content.
  3. Make It Relevant  -  another key when looking to work with bloggers is to ensure your targeting is good and you have done your research into the content already being posted.  Bloggers are keen to deliver awesome content that is important to their readers and will help them grow their site.  By working on a personal basis and taking the time to find out about them gives you opportunities to engage with their audiences in new ways and get the best possible results.  It’s about partnerships rather than advertising ‘pushes’.
  4. It’s Not About The Money  -  as mentioned earlier, bloggers started not because they see it as a way to make money but is a passion that enjoy doing.  Gary mentioned something that was a key for my starting and keeping going UKSN over the last few years, that is raising your profile with the aim of gaining job opportunities.  This could be freelance roles, contracts or a dream full-time role.  The best way to understand bloggers is to be a blogger yourself.  At We Are Social, they took the line of employing bloggers and social media enthusiasts as they best understand the space and how to work with others (and have the connections).  Should more PR/digital agencies do this?
  5. Be Authentic  -  one thing that bloggers are very precious about is how they are perceived by their readers.  They have spent time and a lot of energy building their site up and don’t want to lose that trust they have built up.  Placing lots of brand content and PR releases will seriously damage that relationship.  Keep your tone on your blog and stick to your virtues.  As an agency/brand, be aware of this when speaking to them.

There were many other things covered during the close to 1 hour session last night.  You see more of them on Koozai’s blog post http://www.koozai.com/blog/news/events-news/digital-sport-london-blogger-outreach – there are some great take-outs in there.

Thanks to everyone who came along, we look forward to seeing you again on the 11th December when we look ahead to 2014 and what the trends will be within digital sport.  Book your places now at https://digitalsportlondon3.eventbrite.co.uk

Posted in Digital, Events, Football, SportComments (0)

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